1 Execution site(s)
Yaroslav recalls: “ I saw Jews digging graves 15 to 30 meters wide in the Jewish cemetery under the supervision of the Germans. They were then shot at the edge of the grave. The children were thrown alive in the graves. These actions lasted several hours. There were many graves in the cemetery”. (Witness N°750, interviewed in Sambir, on January 13, 2009).
“The Jews, there were only men, were put into trucks and taken to a mine 2 km from Sambir. Then, at the execution site, the Jews were put into two or three rows. They were then shot. A unit of the SD had to control if the Jews were dead. If it was not the case, they received another bullet in the neck”. [Deposition of a member of the Schutzpolizei, 1960, B162-5344].
Sambir is located 68 km west of Lviv. There were around 8,000 Jews in 1939 in the village. The Jews lived in the city-center. There was a Jewish school and a synagogue. The Jews were merchants, craftsmen and artisans. The German occupation began on June 30, 1941.
In March 1942, an open ghetto was established in the village. In May, there were around 6,500 Jews in the ghetto because a lot of Jews had managed to flee before the German occupation. Between August and October 1942, there were four Jewish actions carried out in the village. The first action took place on August 4, 1942. A selection was organized in the stadium by the German gendarmerie, Ukrainian police and a team of the Security police. 150 Jews were murdered. On this day, 600 Jews were also selected for the Janowska Street labor camp in Lviv. On August 6, these Jews were transferred to Lviv. Other Jews were brought to the camp. During this action which lasted three days, 4, 000 Jews were shot. The second action took place on September 25-26, 1942. The Jewish Council selected 300 Jews who were shot in the forest of Ralivka, also called Radlowicze. Yahad’s witness Anton T. (Witness N°756) saw how the Jews of Sambir were brought to the forest of Ralivka. They were put on a plank in the middle of the grave and then shot. Other Jews had to put the corpses into the grave. The witness saw two big graves in the forest. On October 17-18 and 22, 1942, a third and then fourth action was perpetrated by the German gendarmerie, Schutzpolizei, and the Ukrainian police. Jews were collected from the jail and from nearby villages. During the third action, 1,000 Jews were sent to Belzec and during the fourth action, 460 Jews were sent to Belzec. During the four actions which were perpetrated from August to October 1942, 5000 Jews were sent from Sambir to Belzec. The open ghetto became a closed ghetto in December 1942. Several actions took place in the ghetto from February to June 1943. During the first action, on February 13, 1943, 500 Jews were executed in the forest of Ralivka. On April 14, 1943, a second action was carried out during which 1,200 Jews were selected and 900 were shot in the cemetery. According to Yahad’s witness, Yaroslav (Witness N°750), several shootings took place in the cemetery. On May 20-22, 1943, a third ghetto action was carried out and several hundreds of Jews “incapable of working” were shot in the forest of Ralivka. Yahad’s witness Iaroslav declared that the Germans were drunk when they brought the Jews to the forest. The liquidation of the ghetto took place on June 5, 1943 and 1,000 Jews were shot in the forest of Ralivka.
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