Okunyn (Okunin) | Volyn

/ Hryhoriy M., born in 1932: “. The two trucks arrived near it, but the Jews didn’t get out of the trucks at the same time. I never saw more than three trucks arrive at once.” © Yahad-In Unum The diagram of the execution drawn by the witness.   Such diagrams help Yahad to reconstruct the topography of the crime scene © Ellénore Gobry – Yahad-In Unum

Execution of the Lukiv Jews in Okunyn

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
365

Witness interview

Hryhoriy M., born 1932, explains: "There were only two Germans for each truck that took the Jews to the shooting. They were well dressed, had raincoats, were armed with machine-guns, and they had helmets. They were on both corners of the back edge of the truck. As I lived close to the road by which they were taken, I was able to see them. I saw two trucks driven at the same time. They were uncovered trucks, but I did not see if the Jews seated on the banks or if they were standing up." (Testimony n°1439, interviewed in Okunyn, on April 24th, 2012).

Historical note

Okunyn is located about 100 km northwest of Lutsk. According to the witness, one Jewish family lived in the village. They owned the mill. However, there were a lot of Jews in Lukiv. There was a much bigger Jewish community in the nearing town of Lukiv, former Matsiov, located 5km away. The first records of the Jews in this area dates back to17th century. In 1897, 2,337 Jews lived in the town of Lukiv comprising about 60% of total population.  In 1921, its number reached 2,206. The majority of Jews were artisans or merchants, who owned their shops.   There were several religious and cultural movements, such as Bund, Zionism and Hassidism. There was a synagogue and a Tarbut school in Lukiv. However, in 1939, under the Soviet rule all religious and cultural movements were forbidden and the school was closed.  On the eve of the war there were about 2,600 Jews in Lukiv.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Okunyn was occupied by Germans on June 24th, 1941 along with Lukiv and other nearing villages. There is no exact information about what happened to the local Jews, but supposedly they were taken to the ghetto in Lukiv and afterward they were executed during one the Aktions.  There were no records of the executions of Jews in Okunyn, however with the help of the local witness Yahad-in Unum was able to identify the execution place of 365 Jews from Lukiv, shot in the Birok forest, close to the village of Okunyn. The Jews were brought by truck to the execution site. There were several pits about 20m long, 5m large and 3m deep.  The shootings lasted several. The Jews were shot in groups, at the edge of the pit facing it.

For more information about the execution of Jews in Lukiv, please, refer to the corresponding profile.  

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