Vinnytsia

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Vinnitsa, Ukraine (video)

Vinnytsia (ВінницяВинница) is a city in west-central Ukraine, located on the banks of the Southern Bug.

It is the administrative center of Vinnytsia Oblast and the largest city in the historic region of Podillia. Administratively, it is incorporated as a town of oblast significance. It also serves as an administrative center of Vinnytsia Raion, one of the 27 districts of Vinnytsia Oblast, though it is not a part of the district. Population: 372,484 (2015 est.)

The city’s roots date back to the Middle Ages and it was under Polish control for centuries until the Russian Empire annexed it in 1793. During the 1930s and early 1940s, the city was the site of massacres, first during Stalin’s purges and then during the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Nazi occupation. A Cold War-era airbase was located near the city.

Nazi atrocities were committed in and near Vinnytsia by Einsatzgruppe C. Estimates of the number of victims often run as high as 28,000 although historian Oliver Rathkolb states that 35,000 Jews were deported from the Vinnytsia region and most of those later died.

In 1942 a large part of the Jewish quarter of Yerusalimka was destroyed by Germans. One infamous photo, The Last Jew of Vinnytsia, shows a member of Einsatzgruppe D about to execute a Jewish man kneeling before a mass grave. The text The Last Jew of Vinnytsia was written on the back of the photograph, which was found in a photo album belonging to a German soldier. It was captured by the Red Army on 20 March 1944.