Uman was occupied by the Germans on August 1, 1941. After mobilization and evacuation, there were more than 15,000 Jews still remaining in the town.
On the morning of September 21, 1941, all the Jews were collected and sent out to work. During the course of the day, they discovered that some of them had been sent to dig a pit. More than a thousand of people were buried alive. They all suffocated by morning. Other Jews who were taken to prison stayed there until the evening. That evening, spectators came to watch these pitiful Jews as they were forced to sing and dance. The Jews certainly weren’t dancing because they wanted to. They were forced to dance. And while they danced, they were beaten. Beaten to death. When the Jews begged to be shot, they were not granted any such favor. The best entertainment was to beat them to death with a rifle butt. In the morning, there was an order to release the women and children and execute the men. The pogrom continued for several days, and most of the victims were men.
All Jews had until October 1 to move to the town’s old market. It would be easier to find and eliminate them once they lived together on one street. Ukrainian police paid no attention to the official moving date. They attacked Jews and refused to let them move their property, claiming they had to leave their homes immediately. Over half of the Ukrainians living in Uman participated in pogrom, the goal of which was plunder what was left behind. I met a woman who took the clothes off the Jews, bagged it and said: “Here is another Jew, take her away. It’s impossible to live because of them.”
When I was hiding in a Ukrainian family’s house, a neighbor boy who was the son of a policeman came in and told them about the success his mother had looting and how much she had gotten. When he was about to leave, he said, “Mother only got a winter coat, but she is sure she’ll get a summer jacket at the next pogrom.”
Jews had no place to escape, and we couldn’t run. We were surrounded by fascists and the Ukrainian police. Many Uman residents helped the fascists find and execute Jews. Those Ukrainians who sheltered Jews were executed…