Medyka | Subcarpathian Voivodeship

/ A Synagogue was built in the early 1920s. Several years ago, the roof of the synagogue collapsed. Today the building it is completely neglected. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The former house of a Jewish doctor, Mrs. Fedyk, in Medyka. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Weronika C., born in 1922:“The Jews were gathered and put in a big building near the bakery that was fenced in and guarded. It was like a ghetto. I don’t remember how long they stayed there, but definitely until the shooting.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum YIU’s team during the interview with Jerzy K., born in 1935 in Medyka. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Jerzy K., born in 1935:  “The Jews spent two or three days in the guarded building. They were then taken to the antitank trenches to be shot. Right after their departure, the building they were kept in was set on fire.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Helena W., born in 1931:“My brother went to see the execution.  Among the victims, there was a local Jewish doctor, Mrs. Fedyk. As she was quite a large woman, she was taken to the site on a cart.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Helena W., born in 1931:  “After the shooting, the bodies of the victims were buried in the antitank trench. My brother saw the soil moving in the mass grave. The place was guarded by the Germans for several days.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Jozef C., born in 1922:  “In the early 50’s, the bodies of the Jews were exhumed from the mass grave. I saw people putting the remains of the victims on carts and taking them to the Jewish cemetery in Przemyśl.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Jerzy K., born in 1935:“Some Jews were hiding in the surrounding area to avoid the killings. One day, in 1944, a Jewish man and a boy were discovered in their hiding place by the Ukrainians and killed in a nearby field.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Jerzy K., born in 1935, took the YIU team to the execution site and burial place of the Jews from Medyka and the surrounding area. According to Jerzy, up to 300 people could have been shot there by the German killers. ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum Jerzy K., born in 1935:” The Jews were taken to the outskirts of the village, where long antitank trenches had been dug during the Soviet occupation. This trench became a mass grave for the Jewish victims.” ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum The mass grave of several dozen Jews killed by German occupants and buried in antitank trenches most probably in the spring of 1942. Their bodies were exhumed in the 1950s and reburied at the Jewish cemetery in Przemyśl ©Piotr Malec/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Medyka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Antitank trench
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1939-1944
Number of victims :
Between several dozen and 300

Witness interview

Helena W., born in 1931: “One day, I heard people screaming and crying in the village, so I went outside and saw a column of Jews
being escorted through the village by Germans. There were many Jews in the column, some of them were most probably from other villages. They were all taken to a building located right next to the former bakery. The Jews were locked up in the building, which was surrounded by a high fence and guarded by several Germans soldiers. Sometime after, the Jews were taken behind a manor park to be executed. My older brother went there with a friend that day. They climbed a tree and watched the shooting. He later told me that adults were shot on the edge of a long trench and the children were killed by Germans who smashed their heads against trees.” (Witness N°1164, interviewed in Medyka, on October 21, 2020)

Historical note

Medyka is a village located in the Subcarpathian voivodeship, about 13km from Przemyśl, the capital of the district. In 1939, 20,000 Jews lived in Przemyśl, constituting 34.1% of the total population. In the interwar period, there were Poles and Ukrainians living in Medyka, as well as circa. 140 Jews (about 35 families) out of 2.706 of the total population. The Jews from Medyka were mainly merchants and small artisans, such as hairdressers, tailors or butchers. They owned several stores and houses and lived all over the village. They also had a synagogue. Children of all three communities would go to the same local school. Helena W., born in 1931, remembered how “relations between Poles, Ukrainians and Jews before the war were very good.” All YIU’s witnesses interviewed in Medyka vividly remembered a Jewish doctor who converted to Christianity in order to marry a local catholic man before the war. Her name was Fedek and she was a highly respected woman in Medyka and the surrounding area.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

According to archival sources, from 16 to 19 September 1939, Einsatzgruppen officers carried out street round-ups and mass arrests in Przemyśl, the victims of which were Jewish men - most often from the upper social classes (doctors, lawyers, wealthy merchants, intellectuals). The detained Jews were taken on foot or transported in carts to the execution sites located on the outskirts of Przemyśl or in nearby towns, including Medyka. Little was known of the fate of the Medyka Jews, but Yahad’s investigation uncovered what happened to them, and Jews from surrounding villages, during the war. In 1941, a Soviet-German border was established in Przemyśl. From that moment, Medyka found itself under German occupation. The Germans gathered all the local Jews in a big wooden building located near the local bakery, most likely in August 1942. According to YIU’s witnesses, the building was fenced in with a high wire fence and guarded by German guards. The Jews were imprisoned there for two or three days, after which they were taken by the Germans to the outskirts of the village, behind a manor park, where a long antitank trench had been dug during the Soviet occupation. Several Ukrainian suppliers were already waiting at the site. Adult Jews were lined up on the edge of the trench and shot with machine guns, while children were killed by having their heads smashed against nearby trees. According to YIU’s witnesses, a Jewish doctor, Mrs. Fedyk, also perished in this mass execution, although her son managed to survive the war. The witnesses claimed that the number of victims killed in the antitank trenches on the outskirts of the village was superior to the number of Jews residing in Medyka before the war. It is therefore very probable that Jews from other localities were joined to the group of Medyka Jews to be killed in one mass execution. Indeed, archival sources mention that Jews from nearby villages, such as Stubno or Torki, were killed in Medyka along with several dozen local Jews.

The bodies of the victims were exhumed from the mass grave in early 1950’ to be reburied at the Jewish cemetery in Przemyśl. The execution site of Jews in Medyka is almost completely overgrown by vegetation and remains without memorial to this day.

Another shooting of two Jewish men took place in Medyka in 1944. Both men were discovered by Ukrainian suppliers in their underground hiding place. They were shot and buried on the spot, not far from the execution site described above.

 

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