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Pyatnichany Forest

Murder Site of Vinnitsa Jews, 2010 Murder Site of Vinnitsa Jews, 2010 Courtesy of Anna Abakunova, Vinnitsa

On the morning of September 19, 1941 members of a detachment of Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C, together with members of the 45th and 314th Order Police Battalions and Ukrainian auxiliaries started to drive Vinnitsa Jews of all ages and both sexes, who were living west of the South Bug River in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Ierusalimka, to a collection point in the area of Volodarskaya, Sobornaya, and Pervomayskaya Streets, close to the river bank. The assembled Jews had their papers checked, then they were loaded into trucks and taken to the Pyatnichany Forest on the western outskirts of the city (now part of Vinnitsa). There, near Litin (now Khmelnitskiy) Road the Jews were forced to surrender the valuables they had brought with them and were then shot to death at large trenches dug in advance on German orders by Soviet prisoners of war. Estimates of the total number of victims of this massacre range from 3,500 to 10,000 or even to the exaggerated number of 15,000 (according to different Soviet sources).
On April 16, 1942 the commissar of the city of Vinnitsa Fritz Margenfeld ordered the Jews of Vinnitsa who had survived the massacres of 1941 to appear at the local stadium, allegedly for resettlement in a ghetto. After Jews of all ages and both sexes assembled at the stadium, a selection was carried out by Baltic auxiliaries who were stationed in Vinnitsa at this time. About 1,000 skilled workers were separated and sent to the city prison, while the rest were ordered to hand over the belongings they had brought with them. They were then driven to the Pyatnichany Forest and killed at the same murder site as the victims of September 1941. The number of victims of this massacre was about 5,000. The perpetrators of this mass murder were apparently members of the Reich Security Service, responsible for Hitler's personal security.