3 Execution site(s)
Petro K., born in 1927, explains: "The Jews were taken in trucks to the execution site. When I were grazing the cows with my brother, we saw the column passing by in the direction of the forest. There were at least ten trucks in the column and all of them were full of Jews. The trucks moved slowly. The Jews were guarded by Germans and policemen. At one moment, we saw some Jews throwing sand into a German’s eyes and other Jews starting to run. I guess they wanted to escape, but the Germans started to fire at them immediately and killed all of them. Their bodies were dragged and put back on a truck."(Testimony N°1477, interviewed in Kolky, on May 4th, 2012)
"During the summer 1942, a Gestapo commando unit from Lutsk, returned a second time to Kolki. With the cooperation of the gendarmerie and the local police, they forced two thousand civilians to get into trucks and escorted them to the nearby forest, and shot them with automatic weapons above the previously-dug pits ." [Report from the Soviet State extraordinary commission, drawn up on November 15th,1944, RG-22.002M/7021-55/5].
Kolky is located on the banks of the Styr River, about 50 km northeast of Lutsk. The first records of the Jewish community dates back to the mid-16th century. The Jews suffered from the waves of pogroms carried out in 1648. In 1897, the Jews represented the majority of the population, comprising 60% of total population. As this region is known for its timber, the majority of Jews lived on timber and agricultural products trade, while others were artisans, such as tailors, shoemakers, and blacksmiths. There were several synagogues in Kolky. Between the two wars, Kolky was under Polish rule. In 1939, it was annexed by Soviet Union according to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. Since that time, all Jewish cultural and political organizations, for instance Zionists movements were banned and Hebrew school was closed. On the eve of the war 860 Jews lived in the village.
The Germans units occupied the village on July 8th, 1941. Shortly after the Germans arrival, all the Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges. Their valuables were confiscated and they were forbidden to leave the village. A Judenrat and Ukrainian police were created. The first execution was conducted during the summer of 1941 when about 50 Jewish men, under the pretext of being taken to do forced labor, were shot outside the village. In October 1941, the ghetto was established in the Jewish quarter and existed until its liquidation in late July, 1942. According to the local witness there were two synagogues inside the ghetto. The ghetto numbered about 2,000 Jews, including local Jews and Jewish refugees who arrived from Poland. The majority of Jewish inmates were shot in late July, 1942. On this day, they were first held in the Jewish school building for 24 hours and then taken in trucks to the forest. Before being shot the Jews were forced to undress. The pit was filled by the requisitioned people, who were present during the execution. This execution was conducted by the SD unit from Lutsk assisted by German gendarmerie and local police. During several weeks, the police continued to look for the Jews who went into hiding and managed to survive the liquidation. Those who were found were shot and buried on the spot. Several isolated shootings took place at this time, including one big one where about 100 Jews were shot at the same place, in the forest. However, several Jews managed to survive and joined the partisans units.
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