1 Execution site(s)
Marian W., born in 1933: “In 1942, the Germans, aided by local Ukrainian police, started to round up the Jews in order to deport them from Rybotycze. They would chase the Jews out of their houses and put them on trucks. An older Jewish man named Boruch hid himself in the house of a local woman, Agata, but he was denounced to the Germans and caught. The Germans took him near the synagogue and put him against the wall. His eyes were covered with a black blindfold. A local messenger announced the execution to people in order to gather them all at the synagogue square. Before the shooting, the Germans made a speech to the crowd claiming that hiding Jews was forbidden and that such actions would be severely punished. A high-ranking German officer then gave the order to the firing squad and Boruch was shot. His body was buried at the Jewish cemetery by my father and two other men requisitioned by the Germans (…)”. (Witness N°1165, interviewed in Rybotycze, on October 22, 2020)
Rybotycze is a village within Przemyśl County, in the Subcarpathian Voivodeship in south-eastern Poland. It lies about 63km from Rzeszów, the capital of the Subcarpathian region. The first information about the Jews in Rybotycze dates back to the 17th century. From the 19th century onwards, Jews became leaders in local trade and craft. They owned many stores and workshops in the village. They also traded in horses and cattle. At that time, the rabbi of Rybotycze was Elimelech Shapiro, a famous Tzadik from Dynów. During the early 1920’s, the Jewish community of Rybotycze numbered 314 Jews out of a total of 1242 inhabitants of the village. The Jewish community had its own synagogue, cemetery, heder and mikveh. According to Marian W., born in 1933, on the eve of the Second World War, Rybotycze was mainly inhabited by Ukrainians (40 families), Jews (22 families) and Catholics (12 families). Marian remembered how “The majority of the Jews lived in the district surrounding the market square. There was a small store or a workshop in each Jewish house. Children of all three communities went to the same local school. There was also a synagogue in Rybotycze but it was destroyed by flood in 1942. Later, it was dismantled and all the stones that were left from the synagogue were used to repair the road leading to Przemyśl. The relations between Jews and non-Jews were good but it all changed after the arrival of the Germans."
The German occupation of the Przemyśl district started in June 1941. The Germans began their action against the Jewish population of Rybotycze in the summer of 1942. Several German soldiers, aided by local Ukrainian policemen, started to search Jewish houses in order to round up all the Jews on one of the streets, in front of the local inn. The Jews were put on two trucks to be deported from the village. Before their departure, the Germans stole all their valuables, such as money and jewellery, and looted their houses. The trucks left Rybotycze in the direction of Makowa, located about 5km away. YIU’s witness Marian W., born in 1933, recalled that a local rabbi, along with his wife and daughter, was deported that day as well. According to Marian, about thirty Jews, mostly elderly and sick, never reached their destination. They were shot on their way to Makowa and buried in a mass grave near the road. The fate of the rest of the Jews from Rybotycze remains uncertain. It is however clear that several Jews managed to avoid the deportation by hiding in the village. They were consequently hunted by the Germans and Ukrainians and killed in individual executions. Marian W., born in 1933, recalled a few such executions. The first one she saw was a public execution of a Jewish man from Boruch family. The man was caught hiding and shot near the local synagogue in front of the assembled crowd. The execution was organized in order to prevent the population from helping the Jews. Another man from the same Boruch family was shot by a Ukrainian policeman at the Jewish cemetery. Marian also told YIU’s team about the execution of a young Jewish woman from Jajwa family. She was killed by a Ukrainian policeman at the local police post office. All three victims were buried at the Jewish cemetery by Marian’s father, requisitioned by the Germans. It is more than likely that many more Jews from Rybotycze and surroundings were killed in such isolated shootings during the German occupation.
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