Turiysk | Volyn

/ Grigori S., born in 1932, saw the mass graves after the shooting of the Jews. They were already filled © Ellénore Gobry – Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team during the interview with the witness at the execution site. © Ellénore Gobry/ Yahad-In Unum The place where the Jewish houses were located in Turiysk. Back then, the majority of Jews lived on this street. © Ellénore Gobry/ Yahad-In Unum The place where the second synagogue was located in Turiysk. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum The place of the main synagogue. Before the shooting, the Jews were gathered at this synagogue. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum Semen F., born in 1934:“After the big mass shooting several Jews were found in hiding. Once we saw the police escorting the Jews. Mantel came out on the balcony and shot them dead.” © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum Pavlo P., born in 1923: “I stayed about one hour watching the execution. The Jews were shot in groups in several pits. When I left the Germans had full two pits.  © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team with the local elder resident repairs the traces of the Jewish heritage in the town of Turiysk. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum Ylarya L., born in 1923, remembered the poor Jewish family that went to her house to ask for something to eat. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of 1,512 innocent Jewish victims murdered in Turiysk. © Ellénore Gobry/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews from Turiysk

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Clay pits close to the former brickyard
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
1,512

Witness interview

Pavlo P., born in 1923, an eyewitness to the shooting: “The execution site was located at the clay quarry, near the brickyard. But at that time, the brick yard did not function anymore. There were several pits there. Some of them were round others rectangular. I saw the column of Jews who were marched towards the brickyard. Everyone was on foot. They were escorted by Germans and local men, whom we used to call Rukhivtsi. Once on the site, the whole column was stopped 20m away from the pit and then in groups they had to go inside the pit where they were shot. I did not see how they were shot, because they were at the bottom of the pit, but I could hear isolated gunshots.” (Testimony n°1459, interviewed in Turiysk, on April 29th, 2012)

Soviet archives

« The pit is located in the north of Turiysk in a distance of one and a half km northeast of the Catholic cemetery, on the place of an ancient brickyard. The pit located in the quarry of the brickyard and measured 63m long, 8m wide and 4m deep. The corpses were covered with soil that was 5m thick. One of the mass graves was open; the Commission could establish the following: 30 corpses were exhumed. They were people of Jewish heritage, completely naked, including 6 men age25 to 50, 4 men age over 50, 6 very young women, 5 elder people, 4 children age of at least 6, 4 young people aged between 6 and 25 years old and 2 little toddlers aged less than three years old. According to the depositions of witnesses Nikolay O. and Galina D., at this site there were 1,512 corpses of those who were shot dead [illegible]or people buried alive”. [Act n°19, drawn up by the State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on October 5th, 1944; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 55, Delo ?]

Historical note

Turiysk is located about 75 km northwest of Lutsk. In 1921, 1,173 Jews lived in village comprising almost the half of the total population.  The Jews lived off small scale trade and handcraft. Several Zionist and Bund parties operated in the town. According to the witness, there were two synagogues in Turiysk. Between the two World Wars Turiysk was under Polish rule and in 1939, as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, was annexed by the Soviet union. On the eve of the war, according to estimations, there were about 1,400 Jews.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The Germans occupied the village on June 28th, 1941. Shortly after Germans’ arrival the Jews were forced to wear yellow distinguishing signs and to perform forced labor. All their valuables and money were confiscated. The first execution took place in July 1941 when ten Jews accused of being Soviet activists were shot. The second major execution was conducted on August 23rd, 1942, a dozen of days after the creation of an open ghetto. During this aktion all remaining Jewish inmates, except for those who had managed to hide, under the pretext of being relocated to the Kovel ghetto were first gathered at the place near the synagogue and then escorted to the execution site. Once on the site, they were shot in groups of tens in the clay pits, located about 2km away from the town. The aktion was conducted by a SD unit which arrived from Kovel for this purpose.  Some Jews, who managed to hide, organized a resistance inside the ghetto by putting lighting the houses on fire. Many were shot dead or burned inside the ghetto during the uprising. During the following weeks, there were several isolated shootings of Jews who managed to flee but was found out by the police.  

Jewishgen

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