1 Execution site(s)
Stepan born in 1929, a Jewish survivor: “There were four or five Jewish families in the village. The Jews lived in the center and owned stores. They also ran a slaughterhouse. The Jews lent money to the local Hutsuls. Before the war, the area was occupied by the Poles, and I went to school. In my class, there were Poles, Hutsuls, and Jews. The children were mixed, there were no differences. Our classes always began with prayer. All children prayed, even the Jews. Once a week we had a religion class that was given by a priest who came from Cheremosh.” (Witness n°2441U, interviewed in Bila Richka, on July 11, 2018)
Bila Richka is a village located on the banks of Bila Cheremosh river, on the border of the Ivano-Frankivsk and Chernivtsi regions, 160 km (99mi) south of Ivano-Frankivsk. During the interwar period, it was taken over by Poland before being occupied by Soviet Union in September 1939. Little is known about the Jewish community living in Bila Richka. The local witness interviewed by Yahad mentioned that before the war, four or five families lived there. They lived in the center of the village, and owned shops. The village was also home to Poles, Ukrainians, and Hutsuls, an ethnic group who used to live in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine and Romania. The Jewish community didn’t have synagogue or school, and all local children went to the same school.
After a brief period of statelessness, Bila Richka was occupied by the Hungarian Army in July 1941. In August of the same year, the Germans took over the local administration. No information about the massacres committed by Germans was found in the archives. As a result of field work in the nearby village of Iublunytsia, Yahad found out that a pogrom took place in Bila Richka during the German occupation, according to an eyewitness interviewed by Yahad. The massacre was committed during the night shortly after German power was established. It was carried out by local bandits from Iablunytsia. The local priest might have also been involved in the massacre. As a result, four or five local Jewish families were massacred and thrown into the river. Their properties were looted by the same men. The bodies were removed from the water afterwards and taken to be buried in Iablunytsia.
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