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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 June 2007, 18:21 GMT 19:21 UK
Ukrainian mass Jewish grave found
A survivor of one of the Ukrainian concentration camps (file picture)
Gvozdavka-1 had two Jewish ghettoes during World War II
A mass grave believed to contain the bodies of several thousand Jews killed by the Nazis has been found in Ukraine.

The grave was found by chance last month when workers were digging to lay gas pipelines in a village near Odessa.

A spokesman for the Jewish community said the Nazis established a concentration camp near the village of Gvozdavka-1 in November 1941.

It is thought some 5,000 Jews were killed at or near the site, but the names of only 93 victims are known.

Roman Shvartsman, a spokesman for the regional Jewish community told The Associated Press: "Several thousand Jews executed by the Nazis lie there."

Mr Shvartsman said the Jewish community had known about the mass killing in the area, but did not know exactly where the bodies were left.

'Killing field'

Elder residents of Gvozdavka-1 said the village had two ghettoes during World War II and that Nazis brought Jews there from all over Moldova as well as Odessa and Zhitomir.

Odessa's chief rabbi, Shlomo Baksht, plans to put a fence around the site of the communal grave and enter it into the pan-European list of Jewish tombs and cemeteries, kept by rabbis in 40 different countries.

Holocaust expert Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said he did not recall Gvozdavka-1 specifically, but was not surprised by the finding.

"Ukraine was an enormous killing field, hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered" he said.

On 29 and 30 September, 1941, 33,771 Jewish civilians were murdered at Babi Yar, a ravine outside the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

This two-day massacre was one of the largest single mass killings of the Holocaust.

Timeline: Ukraine
05 Jun 07 |  Country profiles

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