Translated from the Russian by Garri Shneyder
Kilia, an ancient small town, was founded 2700 years ago at the Danube River delta in close proximity to the Black Sea. This large river flows through eight European countries, making here deep and wide, providing the development of ports for the ocean ships.
Since the beginning, Kilia had a diversified population of Russians, Ukrainians, Lipovans, Moldavians, and Jews.
From 1920 through 1940, there were between 2400-2500 Jews in Kilia: merchants and tradesmen, rich and poor, middlemen and longshoremen, who worked shoulder to shoulder with the Russian longshoremen, carrying bags with grain up to 50-60 pounds.
Romanians occupied Kilia in 1918; however, they did not start the development of our city. There were no highways and railroads. There were only 4 classes of gymnasiums for a general town population of 20,000 and another 50,000 of the rural area. The Danube would freeze almost every winter and the town would become isolated for the several months.
The Jewish Community was better organized: 4 nice synagogues (the 'main' synagogue on Big Danube Street was considered as one of the luxury buildings of the town), school and day care Tarbut, youth organizations of different movements, library, drama class, sport groups, Maccabi brass orchestra, loan and savings bank, 2 houses for elderly and all of that the social activity of the Jewish community.
Also, the Zionist activity started, fundraising for KEREN KALEMETA and KEREN GAYESRDA. Until 1940, about 50 families and chaluzim were able to leave for Palestine.
In 1940 the Jewish population warmly greeted the Soviet Army; however, Stalin's Soviet regime stopped all organized life of the Jewish population. Using the unlawful measures (Para 38 & 39), several hundred Jews were expelled as untrustful. Some of them never returned. All 4 synagogues, school, library and Jewish community building were confiscated by the order. This was obvious discrimination, since from all 6 churches in Kilia, four were left intact and they are still active today.
The days of horror were coming. On June 22, 1941, the German-Romanian fascist troops invaded Bessarabia. On July 18, 1941, the Soviet Army moved out from Kilia. During these 26 days, there was no organized evacuation of Jewish population. WE KNOW WHO SPILLED THE BLOOD OF 1800 JEWS OF KILIA, ELDERLY, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN. During first 2 weeks, the Romanian gendarmes shot to death more than 100 Jews on streets of the town. At night, the Russian neighbors were bringing the bodies of killed Jews to the cemetery, where they were buried in the common grave until today.
On September 25 and 30, 1941 all Jews were expelled by the order (most walked out by foot). In TATARBUNARAH another 118 were shot to death (see the document report by gendarme Colonel Mikulesku). In Odessa another 80 were killed (either shot to death or hanged). On the way to the BOGDANOVKE, in most cases elderly, sick, and children were shot to death, about 300 people.
On December 25, 26, and 27, 1941 horrible organized shootings took place of 54,000 Bessarabian and Odessa Jews, including more than 1100 Kilians. Only 180 people survived, including 8 people of Kilia.
TEHEI NISHMATAM TSRURA BETSROR GALAHIM
LET THEIR SOULS BE CONSECRATED IN LIVE ONES.
With the big delay 50 years after tragic liquidation of Jewish population of Kilia the remnants of Kilia currently living in Israel had organized to consecrate the lost relatives for the future generations.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET AND FORGIVE BASTARDS-KILLERS!
A small group of these executioners were sentenced to various prison terms in Romania. In the USSR, there were 2 judicial trials of the killers and 22 were executed. We believe that many of these killers are still hiding these days and the arms of justice must reach them. THERE IS NO MEMORIAL IN BOGDANVKA TO GIVE TRIBUTE TO 54,000 JEWISH VICTIMS OF FASCISTS.
We are glad that in the last year, Jews of the Soviet Union are allowed to repatriate to Israel. We would like to believe that the local Soviet government would be able to erect the memorial to honor 1800 Kilian Jews as victims of fascists and also would improve the situation at the Jewish cemetery.
|Kilia - a general view (the 16th century)|
Translated from the Russian by Garri Shneyder
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