Ten old men in a Ukrainian town – five of them Jews and the other five Ukrainians – were all buried alive by the Nazis when each group refused to inter the other, it was reported by a Red Army sergeant today, who was told of the mass burial by Zuni Greilich, the grandson of one of the Jewish victims.
When the Germans invaded the village of Skarlivka, in the Kiev province, the greater part of the population fled and those who remained hid in the gardens and the fields. Young Greilich, who had taken refuge in the attic of his house, could see everything that was happening in the street below. A German officer, with whip in hand, selected ten bearded, elderly men – five Ukrainians and five Jews. They were each given a spade and ordered to dig a pit. When the pit had been half dug the Nazi ordered the Ukrainians to get out and instructed the Jews to continue digging. After a while he told the Ukrainians to take up their spades and to cover the Jews, who were still digging the pit, with the earth that had been dug up.
The Ukrainians, however, just looked horrified when they heard the German officer’s command and did not pick up their spades. When the Nazi saw that they would not obey his orders, he forced the Ukrainians to get into the pit and told the Jews to climb out and bury their neighbors. The Jews, among whom was Rachmiel Greilich, Zuni’s grandfather, likewise refused to move. Using his foot, so that the old Ukrainians in the pit should not see him, the Nazi shoved some earth on top of them and called; “Look, the Jews are willing to hury you. You’d better get out and bury them.” But the old men did not budge.
Thoroughly infuriated by this time, the Nazi shoved the old Jews into the pit, on top of the Ukrainians, and, together with his men, buried them all alive. Young Zuni succeeded in escaping from Skarlivka that night and after several days he encountered a Red Army detachment, including Sergeant Leizer Lieberman, to whom he told the story.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.