Khust (Chust) | Subcarpathian

Two Jews from Khust with their children. Photographed between the two world wars. ©Taken from, Holdings Registry file No. 27597 in the GFH Archives Deportations from Hungarian ghettos to Auschwitz (1944) © Taken from Wikipedia Jews from Zakarpattia arrive at Auschwitz, May 1944. ©Taken from Wikipedia / / / Iosyp B., born in 1931: "When the Hungarians arrived, my family was accused of not supporting the Hungarian regime. Gendarmes came to search our house and asked us a lot of questions.”  ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum Stepan born in 1929. One day, the Hungarian gendarmes came for Stepan and his family, and they had to move to the ghetto. On the eve of the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz, Stepan and his family left the ghetto by removing a plank of the fence.©YIU Iosyp R., born in 1932: “In April 1944, Jews were gathered in a ghetto. My father was ill, so I had to drive 2 Hungarian gendarmes to the Jewish homes in my father’s cart.  I was thirteen at that time.”©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum The building of the synagogue in Khust. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum The remaining Jewish cemetery in Khust. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum Iosyp taking the Yahad - In Unum team to the site of the former ghetto. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum The former location of the ghetto in Khust. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum A former Jewish house. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum The former building of German Gendermeria. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum The railway station from where the Jews were deported to Auschwitz. ©Sabrina Caputo/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Khust

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Stepan born in 1929, a Jewish survivor: “People who were a bit more intelligent escaped to Romania, while others were killed. So, from 1939 onwards, we were under the Hungarian regime. At that time, Jews could still live here normally. But under German influence, they [the Hungarians] adopted some fascist laws here. These were IV laws passed in 1938 which forbade Jews from marrying non-Jews, and they were bound by concession contracts. I can’t tell you any more about Subcarpathian Ruthenia because in May, probably May 15, scouts from Subcarpathian Ruthenia came here and told my father to leave for his little homeland in Kojitsy [probably Košice in Slovakia] or Chop because we didn’t belong here. The next morning, the cars were waiting for us in front of the house, and off we went. We arrived in Chop at my grandmother’s house, where we lived until 1939, when the Vienna Agreement was signed, dividing Transcarpathia between Hungary and other countries. At that time, life was still pretty good. For example, nobody ever called me a "Kike" or asked me why I was here and not in Palestine or elsewhere. There were a lot of refugees from Galicia, the Lviv region of today, hoping to return here to the democracy of Czechoslovakia. However, shortly afterwards, the Hungarians, under pressure from the Germans, began to ask everyone for citizenship papers. At the time, they didn’t exist. Fortunately, we were able to obtain proof of our citizenship, but people who came from other places didn’t have any, and the Hungarians then rounded them up, 6 or 60 thousand people, and took them to the village of Iasinia, and then on to Kamenets-Podolskii, and then further on to a town whose name escapes me and shot them there. This territory here was already controlled by the Germans […]” (Witness n°2397U, interviewed in Khust, on April 14, 2018)

Soviet archives

"In 1944, upon instructions of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior, the Khust’s mayor B*** ordered all Jews to be rounded up in the synagogues. I found myself there too. After being searched, we were taken by the gendarmes in groups to "the ghetto,” located in Khust at the time. What was the ghetto? By order of the Khus Mayor B***, the local authorities set aside three streets for this purpose: Dukhnovich Street (ул. Духновича), Svoboda Street (ул. Свободы) and half of Slavianskaya Street [sic]. On the city side, these streets were surrounded by a high fence and on the Mlinovitsa river side, by barbed wire. As I recall, there were six rows of them, rising to human height. In addition, the fenced-in area was guarded by gendarmes. Everyone, without exception, was taken into the ghetto, including women, the elderly and children. Some 6,000 people were rounded up this way. It goes without saying that such a large concentration of people in such a small area creates unbearable living conditions. Houses that once housed three or four people, in another word a family, now had to accommodate around 40. In this case, healthy men like me, had to sleep outside in the open air. The population concentrated in the ghetto received food of poor quality and insufficient quantity. Like the others, I received two meals a day, consisting of 200g of bread and a liter of watery soup with a little flour and a few grams of oil. During the five weeks I spent in the ghetto (from April 12 to May 5), around 200 people died. We buried the bodies ourselves, under gendarme supervision, in the Jewish cemetery. […]" [Deposition of a Jewish survivor, Liudvig Enguelman, born in 1906, given to the Extraordinary State Commission on April 6, 1946; GARF 7021-62-8, pp. 24-27/USHMM Copy]

Historical note

Khust is a town located on the Khustets River in Transcarpathia, western Ukraine. The historical origins of Khust date back to the 11th century, when a fortress was established in order to protect the salt trail leading from the Solotvyno salt mines. In 1711, Khust was incorporated into the Austrian Empire as part of its Hungarian lands. In the fall of 1918, after a collapse of Austro-Hungarian Empire, Khust spent a short period  independent, but was subsequently taken over by the Republic of Czechoslovakia as Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In October 1938, following the Munich Agreement, the Ukrainian autonomous Subcarpathian Ruthenia was established as part of Czechoslovakia. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the 18th century. In 1792, the Jewish community consisted of 14 families. By the mid-19th century, the Jewish community of Khust had grown into one of the largest and most influential in Transcarpathia. In 1880, it numbered 1,062 Jews, and by 1910, it had expanded to 2,371 individuals, making up 15% of the town’s population. By 1921, its Jewish population reached 3,391 people. The majority of Jews lived off trade and craft. The andesite mines were numerous in the region, and business flourished. Many were involved in the lumber business and furniture production. Various Jewish political parties were active in Khust, including Zionist and Hassidic groups.  

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Khust was occupied by the Hungarian Army on March 16, 1939.  Following the occupation, starting from 1940 some Jewish men of military service age were forced into the labour battalions, some were sent to the Eastern front, where they perished. Jews who didn’t have Hungarian citizenship were expelled to Kamenets-Podilskyi, and other Nazi controlled territories. In April 1944, a closed ghetto was created in Khust, which numbered about 6,000 Jews from Khust and the surrounding area. Ghetto inmates were forced to perform hard labor. 200 of them lost their lives and were buried in the Jewish cemetery. The survivors stayed for less than a month, before being taken to the brickworks. After being violently searched, they were then deported from the Khust railway station to Auschwitz starting from May 14, 1944. Some Jews from Khust were forced to march west on foot – to the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Ravensbrück in Germany, and Mauthausen in Austria, 1,300 km, and 800 km, respectively. Hundreds of prisoners were held in the Kryvka concentration camp, near Khust.

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