1 Execution site(s)
Anna P., born in 1928: “Y. U. Were there a lot of carts? How many, approximately?
Witness: They didn’t come through in a single day, but over the course of three or four days. They [the Germans] would find them somewhere and then they would take them [the Jews] away. We watched [the Germans] leading them away. The poor [Jews], they cried, they said their goodbyes. They knew why they were being taken away. I think hey were taken to a school… They weren’t taken all at once, but over several days.
Y. U. Were the victims able to talk to people in the village?
Witness: When the carts passed by we were working. We would wave our hands, but that was all. We were not allowed to approach them, and they were not allowed to approach us! The carts would pass by, and on every other cart there was a German. The Germans escorted them, they [the Jews] did not go alone. I’m telling you what I saw, but I don’t remember much.” (Witness n°612U, interviewed in Volochysk, on May 26, 2008)
“ […] The victims of that violence were thrown into random pits, in an empty area near a brick factory, the burial site had been a garbage dump. Along the whole length of the grave and to the very bottom one could see bodies scattered haphazardly around. Most of them were in a prone position, the others were either seated or bent or half bent over. Many of the bodies were those of women and young children aged from 3 to 6, or of teenagers. No clothes or even remnants of clothing were found on the bodies. Autopsies of the bodies of ten women revealed that three of them were six or seven months pregnant.
On the basis of the above description, we have come to the following conclusion: most of the people died as a result of bullet wounds in the area of the head, while the shooters were in different positions. Some of the victims who were not wounded, one must assume, were buried alive. The death of some of the victims took place as a result of blows from a sharp instrument in the stomach or chest region, followed by suffocation due to earth piled on top of them. The unfortunate pregnant women were subjected to the same barbaric torture. On the basis of information collected, 8,634 bodies were present in the mass grave, 75-80% of whom were those of women and of children.” [Forensic examination of the bodies of Soviet civilians, tortured to death by the German-Fascist occupiers near Fridrikhovka village of the Volochisk County, Kamenets-Podolski District disclosed the following, Taken from the act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK) on June 27, 1944; GARF 7021-64-795]
“After about 1 to 1.5 km, the column, turning away from the railway line, turned into a slightly hilly meadow. There were some ruins there, which had been closed off, after there had previously been a clay trench with a brick factory, perhaps also an active pyrite trench. The Jews were gathered there closely together, and the SS and the Lithuanians formed a barrier around them. M***, K*** and I stood at a distance of about 40m from the mass of people, at the height of the barrage. Inside the sand or clay ditch, which had been formed through an extraction, I saw a freshly dug pit of about 20x20m, in form of a square, and about 3m deep. The Jews had to stand in rows and enter the pit. At a distance of about 5m, they had to strip naked and then enter the pit. Two or three members of the SS stood on the highest edge of the pit with machine guns and shot the Jews in the pit. They held their machine guns at hip height. There was always a Jew still alive in the pit. The shooters took turns shooting. From time to time, they would also shoot a victim together. During this Aktion, I walked away from M*** and K*** and looked out for Sonja, but I could not find her. As I was walking back to K***, he took the lead and said, "Dude, go, they are looking for you and want to shoot you too. The leader of the execution commando said: “The pig, we’re going to shoot him right now. I immediately thought that this could be related to Sonja, and I walked away right away. I walked at first at a normal pace, then when I was out of sight, I started to run and that day I hid in a ruin near the Friedrichowka [Fridrikhovka] train station. Later I returned to my neighborhood and locked myself in. However, no one came to look for me or take me. I watched the shooting for a good half an hour. During this time, about 30 to 40 Jewish men and women were executed. Children were in the line of people. Among the Jews, some were very serene and calm, others were crying, others were shouting or praying. Some women carried their children against them. These were terrible scenes that I will never forget in my whole life. […]
The entire Aktion was carried out from beginning to end by the SS and the Lithuanians. The Lithuanians helped with the evacuation of the camp, the transport, and the encirclement at the place of the shooting. I did not see that the Lithuanians also fired. (…) All inmates of the Fridrichowka Jewish camp were shot during the mentioned Aktion. No one was left alive.” [Deposition of Erwin K***, member of Schutzpolizei, made on April 5, 1962; Barch B162-3512, p.9]
Volochysk is a small town located 126 km (78mi) south of Rivne and 65 km (40mi) northeast of Khmelnytskyi, today Proskuriv. The first record of the Jewish community goes back to the 18th century. By 1897, almost half of the population was Jewish, numbering 3,295 individuals. Most of them lived off small scale commerce and handicraft. In the 1920s and 1930s, the town had a Jewish council and a Yiddish school. In 1930, a Jewish kolkhoz (collective farm) was created nearby. In 1939, the local Jews numbered 521, making up only 15% of the total population.
Volochysk was occupied by German forces on July 6, 1941. From September 1941 a ghetto was created. Before that all the Jews were registered and marked with distinguishing badges. The ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire and guarded by local police. The ghetto inmates deemed fit to work were subjected to hard labor.
On September 11, 1942, or summer according to the Soviet archives, the ghetto was liquidated. That day, the Jews from the ghetto, including those who were brought in from the nearby village of Kupil, were taken to the school building, were they stayed for a couple of days. They were then taken outside the town to the brickyard, where they were shot in pits dug in the clay quarry. The victims were taken in groups of 50-60 to the edge of a pit, forced to strip naked, and were shot to death. The shooting was carried out by the Sipo (Security Police) who arrived from Starokostyantyniv for this purpose. Over the course of the following weeks, several dozen Jews were found in hiding and shot at the same site.
According to the Soviet archives, over 8,000 Jews were murdered during the occupation. This number appears to be overestimated. According to different evidence and field research, 3,000-4,000 Jews were murdered in Volochysk
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