1 Execution site(s)
Sophia K., born in 1931: "The Jews of Yahilnytsia, including children and the elderly, were shot near the village of Nahyrianka. I saw the column being marched towards the execution site, and the Jews knew what was going to happen to them. Then, for a short time, I watched the massacre from a distance of about 150 meters, as the Germans wouldn’t let anyone any closer. The victims had to undress before being shot dead with machine guns. I didn’t stay long, as it was too painful to watch." (Testimony N°YIU154U, interviewed in Nahiryanka, on August 6, 2005)
"On August 27, 1942, the first action against the Jews of the village of Yagolnitsia [today Yahilnytsia] took place. Before that, in 1942, the Germans had organized a camp for the Jews in the Filvarok [Folwark] of Nagorianka village [today Nahyrianka]. German G. was the head of the Filvarok. On his orders, the camp was guarded by the Germans […]. There were circa. 300 Jewish workers who received 100g of bread and some water per day. Those who refused to work or declared themselves ill, were killed on the spot. Every day, people died of starvation and were murdered by the Germans. They were buried not far from the camp. Other Jews were [regularly] transferred to the camp." [Deposition of Aizik Leibovich, a Jewish survivor, given to State Extraordinary Soviet Commission(ChGK), on June 28, 1944; GARF 7021-75-107/Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]
Yahilnytsia is located about 90 km (56mi) south of Ternopil. The town was first mentioned in 1488 as a part of the Kingdom of Poland. Between 1669 and 1672 it was briefly governed by Turkic forces. In 1772, Yahilnytsia was transferred to the Austrian Empire where it remained until 1918. The first trace of the Jewish community dates back to the mid-18th century, with 347 Jews recorded as being settled in the town. Over the following decades, the Jewish community started to grow, and according to the 1880 census, Yahilnytsia comprised 1,892 Jews, making up over 60% of the total population. A Jewish cemetery was founded in the town. Local Jews were mainly merchants and artisans, running most of the businesses in town, but there some were also skilled workers, while others were engaged in agriculture. Hassidism, which was a dominant religion until the end of the 19th century, was then overshadowed by a significant Zionist movement, which resulted in creation of a complementary Hebrew school in 1920. At the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Yahilnytsia started to decline as many residents, fearing pogroms, moved to bigger cities of Galicia, or immigrated abroad. In addition, a number of them left the town during the First World War. Consequently, in 1921, Yahilnytsia was home to circa. 988 Jews, comprising about 37% of total population. During the interwar period, the town was under Polish rule before being incorporated into the Ukrainian Social Soviet Republic in 1939 as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. At the time, the Jewish population of the town increased to about 2,000 people due to the arrival of Jewish refugees from German-occupied Poland. Under Soviet rule, Jewish community organizations and institutions were dissolved, private businesses prohibited and cooperatives for artisans organized. For refusing to get Soviet passports, many Jewish refugees were deported to Siberia on the eve of the war.
Yahilnytsia was occupied by German troops on July 7, 1941. The local police and Judenrat were established shortly afterwards. After a brief period of military administration, the town was taken over by German civil administration on August 1941. The first Aktion was conducted on August 3, 1941, when 30 Jews, presumably communists, were arrested by local policemen and sent to Chortkiv prison, where the majority of them were executed. Elderly Jews also fell victim of the war during the very first days of the occupation. Later, following the order of the German authorities, Jews from the nearby villages were obliged to move to Yahilnytsia. The Jewish residents of the town continued to live in their houses, although they were forced to hand over valuables on several occasions.
From 1942, a number of Jews fit to work, including young girls and women, were transferred to labor camps that had been set up in the nearby villages of Nahyrianka, Mukhavka, Svydova, Shulhanivka and others. Up to 300 Jews were confined in several barracks of Nahyrianka labor camp, established on the territory of a former Polish agricultural property. The camps’ detainees were subjected to different kinds of agricultural work.
Between 800 and 1,050 Jews left in Yahilnytsia were deported to the Belzec extermination camp over the course of two major Aktions, conducted by the Gestapo members and local policemen on August 27, 1942, and on October 5, 1942. In total, during the first three Aktions, up to 125 Jews were killed in the town for refusing to follow the orders or being unable to walk. Their bodies were buried by the members of their families in two mass graves located in the Jewish cemetery of Salivka, which is now part of Yahilnytsia. The Jews who managed to survive the Aktions were ordered to move to different ghettos set up in the area, in villages such as Chortkiv and Tovste.
In 1943, the majority of the Jewish workers were executed all over the region after the end of the agricultural season. A large number of Nahyrianka camp inmates and 60 Jews from nearby labor camps, about 300 people in total, were executed during the Aktion conducted on July 18, 1943. The victims were shot naked in two mass graves located in a silo pit, at about 500 meters of the Nahyrianka camp. During the second Aktion, carried out on November 30, 1943, the last 30 Nahyrianka camp detainees were transferred to Chortkiv prison. Isolated shootings of Jews in hiding were carried out until the end of the German occupation. During field research in the area, Yahad managed to identify the execution site in the village of Nahyrianka.
For more information about the killing of Yahilnytsia Jews please follow the corresponding profile.
Do you have additional information regarding a village that you would like to share with Yahad ?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by calling Yahad – In Unum at +33 (0) 1 53 20 13 17