1 Execution site(s)
Serhiy S., born in 1929, explains: “There were Jewish houses where the Jews lived before the war. But, after a while, a sort of ghetto was created even if it was not closed, and there was no fence. The Jews wore distinctive signs – circles on the chest and on the back. The Jews could not walk freely in the village or have any contact with the local population. They remained about a month in the ghetto and then they were brought to the shooting”. (Testimonies n°1441 and n°1442, interviewed in Vyshnivka, on April 25th, 2012)
Vyshnivka (former Opalin) is located on the banks of the Buh River, 130km west-northwest of Lutsk and 75 km west of Koval. The first records of the Jewish community dates back to 18th century when 92 Jews lived in the village. According to the 1921 census, 516 Jews lived in the village comprising 42% of the total population. Between the two wars Opalin was under Polish rule and in 1939, as a result of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, was annexed by the Soviet union. The majority of Jews were engaged in commerce or were artisans. On the eve of the war there were about 600 Jews including the refugees from Poland who arrived after 1939.
Vyshnivka was occupied by German forces in late June 1941. Shortly after the German arrival, in late summer-early fall all Jews were marked with Stars of David, which later were replaced by yellow distinguishing badges on their chests and backs. They were forbidden to leave the village and were subjected to systematic robberies and forced farm works. The ghetto was created in December 1941 and existed almost a year. According to the local residents, interviewed by Yahad, it was not fenced in and was located in the area where the Jews lived before the war. The ghetto was liquidated on October 2nd, 1942, by a German unit who arrived from Lyuboml and was assisted by Ukrainian police. On this day, 582 Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery where they had to dig the pit by themselves before being shot in it. They were shot with automatic weapon.
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