Dubno | Rivne

Motel the Butcher, from Dubno. Pre-war picture ©Taken from chelm.freeyellow.com Students in a Talmud-Torah, Dubno, from circa 1912. From "Photographing the Jewish Nation: Pictures from S. An-sky’s Ethnographic Expeditions." ©Taken from chelm.freeyellow.com ©Taken from chelm.freeyellow.com ©Taken from chelm.freeyellow.com The synagogue in Dubno. ©Taken from chelm.freeyellow.com / The Jewish synagogue in Dudno. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum In the town center, 2011 © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum In the town center, 2011. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum The Dubno castle. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Old Jewish cemetery in Dubno  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Tatiana K. ., born in 1925:” One girl’s mother came to the place where I worked and asked me to hide her daughter Lisa for a night. I took the 2 year old baby home without any hesitation.”  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Lisa (in the middle) with other children from Tatiana K.’s family. (1944)  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Zoia T.., born in 1924, remembers how the Germans avenged 30 Jews for one killed German  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Yahad-In Unum team interviewing one of the witnesses  © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Vadym T., born in 1923: “After a while all Jews were gathered in the ghetto. The ghetto was closed. Some parts of it were fenced in with barbed wire and another part with wooden planks.”© Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°1, located at the Jewish cemetery. About 1,000 Jews were murdered at this place. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°2. Back then it was an airfield where 5,000 Jew were murdered in October 1942 by Einsatzgruppe  C. © Aleksey Kasyanov /Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°3. On June 24-25, 1941, 527 people including 23 Jews were murdered here by the NKVD. © Aleksey Kasyanov/Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°4. Back then it was marsh called Palestina. 1,750 Jews would be murdered here. © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum Execution site n°5, the Shybena hill.  The Jews from Dubno, Verba, et Ostrozhets were executed here on July 27-30, 1941, August 22, 1941, and October 24, 1942.   © Aleksey Kasyanov  /Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Dubno

5 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery (1); Airfield (2); Road near the prison(3); “Palestina” marsh (4); Shybena hill (5)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 13,800

Witness interview

Zoia T., born in 1925, remembers: « One German was shot in the village. So they took 30 prisoners from Dubno to the cemetery. I saw everything because I lived not far from there. The prisoners were lined up and then shot dead. I heard the gunshots. There was no grave. They were killed on the ground. The Germans left a notice on the bodies reading « For every German there will be 30 people killed » (Testimony n°1384, interviewed in Dubno, on December 10, 2011)

Soviet archives

“During this time, the Gebietskomissar W., his assistant A. and the chef of the Gendarmeria arrived to the village in order to prepare the execution and the looting of Jews. Thus, on August 22nd, 1941, 575 people were gathered in the prison of Dubno and then taken to the Jewish cemetery in Zabralye where they were shot 200m away from the cemetery. The pits were dug before the shooting by the victims themselves. Then, they were taken to pits, forced to lie down facing the ground and shot with a submachine gun. The next group had to lie over the dead bodies of the previous group. Those who had good clothes had to undress and give them to Germans, but the majority was shot dressed. [Deposition of a Jewish survivor, Idel Sch., born in 1898, given to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission; RG.22-002M : Fond 7021, Opis 71, Delo 48]

German archives

« On April 2, 1942, a ghetto was established in Dubno under the order of Gebietskommissar. The ghetto was fenced in with barbed wire and wooden planks. The ghetto was guarded by Ukrainian police. The ghetto numbered about 15,000 Jews from Dubno and nearby village. In the middle of May, 1942, a selection was conducted in the ghetto by the chief of labor service H., the Gebietskommissar, and his collaborators. The ghetto was divided in two parts. The specialists and those who were able to work were assembled in one part of the ghetto, and the remaining Jews in another part. On May 27, 1942, in the early hours of the morning, the ghetto was surrounded by Ukrainian police and the German gendarmerie. When I saw this I hid in the bunker along with another 20 Jews. After the execution I found out that 7,000 Jews from the ghetto were rounded-up and murdered near the village of Kleschykha.” [Deposition of a Judenrat member, B162-5211]

Historical note

Dubno is a town located about 44 km southwest of Rivne. The Jewish community in Dubno was first mentioned in documents from 1532. Most Jews at the time were cattle owners. In the mid-17th century, there were about 2,000 Jews. Most of them were killed during the Khmelnitskyi uprising, but the community was very quickly reestablished. In 1780, 2,325 Jews lived in Dubno which made it one of the biggest Jewish communities in the region. Dubno became an important trade center which helped the growth of the Jewish community. The majority of Jews lived off small scaled trade and handcraft. In 1847, the community numbered 6,330 and by 1897, there were already 7,108 Jews, making up more than a half of the local population. Between the two world wars, the city remained under Polish rule. In 1921, the Jewish population numbered 5,315. At that time many cultural institutions, including a Zionist movement operated in the town, but they were forbidden once the town was taken over by the Soviet Union in 1939. On the eve of the war, there were about 13,000 Jews in the town including many Polish refugees who arrived in 1940-1941.  

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On June 25th, 1941, Dubno was occupied by the Germans. Hundreds of Jews fled to the East by that time. Between June and August there were several isolated Aktions carried out by Germans, during which over 1,000 Jews were killed at the Jewish cemetery. The first victims were mostly Jewish intelligentsia and those who were accused of being Soviet activists.  The ghetto was established only on April 2nd, 1942, and existed until late October 1942. It was closed with barbed wire and in the middle of May it was divided in two parts: one for specialists and those fit to work, and another one for those who were classified as “useless”. It numbered over 11,000 Jews from Dubno and nearby villages. On May 27, 1942, another execution was conducted during which about 5,000 Jews were murdered.  During this Aktion, the men were taken and shot near the Shybina Gora and the women with children were shot close to the village of Surmychi.  The isolated killings continued for about four months. The next mass execution was conducted on October 5, 1942. The Jews were rounded up and first assembled in the village and then taken in the direction of Surmychi where they were shot. From the archives we know that the Jews were shot in groups of twenties. They had to undress, get inside the pit and lie down facing the ground.  The executions were conducted by the SS mobile squad, helped by German Gendarmeria and local police. During this round-up many Jewish inmates managed to hide but after a while they were found or left their hiding places by themselves. They were shot along with the remaining Jews. According to most sources there were about 1,000 murdered on October 23, 1942. About a dozen specialists were spared. There is no information about when and where they were murdered. Only 300 Jews from Dubno survived the war.  


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