Wielkie Oczy | Subcarpathian Voivodeship

Synagogue in Wielkie Oczy in the pre-war period © Yadvashem Archives / Synagogue in Wielkie Oczy. Today, it is a public library © Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M., born in 1929, recalls : ”One day, the Germans arrived in Wielkie Oczy and gathered together all the Jews (…) They were taken to the Krakowiec ghetto.” © Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M., born in 1929, recalls: “My neighbor, Szmul, was hiding in a barn nearby. One morning, we saw him being brought somewhere by a man. He looked at us and we never saw him again (…)” © Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M., born in 1929, recalls : ”When we went to graze our cows, we always took an extra piece of bread with us. The Jews who escaped from the ghetto often asked us for something to eat so we gave them that bread.”© Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M, born in 1929, leads our team to the execution site of the Jews from Wielkie Oczy © Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M., born in 1929, recalls: “The German Volf was walking with a Jewish lady, arm in arm. While they were talking, he took out his gun and he shot her.” ©Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum Andrzej M., born in 1929, recalls: “The Jews had to stand in a single file. The shooter shot in the back of the last Jew in order for the bullet to pass through the Jews standing right before him.”©Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum The research team during the interview on the execution site (Jewish cemetery in Wielkie Oczy)© Markel Redondo-Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Wielkie Oczy

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
At least 41

Witness interview

Lucyna B.; born in 1929, recalls: "The Jews from Wielkie Oczy were gathered together on the market place. Local farmers were requisitioned with their carts to transport them to Krakowiec and Jaworow ghettos. Later, the Jews who were caught outside of the ghettos were shot in small groups on the Jewish cemetery in Wielkie Oczy. First, they had to dig their own grave and then, they were shot by a German. We could observe the executions through the wooden fence of a nearby property but when we heard a noise of the gunshots, we ran away (…)” (Eyewitness N°392, interviewed in Wielkie Oczy, on December 06, 2014)

Polish Archives

Court Inquiries about executions and mass graves

1. Date and place of execution: 1943-1944 in Wielkie Oczy

2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting

3. Personal data of the executed victims: 12 Jews executed by the gendarmerie and Ukrainian police and buried at the Jewish cemetery in a mass grave whose dimensions are 4m x 2m [RG-15.019M Reel#10 FILE 34; Wielkie Oczy village, Subcarpathian Voivodeship]

Historical note

Wielkie Oczy is a town in Lubaczow County, Subcarpathian Voivodeship, in southeastern Poland, close to the border with Ukraine. The Jews lived in Wielkie Oczy from the turn of the 17th-18th century. In 1880, there were 996 Jews in the town (50,4% of the whole population). They had two brick synagogues, a cemetery and five cheders. They were mainly traders and artisans: shoemakers, haidressers, etc. In 1921, there were 487 Jews living in Wielkie Oczy. This decrease in the population was caused by World War I as well as by the cholera epidemic in 1915. In 1927, a branch of the Zionist Organisation was set up in the town. In September 1939, the town was in the Soviet occupation zone.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

 The Germans occupied Wielkie Oczy in August 1941. The Jewish council (Judenrat) was established. On the June 10, 168 Jews from Wielkie Oczy were displaced to the Krakowiec ghetto and 274 to the Jaworow ghetto. The old synagogue was dismantled and the Jewish cemetery was devastated. In December 1942, the Jews from the Krakowiec ghetto were taken to the Jaworow ghetto and four months later, on April 16, 1943, they were killed by Nazis. Some of them managed to escape and hide in nearby forests but many were caught and executed. According to the Polish archives, at least 41 Jews were shot at the Jewish cemetery in Wielkie Oczy by the German and Ukrainian Police over the course of several executions that took place mainly in 1943 and 1944.

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