“We promise to honor this place and accept responsibility for its preservation,” says Oleh Parhomei, the mayor of Ostrozhets, to Deidre Berger, director of the AJC office in Berlin, during the inauguration of the memorial in that village.
In accordance with the plans of contractor Volodymyr Motyka, workers measure the former Jewish cemetery. Mass graves in Ostrozhets are located inside and outside the cemetery. A road now runs through the area and may have damaged one or more of the graves. During construction, workers treated the site with great care and respect.
In December 2013, the mass graves and former cemetery were covered with a protective layer of crushed granite. The concept for this site, which covers 3,800 square meters, was developed by Volodymyr Motyka. Precise identification of the contours of the mass graves was no longer possible due to erosion and plundering.
Once fencing of the mass graves and former cemetery began in September 2013, it became possible to stop the continued slide of the topsoil downhill. The extensive damage already caused made it difficult to identify the exact contours of the mass graves at this location.
Maurice Herszaft of the Committee for the Protection of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe inspected the site of the mass shooting at the former Jewish cemetery in Ostrozhets. Herszaft supervised construction to ensure compliance with Halachic regulations.
A witness tells what she saw as a child in Ostrozhets in October 1942, when approximately 800 Jews from Ostrozhets and Torhovytsia were shot. Within the framework of Protecting Memory, historian Mikhail Tyaglyy of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies conducted numerous interviews with locals. In many cases, this was the first testimony given by these witnesses – after more than 70 years.