Kamyanky (Kamianky) | Ternopil

/ Dmytro K., born in 1928: “The day after their arrival, the Germans shot a group of Jewish men in the shell hole.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Stephania P., born in 1934: “When the labor camp was created in Kamyanky village, many Jewish men were brought there and confined in several barns.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Stephania T., born in 1930: “The Jewish detainees were subjected to forced labor on the road construction. Each time they tried to get out from the column on their way to work, they were beaten by the German guards.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum Mykhailo S., born in 1927: “The labor camp was guarded by local policemen. If any Jewish inmates tried to escape, they were killed in the camp.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Maria V., born in 1935: “The day before the liquidation of the labor camp in Kamyanky, I saw Jewish men and women digging a pit, measuring about 10m in diameter and 3m deep.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum Volodymyr M., born in 1922: “After the shooting of the labor camp inmates, the Jews in hiding were searched and killed by local policemen in the same mass grave.” ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The Yahad team during an interview. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The location of the labor camp in Kamyanky, established on the former Folwark agricultural property which once belonged to a Polish landowner. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum At this site, circa. 1,000 Jewish workers from the Kamyanky labor camp were executed over the course of the Aktion conducted in early July 1943. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The memorial plaque dedicated to over 5,000 Jewish victims of the Kamyanky camp, killed in July 1943. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad - In Unum The road near Kamyanky constructed by the Jewish detainees of the forced labor camp in 1942-1943.  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The former house of the Jewish doctor in Kamyanky..  ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The house that once belonged to a Jewish family in Kamyanky. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum The ruins of the mill that was run by a Jewish man before the war, Kamyanky. ©Nicolas Tkatchouk/Yahad - In Unum

Execution of Jews in Kamyanky

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Hill (1), Shell hole (2)
Memorials:
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims:
Over 1000

Witness interview

Dmytro K., born in 1928: "The Kamyanky camp was located in front of my house. It was established on the former territory of the Folwark, which once was an agricultural property of a Polish landowner. In 1939, the Soviets established a camp for Polish POWs there and during the German occupation, it was transformed into a labor camp for Jewish workers. Many Jews were taken there in autumn or winter and put in several stables, surrounded with barbed wire and guarded by local policemen. As far as I remember, there were no children in the camp, only men fit for work and several women, responsible for cooking and cleaning. As for the Germans, they were living in the Jewish house, located at about 300 meters from the camp." (Testimony N°YIU776U, interviewed in Kamyanky, on May 6, 2009)

Soviet archives

"At the beginning of autumn, the German authorities built a camp in the village of Kamianki [today Kamyanky], where the Jewish residents from all the Podvolochysk [today Pidvolochysk] district were confined. They were subjected to the worst kind of abuse in the camp, such as unbearable working hours, beatings, shootings, etc. Personally, up to ten times, I saw the Jews working on the main road construction as I was also requisitioned to transport stones for the construction work. They were forced to load the stones onto carts and to break them into pieces by the Germans. They were in rags, half-dressed, starving, nameless. Despite the weight, they [the Germans] dispatched their work by beating them with rubber or wooden truncheons, shouting "Schnell, schnell !". […] Inhabitants of Kamianki told me that the Germans shot anyone who was exhausted or unfit for work in this camp, and that other healthy people were then brought in trucks to replace [the killed ones]. With time, when they no longer had the strength to work and were shot in turn." [Deposition of Mikhail Y., given to State Extraordinary Soviet Commission(ChGK), on October 22, 1944; GARF 7021-75-9/Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]

German archives

"It must have been in the spring or summer of 1942, when I ordered the Ukrainian police to shoot three Jews in Kamionki I [today Kamyanky], the main camp. […] A few days later, as I was checking out the exit from the accommodation [=barrack], I found the same three Jews lazing around in the dormitory. I ordered the Jew who was in charge of the camp to round up these three men. Then I went to see the Ukrainian police commander. I ordered him to shoot immediately these work recalcitrant three Jews. Shortly afterwards, the Ukrainian police shot the three Jewish detainees outside the camp, in front of the limestone pit. The Jews were buried in this pit and covered with slaked lime, like other Jews before them, who died naturally in the Kamionki camp hospital. Personally, I didn’t go to see the pit, I only heard the gunfire. The pit was about 15 meters from the camp. A few minutes later, the Ukrainian police commander told me that he had accomplished the order. The Jews didn’t suffer before they died, neither were they tortured to death. They were shot with rifles by the member of the Ukrainian police." [Deposition of Paul R., on June 14, 1961, BARch162-27392]

Historical note

Kamyanky is located about 30 km (19mi) east of Ternopil, in the historic region of Galicia. The village was first mentioned in 1541, and at the end of the 16th century it was under rule of the Polish governor Koretsky. In 1772, Kamyanky was annexed to Austria as part of Galicia and remained under Austrian rule until 1918. At the end of 1918, the village became part of the Western Ukrainian Republic, before it was taken over by Poland, where it remained until 1939. Following the outbreak of the war, Kamyanky was incorporated into the Ukrainian Social Soviet Republic as a result of the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact. According to the 1939 census, Kamyanky was home to 2,060 inhabitants, including 40 Jews. The majority of Jews lived off trade and handicraft, but there were also an inn owner and some who worked the land. As the local community was small, there was no synagogue in the village. A Jewish cemetery was located on the hill. A bigger Jewish community lived in the town of Pidvolochysk, located at 8 km (5mi) northwest.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Kamyanky was occupied by German troops in early July 1941. Persecutions of the Jewish population started during the first days of the occupation. A group of local men, as well as several men from the nearby village of Bogdanivka, were subjected to forced labor on road construction, before being severely beaten by the Germans and buried in a shell hole near the same road. The victims’ families were then deported to Skalat, where they were subsequently murdered.

After a brief period of military administration, Kamyanky was taken over by a German civil administration in August 1941. Due to the poor state of the roads, which prevented the front from advancing, the Germans launched a road construction project in 1941, which resulted in establishment of numerous labor camps along the Transit Highway DGIV. A labor camp was susbequently established in Kamyanky in October 1941 (Kamyanky I). Its special feature was that it had three sub-camps : Kamyanky II, installed in Romanove Selo, Kamyanky III in Pidvolochysk and Kamyanky IV in Skalat. Circa. 1,000 Jews were taken to the main camp, Kamianky I, from all over Pidvolochysk district and confined in several barns. Jewish skilled workers, such as doctors and pharmacists, as well as some local Jewish families, were the only ones who continued to live outside the camp.

Located on a hill, on the former agricultural property of a Polish landowner, the camp was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by Ukrainian policemen, while Germans were installed in a house nearby. Exhausting forced labor, lack of health care and difficult living conditions resulted in a death of a number of the camp’s detainees. Moreover, isolated shootings of Jewish workers were carried out regularly. The victims’ corpses were buried in several pits located on the same hill. Other Jews were then transferred to the camp to replace the dead ones. 

Jewish skilled workers and local Jewish families, as well as the remaining Jews from Pidvolochysk labor camp were transferred to the Kamyanky labor camp just before its liquidation. The Aktion was conducted on July 10, 1943, by the Security Police from Ternopil and the Security Service from Lviv, as well as a special unit of the Caucasian company of the SD. The victims, circa. 1,000 people in total, were shot group by group in the pit dug near the camp. After the Aktion, Operation 1005 was carried out in Kamyanky, in order to hide all traces of the crime.

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