Dobromyl (Dobromil) | Lviv

/ At the entrance to the city of Dobromyl. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Iosyp F. born in 1924, saw from a distance and Operation 1005: “The Germans arrived by truck, surrounded the pit with a palisade and burned the bodies using of chemicals for several days.”  ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Maria M., born in 1927: “When the Germans came here a ghetto was created. Jews who were fit to work had to work at the sawmill. They could not move around town freely. They were all marked with white armbands bearing a blue Star.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Maria M., born in 1927: “When the Germans came here a ghetto was created. Jews who were fit to work had to work at the sawmill. They could not move around town freely. They were all marked with white armbands bearing a blue Star.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Mykola born in 1928: “Four local Jews, after obtaining arms, hid in a burrow in the forest of Kwaszenina. My father, who was a ranger back then, discovered it by chance. I would bring them food. After the war, one of the Jews came to see my family to than Iaroslav Ia., born in 1929: “It was announced that a meeting was to take place. The villagers went there and were killed in the prison by the NKVD. My father, who was the head of the rural council, had to go as well, but a friend of his advised him not to The wall of memories built in 2016 on the remains of the old Jewish cemetery (15th - 20th century). The wall is built from the tombstones of the old cemetery. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum A 7-branched Minora stands on the mass grave where the Jews who died here between 1941 and 1945 were buried or murdered. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The area of the former ghetto, where about 4,000 Jews from Dobromyl and nearby villages were confined. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Ivasiuka street, where the entrance gate of the ghetto was located. The Jews were taken to work at the sawmill everyday through this gate. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum An original Jewish house. On the balcony a Star of David could be seen. The house was in the ghetto area. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum An example of a well into which Jews may have been thrown by the Germans during the first Aktion on June 29, 1941. It is located right next to the memorial. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The barracks where Jews who were forced to work in the sawmill were locked up before being executed behind the sawmill. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The wooden barracks belonged to the Baudienst. There were two of them, surrounded by a fence. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The wooden barracks belonged to the Baudienst. There were two of them, surrounded by a fence. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Today, the location is approximate, and a single-story building was subsequently erected next to the mass grave. The site is located along the road. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with a witness at the execution site. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team with a witness at the execution site. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The burial and execution site at the Jewish cemetery. Execution site n°2. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Dobromyl

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Behind the sawmill (1); Jewish cemetery (2)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
Over 3,000-4,000

Witness interview

Maria M., born in 1927: “Once the Germans returned in 1941, the Jews were forced to take the bodies out of the prison yard and the salt mine, to transport them to the mass grave and store the bodies in the pit. A few days later, a funeral ceremony was organized. The bodies were neatly arranged in this pit and the priest came from the church with the relatives of the deceased and many locals and celebrated mass. Then, a ghetto was created on the crossroads of Symonenko and Cheiska Streets. All the Jews were moved there, even ones who lived in the villages nearby. Any inmates who were fit for work were taken to work at the sawmill. They couldn’t move around the city freely. They had to walk along the river to get to the sawmill.” (Testimony n°2412U, interviewed in Dobromyl, on April 21, 2018)

Soviet archives

"[…] When the Jews were taken to the train station, some couldn’t keep up and stayed behind: they were shot and abandoned on the road. Wives were separated from their husbands, children from their mothers.
All the other Jews who remained in the city were shot by the Germans outside. Witness Isac Glaikh, who managed to escape as he was being taken to the execution site, describes it as follows: “During the winter of 1942, all the Jews remaining in the ghetto were placed in the Combinat barracks. From there, they were taken in groups of 50 to the outskirts of the city, where the pits had already been prepared. The Jews were ordered to strip down to their underwear. Those who objected were beaten up. There were women and children. Clothes had to be placed on one pile and shoes on another. The Jews were forced to lie down inside the pit, then shot. The next people to arrive from the barracks had to do the same and lie down on the bodies of the previous people. Women, their husbands, and children would go together. Together, they would lie down in the pit, hug each other, and die from the German bullets. Mothers and children were shot without mercy. The Germans tore babies away from their mothers and threw them into the pit. The screams of the victims and the cries of mothers and children echoed in the surrounding area. The Jews were shot 1.5 kilometers from the town."
Dobromyl’s intelligentsia - doctors, teachers, etc. - were shot separately, in groups. Some Jews (shoemakers, craftsmen, tailors, etc.) were left in the ghetto. They had to make clothes and shoes for the gestapo men. In the end, they were all shot. Jews hiding in the surrounding woods were caught and shot in Dobromyl by the Gestapo. The gestapo men received a bounty of 1,000 zlotys for each Jew found and shot. " [Act n°4 drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on January20, 1945; Fond 7021, Opis 58, Delo 20, pp.219-221]

