Brody | Lviv

Border passage between Austrian and Russian empires at Brody in 1905. ©Unknown, Taken from Wikipedia Market square of Brody in 1904 ©Unknown, Taken from Wikipedia Jews in Brody detained by German Nazis and awaiting deportation, 1942-1943 ©USHMM Photo Archives The entrance to the Jewish ghetto in Brody with the sign in three languages: Polish, Ukrainian and German.  ©USHMM Photo Archives Old fortress synagogue of Brody. Historical prewar postcard. ©Unknown, Taken from Wikipedia The building of the Great synagogue destroyed during the bombing of WWII © ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum / The ruins of the Great synagogue ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum The street which used to be part of the ghetto. Today it is in a town center. ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum The street which used to be part of the ghetto. Today it is in the town center. ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Zosya K., born in 1918: “All houses were burned and destroyed during the bombing. There was a Jewish cemetery, but it was destroyed by the Soviets. The tombstones were used to pave the streets. At that place there is a stadium nowadays.”©Victoria Bahr/YIU Maria S., born in 1930:”Those Jews who didn’t live in the territory where the ghetto was created had to move in. One Jewish family came to borrow the cart from my father, so they could transport their belongings.” ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Yahad’ team with the witness during the interview. ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Olga S., born in 1917: “There were three mass graves at the execution site. Four days after the shooting, the pits were filled in. They also put lime inside because the blood was coming out on the surface.”  ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum Olga S., born in 1917, at the execution site: “The trucks stopped in the fields.Then, in small groups they were taken to the pits, forced to undress and walk on the plank put across the pit.” ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum The execution site of the Jews from Brody and 27 Jews from Radyvyliv ©Victoria Bahr/ Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Brody

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About a thousand

Witness interview

Maria S., born in 1930, describes the ghetto:
"YIU : Could you go near the ghetto ?
W: No, we couldn’t because there were guards around the whole territory. My sister had a Jewish friend with whom she used to go to the school with and she asked her to bring her potatoes. There was one place where we could pass the food over a fence. So, she took the potatoes and brought them to her. At this moment, she was noticed by a German who made a warning with his hand, saying that if she wasn’t pregnant he would beat her. Back then she was pregnant with her son.
Y. U. : Was the ghetto fenced in with barbed wire or wooden planks ?
Witness : No, it was fenced in with barbed wire which was rather high. The barbed wire went all around the ghetto. On the entrance of the ghetto there was a sign written in three languages. Those Jews who lived outside the ghetto territory were forced to move in, and the Ukrainians were forced to move out.
Y. U. : How high was it ? Was it as high as a human?
Witness : It was a little bit lower than human size. It went until the chest.
YIU: How many streets were there in the ghetto?
W: I wouldn’t be able to tell you the exact number. I know that Shpetalna, Ovocheva, Kolodiyska, Ryvna street were inside the ghetto. Currently, there is a market at this place and all the territory close to the market was the ghetto.” (Testimony n°1781, interviewed in Brody, on July 30, 2013)

Soviet archives

“3,000 Jews lived in Radziwilow (presently Radyvyliv). The German troops arrived to the town on June 29, 1941. Two or three days later, the German troops rounded up about 30 Jewish men from their apartments and took them to the Ukrainian police station where they were detained for a couple of days in the basement. Several days later, they were taken by truck to the forest close to Brody village, located 6km away from Radyvyliv, and shot. Personally, I wasn’t an eyewitness to this shooting, but I learned about it from the local Ukrainians whose names I can’t remember anymore. I also don’t know which German unit conducted the shooting.” [Deposition of G., a Jewish survivor, taken on June 17, 1965; B162-5211]

Historical note

Brody is located 87km northeast of Lviv. The Jewish community from Brody is one of the oldest and most important communities from the Galician region. The first records go back to the 16th century. In the 17th century, the Great synagogue, which was partially destroyed during WWII, was built. By 1772, there were about 8,900 Jews living in the town, comprising half of the local population. By 1826, it had grown to 16,300, almost 90 percent of the total population. Due to its proximity to the Austrian Russian border and the railway station, it was an important trade center. In the 19th century, an ideological and social movement Haskalah operated in the town. Between the two world wars, the town was under Polish rule. Due to a decreased economy, the Jewish population dropped to 7,202 Jews (66 percent of the total population). The majority of Jew lived off wholesale or small scale trade. Many of them were intellectuals and artisans. In 1939, the town was taken by the Soviet Union. On the eve of the war there were about 10,070 Jews including the Jewish refugees who arrived from Poland. Brody was occupied by the German troops on June 29, 1941. By that time about 10 percent of the prewar Jewish population managed to evacuate. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

In July, two weeks after the German arrival, a group of 250 Jewish intellectuals were shot near the Jewish cemetery. The same month, another 60 Jews were rounded-up and shot. The remaining Jews were forced to wear white armbands bearing the Star of David.  The Jews were subjected to perform different kinds of forced labor, for instance women were forced to gather the metal plaques.

On September 19, 1941, 2,500 Jews were deported to the Belzec camp where they would be murdered in the gas chambers and 300 Jews were shot dead on the spot. In November 1941, another 2,500 Jews were deported to Belzec. In October 1941, several dozens of young Jews fit to work were sent to different labor camps, for instance in Kozaky or Zboriv, from where they would never come back.

An opened ghetto was created in January 1942 and by November 1942 it was fenced with barbed wire. In January 1943 it numbered about 5,000-6,000 Jews from Brody and nearby villages such as Toporiv, Sokolivka, and Sukhovolia. Hundreds of Jews died from starvation and bad living conditions over the winter of 1942-1943. The ghetto and the adjacent labor camp were liquidated on May 21, 1943 when 100 Jews were shot on the spot and the remaining 2,500 were deported to Majdanek. During the liquidation a group of Jews from the resistance organized at the end of 1942 opened fire and managed to kill a couple of local Ukrainian police and Germans. Many houses were set on fire to drive out those who had remained hidden there. For about a month after the liquidation of the ghetto the Germans assisted by local police continued to search for the escapees who were shot dead on the spot. 

The remaining 40 Jews who were left because they were necessary for works were shot on July 19, 1943. The majority of Aktions were conducted by Security Police and SD from Lviv who were helped by local German gendarmerie and local Ukrainian police.

For more information about the executions in Radyvyliv please refer to the corresponding profile


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