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Manivtsy Mass Graves Memorials
On May 24, 2018 near the village of Manivtsy in Ukraine a ceremony was to be held in honor of those Jews killed there by the Germans and who now lay in the mass graves there. The restoration of those graves was completed last year.


Summery of the May 24, 2018 Ceremony
Letter to organizers of Ceremony
History of the murder sites - post Holocaust
Saga of Krasilov Monuments
Сага о красиловских памятниках (in Russian)
Links to related stories and web sites
Map of Mass Grave sites

Mass grave memorials in 2013 and after restoration in 2017
1 2013
2 2013
3 2013
1 2017
2 2017
3 2017

Visit to Manivtsy Mass Grave site on Holocaust Remembrance Day January 27, 2021 - Link
Pictures from Nikolay Pekarsky (group picture he is man wearing hat)

1947 visit
1947 Visit to Mass Grave link
1944 Visit link
1975 Visit link
1984 Visit link

A Summary of the May 24, 2018 Ceremony

The Memorial consists of three mass graves, which are in the Khmelnitsky region. Two of the graves are near the village of Manivtsy, and the third one is in the field near the village of Rosolovtsy. Both villages are not too far from each other. In the Rosolovtsy graves the Germans buried the bodies of so called “specialists” Jews. The ceremony took place near the two graves near Manivtsy.

Below is the information about the official ceremony. It is based on the letter and videos provided by Nikolai Pekarsky.

An opening ceremony in commemoration of victims of Holocaust took place on May 24, 2018 near the village of Manivtsy of Khmelnitsky region. In July of 1942, prisoners of Krasilov and Kultchiny ghettos were killed there. Among those in attendance were representatives of regional and local administrations, regional Jewish organizations, ethnographers, community organizers, students and journalists. Despite expectations, there were no foreign ambassadors and no fireworks. Before the ceremony, the regional Khmelnitsky authorities ordered to clear the ground around the graves. They also planted few small fir trees (you can see them on some photos).

Nikolai wrote, “I can tell you that I really wished you were here. All of this became a reality thanks to your donations and organizational abilities. You made that day possible. Arkadij Winer was here with his relatives. I was with my spouse, her brother and my parents. My parents came to see what have kept me occupied for the last few years. They liked it.”

Among the press representatives were a journalist from “Krasilovskij Vestnik” and an independent journalist Valentina Kritskaya. Also, people representing several different governmental organizations took video.

The speakers were:
1. Deputy regional administrator
2. The Master of ceremonies read our letter translated to Ukrainian
3. Arkadij Winer
4. Nikolaj Pekarskij
5. A person who was introduced as a “former prisoner of a ghetto”.
6. Jew from a synagogue, who read a prayer [Note 2]
Then, people laid flowers.

[All photos in this report were by Leonid Zapadenko]

 Photo 1

Photo#1: The opening of the ceremony, which started with a moment of silence in honor of victims of Holocaust

 Photo 2
Photos #2: The speech of the deputy regional administrator

 Photo 3
Photo #3: The Master of ceremony reads the letter

Photo 4
Photo 6
Photo 5
Photo 7

Photos #4, 5, 6 and 7: Speech of Arkadij Winer. He is 91years old now. In his speech he recollected how Jews were shot at this grave in July of 1942. He said that prior to the war his big extended family had lived in Manivtsy. After Germans arrived, the Jews from Krasilov and other nearby cities were put to ghetto established near the village of Kulchiny, and then transferred to a farm near the village of Rosolovtsy. The farm had a pigsty, horse stables, and a soap factory, and was not suitable for people housing. At the farm, Germans first selected men to dig huge pits, and then started to bring truckloads of Jews to those pits. Not all the people were shot, but they were forced to fall to the pits regardless – layer after layer. Arkadij Winer's family was in one of those trucks. Arkadij was 14 at the time, and he said to himself, “I won't go to the grave!” He managed to push a policeman who was next to him in the truck out of the vehicle and then jumped off himself. He was shot at and was wounded, yet he managed to hide in the reeds. A local teacher later helped him by treating his wounds and providing him with fake ID. Using that ID Arkadij could find work until the return of the Soviet Army.

Significant portion of his speech were words of appreciation for the contribution of the regional and local authorities and business leaders to the project, specifically for building a road leading to the graves. He also sincerely thanked the Jews who made financial contributions, which was essential. He underscored the need to fight unauthorized digging of World War 2 graves in search for gold. He called on everyone not to forget history and consider the mass graves of Jews sacred places.

Photo 8

Photo #8: The speech of Nikolai Pekarsky, who was introduced as “local ethnographer”. He personally managed the restoration process. Nikolai told the story of Basya Tentser, who during the German occupation was saved in the house belonging to local Ukrainian Zhir family. They were Daryna Zhir, her daughter Vera, and son Vasilij. For 7 months, Basya lived with them until the return of the Soviet Army. On December 19, 1985, the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel added Darina Zhir and her children to the list of the righteous.