German archives

"As I recall, we crossed the demarcation line early in the morning of June 29, 1941, and arrived in the district town of Sambor. A city called Dobromil was also in this district. The two places were about 20 km apart. Our orders were to head immediately for Lemberg once we had reached one of these places, but we came across our Einsatzgruppe and its leader Dr. Rasch, as well as the HSSPF Jeckeln staff. Dr. Rasch told me about the atrocities the Russians had committed against Ukrainians and Volksdeutsche in the village just before they left. He gave me no further details. He ordered me to take immediate reprisal action with my commando. I immediately took charge of the preparations. While I was taking action, four or five of those responsible for these monstrosities were arrested. They were handed over to me. On my orders, men from my commando and the local auxiliary police rounded up the Jewish men. There were no women or children among them. I estimate that there must have been between 400 and 600 people rounded up. Based on indications from the local population, my men - I was present myself - selected a certain number of Jews for the reprisal action. As the sun was setting, these Jews were driven by truck to the shaft of a disused salt mine. There, they were shot by headlight. The corpses were then thrown down the shaft. I was present at the execution, along with Jeckeln and Dr. Rasch. I remember giving a short speech to the condemned before the execution, translated by an interpreter. I told them it was an act of retaliation for the atrocities committed by the Russians when they left. It was one of my commando leaders who gave the order to fire. Between 60 and 70 Jewish men were shot, along with the four or five culprits. At the time, I saw this as a necessary and legal response. I would like to add that, according to statements from the population, Jews had massively participated in these atrocities." [Statement by by Erhard K., former head of Einsatzkommando 6, given in Wuppertal, on December 22, 1965.; BAL AR-Z 1.258/66 Bd. 14 (B162-20202) p.133. Investigation file on the massacres committed by Einsatzkommando 6 in the Ukraine between June 1941 and January 1942]

Historical note

Dobromyl is located 94 km (58mi) southwest of Lviv, close to the border with Poland. Until the 1772 Partitions of Poland, Dobromyl was part of Przemyśl Land, Ruthenian Voivodeship. In 1772, the town was annexed by the Habsburg Empire, as part of Habsburg Austrian Galicia, where it remained until late 1918. During the Second Polish Republic, Dobromyl belonged to Lwów Voivodeship. On September 17, 1939, the town was taken over by the Soviet Union. The first records of the Jewish community date back to the mid-16th century. In the mid-1700s, 1,253 Jews lived in Dobromyl. By 1900, the community had grown to 1,845 Jews, comprising more than a half of the town’s total population. The community had a synagogue, several prayer houses, a cemetery. According to the 1921 census, 2,120 Jews lived in the town making up 62% of the total population. The majority of Jews lived off small scale trade and crafts. The Jews established an iron foundry, factories for the manufacture of soap and matches and many small workshops. These workshops mainly produced  textiles. Once the town was taken over by the Soviets, all private businesses were nationalized, artisans were forced to reunite in cooperatives, and all religious and political movements were banned. Any Jews who refused to obey the new rules, or were considered wealthy, were deported by the Soviets to Siberia. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

After a brief occupation in September 1939, before the Soviets arrived, Dobromyl was occupied for the second time on June 28, 1941. On June 30, 1941, a pogrom was orchestrated by the Germans with the participation of the local population following the discovery of 82 tortured and mutilated NKVD prisoners, among whom were Ukrainians, Volkdeutsch and four Jews in the prison before the Soviets retreated. After being accused of these crimes, the synagogue was burned down, Jewish property was damaged and plundered, and about 400 to 600 Jews were rounded up at the central public place. Jews who were selected were taken to the salt mines and shafts to be killed. This is the first Aktion conducted by the Einsatzgruppe C on the territory of the Eastern Europe. After that, Jews had to wear white armbands bearing the Star of David, and their freedom was gradually restricted until they were herded into a ghetto in October 1941. At this moment, about 4,000 Jews remained in the town. The inmates were subjected to forced labor at the sawmill, otherwise it was forbidden to leave ghetto’s territory under pain of death. At the end of July 1942, 3,166 Jews were deported to Auschwitz and Belzec. Anyone too weak to move was killed in their home and on the streets. In winter or summer 1942, the remaining Jews were put into the barracks and then shot in a pit behind the sawmill. There were also other shootings, including of the intelligentsia, skilled workers and Jews found in hiding. In all, 900 people were killed behind the sawmill, at the salt factory, at the cemetery and in town. In the summer of 1944, Operation 1005 was carried out in the city in order to hide any traces of the crime.


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