1 Execution site(s)
Zoya Zh., born in 1926, evokes, "The Jews of Hoscha were shot not far from here, at the edge of the forest, where a large pit was dug. They were brought there on foot. We lived not far from the road by which the column was escorted. There were little children in the column. They walked holding their parents’ hands. I can still see the image of this column. The Jews all walked on foot. There were no carts for elderly people. They were guarded by Germans on both sides of the column and behind. The Jews walked calmly, they did not try to run away. People wondered why people did not try to escape, because it was easy to do it. At worst, they would have been shot on the spot." (Testimony N°1434, interviewed in Symoniv on April 14, 2012).
Symoniv is located about 35 km of Rivne. According to the witness, there were only two Jewish families in Symoniv, however many Jews lived in the nearby shtetl of Hoscha, located 5km east. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the 16th century. According to the local witnesses, there were two synagogues in Hoscha. The majority of Jews lived off small business and handcraft. In 1847, there were 338 Jews living in Hoscha and by 1921 the Jewish population almost doubled and numbered 881 Jews, comprising almost 40% of the total population. In 1939, the village was taken over by Soviets as a result of the Molotov–Ribbentrop agreement. On the eve of the war, the Jewish refugees from Poland arrived to the village and increased the Jewish population to about 1,000 Jews.
The Germans occupied the village on July 4, 1941. Shortly after German’s arrival, all Jews were marked with armbands and yellow distinguishing badges. They were subjected to perform forced labor. Like in many villages in the region, a Judenrat was created. Later, the Jewish population was forced to move to one area of the village and an open ghetto was officially established. The Jewish community of Hoscha was exterminated in the course of four major Aktions conducted by Germans. The first Aktion was carried out in late July 1941, during which about 10 Jews were taken from their work and shot. It was before the open ghetto was set up. The next Aktion was conducted on May 20, 1942 by the SD unit from Rivne assisted by Police Battalion, German Gendarmerie. On this day, about 400 Jews were gathered at the main square and escorted on foot to the forest close to the village of Symoniv, where they were forced to undress and were shot in groups of ten at the edge of the pits. The pits were dug in advance by local requisitioned men. The remaining Jews were shot at the end of September 1942. About 310 Jews were killed and their bodies were burned in Symoniv forest, while some 40 Jews were killed at the central square in Hoscha and their bodies were buried in the pits in the Symoniv forest. The last Aktion took place on November 14 of 1942 during which about 123 Jewish escapees were caught and killed.
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