Vyshnivka (former Opalin) | Volhyn

/ Olena D., born in 1927: “The pits were dug by the Jews themselves. Until that time the Jews didn’t suspect that they would be killed.”  © Yahad-In Unum Olena and Sergiy S., born in 1929: “The ghetto wasn’t fenced in. The Jews continue to live in their houses with the only difference that they had to wear distinctive signs – circles on the chest and on the back.”© Yahad-In Unum Grygori T., born in 1934: “I do not know who gave the order, but forty Ukrainian men were requisitioned to dig a pit. Then the Jews were told to gather in a place where policemen surrounded them and took to the shooting”. © Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Vyshnivka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Period of occupation:

Witness interview

Sergiy S., born in 1929, explains: “There were Jewish houses where the Jews lived before the war. But, after a while a sort of ghetto was created even if it was not closed, and there was no fence. The Jews wore distinctive signs – circles on the chest and on the back. The Jews couldn’t walk freely in the village or have any contact with the local population. They remained about month in the ghetto and then they were brought to the shooting”. (Testimonies n°1441 and n°1442, interviewed in Vyshnivka, on April 25, 2012)

Historical note

Vyshnivka (former Opalin) is located on the banks of the Buh River, 130km west-northwest of Lutsk and 75 km west of Koval. The first records about the Jewish community dates back to 18th century when 92 Jews lived in the village. According to the 1921 census, 516 Jews lived in the village comprising 42% of the total population. Between the two wars Opalin was under the Polish rule and in 1939, according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, was annexed by the Soviet union. The majority of Jews were engaged in commerce or were artisans.  On the eve of the war there were about 600 Jews including the refugees from Poland who arrived after 1939. Vyshnivka was occupied by German forces in late June 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Shortly after the German arrival, in late summer-early fall all Jews were marked with Stars of David, which later were replaced by yellow distinguishing badges on their chests and backs. They were forbidden to leave the village and were subjected to systematic robberies and forced farm works.

The ghetto was created in December 1941 and existed almost a year. According to the local residents, interviewed by Yahad, it wasn’t fenced in and was located in the area where the Jews lived before the war.

The ghetto was liquidated on October 2, 1942, by a German unit who arrived from Lyuboml and was assisted by Ukrainian police. On this day, 582 Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery where they had to dig the pit by themselves before being shot in it. They were shot with automatic weapon.


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