Kobylanka | Lesser Poland Voivodeship

/ Wiktor W., born in 1933: «It was in June, I guess. The soltys from Kobylanka told the Germans that the Romani are spies and that they pass all the information to partisans.”    © Freddy Murphy /Yahad-In Unum The witness took Yahad’s team to the place where the Roma colony used to be located. Today there is nothing.  © Freddy Murphy /Yahad-In Unum Execution site of approximately 50 Roma and former place of their three houses near Kobylanka.  © Freddy Murphy /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Roma in Kobylanka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1939-1944
Number of victims :
From 17 to 50

Witness interview

Wiktor W., born in 1933: «It was in June, I guess. The soltys from Kobylanka told the Germans that the Roma were spies and that they pass all the information to the partisans. So, that’s why the Germans arrived at night, forced them out and lined them up to be shot. Then, they set the houses on fire. Later, they went to the soltys, the same one who denounced the Roma, and asked him to requisition two villagers to dig a pit for the victims.” (Witness n°354, interviewed in Gorlice, on, June 21, 2014).

German archives

“[...] We noticed that the Roma colony was surrounded by Germans in green-grey uniform with weapons. There were about 30-40 Germans, maybe more. The forced the Roma out of their houses and started to shoot. We saw how the Germans entered one house. We knew that an old sick Roma man lived in there. We heard the gunshots coming out from the inside the house. […] People from the surrounding villages stayed near the Germans carrying shovels. We observed the entire process how the Roma were shot by Germans. All the Roma from the colony were murdered. After the killing, the Germans set all the Roma houses on fire and went in the direction of Kobylanka. Later, the villagers who were waiting with shovels dug a pit and buried the bodies of the victims. [Deposition of Tadeusz Wasik, polish witness, BArch BAL B162-2036 p.23]

Historical note

Kobylanka is a village, located about 140 km southwest of Krakow. According to testimonies from the Polish archives, about 50 Romani people of different ages lived in a Roma colony near Kobylanka. According to Yahad’s witness, the Roma lived there from the end of World War I. They were Sedentary Roma. They lived off handcraft mostly.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kobylanka was occupied by Germans in September 1939.   As a result a denouncement made the Kobylanka soltys, in June 1943, the Gestapo men, German and Polish police conducted an aktion against the Roma.  During the night they surrounded the village and forced out of the houses all the Roma. Once lined up they were all shot. Those who couldn’t move, for instance elder and sick people, were shot inside the houses. After the shooting, the houses were set on fire.  Later, the locals were requisitioned to dig a pit and bury all the bodies. Only one Romani girl managed to escape. According to Yahad’s witness, there was another Romani man who fled, but the witness does not know what happened to him afterwards.    The remains were exhumed in 1970s and buried at the cemetery in Kobylanka.

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