Kalinovka Holocaust Massacre May 30, 1942

Related by Yury Sokol as heard from his grandmother Ester Sokoletsky in 1988

In memory of Chaim Sokoletsky 1905-1986 and Ester Sokoletsky (nee Lisitsa) 1906-1993

Both of my paternal grandparents Chaim and Ester Sokoletsky were born in Kalinovka at the beginning of the century. They had an extensive family living there. When German army attacked Russia in June of 1941, my grandfather Chaim was an officer in the Russian Army. He sent a telegram immediately to my grandmother to leave Kalinovka. Serving in a border region with Poland, he knew a lot about the fate of Polish Jews. My grandmother left with children, but the rest of the large family stayed. My grandmother Ester hopelessly tried to persuade them to flee from Germans. The main argument of my relatives was that Germans were in Kalinovka during the WWI and nothing bad had happened to the Jews. They thought that this is all Stalin' propaganda that Germans kill the Jews wherever they went.

Shortly after Germans entered Kalinovka, they put all the Jews in a ghetto. The ghetto was exterminated on May 30, 1942. All the Jews were killed in a mass grave, except one young woman who survived. She was buried under the dead bodies of fallen victims. Miraculously she stayed alive. Naked she run to the nearest house were she was sheltered by a local Ukrainian family. She was somewhere between 15 and 20 years old. She managed to survive Nazi occupation hiding in Ukrainian home till the end of the war.

When the war was over my grandparents learned about the horrible fate of their families. They met this woman, Holocaust survivor, who shared with them her story. My grandparents, and relatives of other victims who perished in Holocaust, erected memorial in Kalinovka. They gathered all the funds for the monument. Local communist government refused to provide any assistance. Every year on May 30, relatives of Kalinovka victims of Holocaust gathered at the site of the memorial.

Unfortunately I do not remember the name of a woman who survived the Holocaust. It could be the one who gave a testimony on Kalinovka Yad Vashem home page. I have learned this story from my grandmother Ester in June 1988, before me and my parents left Ukraine for the United States.