1 Execution site(s)
Titus Z., born in 1923, witnessed the anti-Jewish Aktion that took place on July 5, 1941, when drunken German and Romanian vanguard troops passed through the city center: “This first Aktion targeted only the Jews who lived in the city center. The Jews were killed on the spot near their houses or on the streets while attempting to escape. I saw
the bodies of the three members of the dentist Gaber’s family killed in front of their house. Their daughter Teya was my classmate, so I knew the family very well. A lot of Jews living on the periphery managed to hide in the homes of local non-Jews when the Aktion began. We hid our neighbor, Doira Gorshlenger, together with her two children. This Aktion was spontaneous and only lasted a few hours. After killing the Jews on the central street, the Romanian and German soldiers left the city and advanced east. Three days later, when the Romanian administration was created, it was announced to the Jews who were still alive to gather in the main square in the city center. From there, the Jews were first taken to the ghetto in Chernivtsi and later to camps in Transnistria.” (Witness n°2519U, interviewed in Hlyboka on October 27 and 29, 2018)
“On July 5, 1941, the German and Romanian invaders occupied the village of Glubokoye [today Hlyboka]. From the first day of their arrival, they started to mistreat the local population without any pity. On July 5-7, 55 people were shot. […] In the summer [of 1941], a mass execution took place. According to the witnesses’ depositions, 87 people were shot and buried in the same mass grave located in one place. Another 14 people, all Jews, were shot and buried in another place. Five other people of Ukrainian nationality were shot and buried at the third place.” [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commission on July 11, 1945; 22.002M Reel 15(I) p. 303-310./GARF: 7021-79-73]
Hlyboka is a village located in western Ukraine, 25km (15mi) south of Chernivtsi. There is no exact information about when the Jewish community started to settle down in the village. However, when its community is compared with those of nearby villages, we can say that it dates back to the late 17th– early 18th centuries. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Austro-Hungarian Empire controlled Hlyboka. In 1918, it was taken over by Romania. According to the 1921 census, 1,267 people lived there, including 22 Jewish households. In addition to the Jews, the village was home to Romanians, Germans, Poles, and Ukrainians. The majority of Jews lived off small-scale trade or handcrafts; among the Jews there were teachers, doctors, and specialists of other professions. The Jewish community had a cemetery and synagogue. Polish and German children went to one school, while all others including Jews went to the Romanian school. In 1936-1937, only one Romanian school remained open. In 1939, the village was occupied by the Soviets as a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
Hlyboka was occupied by Romanian and German forces on July 4, 1941. The execution of the village’s Jewish and non-Jewish population started immediately after the occupation began. On July 5, 1941, several dozen people were killed in their houses or on the streets in the center of the town. According to field research, this Aktion was conducted as a reprisal against the Jews who fired at the Romanian army when the occupation began. According to Soviet archives, 55 people were murdered over the course of three days. All the bodies were buried at the Jewish cemetery, although there were non-Jews among them. The Jews who managed hide were later deported to Chernivtsi and then to camps in Transnistria. The isolated shootings of Jews in hiding continued until fall 1941.
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