Koropets | Ternopil

/ / Mykhailo S., born in 1929, witnessed the round-up of local Jews before their deportation, as well as one of the executions carried out in the clay quarry by the Germans. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Mykhailo B., born in 1933: “There were several shootings of Jews over the summer. One day I saw a group of Jews being taken away by Germans armed with machine guns and whips. The shootings were public. I was 2-3 meters from the Germans."©Les Kasyanov/YIU Iaroslav P., born in 1932,  gave our team key information regarding pre-war Jewish life and the Soviet occupation of 1939-1940, but also regarding forced labor, deportations, and executions of the Koropets Jews. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Iaroslav P., born in 1932: "In the summer of 1942, the day before the deportation, about 20 members of the Gestapo came in an open truck filled with soldiers.” ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum An old Jewish house in the city center. According to witnesses, the Jews were allowed to remain in their homes until the day of the round-up and deportation. Their homes were then taken over and occupied by local residents. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The site where the small synagogue of Koropets used to be. Today, a small ruined building occupies the site. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Iaroslav leads our team to the site where the Jews of Koropets were gathered. They were then deported to Buchach, where they were executed.    ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The site of the former main synagogue of Koropets. Today it is a private property with houses and garages. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Graves of the ancient Jewish cemetery of Koropets. Despite the poor condition of the site, the Hebrew inscriptions are still visible on some of them. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Aerial view of the site of the former Jewish cemetery. After the executions, the bodies of the victims were transported there and buried by Jews or requisitioned civilians. Today, the site is surrounded by a dense forest. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Mykhailo S., born in 1929, points out the execution site to our team. At the time, he was able to observe the execution of 8 local Jews while hiding with a friend on top of the hill overlooking the clay quarry. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum The former Koropets clay quarry where several executions of Jews took place. Today, the place is situated down a hill and is surrounded by trees and bushes. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum Site located between the former police station and the prison from which the Jews were gathered and deported by the German authorities in the summer of 1942. ©Les Kasyanov/Yahad – In Unum

Execution of Jews in Koropets

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1944
Number of victims:
Between 8 and 50

Witness interview

Mykhailo S., born in 1929: "In the summer of 1942, a friend and I saw a group of eight Jews, mostly women and a few men, walking down the road. They were being led by four German policemen in green uniforms up a small hill near the road where there was a clay quarry. They were then lined up facing the clay wall, with the shooters standing 4 meters away. They executed four people first, then the other four. The victims fell to the ground near the clay wall. There was no grave and the bodies were not covered with dirt. I watched the shooting hidden at the top of the hill. The victims’ valuables were then looted by the executioners. After this, there were no more Jews in the village." (Witness n°2535U, interviewed in Koropets on November 29, 2018)

Soviet archives

"On June 26, 1941, German-fascist troops occupied the territory of the Koropets district. During the occupation, the head of the Gestapo, Major Gans Tsitler, and his commando, arrested 207 innocent Soviet activists and civilians in the town of Koropets and took them to the town of Buchach. [...] There they were shot during the night and thrown into the gutters. When the gutters to the east of Buchach were opened, 207 bodies of citizens who had been shot or died of mistreatment were discovered. Forensic examination established that 90 people had been hanged and 117 had been shot in the head or in the abdomen." [Act drawn up by Soviet State Extraordinary Commisison (ChGk); GARF 7021-75-376; June 12, 1945; p. 8]

Historical note

Koropets is a town located 75 km (46 miles) southwest of Ternopil, in western Ukraine. Before the war, the town was mostly composed of Ukrainians and Poles. About 30 Jewish families also resided there, mainly in the city center. Relations between these different communities were good. The Jews were mainly merchants. They owned two synagogues and a cemetery. At the end of 1939, under the terms of the German-Soviet Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the area came under the control of the USSR. Many Poles fled just before the arrival of the Red Army. Under the Soviet rule all private business, including Jewish shops, were nationalized.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

On June 22, 1941, the German armies and their allies began their invasion of the USSR, known as Operation Barbarossa. Koropets was captured on July 8. As soon as the Germans arrived, an auxiliary police force of Ukrainians was established to assist the Gestapo. The Jews were allowed to keep their homes, but could no longer do business. At the beginning of 1942, the Jews began to be subjected to various types of forced labor, such as working on plantations. In their absence, their stores were looted. In the summer of 1942, the local Jews were rounded up with their belongings in the courtyard of the police station in the presence of German authorities, the Gestapo, and the police. They were then deported to the town of Buchach, where they were executed. On the day of the deportation, several shootings took place, including one in a local clay quarry. For about a month, before and after the deportation, at least five other isolated shootings took place at this location. Immediately after the execution, a group of requisitioned Jews was given the task of carrying and burying the bodies of the victims in the Jewish cemetery, 200 meters away. At the same time, Jewish homes and belongings were looted and taken over by other residents.

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