310 discharged German manufactured bullet casings found at a mass execution site

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

310 discharged bullet casings, with the contemporary archeological bag used to transport them, recovered in 2005 by Yahad-In Unum at a mass execution site in Khvativ, a small village in the Lvivska province of Ukraine. A casing contains propellant and primer, and holds the bullet in place. Several casings have a headstamp marking the German manufacturer, location, year, batch, and material. In September 1939, following Germany's invasion of Poland, the Lvivska province was occupied by the Soviet Union pursuant to the terms of the German-Soviet Pact. In late June 1941, Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, a surprise attack on Russia. The military assault was coordinated with killing squads whose goal was the Final Solution, the elimination of all Jews from the conquered territories. With the assistance of trained collaborators and the local populace, the goal was achieved through deportations to killing centers and mass executions throughout the region. The lack of adequate rail transport meant that many villages had killing fields where the Jews were shot and buried in huge ditches, along with the bullets and other evidence. Through interviews with the remaining eyewitnesses, Yahad-In Unum locates and documents these remains of a Holocaust by bullets and offers respectful remembrance for the fallen.

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  • Title: 310 discharged German manufactured bullet casings found at a mass execution site
  • Location: Ukraine--History--German occupation, 1941-1944.
  • Provenance: The cartridges were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2010 by Father Patrick Desbois on behalf of Yahad-in Unum.
  • Subject Keywords: Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Ukraine. Genocide--Ukraine. Jews--Persecutions--Ukraine. Mass murder--Ukraine. World War, 1939-1945--Atrocities--Ukraine--Lvivska oblast.
  • Type: Weapons
  • Rights: Permanent Collection
  • External Link: See the full record at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • Medium: The letter components in this record are assigned for cataloging purposes only. a. 310 discharged cylindrical brass bullet casings with significant orange rust and corrosion and a ridge near the bottom rim. They vary in size from fragments, to partially intact, to 11casings intact, averaging 2.250 inches in length and 0.500 inches in diameter. Most are exploded and a few have metal remnants in the center. 6 casings have a headstamp engraved clockwise on the bottom; at 12 o’clock is the manufacturer’s code with the letter P and numbers or a series of letters, at 3 o’clock is S* for a brass base, at 6 o’clock is the batch number, and at 9 o’clock is the year. P S* 14 38 [German manufacturer] P1[?]0 S* [?] 36 [German manufacturer] P154 S* 31 35 [Polte Armaturen-und Maschinenfabrik A.G., in Gruneberg, Germany] P186 S* 4 37 [Metallwerk Wolfenbuttel GmbH, Halchterstr. 2l in Wolfenbuttel, Germany] P186 S* [?] 38 [Metallwerk Wolfenbuttel GmbH, Halchterstr. 2l in Wolfenbuttel, Germany] SB / 37 / IX / 19 / [Sellier and Bellot in Elbe, Germany] b. Rectangular, white polypropylene sack with a hemmed top opening and a reinforced, double stitched closed bottom. One side has handwritten text in black marker and a preprinted black recycling label. The reverse has a red preprinted manufacturer’s logo. Dimensions: 20.750 inches height; 13.750 inches width.