1 Execution site(s)
Andriy G., born in 1936, remembered: "The Jews were brought to the sand quarry where the pits were dug in advance. Someone brought a table and a machine gun was installed on it. The Jews had to undress and then in groups of eight or ten they walked on the plank put across and the pit and the German fired at them. Actually there were four Germans at the table with the machine gun, but I can’t tell you if all of them fired or not. I know that there were three pits, one for men, one for women, and the third one for children."(Testimony N°1412, interviewed in Hranivka, on April 6th , 2012)
“According to the gathered materiel, the Commission can make a conclusion that in the summer of 1942, 350 people of the Jewish population, men, women, and children among them, were arrested in Verba and taken to Hranivka (7 km) in the district of Dyven where they were shot and buried in the pit. The children were thrown into the pit alive”. [Act n°43, drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission on December 1 of 1944; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 71, Delo 43]
Hranivka is located about 73 km south-East from Rivne and about 5 km from Kozyn. According to the witness there were no Jews in Hranivka, however many Jews lived in the nearby towns of Kozyn and Verba. Thus, in 1897, 972 Jews lived in Kozyn. Due to relocation and immigration as a result of several pogroms, in 1921 there were only 550 Jews. Verba is located about 65 km southwest of Rivne. The Jewish community in the village dates back to the 18th century when 142 Jews lived there. In 1897, 452 Jews lived in Verba in 1897 and 228 Jews remained in 1921, comprising almost 60% of the local population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and handcraft. There was a synagogue, built in 1865, and a Jewish cemetery in Kozyn. On the eve of the war, the Jewish population increased because of the arrival of Jewish refugees from Poland. Thus, in 1941 there were around 650 Jews in Kozyn, and about 270 in Verba. The district was occupied by Germans in late June 1941.
Within the first months of German occupation all Jews were marked with armbands and yellow distinguishing badges. The first Aktion was conducted immediately after the occupation against 20 Jews accused of being communists, who were burned alive in a synagogue. The remaining Jews were subjected to perform forced labor. Like in many villages of the region, a Judenrat was created. Almost one year after, in late May 1942 the Jewish population was forced to move to one area in the village, and the ghettos were officially established in Verba and Kozyn. However, the ghettos didn’t exist for long time. On May 30, 1942, the Jews from the Verba and Kozyn ghetto were taken to Hranivka, where they were shot. The Aktion was conducted by the SD unit from Rivne assisted by the Police battalion. About 370 Jews from Kozyn and 285 Jews from Verba were executed on this day. The remaining 700 Jews from the Kozyn ghetto and those who managed to hide during the first Aktion were shot on October 6, 1942, in Hranivka as well.The 80 remaining Jews from the Verba ghetto, mostly specialists and their families, were murdered earlier in August 1942. Before being killed the Jews were forced to undress completely. Only a few dozen Jews managed to survive the Holocaust.
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