1 Execution site(s)
Adam K. born in 1932: “I was in my first year of school just before the war. There were Jewish children in my class. When the Orthodox priest came to give religious lessons, they would leave the classroom. [...] The day they arrived, the Germans took books out of the synagogue and burned them in front of the building. The rabbis who wanted to intervene to save the books were abused. The Germans dipped their heads in water and in flames.” (Witness n°2531U, interviewed in Probizhna on November 27, 2018)
"On September 30, 1942, men from the Chortkiv Gestapo and policemen arrived in Probizhna in twenty trucks. The Gestapo commander Miller was with them. He gave them the order to surround the village and get the Jewish families out. This is what they did: they arrested 700 people (men, women and children) and took them somewhere. In addition to that, they shot 36 people on the market square. My aunt Mira Naumovna Marmaroch, 70 years old, Khaim Iossifovich Tikgolts, 40 years old, Isaac Aronovich Pliatsman, 34 years old, Broukha Kraïner, 65 years old were all in that group. Their belongings were taken away." [Deposition of a Jewish survivor, Guena Guetok, born in 1918, given to the State Soviet Extraordinary commission (ChGk); GARF 7021-75-489. pp. 18-19.]
Probizhna is a town located 64 km (40 miles) south of Ternopil, in western Ukraine. Before the war, the town was home to Ukrainians, Poles and about 300 Jewish families. The latter mainly lived in the town center. Being mostly merchants and artisans, the Jews owned many stores. They prayed in the main synagogue located in the center, but they also had several other houses of prayer. The synagogue was built in the 19th century. All Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish children attended the same schools, although during the religious lessons at school, Jewish children were allowed to leave the classroom.
On June 22, 1941, the German armies and their allies began their invasion of the USSR, known as Operation Barbarossa. At the beginning of July, Probizhna was captured. During the first days of the occupation, the Jewish religious representatives were mistreated and the synagogue’s property was destroyed, including religious books. Two weeks after the arrival of the Germans, about 100 Jews, including men, women and children, were rounded up near the cattle market north of the village. They were taken to a clay quarry and shot. The victims were then buried in the Jewish cemetery in a mass grave. The operation was supervised by a Volksdeutsche appointed as town chief, two Germans from Chortkiv, and Ukrainian policemen. Jewish policemen, representatives of the Judenrat, were also forced to participate in the gathering of the victims and in the guarding of the shooting site. At the end of September 1941, a large group of Jews numbering more than 100 was gathered in the city center at the market square and taken away, either to the Kopychyntsi ghetto or in the direction of Terebovlia, from where they were deported to the Belzec extermination camp. During the occupation, several hundred more Jews were deported in small groups. During one of these gatherings, isolated shootings took place in the village. The bodies of the victims were buried in the Jewish cemetery in several graves, at the same location as the 100 victims of the first shooting.
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