Bolekhiv (Bolekhov, Bolechow) | Ivano-Frankivsk

Two young women wearing armbands walk down a street near the  town square in the Bolechow ghetto.  Pictured, on the left, Pepcia  Diamand, murdered during an Aktion in March 1943. © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of  Schlomo Adler Group portrait of Jewish youth in the Bolechow ghetto. From the left standing: Simon Weiss, Lila Berger, Bumek  Josefsberg, Musia  Adler; sitting: Bela ltman, unknown  and Dyzia Lew. © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of  Schlomo Adler / Jewish synagogue in Bolekhiv © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Jewish cemetery in Bolekhiv © Markel Redondo - Yahad - In unum Former Jewish house which used to belong to Mr Jager © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum The location of the ghetto © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Witness showing the location of the pit at the Jewish cemetery (Killing site N°2) © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum The building, today is town hall, where the Jews were gathered before being brought to the execution site © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Yosyp Y., born in 1925 described the ghetto situated in the leather factory © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Rudolf M., born 1928, described the column of Jews, being brought to the killing site, headed by Rabbi © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Witness interview at the execution site © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Rudolf leading the Yahad’s team to the killing site in the forest © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum Location of the execution site (Killing site N°3) © Markel Redondo - Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Bolekhiv

5 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery/Forest/Ravine/City center
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944

Witness interview

Mykhaylo P. recalls : “I went to the forest with my father and I heard screams. I saw two or three open trucks arrive with Jews. My father put his hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream. There was a very large grave in a clearing in the forest, with two boards across it.. There were about ten German soldiers, some of them with dogs. The Jews had to get undressed and walk on to the boards in groups. There were shooters on the two sides of the grave. After the shooting, the boards were thrown into the grave. The grave was filled in by Jews who were then killed on the grave, their bodies abandoned.” (Eyewitness N°1811, interviewed in Bolekhiv, on August 29, 2013).

German archives

“On Saturday, September 5th, 1942, in the afternoon, 1,600 Jews, under guard, were brought to the train station. Several laborers were liberated. The train went in the direction of Lviv. During this aktion, the Hitler Youth, the Bahnpolizei and other units were present. They wore steel helmets. The Nazi Piatke was there and released his dog on the victims in order to track them. At the end of the aktion, 2,500 Jews came out of the forest or from their hiding places.” [Yiskorbuch extract, 1957, B162-5002].

Historical note

Bolekhiv is located 64km west-northwest of Ivano-Frankivsk. According to the 1931 census, 2,986 Jews resided in the town. By the middle of 1941, there were around 3,300 Jews in Bolekhiv. The pre-war Jewish community in Bolekhiv was very large. Most of the Jews were merchants. Some of them owned leather factories and others owned small industries. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The anti-Jewish actions started in late October 1941 and lasted till the end of the summer of 1943. They were carried out by the German gendarmerie, the German security police and helped by the Ukrainian police. On October 28, 1941, during the first Aktion, 750 Jews who were unable to work were executed in the Tanyava forest. Meanwhile, the number of remaining Jews in Bolekhiv changed constantly as some Jews  were deported to the Belzec camp (around 1.600 Jews) in September 1942, or shot on the spot (1.400-1.600 Jews including children), and others were resettled from the nearby villages, like Weldzirz (today Shevchenkove), Vygoda, Vyshkiv, Staryy Mizhyn. The open ghetto was established in the middle of the fall of 1942 and existed till December 1943. The Jews who were subjected to forced labor at the leather factory and other industries were allowed to stay and live in nearby barracks.  They were killed during the last aktions, which took place March - August 1943, along with the Judenrat members.

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