The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: places/ukraine/tarnopol/tarnopol-commission-act.4406


Archive/File: places/ukraine/tarnopol/tarnopol-commission-act.4406
Last-Modified: 1998/07/22

                                 ACT (Abridged)
June 1944
City: Tarnopol

The City's Commission consisted of the following members:

Supreme Soviet Delegates - Kompanec I.  K_ Panasenko A. D_ City Delegate -
Zueva 1. P_ Captain Gudemchuk J. A_ head of health dept. -Wojtkewich M. L,
City Pries-Yvantiuw A. A_ Captain (Justice)Nowikowa A. M_ Major
(justice)- Kozachenko K. A_ with active participation of the Deputy of the
Court-Medical expert of the First Ukrainian Front-Major M/S Chervinskotto
P. I_ and members of the Special Government Commission - Kuzmina S. T_
compiles this ACT, that in the period from June 26-29, and from July 2 7-29,
1944, investigations were conducted about Nazi atrocities in the city of
Tarnopol and surrounding areas, where mass graves were opened. The following
was established:

The German Fascist Army occupied Tarnopol on July 2, 1941. On April 15,
1944, the city was liberated by the Red Army. Nazi brutalities started right
away against the civilian population.  Robberies and shootings of innocent
people continued. Bookkeeper Melcnev, and merchant Mester were shot because
they weren't friendly enough toward the entering Nazi army.

During the first days of Nazi occupation, the Germans started to
round up and shoot Soviet citizens ofJewish Nationality. Germans, with the
help of local Ukrainian Nationalists, were hunting down people on the streets
of Tarnopol, beating them mercilessly, and shooting many of them on the spot.

Eyewitness Glass, L. L., saw the tragic scene on the Ostrowski Street, where
about 80 people were shot. On the Lvov Street number 32, around fifty people
were murdered. Mittelman N. J., witnessed the latter tragedy.
Eyewitness Bondarenko saw Nazi atrocities in the city of Tarnopol. She
saw the daughter of Mr. Keller, who told her that she had just been just
raped by a German, and that her father and two brothers had been shot. Dr.
Kalyna had also been murdered for resisting a rape attempt.

German soldiers were running wild in the streets, murdering whoever fell
into their hands. People were afraid to walk the streets, locking themselves up
inside their houses.

Eyewitness Libergal, Y. S. was ordered during the first day of the Nazi
occupation to hand over to three Gestapo men two pairs of shoes, cloth
material, bed covers, and pillows. The wife was ordered to carry all this to
the waiting machine. Immediately thereafter, the wife and children were
shot.

According to the findings of the investigation commission, during the
first days of the Nazi occupation of the city of Tarnopol, around 5,000
peaceful Soviet Citizens, among them women, children and elderly people were
murdered.

During the preparations of the mass Pogroms against the Jewish people, the
Nazis themselves set fire to a house, blaming the Jews for it.

Eyewitness Eisenstem, B. N. testified that on the night of June 4-5, 1941, on
the Russian Street, where peaceful citizens lived, among them: Family
Katz, six people; Family Eichenbaum, eight people; Family Turnish, five
people, and around ten more families in the house, were locked up inside, doors
and windows closed, and the house set afire. Whoever tried to escape from the
burning inferno was shot by posted watchmen. Neighbors who attempted to
put out the flames were met with machine gun fire. Eisenstein was among
those few who managed to escape.

The first Pogrom against the Jews in Tarnopol took place on July 5, 1941.
Soldiers, under the command of the SS, forced their way into the house,
driving out all the males. All were driven near the house of citizen Mcjky,
where they were shot. The house was in the marketplace.

On July 6, 1941, the Jews were ordered to move the dead bodies to the Bonia
Street. After three or four weeks, the Germans permitted the relatives of the
victims to bury the dead at the cemetery. This permission was given
only after the payment of 300 to 350 zlotys for each body.

This is how the "New Order" started in Tarnopol after the start of the German
occupation.

