Busk (Busik, Bisik) | Lviv

© Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ © Yizkor Book of Busk, taken from http://shtetlroutes.eu/en/yizkor-book-of-busk/ / The Jewish cemetery in Busk © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum The remaining gravestones at the Jewish cemetery ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum The beginning of the exhumation process. Only after the official authorization from Israel, a forensic team started to open the mass graves. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Yahad team is preparing to open the mass graves close to the Jewish cemetery. Only after the official authorization from Israel, a forensic team started to open the mass graves. © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Under the supervision of a rabbi, the forensic team continues the excavations. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum During the forensic research, many hundreds of bones, gun shells, clothing as well as personal belongings were found. The remains of the victims weren’t touched or moved because it is forbidden by the Jewish law. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum In the course of a couple of weeks, a Yahad team with the help of the local witnesses opened 16 mass graves located close to the Jewish cemetery in Busk ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum In the course of a couple of weeks Yahad team with the help of the local witnesses opened 15 mass graves located close to the Jewish cemetery in Busk © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Yevguenia S. remembers that the majority of Jews lived off small trade. They sold lime, fabrics, alcohol and other goods © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Zinovia G., born in 1931, together with her older sister brought food to the ghetto. She remembered that the ghetto was guarded by Germans and Jewish police who were identified with an armband bearing the Star of David. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Lidia Ch., born in 1938. Her parents worked in the butchery shop, located in the center of the town where many Jewish shops were located. They knew many Jews. During the war her mother hid a Jewish woman, Marylia. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Mila P., born in 1941. According to the accounts of her mother, the Jews were taken to the forest of Yablunivka where they had to dig the pit themselves. After, they were forced to get inside and were buried alive.  ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Anton D., born in 1935 :“Once on the site, the Jews were forced out of the trucks. They were lined up all together at the edge of the pit and shot with a sub machine gun. ” ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Maria, born in 1925: “The pretty young girls were taken from the ghetto to the place where the Germans lived. They used them as comfort girls. But then, they were also shot.”© Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum A Yahad team with the witness in the forest, located close to the village of Yablunivka, about 3km away from Busk, where 28 Jews from the intelligentsia were shot ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Anton D., born in 1935, points out the location of the mass graves close to the Jewish cemetery © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Busk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Near Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
Over 1,000

Witness interview

Anna D., born in 1927 remembers: “The young girls, there was one who went to school with me who was very beautiful, Silvia, who wasn’t killed right away. Silvia had to live with the head of the Germans. The other young girls served other soldiers. These young girls, with the Ukrainians, cleaned all the objects. When the young girls became pregnant, they killed them because they could not have children with these people. They asked the police from Sokal to bring them to a place 10 kilometers from Busk to kill these young girls who were really beautiful, because they didn’t want to do it themselves.”
P.D: Were there many of them?
A.D: Half a truck-full.” (Witness n°33, interviewed in Busk, on April 29, 2004)

Soviet archives

“I worked as the guard of a Jewish cemetery during the month of May 1943, on the order of the kommandant of the town of Busk, the Ukrainian police and 4-5 Germans who started to bring Jews from the ghetto in trucks, where there were pits that had been dug beforehand. Getting out of the truck, they brought them towards the pits, located next to the Jewish cemetery, undressed them completely, took their clothes, arranged them naked at the edge of the pit, facing it, shot them in the back of the neck with a sub-machine gun and they fell into the pit. It was the Germans and the Ukrainian police who were shooting. They didn’t let anyone approach the pits, but all this happened in broad daylight and in front of the eyes of citizens.
Many Jews were shot, but I can’t say how many. All the Jews who were shot were buried in 10 large graves at the edge of the Jewish cemetery in the town of Busk, which I know the location of.” [Deposition of a local resident, Polish nationality, born in 1872 given to the State extraordinary commission; RG-22.002M/7021-67/82]

German archives

"As far as I remember there might have been a big action taken against the Jews on March 20 or 21 in 1943. Busk should have been made "judenfrei" or "judenrein" like we used to call it in those times." B162-6359 to B162-6363. B162-6360.

Historical note

Busk is a district center located on the banks of Western (Zakhidny) Buh 50 km away from Lviv. In XVIII–XIX century Busk was frequently called Galician Venice. The first records about the Jewish community dates back to the mid-15th century. There were about 481 Jews living in Busk in 1765, about 2,000 in 1909, and 1,460 in 1921. The Jewish community in Busk was very important. The first synagogue was built in 1502. There was also a Jewish cemetery, considered to be one of the oldest Ashkenazi cemeteries in Ukraine, which exists nowadays. There were two elementary schools, one for boys and another for girls. In 1908, a Hebrew language school for adults was created. Many cultural and youth Zionist organizations operated in the town. On the eve of the war approximately 1,900 Jews lived in Busk in 1941. In 1939 Busk was taken over by Soviets and in the late June 1941 was occupied by Germans.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

At the beginning of the German occupation, 28 Jews from the intelligentsia were shot near the village of Yablunivka. From July 1941, all Jews were registered and marked with distinguishing badges. They were forced to perform different kinds of forced labor, such as road construction. The first Aktion was carried out on the day of Yom Kippur, on September 21, 1942, between 600 and 700 Jews unfit to work were shot along with other Jews from the region in trenches near Kamenka Sturmilova. The Aktion was carried out by Security police and German Gendarmerie accompanied by Ukrainian police. The ghetto in Busk was established on December 1, 1942. Many Jews died of hunger and disease during the winter of 1942-1943; they were buried in the Jewish cemetery. The ghetto was liquidated on May 21, 1943 by German security forces helped by Ukrainian police, and ethnic Germans. Around 1,200 Jews were shot in the Jewish cemetery or in the streets. Some 300 Jews were transferred to the Janowska (or Yaniv in Ukrainian) labor camp in Lvov. A labor camp was established in Busk in May 1943 and it operated until November 1943. About 30 Jewish girls were kept by the Germans as “sex slaves”. After making them pregnant they were killed in the forest. According to the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad-In Unum and excavations which were carried by Yahad, there are 14 mass graves located between the old Jewish cemetery and the Solotvyn river. During the excavations, remains of 450 bodies were found, including 26 children, as well as evidences of murder, for instance scales, bullets, hair, and clothing.

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