1 Execution site(s)
"In July 1942, 2 km south of Lityatyn, on the southern side of the forest, 50 Jewish people dug a pit for 2 days. Then we saw armed German executioners lead 600 Jewish civilians, women and children, to the place of execution. No one from the village was allowed to go there. However, we saw the children being transported to the forest in carts and the adults on foot. Then we heard pistol shots, machine gun bursts, screams, and moans from the children and adults. After a prolonged period of gunfire, the German executioners returned to town on the carts loaded with the victims’ belongings.
Another witness, who was grazing his cows and working in the forest at the time, passed within 150 meters of the shooting. He saw the Germans taking naked citizens down into a pit, throwing the children directly into it and then shooting them with pistols and machine guns. A German patrol was posted on the road all day to block traffic in the streets and on the road leading to the forest.
The German executioners exterminated 600 citizens of Jewish nationality of different ages that way.” [GARF 7021-75-370; p. 13; June 16, 1945]
Lityatyn is a village located 43 km (27 miles) west of Ternopil, in western Ukraine. The first historical traces of the village date back to the 15th century. During the interwar period in the 20th century, the village was part of Polish territory. At the end of September 1939, during the German-Soviet invasion of Poland, the region was annexed by the USSR.
On June 22, 1941, the German armies and their allies began the invasion of the USSR, marking the beginning of Operation Barbarossa. Lityatyn was captured in early July,
10 km (6 miles) northwest of Lityatyn is the town of Berezhany. Either in December 1941 (according to Martin Dean - The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933 -1945, p. 760) or in July 1942 (according to the Soviet archives), about 50 Jews from this town were requisitioned and sent to a site in the Lityatyn forest, located 2.24 km (1.39 mi) west of the village center. They then spent two days digging a large pit in the forest. The next day, about 1,000 Jews from Berezhany and the surrounding villages were gathered and taken to the site. The group consisted adults, children and elderly people. Anyone who was unable to walk was transported on a cart. At the site, the victims were forced to undress and dispose of their valuables. Then they were shot in the large mass grave by members of a German Sipo unit from Tarnopol, led by officer Herman Müller.
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