Boyany (Boian, Bojan, Boyan) | Chernivtsi

/ At the entrance to the village of Boyany ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Local orthodox church ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Former Jewish house in Boyany ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Former Jewish house in Boyany ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Floria K., born in 1935, saw a soldier fire at a Jewish girl three times but he missed. He decided that it was a sign that she wasn’t guilty and helped her get out of the pit. ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Ivan B., born in 1928: “The Jews were better pupils than we. They didn’t have to work in the fields after school so they were studying.”  ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Georgiy K., born in 1931, saw the Jews being brought by cart to the Dnister river to be drowned or shot there. ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Yahad team interviewing the witness of a shooting of about 80 Jews ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Yahad’s team with the witness looking at the archival pictures ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum The witness leads the Yahad’s team to the place where 70 Jews were shot dead. There is a tagged square at that place nowadays. ©Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Boyany

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:

Witness interview

Floria K., born in 1935, recalls: “In 1941, a Romanian soldier entered our classroom and told the teacher to make the Jewish children leave the classroom. The soldiers were waiting in the hallway. The Jewish children didn’t know what was happening. There were only boys. They left their belongings at their desks because they thought they would come back. The other children also went out of the classroom out of curiosity. The teacher let them do that but stayed in the classroom. She did not know that they were going to be shot. The soldiers took twenty Jewish boys to the pit, located about 50 meters away from the school. All the children of the school begged the Romanians to spare their friends. But the officer said that he would kill them as well if they did not go back to school. The soldiers started to aim at non-Jewish children with the rifles to make them run away. The officer said that children under the age of 7 would be spared because they could still be ‘Romanized,’ unfortunately for others they were all shot.” (Testimony n°1882, interviewed in Boyany on June 23rd, 2015)

Soviet archives

“I, Keningsberg Soulamit Leontievna, born in 1926, have been living in Boyany since 1940. When the fascists occupied our village in 1941, they immediately started to shoot the Jews. I escaped from my house dressed in a nightgown; the other Jews were caught by the Romanians. I was caught in Chernivtsi, the Romanians beat us and we were sent to the ghetto. A month later, in the summer, we were sent to Berchad, in the region of Vinnytsia. Life there was very hard. I was released on February 14, 1944.” [The deposition of a Jewish survivor given to the State Soviet extraordinary commission (ChGK) in July 1945; RG 22.002M: 7021-79-83]

Historical note

Boyany is located 17 km east of Chernivtsi. In the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, Boyany was a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1890, there were 938 Jews living in the village. They were traders and craftsmen. At the end of the 19th century, the village became one of the important centers of Hasidism in Bukovyna. In 1918, Boyany was taken over by Romania and remained under its rule until 1940. As the front line was held in the village, Boyany was almost completely destroyed. Only two houses remained undamaged. From the late 19th century until the 1930’s, there was a Zionist-religious society “Ohavei Zion” in Boyany and in 1925 a new synagogue was built with the help of a charity society. In the 1920’s, a Jewish commune was created in the village. Many social and cultural charitable organizations operated in the town. On June 28, 1940 the northern part of Bukovyna, including Boyany, was taken over by the USSR. At that time the Jewish population of the village was 650 people. The village was occupied by the Romanians in July 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

The testimonies recorded by Yahad confirm and complete the archives: on July 7-8, 1941, the Romanians shot 87 people in Boyany in the large cellar of a demolished house that served as a pit. The shooting lasted several days. The Jews were brought in small groups of 10 to 15 people and were shot one by one in the pit by several shooters who remained permanently next to the pit. Among the victims, about twenty Jewish boys over 7 years old were taken directly from school to the pit and shot. At the end of the shooting the pit was filled in by requisitioned villagers. The bodies were exhumed and reburied several years later. Most probably their remains were transferred to the Strointsi cemetery where a monument was erected in their memory. 3 to 4 days after the shooting, the remaining Jews were brought to the Dniester river and killed there (either by drowning or shooting). A some Jews from Boyany were relocated to the camp in Bershad where they stayed until liberation or to the camps in Transnistria where  they most likely were executed or died from hunger. 

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