3 Execution site(s)
Volodymyr Z., born in 1932: "After the first Aktion, women, children and elderly people were confined in the ghetto. People that were too weak had been shot before its creation, while young men, suitable for forced labor, had been locked up in the camp. The ghetto was fenced in with planks and doors that had been removed from Jewish houses. It was the Jews themselves who had to build the fence. The ghetto was guarded by Germans and Ukrainian policemen. Nobody was allowed to in or out." (Testimony N°YIU833U, interviewed in Zboriv, on May 16, 2009)
"Civilians fit for work, including me, were taken to camp N°3 […]. I remained in this camp from March to June 1942, working as a cleaning lady. This camp was run by the German K. Under his orders, German soldiers and police shot civilians. If someone managed to escape from the camp, the Germans would go to the "Ghetto", take the first 15 people they could find and shoot them next to the camp in the Sokolinskaia valley. They killed about 8,000 people from the Zborov (Zboriv) district there." [Act drawn by State Extraordinary Soviet Commission (ChGK), in 1944; GARF 7021-75-98/Copy USHMM RG.22-002M]
Zboriv is a district capital in the Ternopil region. The town is located 35 km (22mi) northwest of Ternopil and about 85 km (53mi) southeast of Lviv. Zboriv was established in the 16th century as a part of eastern Poland. Thoughout its history, it has been destroyed several times by large fires. The first trace of a Jewish community dates back to the late 18th century, with 655 Jews recorded as being settled in the town. From then on, the Jewish population started to grow. According to the 1897 census, Zboriv comprised 1,873 Jews, making up 46% of the total population, and in 1931, it numbered 1,900 people. Local Jews were mainly merchants, although craftsmen and skilled workers had developed their activities by the mid-19th century. They worked in different professions, and some were doctors, lawyers or bank employees. The Great Synagogue, reconstructed after the fire of 1889, was one of several places of worship. Zionist organizations played an increasingly important role in the town. Alongside traditional education in cheders, separate schools for two genders were set up. During the interwar period, the town was under Polish rule and was taken over by the Soviet Union in 1939. Many Jews, including those of Zboriv, fled to neighboring territories. All social institutions and political organizations were dissolved, and cooperatives for artisans were set up. The exact number of the Jewish population that remained in Zboriv on the eve of the war remains unknown. Some groups of Jews fled east, following the retreating Red Army.
Zboriv was occupied by Germans troops on July 3, 1941. After a brief period of military administration, the town was taken over by German civil administration in August 1941. Anti-Jewish Aktions started shortly after the occupation began and were conducted by the Security Police of Ternopil, along with the German Gendarmerie, Criminal Police and local auxiliary Police, all based in Zboriv.
Over the course of the first Aktion, carried out on July 7, 1941, between 500 and 1,000 Jewish men were killed in two separate shell-holes created by bombing raids near the marketplace. The shooters, drunk, fired from a distance of almost 100 meters. As a result, many victims were only wounded which, later on, enabled a few of them to get out of the pit. Over the following weeks a Jewish Council was created. The Jews were ordered to turn in their valuables, to wear armbands bearing the Star of David and were subjected to forced labor. According to sources, the second Aktion took place on October 16, 1941, when about 600 Jewish men, women and children were killed outside the town. A group of 1,300 local Jews, including those from other villages, were deported to the Belzec death camp on August 29, 1942.
On November 20, 1942, the Zboriv Jews and Jews from nearby localities, about 3,000 people, were confined into the ghetto, established near the river and surrounded with barbed wire. Miserable living conditions and overcrowding resulted in the outbreak of typhus, causing the death of a large number of the ghetto inmates. While all the ghetto detainees were subjected to forced labor, a group of young women was selected to perform different types of manual work for Germans. In early 1943, a group of strong men was transferred to the labor camp created in the town along the Transit Highway DGIV, in the spring 1942. The camp was guarded by the Germans and Ukrainian policemen. It’s inmates were forced to repair roads. In reprisal for escaping from the camp, small groups of ghetto inmates were executed every time it happened. The ghetto and the camp were liquidated over the course of three major Aktions, conducted in 1943. During the first Aktion, carried out on April 9, 1943, 2,300 Jews from the ghetto were shot in several pits prepared in advance on the outskirts of Zboriv, in the garden behind the Sokolynska valley. The last ghetto inmates were executed on June 5, 1943. The labor camp, which housed circa. 500 Jewish men and women from Zboriv and the vicinity, was liquidated on July 23, 1943. A part of the victims mentioned above, circa. 500 people, were burned alive as a reprisal against the actions of armed resistance by the Jewish underground. Isolated shootings of the Jews in hiding were carried out until the end of the war. The total number of Jews murdered in Zboriv during the the war could be as high as 4,000 victims.
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