4 Execution site(s)
Stanislav M., born in 1913, remembers: "They dug the pit far in advance – I went to see it. We had been told that they were going to shoot the Jews there… the Jews themselves told me that and I went to look. It was two or three days in advance and there was nobody there. And later, they were brought there alive and shot. I managed to hide one Jewish family in my cellar. It was a Jewish doctor and his family, 5 people in total. During all that time I gave them food. They all survived. Their names were Goldring, Mitsenmaher, Vanetfeld and others." (Eyewitness N°796, interviewed in Hrymailiv, on May 09, 2009)
"Straight after a three-day pogrom against Jewish population, a camp was established in the village of Hrymailiv under the direction of Nerling (SS), a German in charge of agricultural matters. The Jews were gathered in this camp. They were given 260 grams of bread and hot soup per day and they were forced to work 18 hours per day. On their chest the Jews wore a square piece of yellow fabric with a number." [Deposition of Efroim, a Jewish survivor, born in 1912, to the Extraordinary Soviet commission, RG-22.002M.7021-75/94]
Hrymayliv, found in 1595, is located about 45 km south-east of Ternopil. The first written records about the Jewish community go back to early 18th century. By the mid-18th about 700 Jews lived in the town. The majority of Jews lived off small scaled trade, mainly grains, mead, fish, and fabrics, and craft. Some were employed in flour milling, brick manufacturing and distilling. There was one big synagogue and nine small prayer houses. In the interwar period the union of craftsmen and merchants were created. At that time different Zionist movements started to gain the surface, but they were all forbidden in 1939, once the town was taken over by Soviet Union as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. In 1931, 1,494 Jews lived in Hrymailiv comprising 37% of the total population. On the eve of the war about 2,000 Jews lived in the town.
According to the Soviet commission, the first anti-Jewish measures were carried out on July 05, 1941. During the three days about 450 Jews, --women, children, and the elderly among them, were murdered by locals. Supposedly, the 5th Panzerdivision SS Wiking mainly consisted of Dutch and Finish, also participated in this aktion. With the help of local eyewitnesses Yahad-In Unum could identify several execution sites. Many victims were shot on the banks of the lake, and, as it was highlightened by the Yahad field research, their bodies were thrown into the well, located nearby on the territory of the former military base. Others were shot at the Jewish cemetery. The corpses of those who were shot on the streets or in the houses were gathered and buried in the same pit at the Jewish cemetery. About 20 Jews werer locked up and burned alive in the synagogue.
The second Aktion took place on October 12, 1941, during which about 1,700 Jews were sent to the ghetto in Skalat and executed shortly after. At the same period a work camp was established in Hrymailiv where about 300 Jews were confined. The Jewish inmates who were marked with yellow squares bearing a number, were mostly used for Germans needs, such as making clothing, repairing shoes. The forced labor process was supervised by the Landwirt Nerling.
During the third Aktion, which took place on October 21, 1941, between 1,300 and 1,700 Jews were slaughtered. According to the archives, it is believed that during the liquidation of the camp, on November 25, 1941, some 600 remaining Jews were taken either to different camps, such as Lubochok, Kamenka, Velyki Borky, or to the ghetto in Skalat where they were shot little by little from the 7th till 26th April, 1942. However, the local witnesses interviewed by Yahad claimed that many were shot dead in a mass grave behind the municipal cemetery. With their help Yahad-In Unum could identify the exact location of the pit undocumented until now. According to the estimation between 5th July, 1941, and 23th March, 1944, all in all about 2,530 Jews were executed.
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