Jakow Omeljaniuk statement
Krasyliv, December 21, 1972
Jakov Omeljaniuk, son of Mikhail, born 1913 in Krasilov, Khmelnytskyy district. He is Ukrainian, a citizen of the USSR and not a party member. He has higher education, is an employee and lives in Krasilov, Ostrovski Street No. 25.
The deposition began at 1:20 PM and ended at 2:50 PM.
Before the deposition the witness stated that he wished to make his statement in the Russian language because he spoke Russian fluently
In response to the questions asked of him, J. M. Omeljaniuk made the following statement:
During the time of the German occupation I lived in Krasilov and worked as director of the Children’s Home from 1942 until the Soviet Army arrived. As a resident of Krasilov I had the opportunity to observe some instances of criminal behavior by the occupiers, directed toward the Soviet citizens. A great part of the malevolent actions affected the Jewish population of our city.
Immediately after the arrival of Hitler’s soldiers a strict order was issued to all Jews, to wear a sign of identification, a yellow piece of cloth. The sign was sewn on the chest and on the back. Who gave this order, I do not know. After the formation of the regional commissariat centered in Antoniny, an order came from there, to construct a ghetto for the Jewish population. Who gave [the order], I do not know. I cannot remember when the ghetto was created. I learned of its existence by coincidence, as I walked by it. From conversations with the residents of the city I knew that they had gathered the entire Jewish population of Krasilov into the ghetto. The ghetto was situated where the market is today and was an area surrounded by barbed wire. Behind this fence there were 25 houses. Outside the fence there was a guard made up of members of the police force. It must be noted that next to the ghetto there were three long one-story Jewish houses of a particular architecture, in which Jews lived too. These houses were not fenced in and are no longer standing. All other houses of the Jewish population had been torn down at that time already.
I can say nothing about the living conditions in the ghetto, because I never had the opportunity to enter the area. From conversations with the townspeople one learned that the Jews in the ghetto often died of hunger or disease.
In the summer of 1942 (I cannot give a more accurate date) the ghetto inhabitants were moved someplace. Already after the liberation of the territory from the occupiers I learned that all the Jews, women, the aged and children included, had been shot to death in the vicinity of Manivtsy. I am not aware of any particulars of this crime.
I personally had the opportunity to be a witness to a malevolent action by the former chief of the gendarmerie of Krasilov, who did this to three Jews. This happened in the summer of 1942, a short time before the annihilation of the residents of the ghetto. During the first half of the day I found myself on the grounds of the city hospital. Suddenly, about 100 meters from me, an old carriage appeared, drawn by old Jews instead of horses. The chief of the gendarmerie had seated himself on the front seat of the carriage. He steered the Jews and whipped them. The old men were pulling the carriage away from the center of town in the direction of the railway station. I knew one of them. That was a teacher named Mur. At that time he was 70 to 75 years old. I cannot remember Mur’s given name or patronymic. The other two old men were about the same age as Mur. When they had pulled the carriage as far as the hospital, Mur fell to the ground. The German began to scream. In response to his cries some members of the police force appeared, who had been recruited from among the Soviet citizenry. They picked Mur up and carried him into the city. They chased the remaining old men there too. Later I heard that Mur had died at the moment I described. Whence the old men had pulled the chief of gendarmerie, and who owned the coach, I do not know.
After the old men had been sent toward the city, the German got out of the carriage and walked back on foot. About the chief of the gendarmerie I can say this: his surname, given name and other important facts were not known to me. Likewise, I cannot tell you his rank. He wore a grey uniform. On his sleeve he had a red armband with a swastika. The chief of the gendarmerie was tall and stocky. I cannot remember further particulars of his appearance. From his looks he would have been about 40 years old in 1942. He came to Krasilov at the same time as other officials. He likewise fled from here together with all the rest.
Question: Could you recognize the former division chief of the gendarmerie?
Answer: I cannot answer that question categorically. It is possible that I would recognize him.
I have read the record. It is written down correctly according to my words, [Omeljaniuk].
Note: Translation from German by Roger Lustig, with some editorial changes by Barry Chernick