1 Execution site(s)
Khrystyna K., born in 1932: “A week after the Germans arrived, the Jews began to be persecuted and arrested by the Germans. When they started arresting them, Mr. Iankel came to my father and asked him to hide him and his family, but we couldn’t because we didn’t have room. Mr Iankel left with his family for the river. Other Jews went into hiding, but most of them were arrested. I saw them being rounded up and taken to the cemetery to be shot. The column was very long. There were children, men and women among them. The rabbi walked at the head of the column. He walked silently. It was impossible to escape from the column because they were being escorted by SS German soldiers dressed in black leather coats with Eagle symbols. The Germans walked on both sides of the column holding German shepherd dogs.” (Witness n°2457U, interviewed in Mostyska, on July 18, 2018)
Mostyska is located 78 km (48mi) west of Lviv. Until the 1772 Partitions of Poland, Mostyska, officially called Mościska, was part of Przemyśl Land, Ruthenian Voivodeship. In 1772, the town was annexed by the Habsburg Empire, as part of Habsburg Austrian Galicia, where it remained until late 1918. During the Second Polish Republic, Mościska belonged to Mościska County, Lwów Voivodeship. In September 1939 the town was taken over by the Soviet Union. The first record of the Jewish community dates back to the mid-16th century. By 1880, the Jewish population numbered 2,073, comprising about half of the total town’s population. At the end of the 19th century, the number of Jews in reached 2,500, making up 60% of the total population. In 1931, however, the Jewish community had dropped to 2,000 people (ca. 40%), due to the intensification of migration and a dangerously antisemitic environment. Many Jews made their living in the oil, lumber, and coal trade industries. Some Jews owned inns, taverns, and shops, while others were craftsmen. The community had a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery and a mikvah. Under the Soviet administration, in September 1939, all private businesses were nationalized, as well as the Jewish stores. Craftsmen were forced into cooperatives, and all religious and cultural movements were banned. One the eve of the war, about 3,500 Jews remained in Mostyska, including refugees who had arrived from occupied Poland.
Mostyska was occupied by German troops on June 26, 1941. As part of historical region of Galicia, the town became part of the General Government. The Jewish community of Mostyska was annihilated over the course of several murder Aktions, carried out by the Security Police from Lviv, with the assistance of the Gendarmerie and local police. Shortly after the start of the occupation a pogrom was organized during which Jewish property was looted and the Jews were beaten and murdered. After that, all the Jews were registered and marked with white armbands bearing the Star of David. According to Ukrainian historian A.Kruglov, and local witness interviewed by Yahad, a group of several hundred Jews was murdered at the cemetery on June 29, 1941. An open ghetto was established in the summer 1942. In May 1942, several dozen Jewish men fit for work were sent for forced labor to the Janowska camp, near Lviv. On October 12– 13, 1942, the deportation Aktion was carried out. During this operationabout 2,000 Jews were taken to the Bełzec extermination camp. Anyone who attempted to escape was caught and shot at the Jewish cemetery. In all, circa. 500 Jews were shot there. Circa. 1,000 Jews were selected and left living in the ghetto until December 1942. During this time the Jews were subjected to forced labor. In December 1942 the remaining Jews were resettled in the Yavoriv ghetto util its liquidation in April 1943.
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