Monastyryska (Monasterzyska, Monastyriska) | Ternopil

/ Bogdan B., born in 1929: “A number of Jews were shot directly in their houses in Monastyryska, while others were taken to Buchach.”  ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum The former synagogue of Monastyryska which was transformed into warehouse under Soviet rule. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum A house which once belonged to a Jewish family.  ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum The remaining tombstones of the Monastyryska Old Jewish cemetery.  ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum Today, a private vegetable garden is located on the Old Jewish cemetery of Monastyryska. Several tombstones still remain in the middle of the vegetable plot.   ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum The former location of the New Jewish cemetery, where over 500 Jews were shot during the occupation period. Under Soviet rule, a veterinary clinic was built on the spot. ©Guillaume Ribot/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Monastyryska

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Vacant lot
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Over 500

Soviet archives

"In March 1942, the Gestapo and Ukrainian police arrived from Chortkov [today Chortkiv] and began to round up all the Jews from nearby villages and districts in Monastyryska. Over 1,000 people were rounded up and forced to do all kinds of work. On October 8, 1942, a large number of Gestapo members arrived from Chortkov, occupied the whole town of Monastyryska and rounded up 846 Jews. 16 of them were shot on the spot as they tried to escape, including my 83-year-old mother, Maria Fuke. 846 Jews were then loaded onto wagons and deported to the town of Belzec in the Lvov [today Lviv] region, while 500 civilians were shot at the Jewish cemetery of Monastyryska and 27 other civilians were shot in the […] woods." [Deposition of Natan Fuke, a Jewish survivor, given to State Extraordinary Soviet Commission(ChGK), on July 7, 1945; GARF 7021-75-377/Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

German archives

"I lived in Monasterzyska [today Monastyryska] when the war broke out. I have been living there since 1928. During the occupation there were about 2,000 Jews living in Monasterzyska against whom the Germans (gendarmerie) from Buczacz [today Buchach] organized an Aktion. During this Aktion, which was carried out in October 1942, almost all the Jewish population was deported to the death camp. That is how I lost my husband, my two-year-old daughter and my parents. At that moment, by chance, I was in the village of Zawadowka [today Zavadivka], near Monasterzyska. That is how I survived this Aktion. When in the evening of the same day I came back, the Aktion had already been finished and the Germans were transporting the arrested Jews to an unknown location. Today, I know that they were deported to the Belzec death camp. About 150-200 Jews managed to hide in the town’s bunkers which they had prepared in advance. About one week later, the remaining Jews were taken to Buczacz. I was among them. I stayed in Buczacz with three children until 1943. I lived through three mass Aktions conducted there. In November 1942, some Jews were deported to Belzec where they were murdered. While others were shot over the course of two Aktions conducted in February and April 1943 at Fedor Hill." [Deposition of Shawa KLEIN, Jewish survivor, born in 1912 in Ujscie-Zielone, made in Haifa, on November 8, 1965, BARch162-5169, p.31]

Historical note

Monastyryska is located about 59 km (37mi) southwest of Ternopil. The town was founded in the 15th century as part of the Kingdom of Poland. The first mention of Jews dates back to 1625. In 1772, Monastyryska was transferred to the Austrian Empire as a part of Eastern Galicia where it remained until 1918. In 1890, there were 2,450 Jews living in the town, comprising about 56% of the total population. According to the 1910 census, the town comprised 2,041 Jewish residents, which represented 49% of the population. The majority of Jews were artisans and ran small businesses, a number of them worked in a toy factory. There was a Jewish cemetery, four synagogues and an elementary school founded in 1891. Hassidism, which was a dominant religion until the mid-19thcentury, was then superseded by an important Zionist movement. During the interwar period, the town was taken over by Poland. By 1921, its Jewish population temporarily declined following a number of pogroms, and numbered 1,168 residents. In 1931, 1,488 Jews were recorded as being settled in the town. In 1939, following the outbreak of war, Monastyryska was incorporated into the Ukrainian Social Soviet Republic as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Under Soviet rule, Jewish community organizations and institutions were dissolved, private businesses prohibited and cooperatives for artisans organized. On the eve of the war, adjusting to the new economic conditions, a number of Jews moved to bigger cities.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Monastyryska was occupied by German troops on July 4, 1941. After a brief period of military administration, the town was taken over by German civil administration in August 1941. The Judenrat was established shortly afterwards. Several members of the Jewish intelligentsia were the first victims persecuted by the Germans. On August 10, 1941, they were subjected to forced labor on the Jewish cemetery before being executed. 

From March 1942, Jews from Kopychyntsi, Koropets and other locations were progressively transferred to the Monastyryska camp where they were subjected to forced labor alongside local Jews deemed fit for work. A number of camp detainees were killed over the course of the following months. On October 8, 1942, about 846 Jews were rounded up in the synagogue by the Gestapo members arrived from Chortkiv with assistance of Ukrainian policemen before being deported to Belzec extermination camp. During the gathering process, at least 16 Jews were killed in their homes and on the streets of the town. A week later, on October 17, 1942, the remaining Jews, those who managed to escape or stay in hiding, were taken to Buchach, where they perished over the course of three Aktions carried out in November 1942 and in February and April 1943. 

Isolated shootings of Jews in hiding were carried out until the end of the German occupation. Presumably, some Ukrainians and Poles were executed alongside the Jewish victims for having helped them to hide. In all, over 500 victims were executed in the mass graves on the Jewish cemetery of Monastyryska. A veterinary clinic was subsequently built on its location. The victims’ remains were reburied elsewhere before the construction.

For more information about the killing of Jews in Buchach please follow the corresponding profile.

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