Kamin-Kashyrskyi (Kamien Koszyrski) | Volyn

View at the town.© A. Bochnig, Taken from sztetl.org.pl / Vira M., born in 1931, is an eyewitness to the shooting of Jews at the cemetery in Kamin-Kashyrskiy. According to her account, the shooting lasted about an hour and a half. © Victoria Bahr /Yahad-In Unum Maria G., born in 1924: “One day I saw a Jew who was caught by policemen. He was taken to the place close to my house and shot”. © Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Stepan G., born in 1922: “The policemen came to my house during the summer and forced me and 20 others to dig a pit close to the airdrome at an ancient Jewish cemetery”. © Guillaume Ribot/ Yahad-In Unum Olga M., born in 1933: “We could hear the gunfire and see it from our house, because it was at the edge of the village and the view was clear.” © Victoria Bahr /Yahad-In Unum Nina L., born in 1932 : ”One Jewish family was hiding during the war in our garden and our basement. A lot of people who lived nearby knew about it but didn’t say anything”.  © Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during an interview © Victoria Bahr /Yahad-In Unum The place where the ghetto was located © Victoria Bahr /Yahad-In Unum The execution site, located close to the airfield where about 2,000 Jews were murdered. (Execution site n°1)© Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of an isolated shooting where about 80 Jewish men were shot on August 22, 1941 by Security Police. (Execution site n°2)© Guillaume Ribot/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kamin-Kashyrskyi

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery near the aerodrome (1); Forest (2)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
Over 2,000/ 80

Witness interview

Maria G., born in 1924, remembered: “They took the Jews from the town. It was a big column with a lot of people. There were men, women and children. Everyone was screaming. They were shot by Gestapo soldiers at the Jewish cemetery. It happened around noon. I remember that they were thrown into a pit three meters long.” (Testimony n°1764, interviewed on July 26, 2013, in Kamin-Kashyrskyi)

German archives

"Once, in the summer of 1942, I visited the Kamin-Kashyrskyi ghetto where the Jews were confined. This ghetto was under my husband’s responsibility as he was the Gebietskommissar. A big number of men and women were assembled at the square. I wouldn’t be able to tell the exact number of assembled Jews. But, this square was located close to the ghetto, and I didn’t see any cemetery. As I mentioned above I visited the ghetto only once, I will tell about that experience later.
These Jews had been chased out of the ghetto and brought to the square. I couldn’t tell you who was guarding the Jews at this time. I then had the impression that hundreds of Jews were going to be shot. The evening before, my husband had received a pile of lists on which the names of the Jews to be killed were listed. I assume that the selection of the Jews to be killed was done by the SD unit. I didn’t know at that time who was the head of the SD in Kamin-Kashyrskyi." [Deposition of the Kamin Kachirski Gebietskommissar’ spouse, given on September 2, 1964; B162-6338]

Historical note

Kamin - Kashyrskyi is located about 120km north of Lutsk. The first record of a Jewish community goes back to the mid-16th century.  By 1897, 1,189 Jews lived in the town. The Jewish community suffered from several pogroms conducted in 1921 where about 120 Jews were murdered. Due to a massive migration, only 617 Jews lived in the town in 1921. Between the two world wars, the town was under Polish rule. The majority of Jews lived off small scaled trade and handcraft. There was a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery, and a Tarbut school. Many Zionist youth and cultural institutions operated in the town, until 1939 when the territory was taken over by the Soviet Union. On the eve of the war, there were about 2,000 Jews in the town. The Germans occupied Kamin-Kashirskiy on June 28, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Before the German arrival, a pogrom was organized during which two Jews were killed and many Jewish houses and shops were plundered. When the Germans arrived, the isolated shootings continued.  On August 1 and August 2, a group of 8 and 80 Jews respectively were murdered by the SS regiment and Security police.  Soon after, all remaining Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges on their clothes. They continued to live in their houses, isolated from other residents but they were systematically subjected to robberies, forced payment of contributions and forced labor.The ghetto was created in late March-early April and it numbered about 2,300 Jewish residents. The ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by local police. Any contact with the local population was forbidden, however the local residents managed to bring food to Jewish inmates on the sly.  From the German reports, we know that in the summer of 1942 the Gebietskommissar and other German officials occasionally entered the ghetto and shot Jews arbitrarily, on the street or in their homes. The first mass execution was carried out on August 10, 1942 by German Security police who were assisted by German gendarmerie and local police.  During this aktion, about 3,000 Jews were murdered at the former Jewish cemetery not far away from the airfield. Since 3,000 Jews were murdered, yet only 1,700 Jews inhabited this town, it is inferred that of the Jews murdered many were from this village while others were from neighboring towns. The pits were dug by requisitioned locals beforehand.  From the accounts of the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were shot in groups of ten. Before being shot they were forced to disrobe completely. The remaining 600 Jewish specialist and their families remained in the ghetto until early November when about 400 of them managed to flee while the others were shot. Only about 100 from the escapees survived the war by joining the partisan groups while others either were caught and shot dead or died from hunger and disease.

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