On August 25, 1941, Dnipropetrovs`k was occupied by German troops. The Nazi occupation administration of the same district of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine as well as the Dnipropetrovs`k (Kreisgebiet Dnjepropetrowsk-Stadt) and the Land (Kreisgebiet Dnjepropetrowsk-Land) district are located here .
One of the places of systematic mass killings of the civilian population during the whole period of the temporary occupation of Dnipropetrovs`k is an antitank ditch, which is located on the crossroads of the modern Academika Yanhelya and Enerhetychna Streets.
According to the witnesses of these killings (Soroka A., Bugayov A.), German occupiers during the period of October 1941 to the last days of them staying in the city, almost every day brought citizens to the antitank ditch and shot them there. The shootings took place in the following way: a group of undressed people would be taken down from the truck, shot down and then the next group of people would be brought out and forced to sprinkle with soil the bodies of the first group. After that the second group of people would be undressed and shot in the same manner. The bodies from the last group often were not covered with soil and left until the next group of the people were brought. There were cases when dogs would rip the bodies apart. The plan of the place of execution is preserved in State Archive of Dnipropetrovsk Region .
In addition, in the early July 1942 the Nazis arrested 150 workers in locomotive workshops for refusing to go to work in Germany. After a week of starvation, they were shot at the antitank ditch. At nightlight on 24 February 1943 members of the underground Komsomol-youth organization of Amur-Nyzhn`odniprovs`kyi district were shot dead in the antitank ditch. Among them: the leader of the organization I. P. Ivanov, a komsomol G. Andrusenko (total 21 people) .
By simple arithmetic calculations (the volume of ditch plots multiplied by the average number of humans remains per unit volume), the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Commission for Accounting for Damages Caused by the German Fascist Invaders and Their Associates concluded that approximately 18-20 thousand people were exterminated at this place .
In September 2011, during the reconstruction of the stadium “Inter” bought by football club “Dnipro”, human remains were found on the territory of the football pitch. The organization “Gvardia-Dnepr” conducted excavations (unfortunately, not professionally enough) (the photos of the excavation can be viewed at http://www.djc.com.ua/news/view/new/?id=5263).
“Gvardia-Dnepr” is a public organization that also engages in search work. The head of the organization is Pavel Kovalyev.
The excavations were accelerated (one and a half months), due to approaching of the rainy season and the need to continue the reconstruction of the stadium. The excavation was financed by the football club “Dnipro”, and the reburial by the local administration of the Monument Protection Department.
Based upon the fact that the executions in this place took place during the whole occupation, it can be argued that the executors were field police officers, field gendarmerie, Gestapo, police SD and local policemen.
In 1968, at the intersection of Academika Yanhelya Street and Enerhetychna Street, the monument for 20 thousand shot dead civilians was erected . In 1970, by the decision of the executive committee of the Dnepropetrovsk Regional Council of Workers, the memorial place for the execution of civilians in Dnepropetrovsk was taken to the state register as the monument to the history of the local importance.
In 1975 the monument included an obelisk and a stele. On the black labradorite obelisk the text is carved out: “Here in 1941 - 1943 the Nazi occupants shot down 20 thousand Soviet citizens. People! Be alert!”. The brick stele is located at a distance of 3.48 m from the obelisk. The following message is carved: “Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.” Dimensions: the obelisk – 3.3 x 0.85 x 0.85 m; the stele – 2.1 x 5.74 x 0.2 m.
In 1983, the monument was replaced. The authors of the new monument: sculptor V. Chernenko, architect U. Tkachenko. The new monument is made of gray bronze. It represents a naked and thin youth who symbolizes the dead people who were supposed to live. On his raised right hand, the young man holds a pigeon – a symbol of life. This sculpture stands in the center of 6 reinforced concrete pyramids, supposedly gravestones . The territory around the monument is lined with pink granite slabs. Nowadays, the unknowns have broken the palm of his left hand. The inscription on one of the pyramids says: “Here in 1941–1943, the fascists shot down over 20 thousand Soviet citizens”. Dimensions: sculpture – 2.7 x 0.4 x 1.0 m; pyramids in height from 2.5 m to 0.9 m.
Nowadays, near the memorial place there is a parking lot, beyond which the ditch is still going on. At the end of the ditch there is a wall on which it was previously written: “Nobody is forgotten, nothing is forgotten.” However, now it is filled with concrete and the form is changed. In front of the wall, on the ground, there is a plaque with the text: “At this place the ditch ended, in which in 1941–1943 the German fascist occupiers buried 20 thousand Soviet prisoners of war and civilians alive”. On the other side from the monument there are garages. Behind the monument there are houses and ahead there is the former trust "Yuzhavtostroy". On June 22, 2012, the remains found in 2011 (441 people) were buried with honors. A mass grave is situated behind the sculpture, 14 m to the north-west. The grave is decorated with an earthen hill. It has a plaque with the inscription: “The remains of 441 people are buried in this grave: civilians and Soviet prisoners of war shot during the occupation of Dnipropetrovsk, 1941–43. Accidentally discovered in September 2011, buried on June 22, 2012”. Dimensions: 19.50 x 4.20 m .
It’s difficult to find the reburial nowadays because there are no clear boundaries between the graves.
The monument is located at the crossroads of Akademik Yanhel and Enerhetychna streets. Coordinates: 48°25'17"N, 35°0'7"E. People can at any time honor the memory of the dead and put flowers on the place of the mass shooting of civilians in the occupation period.
The monument is registered in the Dnipropetrovsk regional “Organization of the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Monuments of History and Culture” (in Ukrainian: “Організація українського товариства охорони пам’яток історії і культури”). The organization has funded its creation and cared for it so far.
Reference list (only in Ukrainian or Russian):
1. Державний архів Дніпропетровської області. – Ф. 2427: Дніпропетровська обласна комісія обліку збитків, заподіяних німецько-фашистськими загарбниками та їх співучасниками, м. Дніпропетровськ, оп. 1, спр. 237, арк. 10.
2. Державний архів Дніпропетровської області. – Ф. 2427: Рада Дніпропетровської організації Українського товариства охорони пам’яток історії і культури, м. Дніпропетровськ, оп. 1, спр. 84, арк. 6
3. Державний архів Дніпропетровської області. – Ф. 2427: Рада Дніпропетровської організації Українського товариства охорони пам’яток історії і культури, м. Дніпропетровськ, оп. 1, спр. 278, арк. 10-11.
5. Дніпропетровський обласний центр з охорони історико-культурних цінностей. Паспорт пам’ятника місце розстрілу радянських громадян, індекс: 2.4.1488-2.4.21, с. 2.
6. Тесленко Т. А. Місце злочину: до історії нацистського терору в Дніпропетровську // Придніпров’я: історико-краєзнавчі дослідження. – 2013. - № 11. – С. 198–206.
Sources, relevant literature, websites:
1. Акт городской комиссии по расследованию злодеяний немецко-фашистских захватчиков в гор. Днепропетровске, 24 ноября 1943 г. // Днепропетровская область в годы Великой Отечественной войны Советского Союза 1941–1945 гг. – Д., 1962.
2. Ватченко А. Ф., Шевченко Г. И. Днепропетровск. – Днепропетровск: Промінь, 1974. – С. 111–112.
3. Днепропетровская область в годы Великой Отечественной войны Советского Союза 1941–1943 гг. Сборник документов. – Днепропетровск, 1962. – С. 146, 183–187.
4. Історія міст і сіл Української РСР. Дніпропетровська область. – К., УРБ., 1969. – С. 96 – 97.
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