Samary | Volyn

/ Tetiana D., born in 1934. Her family received the Righteous among the nation for having saved the Jews during WWII. © Guillaume Ribot /Yahad-In Unum Vera B., born in 1934 : ”One Ukrainian family was shot because they hid the Jews. The Germans came to the house and took everyone, including the children. They were all taken and shot along with the Jews.”©  Guillaume Ribot /Yahad-In Unum Ivan T., born in 1929: “There were many local Jews from Samary who were killed here. My future mother in law lived just in front of the execution site and she said that she recognized the Jewish family she worked for before the war. “©Victoria Bahr/Yahad- Yahad’s team with the witness during the interview. ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Ivan T., born in 1929: “They undressed and threw the clothing on a pile, directly on the ground. Some stripped naked, other remained in their underwear.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of Jews in Samary ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Samary

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 100

Witness interview

Ivan T., born in 1929, was forced to watch the shooting along with all the villagers: “I know that all of the residents of the village were assembled and taken to a place close to the church. Everyone was gathered there, including children, women, and elderly people. Besides us, the Jews were also taken to that place. We were taken there to watch how the Jews would be killed.
YIU: How did it happen? Who came to take you there? Were they local police or Germans?
W: They were local police. The police entered the houses and forced everyone out. My father wasn’t at home because he was in hiding, so they took my mother, my siblings, and me. We were all taken there.
YIU: Once you arrived there, were there many people waiting?
W: There were some, but not many, because the majority managed to escape. There were about 15 to 20 people there. The Jews were already brought there.
YIU: Was it near the church?
W: No, it wasn’t near the church. It was closer to the lake. It was behind the church but close to the lake. Today there are trees at that place. Back then, there was a small hill. When we arrived, the Jews started to dig the pit.” (Testimony 1771, interviewed in Samary, on July 27, 2013)

Historical note

Samary is located 150km north of Lutsk. Little is known about the Jewish community living in Samary before the war. They represented about 30 percent of the total population. The majority of them were shopkeepers or artisans. Some Ukrainians works for the Jews. According to the accounts of the local villagers, there was no synagogue in the town. On the eve of the war, there were about a hundred Jews living in the village. Samary was occupied by a German unit in late June of 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

There was no ghetto created in the village. All Jews continued to live in their houses until late October or early November of 1942, when the Aktion was conducted by Police Regiment 15, assisted by 39 members of the Schutzmannschaft from Dyven as well as the local police. From October 31 to November 1, the village was surrounded. 27 Jews were shot on the spot, while 74 were rounded-up and taken outside the town and shot. One Ukrainian family of six people was shot along with the Jews for hiding a Jewish woman.  According to the local eyewitness, the locals who did not manage to flee were taken to the shooting site to watch the execution. The pit was dug by the Jewish men just before the execution. The Jews were shot in groups of five or six at the edge of the pit. Before the shooting they were forced to undress.

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