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Medvin

Medvin

Medvin is a town in Boguslav district of Kiev region. The town’s estimated population is 3,450 (as of 2007).

It was founded in 1362. In 1569 it was incoporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and in 1620-1648, Medvin recieved Magdeburg Rights. In 1793 Medvin was incorporated into the Russian Empire.
In XIX – early XX centuries it was a shtetl of Kaniv district, Kiev gubernia.

Beginning

Jews have been living in Medvin since the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In XIX – early XX centuries the main occupations of the Jewish population were crafts, petty trade, and rent.

In the early XIX century Jews owned five stalls and three mills. In 1896 – 1901, Shimshon-Aron Polonskiy (1876-1948) was a rabbi in Medvin. In 1910, there were two synagogues and a Jewish cemetery in Medvin.

Medvin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

Medvin entrepreneurs list from Russian Empire Business Directories by 1913

In 1914, Jews owned a drugstore, three wood warehouses, and 26 stalls, including 15 groceries and eight manufactures.
There were two synagogues in Medvin; they were situated one opposite to the other.

On the 24th of March 1918, a pogrom took place in Medvin. It was organized by the local peasants.
Jewish stalls and goods were burnt.

Former center of the shtetl

Former center of the shtetl

During the famine 1933 (The Holodomor), one local Jewish woman was killed and eaten by the neighbors when she came to visit them. In 1939, 125 Jews (1.76% of the total population) lived in Medvin.

Holocaust

Medvin was fell under Nazi control at end of June 1941. It was not liberated until early 1944.

During the occupation the Germans organized a ghetto in the center of the village. All the Jews from Medvin and nearby villages were gathered there.

Site of the Medvin synagogue and ghetto during the WWII

Site of the Medvin synagogue and ghetto during the WWII

The police abused their victims savagely. They cut the beards off eldery Jewish men together with the skin using stones. They beat them until they were unconscious. Jews’ feet were tied and they were dipped into the pond. After they had been brought to life again, the beating continued. The Jews were robbed and made to work hard. Many Jews tried to escape but they were found and arrested by the local police.

There were approximately 700 people. A camp in the open air surrounded by barbed wire was organized near the synagogue. In the afternoon all captives were driven to work. Men were beating stone with hammers, women and children were carrying it to the road where they were paving the cube. During the lunch hour they all were led to the pond to drink and graze in the field.

The head of the local police Ivan Sarapuka had been hiding a Jew in his home for some time and tried to do his best not to let the violence spread among the locals. Later he had to flee, organized partisan detachment. He later died in battle.

In the autumn 1941, the Jews of Medvin were shot in two seperate “actions” (german killing operation). In the first “action 49 people were shot and in the second 100 people. They were shot by local Ukrainian Auxillary Police men on the order of the German authorities. When the column of the Jews was driven to the shooting one young Jewish woman made an attempt to save her child and threw him over the fence.The police saw it and ordered to take him back.

Children were thrown there first, and then they threw the shells in there. Stunned and oppressed parents were shot and also thrown into the pitch. In such a way two pits were filled with the bodies. Next columns were taken to the beam that stretched to Shcherbashyntsi village in the suburbs of Medvin. One more pit was prepared there.

Jewish population of Medvin:
1852 ~ 500
1897 – 1082 (11%)
1910 – 1500 (10%)
1939 – 125 Jews.
2016 – 0

Last captives, Jewish men and Soviet war prisoners, were closed in the basement of the synagogue and blown up. It was in November 1941. The synagogue was burnt and became a mass grave for them.

In the 1970’s, there was a market on its place. Excavator which was aligning the ground dug out the skulls and human bones.

 

Jeremy Borowits and local historian near unmarked Holocaust mass grave in Medvin

Jeremy Borowits and local historian near unmarked Holocaust mass grave in Medvin

Komsomol girl and activist Roza Pudving lived in Medvin before the war. She was incredibly beautiful and also got into Medvin ghetto. A policeman called Beyla decided to destroy her personally. Holding a gun to her head he brought the girl to the pit on Saint Mountain. There he raped and killed Roza. She was buried by the locals on that place. After the war relatives established a grave stone. In the 1970’s, the grave was destroyed by agricultural technics. Policeman Beyla was judged in 1945. He was sentenced to ten years of concentration camps. Then he came back to Medvin village and worked in a collective farm.

One Jewish man was captured in May 1942 in the house of the resident of Dolgaya Greblia village. He was killed in Medvin. Salata Palazhka and her daughter were hiding Musiy Hranovskyy.

Medvin was freed in the beginning of 1944.

List of Medvin Holocaist victims:

Yekaterina and Priska Tishkov saved Mania Bezin with two children Erik and Garik.
After the war the director of the brick factory initiated to set up a fence around the first grave of shot people. The second grave was situated much lower and the rain often revealed the bones of those who had been killed. Thus local authorities surrounded the place by the revetment.

Post War period

After the war several Jewish families came back from the evacuation. Among them there was a school teacher Ida Yosifovna Zilberberg. In the 1950s, teacher Raisa Skvirskaya was sent to the village to work. The total Jewish population constiuted only several dozen people.. The locals remember Musiy, he did sweet sparkling water.

In 1989, the local historians made an attempt to collect the names of the victims of Holocaust. They managed to gather the names of 100 Jews of Medvin. The most of the names (about 60) were given by Sidor Andreyevich Podolinskiy. He used to work as a teacher before the war and remembered his perished pupils and their families.

Original Holocaust victims lists:

In the late 1980’s, doctor Berman from Belaya Tserkov wanted to establish a monument on the grave of the shot people but for some unknown reasons he couldn’t do it.

During my visit in 2016 there were no Jews living in the village.

Medvin Jewish cemetery

Cemetery locates in the eatern outskirst of the village (see map above). There are 20-30 old gravestons from the beginning of XX centurie. Obviously, most of the gravestones were stolen by local Ukrainians.

 

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