April 21 is the traditional commemoration of the Holocaust, which destroyed 90% of European Jews and 30% of world Jewry. Demography suggests that due to the number of children who were killed, over a million, there are over 20 million Jews missing now, and the population has never recovered.
Just a few of the six million murdered in the Holocaust were my kinsmen and cousins. Gopins came a hundred years ago from a small village called Troyanivka, now located in Western Ukraine. I dream of them all the time.
In August 1941 the Jewish residents were all rounded up and murdered at an oil dump that became their final resting place. There were approximately 200-300 men, women and children.
Here is an account of what happened:
In August 1941 the Nazis executed 375 Jewish men in Manevychi; in September 1942 the remaining Manevychi Jews, ca. 2,000 people, were killed by the Nazis and their local helpers. Jews of the surrounding towns perished in a similar way. Those few who survived did so by joining Soviet partisans, mainly the brigade led by Nikolai Konishchuk (Kruk). Contains memoirs, survivors’ accounts, photographs, and other materials, describing prewar life in Manevychi and its vicinity,the flight of Jews to inner USSR in summer 1941, the fate of Jews under Nazi rule, fighting with the partisans, and survival.
Here is an account of what is left there:
© Marc Gopin
TROYANOVKA I: US Commission No. UA02220101
Alternate names: Troyanovka (Yiddish), Trojanovka (Polish), Trojanowka (Russian) and Troyanivka (Ukraine.) Troyanovka is located in Volynskaya at 49º50 26º30, 100 km from Lutsk and 88 km from Rovno. The cemetery is located at NW, 500m from road to Gradisk. Present town population is under 1,000 with no Jews.
* Town officials: Village Executive Council – Bolkanyuk Leonid Mikhaylovich and Hilyuk Olga Fedorovna.
* Regional: Oblast Cultural Department. Dept. for the Protection of Monuments, 263005, Lutsk, Galana St. 2, Chemeris E.V. State Archive of Volynskaya Oblast of 263024, Lutsk, Veteranov 21.
* Volyn Jewish community, Lutsk, Vinnichenka St. 49, apt.6 [Phone: (03322) 24713]. Israel, Yad Vashem, The Federation of Volhynian Jews of Jerusalem.
The earliest known Jewish community was 19th century. 1939 Jewish population (census) was 212. Effecting the Jewish community were 1st World War and Civil war. The Jewish cemetery was established in the 18th century with last known Hasidic burial 1941.
Kirzhner Moisey of 263005, Lutsk, Grushevskogo St. 18, apt.38 [Phone: (03322) 34775] visited site on 18/04/1995. Interviewed were Nakonechniy V.A. on 17/04/1995. Kirzhner completed survey on 18/04/1995. Documentation: Shmuel Spector. The Holocaust of Volhynian Jews. 1941-1945; Yad-Vashem. The Federation of Volhynian Jews. State Archive of Volynskaya Oblast Fond 96, op.1, d. 211; Metrical book of death record. 1856.
TROYANOVKA II: US Commission No. UA02220501
The mass grave is located village N, near new woods. The Jewish mass grave was dug in 1941. No Jews from other towns or villages were murdered at this unlandmarked mass grave. The isolated wooded flat land has no sign or marker. Reached by road to Gradisk, access is open to all. A continuous fence with no gate surrounds the mass grave. The approximate size of mass grave is now 0.01 hectares. No stones were removed. The common tombstones date from 1993. The site contains marked mass graves. This mass grave has not been vandalized. Now, authorities clear or clean occasionally. Within the limits of the mass grave are no structures. Moderate threat: vegetation. Slight threat: uncontrolled access and vandalism.
Kirzhner Moisey of 263005, Lutsk, Grushevskogo St. 18, apt.38 [Phone: (03322) 34775] visited site on 18/04/1995. Interviewed were Chemeris E.V. on 17/04/1995. Kirzhner completed survey on 18/04/1995. Documentation: Smuel Spector. The Holocaust of Volhynian Jews. Jerusalem: Yad-Vashem. The Federation of Volhynian. 1990, p. 71, 151, 171, 199, 328, 358.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אֵל אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחוֹת לְכָל-בָּשָׂר. תֵּן מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה עַל-כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים אֶת-נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁל שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת רִבְבוֹת אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנָשִׁים וְנָשִׁים יְלָדִים וִילָדוֹת שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ וְשֶׁנִּטְבְּחוּ וְשֶׁנֶּחְנְקוּ וְשֶׁנִּקְבְּרוּ חַיִּים בִּידֵי מִפְלְצוֹת הַצּוֹרְרִים בְּגָלוּת אֵירוֹפָּה.
Our Father, our king, Master of the spirits of all living things, give a proper rest on the wings of the Divine Presence in the highest realms of the holy and pure ones, who shine like the highest heavens, to the six million of Israel, men and women, boys and girls, who were murdered and slaughtered and asphyxiated and buried alive at the hands of the oppressors in the European Exile.