1 Execution site(s)
Bronislava L., born in 1928: “In 1943-1944, around Easter time, I was on my way home from church. At that moment I saw trucks stopping near the road about two kilometers away. The vehicles were carrying around 500 Jews. About ten policemen in dark uniforms took them out and the trucks left immediately. The Jews were then escorted by the policemen up a hill. When the column crossed a stream, some Jews tried to run away and the guards started shooting at them.” (Witness n°2547U, interviewed in Plebanivka on December 6, 2018)
“On April 18, 1943, the executioners gathered 1,100 civilians, men, women and children, in the marketplace of Terebovlia. They were immediately undressed, and their clothes and valuables were confiscated. Then all these people were transported to Plebanivka in the old stone quarries, shot and buried there.
On June 13, 1943, another 1,089 people were shot in the same way at the same site. At the end of July 1943, another 500 people were shot at the same site. The shootings were carried out during the day with machine guns and pistols. Some victims were buried alive.
In October 1942, 1,500 people were rounded up and sent to the town of Belzec, their fate remains unknown.
Apart from the above-mentioned exterminations, the German executioners carried out several exterminations of small groups of civilians in other places, such as the Jewish cemetery and the surrounding forests.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on June 28, 1944; GARF 7021-75-12; pp. 7-9]
Terebovlia is a town located 38 km (24mi) south of Ternopil, in western Ukraine. Terebovlia is one of the oldest cities in west Ukraine, dating back to the early 11th century. Terebovlia had an established Jewish community. At the beginning of the 20th century, the town was inhabited by Ukrainians, Poles and Jews. Relations between these different communities were good and some young Jews attended the same schools as the other students. In 1913, the city had about 10,000 inhabitants, of whom about 2,800 were Jews. They had several synagogues and a cemetery. They were mostly merchants and craftsmen. During the interwar period, the city was part of Poland. In 1939, just before the outbreak of the war, approximately 1,500 Jews lived in Terebovlia. In September 1939, according to the German-Soviet non-aggression treaty, the city was captured by the USSR.
On June 22, 1941, the German armies and their allies began their invasion of the USSR. At that time, the city was home to about 5,000 Ukrainians, 3,000 Poles and 1,700 Jews. On June 29, 1941, with the rapid approach of German forces, Soviet officials from Terebovlia abandoned the town, followed by 100 to 150 Jews. On July 3, 1941, the city was occupied. As soon as the occupation began, anti-Jewish actions were ordered and carried out by the regional office of the SS-led security police, a German gendarmerie of about 30 men, a criminal police office and a local Ukrainian police unit. For example, the new authorities encouraged Ukrainian police and locals to loot Jewish homes and stores. At the same time, on July 10, Ukrainian auxiliary police arrested about 40 Jews, allegedly for forced labor, and then shot them near a military barracks. At the beginning of August 1941, the city was transferred from a military to a civilian administration. The German authorities ordered the Jews to wear a Star of David and to hand over all their money and valuables. They also forbade them from leaving the city limits without permission, on pain of death. In the summer of 1941, to convey their orders and restrictions to the Jewish population, the German authorities created a Jewish Council (Judenrat) of about 15 members and a Jewish police force. For example, they allowed them to register all Jews eligible for forced labor. Thus, many young Jewish men were sent to forced labor camps in the surrounding towns. When they tried to escape from this order, Ukrainian and Jewish policemen caught them in the street and beat them. At the same time, a camp for French POWs was created in Terebovlia. From September to October 1942, the authorities gathered all the Jews of Terebovlia and the surrounding villages in a ghetto. On November 5, 1942, German security forces deported over 1,000 Jews to the Belzec extermination camp. During the gathering, 109 Jews were killed on the spot by the German gendarmerie and Ukrainian police. After this deportation, approximately 2,500 Jews remained in the ghetto. The ghetto consisted of just two small streets and was very overcrowded. However, Jews could move freely outside the ghetto wearing their armbands. Nevertheless, during the winter of 1942-1943, famine raged in the ghetto and hundreds of people died of typhus due to the unsanitary conditions. On April 7, 1943, a security police unit from Ternopil, the German gendarmerie, and Ukrainian police officers rounded up circa. 1,100 Jews in the market square. After having them undressed and stealing their valuables, they escorted them to a stone quarry near the village of Plebanivka, 2.5 km (1.5 miles) south of Terebovlia. There, the victims were taken to a pit in groups of about 10 and then executed by several shooters with automatic weapons. In early June 1943, what remained of the Terebovlia ghetto was liquidated. On June 13, 1943, another 1089 Jews were shot in the same way at the same site. On June 4, the Germans declared the city Judenrein ("free of Jews"). However, on June 5, another 350 Jews, most of whom had managed to hide from the previous executions, were rounded up and killed at the same site. On March 23, 1944, the Red Army liberated Terebovlia. Only 50 to 100 Jews from the town managed to survive the German occupation.
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