After the first Pogrom, the Jewish community decided to send a delegation
to the German authorities, asking them to stop the brutal treatment of the
Jews.

The Jewish people were thinking that the Nazi brutalities were committed by
passing army units, and that only they were responsible for the inhuman
behavior toward the Jews. A delegation of about 100 men, consisting of the
most educated people-doctors, lawyers, professors, teachers, etc. -went to
meet with the German authorities.

The Jewish delegation was met with hostility. They were all arrested and
driven to the village Petrikow, where they were shot.

After this tragedy, the German authorities decided to organize the
"Judenrat." The Gestapo ordered 15 people to show up, suggesting to create
the committee. All refused to take part. They were driven toward the brick
Factory, on Tornovska Street, where they were buried alive.

Witness Fishman L. M. testified that among those buried alive were Doctors
Ginsburg Isak, Horowitz Salomon, Weistaub Samuel, and Bereon Isak. After
the bestial murder of 15 doctors, the Gestapo hoped to scare the Jewish
people into submission. With the created Judenrat the Gestapo hoped to
realize their plan of robbery and extermination of the Jewish population.

The Gestapo ordered Mr. Gotfried, Dir.  of the Jewish School, to appear. He was
told to gather 40 people among the educated in order to create the
committee. He was promised that nothing would happen to him. He managed to find
40 people. After the arrival of the delegations at the Gestapo (Mickewicha
Str. 10), the group refused to accept the offer. In reply, the Gestapo and
the police drove the people to the Jewish cemetery, where they were
brutally beaten and ordered to dig a grave. The victims were tied up with
barbed wire and tortured mercilessly.  Eyes were cut out, and ears and fingers
were cut off. Thereafter, they were thrown into the pits and covered with
earth.

Of the 40 murdered people, the Gestapo spared Gotfried and the interpreter
Kapan, who were told that they would not kill them. They would die
themselves. Kapan was later shot, and Gotfried was sent to the extermination
camp Belzec. His fate is not known.

After the two futile attempts to create a jewish committee, the Gestapo decided
to organize such a body themselves. At the end of 1941, the German authorities
organized the Judenrat.

The Gestapo gave the following orders:
1.) Exact count of the Jews in Tarnopol.
2.) During seven days, a sum of 20,000 rubles in gold is to be delivered.

In case tnis order is not fulfilled, a second Pogrom against the Jews will
take place.

3.) All Jews were ordered to wear the Star of David.
4.) The Jewish houses shall be marked with the same sign.
5.) Mobilize all the Jews, ages 14 to 50, for hard physical labor.

The Jewish committee completed the count of the Jewish people. The figure
was 20,000. The Gestapo forewarned the committee that every armband sign would
cost 50 zlotys, and the price for every house sign would be 100 zlotys. All
those found guilty of disobeying the order would be penalized and made to
pay 500 zlotys, or be sentenced to death.

In August 1941, special orders were issued by the German authorities. Jews
were forbidden to walk outside without the Star of David. It was prohibited to
ride bicycles. Jews were ordered not to greet the Germans. The Jews were beaten
whether or not they greeted the Germans.

On September 5, 1941, the German
authorities issued an order that anyone having Jewish grandparents was to be
considered Jewish. Until September 25, 1941, all Jews had to move to the
Jewish Ghetto. Death was the penalty for disobeying the order. The streets:
Perla, Ryga, Pola, Berka, Russka, Lvovska, etc., were designated for the
Ghetto. The streets were separated by barbed wire, and guarded by the police.

From the Ghetto people were taken out in orderly columns to and from work,
guarded by police. The delivery of food to the Ghetto was forbidden. The daily
ration in the Ghetto was 100 to 150 grams of surrogate bread, and a watery
soup. The sick in the Ghetto weren't treated. The death rate was growing.
Some of the sick people were killed.  With the worsening of the prevailing
conditions, it often happened that 100 to 150 people died daily from
starvation or sickness.

