5 Execution site(s)
Mykhaylo P., born in 1935, recalls: “I went to the forest with my father, and I heard screams. I saw two or three open trucks arrive with Jews. My father put his hand over my mouth so I couldn’t scream. There was a very large grave in a clearing in the forest, with two boards across it. There were about ten German soldiers, some of them with dogs. The Jews had to get undressed and walk onto the boards in groups. There were shooters on the two sides of the grave. After the shooting, the boards were thrown into the grave. The grave was filled in by Jews who were then killed on the grave, their bodies abandoned.” (Eyewitness N°1811, interviewed in Bolekhiv on August 29, 2013)
“On Saturday, September 5, 1942, in the afternoon, 1,600 Jews, under guard, were brought to the train station. Several laborers were liberated. The train went in the direction of Lviv. During this Aktion, the Hitler Youth, the Bahnpolizei, and other units were present. They wore steel helmets. The Nazi Piatke was there and released his dog on the victims to track them. At the end of the Aktion, 2,500 Jews came out of the forest or from their hiding places.” [Yiskorbuch extract, 1957, B162-5002].
Bolekhiv is located 64km west-northwest of Ivano-Frankivsk. According to the 1931 census, 2,986 Jews resided in the town. By the middle of 1941, an estimated 3,300 Jews were in Bolekhiv. The pre-war Jewish community in Bolekhiv was very large. Most of the Jews were merchants. Some of them owned leather factories, and others owned small industries.
The anti-Jewish actions started in late October 1941 and lasted until the end of the summer of 1943. They were carried out by the German gendarmerie and German security police and assisted by the Ukrainian police. On October 28, 1941, during the first Aktion, 750 Jews who were unable to work were executed in the Tanyava forest. Meanwhile, the total number of Jews remaining in Bolekhiv changed constantly as some Jews were deported to the Belzec camp (approximately 1,600 Jews) in September 1942 or shot on site (approximately 1,400-1,600 Jews, including children). Additional Jews were deported to Bolekhiv from nearby villages; Weldzirz (today Shevchenkove), Vygoda, Vyshkiv, Staryy Mizhyn. An open ghetto was established in the fall of 1942 and existed until December 1942. Those Jews who were subjected to forced labor at the leather factory and other industries were allowed to stay and live in nearby barracks. Those Jewish laborers were murdered, along with the remaining Judenrat members, during the last Aktion in Bolekhiv, between March and August 1943.
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