Melnytsya (Melnitsa, Mielnica) | Volyn

/ The cattle is being brought from the graze © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum A local woman in the yard. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum A local resident ploughs the ground © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s research team during the interview. © Ellénore Gobry/ Yahad-In Unum Volodymyr K., born in 1929: “One Jewish woman wanted to escape and she ran towards Ukrainian houses, when she was hit with a bullet in her back. Her body remained several days on the ground.” © Ellénore Gobry / Yahad-In Unum Ivan P., born in 1929: “At the beginning, the Jews were told to take their belongings, food provisions, and to move in another part of the village, in the ghetto.”  © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum The former location of the ghetto in Melnytsya. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum At the execution site with an eyewitness Ivan, who helped Yahad reconstruct the topography of the crime. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum The second execution site, where more than 300 Jews were shot. Today’s there is no monument at this place. Back then, the place was located close to the slaughterhouse. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum The monument on the execution site of 1,200 Jews in Melnytsia. Back then it was a send quarry © Ellénore Gobry/ Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Melnytsya

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Sand quarry (1); Slaughter house (2)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
About 1,500

Witness interview

Volodymyr K., born in 1929, remembered: “There was a Jewish woman who went out of the ghetto and she was killed. Her corpse was in my garden, I saw her. She wanted to escape and she ran towards Ukrainian houses. She was shot in her back and her corpse remained several days on the ground. The Germans did not let us burry her. It was done on purpose, so other Jews fear being punished if they attempted to escape. She was about 30 years old. She ran 300-400 meters before her body was shot to the ground.” (Testimony n°1455, interviewed in Melnytsya, on April 28th, 2012)

Historical note

Melnytsia is located about 56 km north of Lutsk. The first records of the Jewish community dates back to the 16th century. In 1897, over 60% of the total population was Jews (1,599 Jews lived in the town). The majority of Jews were engaged in trade or lived off handcraft. Between the two wars the village was under Polish rule. There were several synagogues in the village. Zionist movements operated in the town until 1939, when Melnytsya was annexed by the Soviet Union, and all religious and cultural institutions and movements were banned. In 1939 until1941, many Jewish refugees arrived from Poland.  On the eve of the war 1,000 Jews remained in the village.  The Germans occupied the village on June 26th, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The Germans occupied the village on June 26th, 1941. Shortly after the occupation two anti-Jewish aktions were conducted. In early and late July 1941, 56 and 280 Jewish men (respectively) were killed under the pretext of being communists or Komsomols. They were shot outside the village supposedly by a police Battalion which stationed in Holoby at that time. In late summer-early fall 1941, all Jews were registered and marked with yellow distinguishing badges; however, they kept living in their homes until August 1942. They were forced to pay constant ransoms to the Germans. The ghetto which had about 1,200 Jews, included those who were brought from the nearing villages. It was located on two streets and was fenced in with barbed wire. It was guarded by local police day and night. On September 3rd, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and the remaining Jews were shot at the sand quarry southwest of the village, in the direction of Holoby. Before being marched to the execution site they were gathered at the meeting point.  According to an eyewitness, interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were forced to disrobe completely, get inside the pit and lie down facing the ground and then, the shooters would fire. The execution was conducted by German Gendarmerie assisted by local police.  Only few Jews managed to hide and to survive the Holocaust by joining partisans groups. 

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