(Jpost) The bodies of 286 Jewish people, mostly women and children, were found in a basement below the town square’s marketplace in Sataniv, Ukraine.
The town was known to once have an organized Jewish community, which survived persecution in the region for centuries. In May 1942 the Germans infiltrated and killed 800 people, the majority of which were Jews.
Of those, 286 were gassed in gas chambers in two separate basements, according to Ynet News, citing KGB records and eyewitness records from those who returned to the city after the war.
The basements were opened after the war, but were left open without moving the bodies with a sign marking it as the place of a mass murder. Over the years the entrance disappeared below the rubble of the ruined household above it.
It took the local Jewish community several legal battles to finally gain ownership of the basement. Searches began on the site in 2019, and one by one, bones and articles of clothing of those savagely killed were found. Among the rubble was a mezuzah, suggesting that the ruins above the basement once belonged to a Jewish family.
The remains of the Jewish people left in the basement were collected in sacks to be taken for burial in the city’s ancient Jewish cemetery.