1 Execution site(s)
Anna M., born in 1931: "My father had many acquaintances among the Jews. During the war, the ones who were hiding in the forest regularly came to our house to ask for food. When our family was denounced and it became too dangerous to come to our place, my father continued to take them some food in the forest. He used to go there very late at night so that our neighbors wouldn’t see him. I also remember a young Jewish girl from Skalat who came to us asking for shelter. My family organized a hiding place for her under some beehives, where she stayed all winter. At night, around 1am or 2am, my father would always take her inside the house for she could warm up. During this time, I would often sit next to her and she would caress me, telling that she had a little sister who looked just like me. She said that both her sister and her mother had been killed." (Testimony N°YIU791U, interviewed in Novosilka, on May 8, 2009)
"At the end of March 1943, on German orders, 3 km from the town of Skalat, not far from Novoselka [today Novosilka] village, in a valley next to the forest, 4 pits of 5m long, 2m wide and 2m deep were dug. On the morning of April 7, 1943, the Germans surrounded the streets where the Jews used to live, rounded up circa. 700 people, including women, children and the elderly, and took them to the place where the pits had been dug. We hadn’t been told where we were being taken, but the Germans surrounded us with submachine guns and grenades, so we knew where we were going. We arrived in the valley at 2pm. A column of people was brought forward to each pit. We were then ordered to strip naked and each column had to put the clothes on a separate pile. When people of our column were undressing, there was almost no room near our pile, so I bent down as if to take off my dress and slipped under the clothes. The Germans didn’t notice this. I could hear the children crying, the wounded moaning, the Germans firing with submachine guns. The children were thrown alive into the pit or hit on the head with rifle butts before falling inside. 700 people were executed and thrown into these 4 pits, which were then covered with earth. The Germans then left. I stayed under the bloody clothes until the evening. During the night, a truck came from the camp to collect the victims’ clothes. I was taken with the clothes to the camp, from where I returned home. On June 9, 1943, Germans arrived again from Tarnopol [today Ternopil], ordered the Jews to gather in 30 houses. Then, they surrounded theses houses and took 500 Jews to the same pits in order to kill them. This time, I managed to hide." [Deposition of Ida Dlugach, a Jewish survivor, given to State Extraordinary Soviet Commission(ChGK), on October 12, 1944; GARF 7021-75-12/Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]
Novosilka is located in western Ukraine, 33 km (21mi) northeast of Ternopil. The village was first mentioned in 1593 as a part of eastern Poland. In 1772, the Habsburg Empire annexed Novosilka from the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Following World War I, the Habsburg-led Austro-Hungarian Empire was dissolved and Novosilka became a part of the newly-established Republic of Poland. In 1939, following the outbreak of the war, the village was incorporated into the Ukrainian Social Soviet Republic as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact where it remained until the summer of 1941. The exact number of the Jewish people settled in Novosilka remains unknown, but according to Yahad witnesses, there was one Jewish woman living there on the eve of the war. A bigger Jewish community lived in the town of Skalat, located about 3 km (2mi) northeast.
Novosilka was occupied by German troops on July 5, 1941. After a brief period of military administration, the town was taken over by German civil administration in August 1941. In January 1942, between 130 and 150 Jewish men from Skalat, deemed fit for work, were transferred to the labor camp organized in Novosilka along the Transit Highway DGIV, where they were confined in the guarded klub building. Camp detainees were subjected to forced labor at the quarry, where they had to extract stones for the road construction, which were then transported to Skalat. In June 1942, Jewish workers were transferred to the labor camp in Kamyanky.
The Jewish detainees of the Skalat ghetto perished over the course of several Aktions, conducted by the Security Police (Sipo) of Ternopil, assisted by Ukrainian policemen and some members of the Jewish Police. Over the course of two main Aktions, carried out on April 7, 1943, and June 9, 1943, over 1,300 Jews, including men, women, children and the elderly, were brought to the execution site, located on the outskirts of Novosilka village, where they were killed in several pits dug in advance. Before the execution, the victims had to strip naked and stand on the wooden planks, placed across each pit, where they were shot in groups with submachine guns. The members of the Jewish police were the last to be killed in the same pits. Several days later, another group of about 120 Jews in hiding were executed. The victims of the isolated shootings, carried out in Skalat, were also buried at the same execution site.
The Holocaust devastated Skalat’s Jewish community. From 1941 to 1943, approximately 7,000 Jews from the town and surrounding areas were killed. About 2,500 were murdered in Skalat or nearby, while over 4,500 were deported to Belzec. By the end of the Second World War, only about 200 Jews from Skalat and the surrounding area had survived the Holocaust.
For more information about the killing of Skalat Jews please follow the corresponding profile.
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