 Photo 9

Photo #9: Nikolai Pekarsky invited Darina's granddaughters Nadezhda and Sofia Oroshkevich to the ceremony. They shared their recollections with those in attendance. Nadezhda and Sofia still stay in close touch with Basya’s son Isaak.

After Nikolai Pekarsky's speech, there was a speech by somebody who was introduced as “prisoner of ghetto”. They only announced his first and middle name as “Leonid Osipovich”. He came from the city of Khmelnitsky. He had rather youthful appearance and sufficient spring in his walk. He spoke for about 5 minutes. He did not share any memories, but called on everybody to remember the cruelty of war and not to forget those who died. What was remarkable about his speech was his declaration that about one third of those buried in the graves were not Jews. “They killed everyone without sorting by nationalities!”, he insisted while waiving his hands to calm the energy of the moment. In his mind he was appeasing the public.

 Photo 10

Finally, it was announced that the prayer would be said. The person who led the prayer was not introduced. We do not know neither his name nor who he was [Note 2]. He read Kaddish [Note 3] in Hebrew. After the Kaddish [Note 3], flowers were laid while a sad Jewish melody was played. That ended the ceremony. Some people left while others went to see the second grave. According to Nikolai, the whole ceremony was over within an hour.

Nikolai Pekarsky comments:
1.    The crowd was not big. He did not know how many people would be speaking. He blames that fact for his own speech being rather “unstructured”. While he planned to cover as many topics as possible, he had to make his speech shorter. 
2.    Nobody thought in advance about bringing flowers for Winer. Even the governmental bosses whom he has met a lot over the years never thought about that. Those bosses should have done the restoration work years ago. Winer spent a lot of effort asking them for assistance, and finally they did at least build a road, which was the entire scope of their help.
3.    Nikolai expressed his opinion about the “prisoner of the ghetto” who said that about one third of the people buried there were not Jews. “It is inexcusable to make such unfounded declarations”, said Nikolaj.
4.    An ethnographer from Kulchiny was also present on the ceremony. Just like Nikolaj, he is not as Jew, but he is deeply interested in the Jewish history of the region. He desperately wants to erect a memorial in memory of the Jews of Kulchiny, but nobody expresses any interest in helping him in that.

A report on the event [in Russian] can be found on Nikolai Pekarsky web site. On the bottom of that page you will find several videos. They are in Ukrainian. The fifth video from the top shows the reading of Kaddish [Note 3], the next one shows laying the flowers.
by L. Shkiler

[Note 1: Photos by Leonid Zapadenko]
[Note 2: A worker from Khesed-Besht, Khmelnitsky (not from a synagogue)]
[Note 3: Not the Kaddish but the prayer El male Rechamim (God full of Mercy). The same prayer was later performed by a Cantor through a tape recorder]

On May 24, 2018 near the village of Manivtsy in Ukraine a ceremony was to be held in honor of those Jews killed there by the Germans and who now lay in the mass graves there. The restoration of those graves was completed last year. This letter was sent to the organizers, so that that letter could be read during the ceremony. It expresses appreciation to all those who took part in making sure that our dream of restoration of the graves became a reality.
Letter to the May 24, 2018
Ceremony Commemorating the Restoration of the Manivtsy Mass Graves Memorials
Honorable guests and dear friends,

It would have been a great honor for us to be with you today, but due to number of objective reasons it is impossible. Despite these circumstances we don’t want to stay away and are asking to read our letter to all those who came to this commemorative ceremony. Today’s event and the restoration of the mass graves are the result of active participation of present and former compatriots, their children, and many people who care who live all around the globe – in the US, Israel, Germany, Ukraine, and other countries.
The bodies of 4800 people of all ages are buried here. For the Nazis the only reason to kill them was the fact that they were Jews. The fact that for many years after the World War 2, the killed were in effect forgotten by the society is the source of an additional pain as well. Only the relatives of the killed kept memories about them.  Nobody took care of simple monuments erected here in the middle of last century by few Jews who survived the Holocaust. The true account of what happened here during the war was kept “under wraps”, which threatened the chances for the new generations to learn the true facts of history. But we always believed that it would not stay like that forever.
Series of recent historical events and shocks which took place throughout the world and the Ukraine served as “catalysts” , which gave a “push” to creation of the initiative to raise a memorial in memory of those killed here during the war. Huge and invaluable role in that process undoubtedly belongs to Arkady Petrovich Vainer, who is the sole surviving witness of the killings who managed to save his life. After the war, his goal in life was to build the memorial and pay respect to those killed here, including members of his own family. He also believed that the society as the whole needs to be involved in uncovering and restoring the historical truth. It is obvious that he has achieved the goal of his life. Thanks to his persistence and unlimited energy the regional administration headed by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Kornejchuk managed to provide financing to build the road to these sacred for all of us graves. Thanks to that road, getting here has become much easier for all of us.
Upon learning about Arkady Vainer’s initiative, we – children and descendants of those who in silence asked us to become active, immediately got involved. Life has spread us throughout the world, but we found ways to find each other. This process was made possible thanks to resident of Krasilov Nikolaj Pekarsky. He is the founder and owner of the internet site Jewish Krasilov. His site and his sincere desire to help have made him close to all of us. He was the only person who agreed to supervise and manage the huge task of building the memorial. He shouldered extremely important tasks of selecting the contractors and financial and material management. This process was long and not easy, it included many predictable and predictable issues. Despite the problems, our main goal – erecting the memorial was achieved. We want to express our unmeasurable appreciation to Nikolaj Pekarsky for the work he has done, for his decency and honesty.
We also want to express our appreciation to the Head of the Khmelnitsky Jewish Community Aleksandr Ratushny, who made the achievement of our dreams closer by helping Nikolaj Pekarsky with many issues encountered during the building process. The erected Memorial is not only a realized promise we gave to our ancestors, but it also serves as living reminder about the cruel nature and bloodshed of war.
As we stand with you today in our hearts in front of the Memorial, we call to all present here to only sow kindness. Let us not repeat tragic cruelty of the past. Let us not see enemies in others based on their religion or nationality. Let this memorial be a reminder and a live witness for all future generations about the nature of wars. This land has seen too much blood, and God forbid to repeat it again!

