Boremel | Rivne

Streets of  Boremel before World War II. From the witness’ personal archives.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum / / Nadezhda K., born in 1920:”Boremel was much bigger back then because there were a lot of Jews. They had their own shops. There were no conflicts at all.”   © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Halyna K., born in 1926: “The Judenrat was led by my classmate’s father. They were all killed. I saw them going to their death. We all cried. Before the shooting many young Jews attempted to flee the ghetto.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum’s team talking with one of the witnesses.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum A building which was located in the ghetto.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Execution site of Jews by the Styr River.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum The memorial to about 700 Jewish victims murdered in the ravine by the Styr River.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Boremel

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Two natural ravines by the river
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Halyna K., born in 1926, remembers: “In the spring of 1942 the ghetto was created. The local policemen, to whom the Germans had promised to make Ukraine independent, guarded the ghetto. They treated the Jews a little better than the Germans did because they knew the villagers. The Jews stayed in the ghetto until its liquidation in September. Then, one day, all the Jews were gathered in the synagogue, located on the territory of the ghetto, where the rabbi made a speech saying not to resist. The following day, the German trucks arrived to take the Jews towards the ravine to be shot. The trucks made several round trips during the day. We could see what was happening through barbed wire.
One or two days before the mass execution, my Jewish friend Pesia came asking me to hide her. She stayed in our cellar for two weeks. Then, she left to look for her family, if they were alive. She managed to survive the war by staying in hiding. We are still in contact.” (Testimony n°1343, interviewed in Boremel, on November 28, 2011)

Soviet archives

“From the accounts of the local population, it was established that in September 1942, under the order of the commander of Boremel, Sch., helped by the Gestapo, 700 Jews were shot. The victims were taken to the execution site in four or five trucks. Being undressed before the shooting, they had to take a little path to enter the deep ravine where they were shot with both submachine and machine guns. Among the victims there were children who were buried alive in the arms of their mothers.
Under the order of the commander Sch., in October 1942, 7 Jewish members of the Judenrat were shot for not having executed the order to gather the definite amount of gold objects in the given time.” [Act of the State Extraordinary Commission ; RG.22-002M: Fond 7021, Opis 71, Delo 46]

Historical note

Boremel is a village located on the banks of the Styr River, about 85 km southwest of Rivne. The first Jewish community dates back to late 18th century. In 1897, 1,047 Jews lived in the village, comprising almost 90% of the total population. This number became smaller by 1921, when the Jewish population numbered at only 857.  There was a synagogue. According to the witness all children went to the Polish school, but the Jewish children had their religion classes separately with a Rabbi. The Jews lived off small scale trade and handcraft. The Zionist movement operated in the town until it was banned in 1939 once the town was taken over by the Soviet Union.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Germans occupied Boremel on June 25th, 1941.Shortly after the occupation, still under the German military administration which lasted until September 1941, all Jews were marked with yellow distinguishing badges. The Jewish Council (Judenrat) was formed with 7 men from the community. However, some witnesses claim that there were 9-12 men in the Judenrat. Additionally, a Jewish police was created. Some of the Jews were moved to Rivne and Dubno for forced work. They never returned and were likely killed in those places along with local Jews. Those remaining in Boremel had to work on farms. It was the only possibility to leave the village boundaries. The fenced ghetto was established in June 1942. Until October 1942, there were no massive executions in the village. Those who tried to leave the ghetto to find some food were shot dead on the spot. In early October, 1942, the ghetto was liquidated. German police helped by Ukrainian local police executed about 700 Jews in the ravine. Many succeeded to hide, but later they were found and shot dead as well. Only a small number of Jews survived the Holocaust.


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