Zolochiv (Zolochev, Zloczow) | Lviv

/ The view at the town of Zolochiv ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum In the center of the town of Zolochiv. Even though it is a bit run down, the town still has part of the urban and architectural characteristics from its glorious Austro-Hungarian past.Before the war, the town had a population of 2,000 Jews.©Markel Redondo In the center of the town of Zolochiv. Modern day, 2016. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Bronislava T., born in 1928: “There were many children and women in the ghetto. They had nothing to eat and many died of starvation. A special truck arrived and gathered the corpses to take them to the mass grave at the cemetery.” ©Markel Redondo/Yahad Yevgen G. was born in 1930. He remembers seeing the Jews forced to exhume the corpses of the Ukrainians in front of the castle so that the families could come and recognize their relatives to bury them. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Looking at the archives pictures with a witness ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Oleksandr S., born in 1932, lived next to the Jewish cemetery. During the war, he regularly saw Jewish men being forced to break the tombstones that were then used to pave the roads. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Oksana D., born in 1926, witnesses the execution of 12 young Jewish women who were found in hiding. It happened in May 1942. The execution was conducted by the Germans. Their bodies were transported to the Jewish cemetery. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Ivan V., born in 1936. His parents and his aunt hid 25 Jews at their homes. A Jew named Angel along with his wife and three daughters Dora, Berta and Elia were hidden at the attic.  They all survived the war. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum The castle of Zolochiv for a long time served as a prison for different, successive political regimes. After 2 years of power, when the Soviets left the town hastily the Soviets massacred all the detainees. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum Oleksandr shows the Yahad team where the mass grave is located on the land of the Jewish cemetery. There is no monument. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum While Oleksandr S. was on his way to his grandmother’s home, he saw an open truck pass by with 20 Jews inside, including children. "The truck entered the cemetery and stopped near a pit." ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum The backyard of the castle. Upon the arrival of the Germans, the Ukrainians were encouraged to have the Jews exhume the mass grave; these Jews were then in turn massacred at the same location, in the trenches of the castle. ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum The territory of the Jewish cemetery with several mass graves where the Jews were shot directly or buried after being shot in the town. Execution site n°1 ©Markel Redondo/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Zolochiv

3 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before:
Jewish cemetery (1); Castle territory (2)
Period of occupation:
Number of victims:
About 4,500-5,000

Witness interview

Bronislava T., born in 1928, remembers: “The ghetto was created in the Jewish area, close to the Pushkin street, in the center of the town. The ghetto was fenced in with wooden planks and a barbed wire over. It was also guarded by the Ukrainian police armed with batons. They were so crowded there that several families had to share one house. There were many children and women in the ghetto. They had nothing to eat and many died of starvation. A special truck arrived and gathered the corpses to take them to the mass grave at the cemetery. I could see that because we lived just across the cemetery, about 30m away. Besides that, the Jews were subjected to perform hard labor and different kinds of humiliation, for example they were taken to graze at the pasture as if they were cattle, and if they refuse to eat grass they were beaten.” (Testimony n°2115, interviewed in Zolochiv, on June 20nd, 2016)

Soviet archives

“The first round-up started on July 3, 1941, when all Jews from Zolochiv were gathered. About 4,000 people were gathered: including 3,000 men, 300 women were shot on the spot, near the prison. Another 700 were released. The shooting was conducted in the following way: once all Jews were gathered in one place, for instance at the prison’s yard, they were ordered to dig a big pit. At one moment, people who were tired and hungry could not continue digging.
The SS unit and the local police ordered them to get inside the pit. When the pit was full up to the borders, the shooting started.” [Deposition of a Jewish survivor, Dora K., born in Zolochiv in 1927, given to Soviet State Extraordinary Commission in 1944; RG-22.002M; Fond 7021, Opis 67, Delo 70]

Historical note

Zolochiv is located 64km east of Lviv. Between 1772 and 1919 the town was under Austrian rule, then under Polish rule. In 1939, it was annexed by the Soviets. The first records of the Jewish community go back to 17th century. In 1765, 1,150 Jews lived there. By 1900, the Jewish community grew bigger and represented the half of the total population (5,401 Jews). The well-known Hasidic dynasty of Naftali Herz Imber was native from Zolochiv. Roald Hoffman, the Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, was born here. The majority of Jews lived off small trade and handcraft. Many worked on the local factories. There was a synagogue, a cemetery and a Jewish school. According to the census, in 1939 about 7,800 Jews lived in the town, including many Jewish refugees who fled from occupied Poland. It was occupied by Germans on July 2nd, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Right after the Germans arrived, a pogrom was organized against the Jew as revenge for the killings of about 700 Ukrainian nationalists, who were actually killed by the NKVD in the prison just before the Soviet retreat. However, Germans used this pretext to accuse the Jews of these killings which resulted in a 4 days pogrom, which started on July 3rd, 1941. The number of victims varies from 300 to 3,300 Jews according to the different sources. First, the Jews were forced to dig out the bodies of the NKVD victims and then they were killed on the spot. After that, several anti-Jewish measures were implemented, for instance, the Jews were marked and registered and were not allow to leave the town. They were subjected to perform forced labor and to pay regular contribution to Germans. The ghetto was created in December 1942 and consisted of about 4,000 Jews from Zolochiv and nearing villages, for instance Sasiv. However, even before that, the majority of Jews lived concentrated in one area.   From November to July 1942 several Jews fit to work were sent to labor camps in Sasiv, Pluhiv, Chervone (former Lackie Welkie). The first mass deportation started in late August 1942. Thus on August 28th, 1942, some 2,500 Jews were deported to the death camp of Belzec. The second deportation of about 2,500 Jew was carried out in November 1942. There were many isolated killings of Jews who were shot on the spot. Their bodies were buried in mass grave at the Jewish cemetery. The aktions were conducted by Security police helped by German gendarmerie and local police.  The ghetto was liquidated in the early April 1943. During this Aktion 3,500 Jews were taken by truck to the forest, located close to the village of Yelykovychi, 4km away, where they were shot. However, even after the liquidation several hundred Jews remained in the town in the labor camp until it was liquidated in July 1943.

Nearby villages

  • Sasiv
  • Yelykhovychi
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