1 Execution site(s)
Ivan P., born in 1927, answers the question: "YIU: Did these three houses belong to Jews?
Yes. There were a lot of Jews here. 780 Jews were killed here. It was one of the biggest towns back then, the Jews were engaged in trade, and they had their shops. They sold everything: candies, bread, beer, sausages, clothes etc.
YIU: Were these entire 780 Jews held captive in these three houses?
Yes, they were all in the ghetto. When they gathered the Jews in the ghetto, a rich Jewish merchant who had several shops in the town, two cows and a horse said: “Why do you take me in the ghetto? Kill me here!” They killed him and his entire family: his wife, his brother-in-law and his sister-in-law. The corpses were transported to the Jewish cemetery and they were thrown into the pit. I saw all of this, I was close. The polizeis let me watch.
YIU: Did they kill other Jews who refused to go to the ghetto?
Yes, several Jews were killed on the way to the ghetto. When they were taken to the shooting place, several refused to go. For example, there was an old blacksmith who didn’t have the force to march; he was shot on the spot. Several didn’t want to leave their houses to go to the ghetto; they were killed on the spot. When they were already in the ghetto, they couldn’t go out, there was barbed wire everywhere. The only possibility to leave the ghetto was to cross the gate guarded by armed policemen.
"The buried bodies of those shot from the villages of Kupychev, Ozeryany, and Pereseka were discovered in a sector east of the hamlet of Sushybaba, 5 km from Kupychev, toward Ozeryany, to the right of the Kupychev-Ozeryany main highway, in a ditch. Upon the opening of the pit, the commission recorded that the corpse were covered with a 2,5m layer of soil. The corpses were piled up on 2.5-3m high. The corpses were not arranged inside the pit, the majority of the victims laid down with their heads to the north-east. They were stripped naked. There were women, men, and children, including the teenagers and children of all ages. The victims were the local population from [illegible], Kupychiv, Ozeriany.” [Act n°18 drawn up by State Soviet Extraordinary Commission, on October 11th, 1944; RG-22.002M/7021-55/1, p.431-432].
Ozeryany is located about 65 km northwest of Lutsk. In 1897, the majority of the population was Jewish comprising 90% of the population. Between the two wars the village was under Polish rule. In 1921, 340 Jews lived in the village. They lived of small scaled trade and handcraft. Some owed the local taverns. There was a Jewish school. In 1939, the village was taken over by Soviet Union as a result of the Ribbentrop-Motov Pact.
The Germans occupied the village on June 28th, 1941. Shortly after the German occupation the anti-Jewish measures were implemented. The Jews were forced to wear yellow distinguishing badges and perform different kind of forced labor. In spring 1942, all the Jews from Ozeryany and nearing villages, for instance Kupyshchev were confined into the ghetto. Some sources mention that the ghetto was open, however the accounts of local witness who was requisitioned to build the fence contradicts this information. According to him the ghetto was located in the center of the village close to the lake, fenced in with 3m high barbed wire. Those Jews who refused to move to the ghetto were shot on the spot. Thus, Yahad could identify the isolated shooting site of four rich Jews who were shot and buried in the yard of their houses. Several Jews were killed in the ghetto and buried on the Jewish cemetery. The ghetto was liquidated in August 1942 by the SD unit who arrived from Kovel assisted by German gendarmerie and local police. All the inmates were marched from Ozeryany to Sushybaby where they were shot in a sand quarry.
For more information about the shooting in Sushybaby please refer to the corresponding profile
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