1 Execution site(s)
Stanislawa B., born in 1924, recalls: “A few days after their arrival, the Germans took all the books and valuables from the synagogue and put them on the street. They poured oil all over them and set them on fire. They gathered together many Jews there, mainly very poor people: men, women and children. The Jews had to run around the fire and jump above it. One little boy didn’t want to jump, he was scared. I saw him, I was standing nearby. He started to flee. The Ukrainian policeman caught him and he hit that little boy in the back with his gun. The Jewish boy fell down. Later, I saw a bloody mark on that spot. We were standing there, helpless, we couldn’t do anything (…)” (Eyewitness n°394, interviewed in Oleszyce, on December 07, 2014)
Court inquiries about executions and mass graves
1. Date and place of execution: 14.01.1943-03.1943
2. Type of execution (shooting, hanging or other): shooting;
3. Data on the executed victims (Polish, Jews, other nationalities): 58 Jews, fugitives from the Lubaczow ghetto, were shot n the Jewish cemetery by the German gendarmes and the Ukrainian policemen; victims were buried on the shooting site, in a mass grave of 10m x 2m; (RG-15.019M Reel 10, file 34)
Oleszyce is a small town in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship in Poland. The town’s owner, Hieronim Sieniawski, supported Jewish settlement in his town, so Jews had lived in Oleszyce since 1576. We know from the evidence from 1643 that the Jews from Oleszyce had a cheddar, cemetery, synagogue and beth midrash. In 1921, there were 2,917 citizens living in Oleszyce, including 1,590 Jews who made up 55% of the whole population. According to one of our witnesses, Stanislawa B., born in 1924, the Jews lived mainly in the center of Oleszyce and Poles and Ukrainians lived in the suburbs. Stanislawa recalls that the Jews from Oleszyce were mainly traders and artisans: shoemakers, tailors, carpenters or hairdressers.
In September 1939, the Germans invaded Poland and arrived in Oleszyce. After their brief occupation, Oleszyce was under Soviet occupation from 1939 till 1941. The Germans reoccupied Oleszyce and its surroundings in June 1941. According to witnesses interviewed by Yahad – In Unum, before setting the synagogue on fire, the Germans forced the Jews to burn all the books from the synagogue. Kazimiera R., born in 1925, remembers the Jews dancing around the fire and singing, forced by the Germans. In November 1942, the Germans displaced more than 2.000 Jews from Oleszyce to the Lubaczow ghetto, established on October 8, 1942. According to one source, about 1.000 of these Jews were sent to the Belzec death camp before the end of November. After the liquidation of the Lubaczow ghetto in January 1943, many Jews ran away and went into hiding in Oleszyce and its surroundings. They were hunted down by Ukrainian policemen, who shot them in the local Jewish cemetery. According to the Polish archives, from January until March 1943, more than 127 Jews from Oleszyce and neighboring villages were executed in the Jewish cemetery in Oleszyce.
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