‘The last Jew in Vinnitsa’

One of the iconic images of the 20th century let alone the war or the Holocaust. Found in a German's photograph album with the words
'The last jew in Vinnitsa' written on the back.

There were two mass shootings in Vinnitsa, on the 16th September, and the other on 22nd September. A subsequent massacre of Jews appears to have been of Jews brought in from outside the district. This is the evidence for the date of this photograph. There was one eye witness to the procedure involved.

Wehrmacht officer Lieutenant Erwin Bingel had been ordered to assist the Commandant of Uman district with men to guard the railway lines and around the airport. He was aware that ditches had been dug on the perimeter of the airfield and a number of specialist SS men had arrived by transport plane.

The Jews of the area had been ordered to gather for a ‘census’.

The result of this proclamation was, of course, that all persons concerned appeared as ordered. This relatively harmless summons, it was thought, could be connected in some way or other with the preparations we were observing. It was because we took the matter so lightly that we were all the more horrified at what we witnessed during the next few hours.

One row of Jews was ordered to move forward and was then allocated to the different tables where they had to undress completely and hand over everything they wore and carried.

Some still carried jewellery which they had to put on the table. Then having taken off all their clothes, they were made to stand in line in front of the ditches, irrespective of their sex.

The commandos then marched in behind the line and began to perform the inhuman acts, the horror of which is now known to the whole world. With automatic pistols and 0.8 pistols these men mowed down the line with such zealous intent that one could have supposed this activity to have been their life work.

The people in the first row thus having been killed in the most inhuman manner, those of the second row were now ordered to step forward. The men in this row were ordered to step out and were handed shovels with which to heap chloride of lime upon the still partly moving bodies in the ditch. Thereafter they returned to the tables and undressed.

After that they had to set out on the same last walk as their murdered brethren …

A more complete account can be found at the Holocaust Research Project.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Itzel September 22, 2014 at 11:52 pm

It is quite unfortunate that some have not learned from the past, because there is still hate and there is still discrimination. I hope that I live to see the day in which these things seize to exist and that all humanity gets all along with one another. I wish more people would open their eyes to the world around them, to the pain we cause this world, all the injustices, all the hate, all the blood we have spilled through the ages and truly reflect upon it because in the end we’ll be our own destruction..

Alla April 20, 2014 at 6:40 pm

I. was born in this city , so did my parents and grandparents. I accidentally. Run into this article yesterday and can’t get over it. We lost quite a few family members on this grave. Unfortunately my parents are not alive anymore. My mother might have known who this man was.

MORRY BLUMENTHAL March 2, 2014 at 10:35 am

PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT THEY EACH MIGHT HAVE MATTERED. – AN EGO DELUSION.
WHATEVER THE RUSSIANS MIGHT DO TODAY OR TOMORROW IN THE UKRAINE MAY WELL BE THE TURNING OF THE MORAL EQUATION OF HISTORY. i HAVE NO PITY.
IT IS NOW 72 YEARS SINCE THIS PHOTO SOUVENIR WAS SNAPPED – LITTLE HAS IMPROVED ON THIS PLANET. OUR POPULATION HAS GROWN TO 7 AND ONE SEVENTH BILLION – MORE ROOM FOR ABOMINATION AND ATROCITIES. THE UKRANIAN COMPLICITY WAS ENORMOUS.

Toni Pastizzi February 23, 2014 at 10:02 pm

I will die now. You too will one day die. And when you do you will wake up in another world, and I will be there, waiting for you.

Kees October 14, 2013 at 11:28 am

On the picture they seem to be wearing clothes.

Christopher Wingate March 11, 2013 at 7:22 am

Can anyone tell me who this man was? I am keen to write a book about this event.

David Vernon September 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

The eyes of this man haunt me. He looks at his accusers and defies them. The feelings of this man are impossible to comprehend. Thank you for choosing this image for today’s story. This brutality must never be forgotten.

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