Holocaust

During the WWII Fastov was occupied by Nazis from July 1941 to September 1943. The execution of Jewish civilians began soon after Nazi troops entered the city. Some Jewish residents were used as forced laborers for different activities like picking potatoes or digging trenches. Nazis as a rule murdered their victims as soon as they saw no further “use” of them. Prior to execution Jewish residents were often humiliated; women also were raped [1]. In Fastov, executions were carried out by both Werchmat troops and Soberkomando 4A. Soberkomandos were Nazi military units specifically created for murdering Jews, Romano and Communists. Thus, by September of 1941 Werchmat troops murdered 50 Jews, while Soberkomando 4A, which mainly involved Ukrainian polizais, slaughtered 292 Jews between 12 and 60 years of age [1] [2] [3]. In October of 1941 more Jewish women, children and elderly people from Fastov and Fastov area together with Jewish refuges from Zhitomir were murdered by Nazis [2] [1]. Executions mainly took place in a nearby ravine next to Veprikov woods which later was called Fastov Babyj Yar [4]. After the war victim remains were re-buried in the mass grave at the Jewish cemetery. During the period of occupation up to 1000 Jewish civilians from Fastov and Fastov region were murdered by Nazis and their collaborators. Approximately one third of the Fastov Jewish population perished in Holocoust. Thus, in 1939 there were around 2,149 Jews in the city whereas about 700–800 of them were murdered during the war. Fortunately, many Jewish residents managed to evacuate from Fastov during the first weeks of war. It is important to note that there were several righteous gentiles in Fastov who saved a few Jewish lives. Thus, Maria Chutorna during the war managed to hide a little girl Nina Timoshpolshkaya together with the girl’s stepmother; while Katerina Savchenko saved a little girl Raya Brodskaya who she presented as her own cousin during the war. Other righteous gentiles were Larisa Chrustalnaya and Peter Tereshenko both of whom saved two Jewish girls [2] [5].

Rail station
Fastov rail station ruins; 1943

Mass grave
Mass Grave in the Jewish cemetery (photo taken by Vladimir Pluta; April, 2011)
Inscription in Russian: “Mass grave of re-buried Soviet people brutally murdered by German fascists October 6, 1941” (please note that in the USSR it was not accepted to indicate that Nazis primarily executed Jews; Jewish victims were always listed as Soviet people)

Babyj Yar ravine
Vladimir Boroshenko & Alexander Priceman show Fastov Babyj Yar ravine which was later turned into a lake (photo taken by Vladimir Pluta; April, 2011)

References:

  1. Goncharenko, A.M. Fastov // Encyclopedia of Holocaust in the Soviet Union, Moscow 2011 (in Russian)
  2. Kolomiets, Elena. Holocaust in Fastov Region (unpublished paper submitted to student research competition dedicated to Holocaust studies, 2004 (in Ukrainian)
  3. Operative report from Yad Vashem collection (in Russian)
  4. Interview with Vladimir Boroshenko; and Holocaust stories from his biographical book “And you shall tell it to your son”, Rostov 2005 (in Russian)
  5. Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies

Content last updated Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 04:41 PM Mountain Standard Time

Fastov, Ukraine
כוואסטוב אוקראינע

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Compiled by Inna Minuk
Updated July 2011
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