4 Execution site(s)
Volodymyr P., born in 1929, remembers life under the occupation: “When you entered the town, on the right side there was a ghetto for the workers. Those were the specialists who did all kinds of handcraft, like belt makers or blacksmiths. In one word, they were the specialists. In the ghetto, located on the left side, there was the intelligentsia, those who worked in the banks, pharmacies, schools and hospital. So, this Matveyko took away their money! He summoned the Rabbi and ordered him to gather 2kg of gold. How do I know that? My father used to work with Matveyko and he told him that. He said that, for example, tomorrow the Jews would bring him 2kg of gold in order to not be shot. In that way, he was taking their valuables and money for about six months until they had nothing more to give. And then, in 1942, the massacre was conducted.” (Testimony N°1782, interviewed in Radyvyliv, on July 31, 2013)
“At the end of May 1942,- I don’t remember the exact date- an Aktion was conducted against the Jews who lived in the part of the ghetto for people who did not work. On the night of the Aktion, the whole ghetto was surrounded by the Gestapo, the Gerdarmerie, and the Ukrainian police. In the morning, these officials arrived to the ghetto where the inmates unfit to work were confined and forced out the population from their apartments and assembled them close to the synagogue. The elderly and ill people who could not walk were shot dead on the spot in their apartments. At this square, about 1,500 Jewish inmates from the ghetto were gathered, including men, women, and children. I also remember that these people were brought in the morning from the square to the railway station. By 1 pm we heard rifle shots and sub-machine fire bursts in our part of the ghetto. By 3 pm the Gestapo and the Gendarmerie entered into the ghetto and rounded-up about 100 more people -I was among of them- and escorted us to the part of the ghetto from where people had been taken away. We were ordered to take furniture and other objects and to transport them to the gathering place”. [Deposition of G., a Jewish survivor, taken on June 17, 1965; B162-5211]
Radyvyliv (former name Chervonoarmeysk) is a town located about 88 km south west of Rivne. The first record about the Jewish community dates back to the late 16th century. In the 17th century, it suffered from the Khmelnitsky pogroms during which the Jewish houses were looted. The Jewish community was rebuilt within a short time. The construction of the local factories considerably helped reviving the economy and increasing the Jewish population. In 1857, there were nine synagogues and eight cheders. By 1897, 4,322 Jews lived in Radyvyliv, comprising 60 percent of the total population. In 1914, there was a Jewish hospital in the village, the Jews possessed six wooden warehouses, about 120 shops, and a major part of local plants and factories. The majority lived off small trade business of timber, grains, and agricultural goods. There were many artisans among the Jews, for instance, there were tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, and carpenters. Some Zionist cultural and political movements operated in the town until 1939 when they were forbidden under the Soviet rule. Due to several pogroms and the poor economy in 1918-1919, the Jewish population declined. In 1921, only 2,036 Jews lived in the town. On the eve of the war, there were about 3,120 Jews in the village. The Germans occupied the town on June 29, 1941. According to the witness, a large number of Jewish refugees arrived to the village before the German arrival.
Several days after the occupation, the first execution was conducted. On July 5, 1941, 27 Jews alleged of being communists were shot in the forest in the direction of Brody. Shortly after, all Jews were marked with yellow distinguishing badges and their valuables and property were confiscated. Their rights were restricted and they were forbidden to leave the town limits. They kept living in their houses until the creation of the ghetto in the spring of 1942. In February 1942, a number of Jewish specialists were transferred to the camp near Vinnitsa. The ghetto was created on April 9, 1942 and numbered about 2,600 Jews from Radyvyliv and nearby villages. The ghetto was located on modern day Pochayivska street. It was fenced in with barbed wire and divided in two parts: one for those fit to work and one for those unfit to work. The Jews fit to work were subjected to forced labor on airfield or railroad construction. On May 29, 1942, the first mass execution was conducted against about 1,350 Jews unfit to work. They were taken to a sandy place, called Sukhodolye, where they were shot in ditches dug by Soviet prisoners of war. The place was located close to the railroads behind the cemetery. Many of those unable to walk were shot on the spot inside the ghetto. According to the eyewitnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were shot in small groups of four orfive inside the pit. Before getting into the pit, they were forced to undress. The babies were not shot, but smashed against the trees and thrown into the pit. A number of Jews managed to flee. The second Aktion was conducted on October 6, 1942, when the 950 remaining Jews from the ghetto were shot at the same place in Sukhodolye. In all, there were five mass graves. About 500 Jews managed to escape but the large majority of them were caught and shot at the Jewish cemetery or elsewhere throughout the town. Only 51 Jews survived the Holocaust.
For more information about the execution in Brody please refer to the corresponding profile
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