On the 15 September 1941 Lieutenant Erwin Bingel, a Wehrmacht officer was ordered to report to the Town Commandant of Uman, in the Ukraine, and instructed to set up guards on all railways in the area, and around the airport.
He accomplished this, and discovered whilst putting his men in place, that ditches had been dug in the square in front of the airport.
At dawn on the 16 September 1941, Lieutenant Bingel’s men were in place, then they saw a crowd of people brought to the ditches in front of the airfield, consisting of men, women and children.
Lieutenant Bingel’s account continued:
“When the people had crowded into the square in front of the airport, a few trucks drove up from the direction of the town. From these vehicles a troop of Feldgendarmarie alighted, and were immediately led aside.
A number of tables was then unloaded from one of the trucks and placed in a line at distances from each other. Meanwhile a few more trucks with Ukrainian militiamen commanded by SS had arrived. These militiamen had work tools with them and one of their trucks also carried chloride of lime.
The truck now drove alongside these ditches and the men on it unloaded six to eight sacks of chloride of lime at intervals of fifteen to twenty metres. In the meantime, a number of transport planes – Model Junkers 52 – had landed at the airport. Out of these stepped several units of SS soldiers who, having fallen in, marched up to the Feldgendarmarie unit, subsequently taking up positions alongside it.
As could be discerned from the distance, the two units were obviously being sworn in. I was then informed by my interpreter, who was Jewish- which fact was known only to me personally – that he had learned that the people had been brought together following upon an order which had been posted in the streets of Uman and which had been given the widest publicity throughout Uman sub-district by the Ukrainian millita.”
The order was for all Jews in the town of Uman and its sub-district, of all ages to assemble for the purpose of a census of the Jewish population. Anyone not complying with this order would be punished “most severely.”
Lieutenant Bingel continued:
“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.
Even women carrying children a fortnight to three weeks old, sucking at their breasts were not spared this horrible ordeal.
Nor were mothers spared the terrible sight of their children being gripped by their little legs, and put to death with one stroke of the pistol-butt or club, thereafter to be thrown on the heap of human bodies in the ditch, some of which were not quite dead. Not before these mothers had been exposed to this worst of tortures did they receive the bullet that released them from this sight.
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.
Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/einsatz/bingel.html
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010