1 Execution site(s)
Stepan L., born in 1930, remembered, “When one pit was filled, they dug another one one week later. At this moment the Jews were still living in the ghetto. One day in the morning, my father went to the barn where he saw a Jewish family. They escaped from the ghetto and they came to hide in our barn, because our house was the last one, at the edge of the village. We knew this family because they lived not far away from us. The father of that family was a tailor before the war. He said to my father: “Stepan, I will stay here until the evening and then we will go to hide in the forest”. Then, my father brought more hay to hide them and some food. When we woke up the following morning, they had already left. They must have hidden in the forest. I don’t know what happened to them after that.” (Testimony N°1807, interviewed on August 7, 2013 in Dubrovytsya)
“On August 25-26, 1942, the German fascists assisted by the gendarmes and local Ukrainian police brought Jews to the town of Sarny from the following districts: Dombrovitsa (3,000-4,000 people), Kisovo (1,000 persons), Rakitno (2,000-3,000 people), and Bereznitsa (2,000 people). They were all confined to the camp located close to the catholic church and the military hospital. On August 27, 1942, all Jews from Sarny had to assemble at 6am at the square [illegible]. The German gendarmes, headed by the Kommandant Sch., took attendence according to the list, in groups of 500, and then escorted everyone to the camp. From the camp they were escorted to the exit of the village, north-west, not far from the forest where the pits had been already dug. The women as well as elderly people and children had to strip naked and were shot. The majority of children were thrown into the pit alive or were taken inside the pit alive while in their mothers hands who were shot dead.[…]”[Deposition of a Jewish survivor, Eina G., given to the Soviet Extraordinary commission (ChGK) on March 1944; RG22.002M. 7021-71-70]
“I am native from the town of Dombrovitza (currently called Dubrovytsia), located 30km away from Vitotzk (currently Vysotsk). I was confined to the ghetto until September 1942. The liquidation of the ghetto was carried out 14 days before Rosh Hashana, on Wednesday. My younger brother and I managed to escape from the deportation and we went into hiding in the forest for ten days. There were Germans who searched for the escapees among the local population. While hiding in the forest we found out that the Jews from the Vysots ghetto were still alive. It was ten days after the liquidation of the ghetto in Dombrovitza. My younger brother and I walked during the night to the ghetto in Vysotsk. We arrived there on Saturday morning, on September 1942, seven days before the Rosh Hashana. The local Jews were still alive but not for a long time. “ [A letter from a Jewish survivor, Morris B., written on June 11, 1963; B162.7286 p.8
Dubrovytsya is located 114 km north of Rivne. The first records about a Jewish community date back to the 16th century. In 1921, 2,536 Jews lived in the town and by 1937 it reached 3,225 Jews, comprising 43 percent of the total population. There were several synagogues, a Jewish cemetery, and Tarbut school. The Zionist movement was very active in the town. The majority of Jews lived off small scaled trade and handcraft, such as tailoring and shoemaking. Between the two world wars the town was under Polish rule and was taken over by the Soviet Union in 1939. At that time all Jewish cultural and religious institutions were closed. The town was occupied by German troops on July 6, 1941. Before the German arrival, about 200 Jews managed to evacuate.
Straight after the Germans arrival, a pogrom was organized but none of Jews were killed. However, their belongings and shops were looted. Soon after that, all Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges. The Jews continued to live in their houses, although they were forbidden to leave the limits of the village. The men were subject to performing heavy physical labor at the railway station and women were taken to do farm work. The ghetto was created in April 1942 and existed until its liquidation in late August 1942. By the end of April, about 4,327 Jews lived in the ghetto including a couple hundred Jews brought from Kolky. According to the witness, interviewed by Yahad, the ghetto was surrounded by two meters of barbed wire. On August 25-26, 1942, all Jews from the ghetto were supposed to be transferred to Sarny. During the transfer 1,500 managed to escape, but only about 500 succeeded in reaching the forest. Others were captured. Several hundred could reach the ghetto in Vysotsk, but unfortunately they were killed one week after, during the liquidation of the Vysotsk ghetto. Those who were transferred to Sarny, estimated about 3,000 Jews, were killed in Sarny along with local Jews on August 27, 1942. During the month of September, the Germans and local police continued to search for the escapees. Those who were found were shot dead. Only 50 Jews from the prewar population managed to survive the war by joining the partisans or hiding in the forests.
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