Odessa Now Has Only 1,500 Jews; About 100,000 Killed by the Germans
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Odessa Now Has Only 1,500 Jews; About 100,000 Killed by the Germans

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In the city of Odessa, where more than 150,000 Jews resided before the outbreak of the war, only 1,500 Jews remain, Soviet municipal authorities reported today. They established that of the approximately 100,000 Jews who were unable to evacuate the city prior to its occupation by the Germans and Rumanians, about ninety-nine thousand were massacred by the occupation troops.

The extermination of the Odessa Jews began as soon as the Nazis entered the city, the report says, quoting accounts of the few survivors. A special detachment of Jews was set to work defining areas which the Germans suspected had been mined by the Russian troops before they evacuated the city. Before their task was finished every member of the detachment was dead. Thousands of Jews were thrown into prison and many were shot.

Some weeks after the German occupation many Jews were ordered to proceed to the village of Dalnik, on the outskirts of Odessa. En route hundreds were killed. A ghetto was also established in the Slobedka district of Odessa. After the Rumanians began deporting Jews to Transnistria – the name they gave to the section of the Ukraine between Odessa and the Rumanian border – the Odessa Jews were ordered to appear at the freight yards, from where they were shipped to villages in Transnistria. Many died from exposure before boarding the cars and during the trip, since the temperature hovered around 25 degrees below zero. Hundreds of frozen corpses were strewn along the tracks by the German guards.

Of the Jews who were not deported, about 16,000 were burned to death in a building which had been used to store dynamite; 1,000 were taken out to sea in barges and drowned; and many were machine-gunned in anti-tank ditches near the village of Domavenka. Still others were driven to suicide. In the ghettoes and camps many persons became insane from torture and mistreatment. This was especially true of thousands of women and girls violated by the German guards. Many thousands died from hunger, cold and disease. Typhoid fever, particularly, killed thousands.

The report describes how the few, pitiful survivors in the camps and ghettos were fed by the Red Armymen, nursed and clothed; and then moved back to Odessa, which most of them had not seen for more than two years.

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