With respect,
Gita Shkiler – USA
Aleksandr Shkiler – USA
Janna Fraiberg – Israel
Marina Raskin – USA
Isaak Tenser – Israel
Riva Zaltsman (Kogan) – Israel
Dorina Greenberg – USA
Feodor Shlyahovoj – Germany
Barry Chernik - USA

Nikolai Pekarsky, on his web site, posted some additional comments about the history of the mass grave sites that was not mentioned at the ceremony.
Here is a Google translation of the comments with some editing by B. E. Chernick

1. The letter states that after the Second World War, the mass graves in Manevtsy and Rosolovtsy were forgotten by everyone. This is an incorrect statement. On the grave sites, immediately after the war, the relatives of the deceased and fellow villagers erected monuments. Later, in the 1960s new monuments with fencing were installed. The Monuments are listed in the register of historical monuments of local importance.
Also, it is worth noting that the local school in Manevtsy every year, without any reminder, engaged in visiting the graves. This kind of good school tradition has been going on for many decades.

2. The letter indicates that a series of events and upheavals in the world, as well as in Ukraine, gave impetus to the reconstruction initiative. The push came because of the sad state of mass graves. After the 1960s, after more than 50 years, monuments and fencing came to an emergency condition. The events in Ukraine did not affect the decision on reconstruction.

3. The letter mentions the only survivor Arkady Petrovich Vainer and his enormous merits in the matter of reconstruction. This is not an exact statement. He is not the only one who survived. In addition to him today we know of several more people who managed to avoid death and their history is no less dramatic than the history of Arkady Vainer.  Arkady Petrovich helped as he could did what he could in the matter of reconstruction. He helped solve the problem of cutting trees on the first grave, and his efforts to convince regional authorities to give needed resources for improving the road leading to the first mass grave in the village of Manevtsy were successful. Also, he actively sought to allocate space for the road and for the space around the site for the construction work for the mass grave in the village of Rosolovtsy.

4. The letter states that Jewish sponsors who live abroad have joined the initiative of Arkady Weiner. It is not true. Arkady Vainer really sought for several years of repairing mass graves, but his efforts were unsuccessful. The reconstruction initiative, supported by the Jews, was initiated by *Nikolai Pekarsky. This initiative was independent of Weiner's efforts. Arkady Vainer connected to initiative a bit later, when he learned about it.

* Nikolai Pekarsky in 2013 after visiting the mass graves in Manevtsy and Rosolovtsy shared the idea of ​​the need to repair with Eugenia Sheinman (USA) and Gita Shkyler (USA). With the help of e-mail correspondence it was decided that you need to do repairs and collect money. Thanks to the personal efforts of Eugenia Sheinman and Gita Shkyler, many people living abroad expressed their desire to take part in the collection of money for the reconstruction of mass graves in the village of Manevtsy, and later for the reconstruction of the mass grave in the village of Rosolovtsy.

Map of Mass Grave Sites

Links to more information about subjects mentioned on this page
Nikolai Pekarsky web site article about the ceremony.
Saga of Krasilov Monuments Сага о красиловских памятниках (in Russian)
Manivtsy and Orlintsy Camps USHMM
Arkady Winer story
Arkady Winer letter to Soviet Authorities 1978
Basya Tenser story parts 1, 2
Pictures of Mass Grave site before - 2013 1, 2, 3
Pictures of Mass Grave sites after - 2017 1, 2, 3
Holocaust information about Manivtsy and Krasilov including eye witness statements
Yad Vashem "The Untold Stories" Murder sites: Manevtsy forest
Yad Vashem pictures and video related to Manevtsy murder sites link1, link2
Recent Satellite pictures of sites. Manevtsy, two sites with new monuments; third site (looks like monument not yet complete at time image was taken.)

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