Hirka Polanka (Hirka Polonka) | Volyn

/ Hanna P., born in 1925, was requisitioned to perform forced labor close to the labor camp where the Jews were detained. The camp was located in Horodyshche in the former polish manor. © Ellénore Gobry -Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Uunum with the witnsesses during the interview © Ellénore Gobry -Yahad-In Unum The execution site of Jews and a dozen Ukrainians in Hirka Polanka. © Ellénore Gobry -Yahad-In Unum

Execution of the Lutsk Jews in Hirka Polanka

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Field
Memorials :
No
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
Dozens

Witness interview

Hanna P., born in 1925, remembers: "They took us and turned us into a labor force. The Jews were also taken. Once, we needed to clear away a pile of manure. We were told to take pitchforks and get to work. We were working with the pitchforks and the Jews had to clear it away with their hands. It was rather cold at that time and the Jewish women were dressed lightly." (Testimony N°1483, met in Horodyshche, on May 6th, 2012).

German archives

"[…] Horodyshche was about 8km from Lutsk. I was there in the summer of 1942. I remember there were between 80 and 100 Jews gathered in a camp and were doing farm work for the Germans. I think that at the end of 1942 the extermination of the Jews from the town started. During the night, they were taken outside of the city and shot. I think I am the only survivor of the Horodyshche camp. I stayed in the camp for a couple of months. The Sonderführer was a German […]. " [Deposition of a Jewish survivor Ben Zion P., given during the trial; B162-3879]

Historical note

Hirka Polonka is located about 7-8 km southwest of Lutsk. There is no information regarding whether or not there were Jews in the village before the war; according to the local residents, there were not. The big Jewish community of this area lived in the town of Lutsk. Lutsk is an administrative center of the Volhyn region, located on the banks of the Styr River in the northwestern part of the Ukraine. Between the two wars, Lutsk was under Polish rule. Then, in1939, it was annexed by the Soviet Union. The first records of the Jewish community date back to early 15th century. The Jews suffered from several waves of pogroms conducted in 1648-1649 and 1919-1920.  In 1662, almost half of population was Jewish. In 1802, there were 1,297 Jews in the town and it climbed to 5,010 by 1847. In 1897, they were 9,468 comprising 60% of the population. The majority of Jews lived off of small scaled trade and handcraft, some owned food and beverage factories, pharmacies, or hotel. Several political organizations, for instance the Bund and Zionists, operated in the town in 1920s-30s. There were several Jewish schools including Talmud Torah, Yeshiva and one high school. However, under the Soviet rule all Jewish organizations were forbidden and institutions were closed.  In 1939, about 16,000 Jews (40% of total population) lived in the town. In 1941 the Jewish population reached about 20,000 as many refugees from the West settled down in Lutsk.  Lutsk was occupied by the German army on June 25, 1941. Less than 5% of the prewar Jews managed to flee the town by that time

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The majority of Jews from Lutsk were shot behind the sugar factory, not far away from the village of Horodyshche, in the trenches dug by the Jewish men themselves.  The majority of the sources refer this site as Hirka Polanka, however during the field research we found that it is located close to the modern day neighborhood called Polonka, which in fact is closer to the village of Horodyshche. That is why Yahad identifies this execution site under the name of Horodyshche.

Besides that, it is also done in order to distinguish the site of the isolated killings identified by Yahad, with the help of the local witness, which occurred in the field in Hirka Polanka. According to a witness they were Jews who worked at the camp, located at the Polish manor, in Horodyshche. The Jews were shot in spring 1943. A dozen of Ukrainians, including the witness’ father, was murdered along the Jews. The corpses of the Ukrainians were reburied after the war in a mass grave at the cemetery, however the corpses of the Jewish victims remain there. There is no memorial at this site.

For more information about the killings in Horodyshche please refer to the corresponding profile

Jewishgen

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