Zalishchyky (Zaleshchiki, Zaleszczyki, Zalischyky) | Ternopil

Anastasia H., born in 1922: "The windows and doors were boarded up with wooden planks. When the wagons fell into the river, they remained in vertical position.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. Anastasia H., born in 1922:  "Local people would come by boats and hit the planks with hooks to liberate the bodies out of the wagons. But we didn’t know if they were Jews, or Ukrainians, or prisoners.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The Yahad team during an interview with a local witness. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. Todor K., born in 1927: “The two wagons were pushed by the locomotive that stopped because it wasn’t attached once the wagons clung into the water. ”©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Todor K., born in 1927: “The people inside the wagons were Jews. They were supposed to be taken on another side of the river where the Germans were”. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum View of Zalishchyky  and of the rail bridge from the village of Khreshchatyk This is where local witnesses stayed and watched the scene when the two wagons were pushed into the Dniester. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The rail bridge over the Dniester River from which two wagons with people inside were pushed. They clung in the water and all the detainees inside died either by drowning or suffocated.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The surviving building of the synagogue in Zalishchyky.  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The surviving building of the synagogue in Zalishchyky. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The surviving tombstones at the Jewish cemetery in Zalyshchyky. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum “The Jews of the village ran away and tried to cross the Dniester, where the border passed, because they knew that the Romanians would not kill them. However, the Romanians took them back to the German side where they were shot.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In The Yahad team during an interview with a local witness. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The Yahad team visiting the sites and reconstructing the crime committed in 1941. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum. The execution site, former ravine created by water, where about 1,500 Jews were murdered in …©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. Some Jews from the column who were too weak to walk were shot on the spot. On this road a local witness saw an elderly Jewish man being shot. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. Dmytro R., born in 1930: “The shootings lasted every day for about fifteen or twenty minutes. It started at 6am.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The building where the Landwirt was located. He was the head of the local administration, also responsible agriculture at the local level. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The building where the Schutzpolizei unit was located. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The former property of the owner. Back then the fields were on both sides of the building. The Jews from the district were brought here and forced to do farm work. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum. The site where the remaining Jews who had not been killed during the previous murder operation were gathered before being taken to Tovtse. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum.

Execution of Jews in Zalishchyky

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Dniester riverbank ; Ravin; Streets
Memorials:
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims:
1,500

Witness interview

Dmytro R., born in 1930: "Every day, at 6 o’clock in the morning, a 10 or 20 minute Aktion took place. The Jews were forced out of their houses and shot. The bodies were taken outside the village to a site near the school in a ravine between a racetrack and the railroad. The bodies were gathered by the Baudienst, young boys born between 1926 and 1927. Initially, they stayed here for railroad construction. They were rebuilding the railroads between Buchach and Chortkiv destroyed by the Soviets. Once the Aktion was over, the Baudiensts returned to their barracks in Chortkiv and continued working on the railroads.” (Witness n°2360U, interviewed in Zalishchyky, on March 19, 2018)

Soviet archives

"During the occupation, there were three actions in the town of Zaleshchiki. Since Zaleshchiki is a border town of Romania, the German-Fascist invaders carried out few pogroms against the Jews; these pogroms did not affect many people. Most of the Jewish population [of Zaleshchiki] was driven to Tluste [=Tovste] and placed in the ghetto.
However, from the very first months of the occupation of Zaleshchiki, the German-Fascist invaders gathered all the representatives of the Jewish intelligentsia in the town to take them to the so-called [forced] labor. They took them outside the town, to the military barracks, and shot them. The Jewish population was taken to a certain place [the ghetto]. In order to establish its barbaric laws, the Germano-fascist power created a Judenrat for the Jews. Through this Judenrat, the Jews were subjected to all sorts of abuses: gold and silver objects, fur clothing and money were taken from them under all sorts of pretexts." [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission, in 1944; Fond 7021, opis 75, delo ?]

Historical note

Zalishchyky is located on border of west Podolia, Bukovina, and east Galicia, in valley of Dniester which forms the so called Dniester canyon. The first record of the Jewish community goes dates back to 16th century. Between 1772 and 1918, Zalishchyky was ruled by the Austrian states of the Habsburg monarchy, Austrian Empire, and finally the Austrio-Hungarian Emire, though in the period 1809–1816 it was under control of the Russian Empire. From 1918 until 1940, the town was taken over by Poland. In 1784, 846 Jews lived in the town making, up 70% of the total population. The majority of them were either merchants or artisans. The lumber industry was highly developed in the area. In the early 1800s, a synagogue was built, and a Jewish cemetery was consecrated. Partially destroyed and abandoned, they still exist today. The Jewish population grew with the development of the railway station in the 19th century. By 1890, 4,513 Jews lived in the town. During the interwar period the town was taken back by Poland and became a popular tourist destination. Many Jews subsequently lived off the tourism industry. On the eve of the war in 1938, almost 40% of the population was Jewish. Under the Soviets, from September 1939 to June 1941, all private shops were closed, factories and workshops were nationalized, and artisans were forced to form cooperatives.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Zalishchyky was occupied by the Germans on July 8, 1941. In early July 1941, before the German arrival, the Soviets drowned close to a thousand civilians in the Dniester in what became the Zalishchyky tragedy. Some witnesses interviewed by Yahad said that the victims were Jews, we believe that they were Poles, Ukrainians and Jews. This killing was initially targeting Ukrainian nationalists. Shortly after the occupation, the persecution of Jews started. Many Jews tried to cross the border into the territories occupied by Romanians, but not many succeeded and were shot on the spot. A Judenrat was created. It was responsible for proving manpower for forced labor. Many Jews were sent for forced labor in Zhvanets in the autumn of 1941. On 14 November, several Jews were deported to work camps, 200 to Kamianka-Buzka, and 40 to numerous smaller localities, such as Kutno. Shortly after, 800 Jews were forced to the outskirts of Zalishchyky, in the cavity made by the river, where they weremurdered. A ghetto was established for the remaining Jews. In the winter of 1941, many of the inmates died of typhus. The Jews from the ghetto were forced to do farm work on a local agricultural property. In September 1942, the Jews from the local ghetto were moved to the Tovtse ghetto. From Tovste most of them were deported to the Bełżec extermination camp, others died during deportations. Only a few dozen survived.

Nearby villages

  • Zozulyntsi
  • Tovtse
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