Chernivtsi: Memorial monument placed on mass grave of pogrom victims

The Jews living in Sadhora [Sadigura], a small shtetl in Ukraine knew no reprieve when the Russians were victorious over the German army. The Red Army, who had just returned home after their victory over the Wehrmacht in 1941, still had the fire of war and destruction burning in their hearts. Government officials, who understood that they needed an outlet for their blood lust, allowed them a 24 hour window to do whatever they wanted to the Jews living in the shtetl. 

Those 24 hours were filled with unimaginable terror as 1200 Jews were murdered in the most brutal ways imaginable. The Jews were thrown into a mass unmarked grave. Some of them were buried alive. 

This past weekend the Rabbinical College of Europe unveiled a memorial monument and tombstone at the site of the mass grave. 

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Glisnshtain, Rabbi of the nearby city of Chernivtsi, was responsible in part for uncovering the information about the mass grave based on the testimony of several individuals that witnessed the pogrom. 

“We played together… when suddenly our Jewish friends began to disappear…” a women, who witnessed this tragedy as a child, shared at the unveiling ceremony. Others expressed the fear they felt at the time, “for days after the pogrom we felt as if the earth was burning beneath our feet “

Sadigura was home to the Chassidic dynasty under Rabbi Yisrael Friedman, also known as the Ruzhiner Rebbe. The dynasty moved to Bnei Brak in Israel in 1938, those who remained were murdered along with their brethren. 

This monument is part of a greater program being run by the RCE to uncover mass Jewish graves throughout Europe and memorialize them. 

The ceremony was attended by the local governor, Eiom Vasilovitz, Israel’s ambassador to Ukraine, Joel Leon, RCE general director, Rabbi Arye Goldberg, Chief Rabbi of Western Ukraine, Rabbi Shlomo Wilhelm and surviving members of the Sadhora Jewish community.

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