In order to soften the words "Jewish Pogrom," the Germans substituted the
word "Action," which sounded nicer. To justify the extermination of the Jewish
people, the Nazis declared that every Jew was a communist, an American or
English capitalist, with whom the Germans were waging this war. And if a
Jewish child was not now an enemy, it would be an enemy later.

On March 23, 1942, the "Action" took place in Tarnopol. Before the "Action"
was carried out, the Gestapo ordered the Judenrat to select all children and
the old people, to be transferred to another place. The figure given was
3,000 people. If the order was not carried out, the Gestapo would take
more, and the Ghetto, with the remaining people, would be destroyed.
To find a way out of this terrible situation, the Judenrat bribed the
Gestapo, and the figure was reduced to 700.

During the same day, the separated victims were taken out and driven to
the janowski Forest where they were all shot. The children were not shot. They
were thrown alive into the pits and covered with soil. The 40 children
taken from the childrens' home were suffocated.

The second "Action" took place on August 31, 1942. At 4:00 a.m., the
Ghetto was surrounded by the SS. At 6:00 a.m., the Gestapo arrived at the
Ghetto and started robbing the inmates, driving out the people to the market
place, where the men were separated from the women. All men were
transported to the labor camp. At 8:00 a.m., empty trucks arrived. The waiting
women, children, and the old were all loaded onto the trucks and transported
to the Tarnopol railroad station. There the people were loaded into cattle
wagons, about 100 and 200 in each car.  Their destination was notknown.

The third "Action" was on September 30, 1942. The fourth was on October 1942,
and the fifth "Action" was on November 8th and 9th, 1942. These "Actions" were
similar to the previous one.

The German Fascist occupation authorities waged a policy of
extermination of Soviet citizens. In addition to this, they ordered that
contributions be paid under the threat of harsh penalties. In September 1942,
the judenrat was given the order to collect from every Ghetto inmate two
grams of gold, promising that no Jewish pogroms would be repeated in the
future. The "penalty" contribution was collected. The Gestapo accumulated more
than 30 kg of gold. The Pogroms continued.

The Gestapo exterminated not only Tarnopol citizens but also those
brought from Tarnopol region, and other locations. More than 50,000 people were
transported to Tarnopol from other towns and villages.

Not only peaceful Soviet civilian citizens were murdered. More than 1,000
Soviet Red Army prisoners were shot in Tarnopol.

The German Fascists also shot in Tarnopol around 40 Czechoslovaks, who
tried to cross the front line into the Soviet Union, in order to save
themselves.

In the village of Borki, the Gestapo brutally destroyed the concentration camp.
The wooden barracks were soaked with kerosene and lit aflame. All inmates
perished in the flames. In the same camp, people were burned alive, also on
wooden piles. Around 600 people were in the camp, among the civilians there
also were war prisoners.

Soviet partisans who fell into German hands were also shot. The bodies were
thrown into the river Seret.

In addition to those methods of extermination of Soviet citizens, the
German Fascists staged "hunting" raids, rounding up innocent victims, shooting
them in the Dragunov Forest. There were around six or seven such massacres in
which nearly 8,000 people perished.

At the end of 1943, the Germans liquidated the Ghetto in Tarnopol. All
remaining victims were transported under strong guard to the Dragunov
Forest, where they were shot. After the last "Action" and the liquidation of
the Ghetto, the Nazis hung out a sign: Judenfrei, that is, that "the city of
Tarnopol is free of Jews."

After that, any remaining Jew who fell into the hands of the Nazis, was shot
on the spot, or driven to the Dragunov Forest, and shot there. The remaining
Jews in the camps were all shot on July 23, 1943. Among the murdered were also
the Jewish police, which was created to keep "order" in the Jewish Ghetto.

The Investigative Commission found 26 pits during the excavations. According
to the figures established by the Court-Medical Experts, over 18,000
bodies of peaceful Soviet citizens were found in the mass graves.

According to the preliminary investigation report, the German
Fascists shot in Tarnopol and surrounding areas over 2 1,000 innocent
Soviet citizens, war prisoners, and Soviet Partisans. In addition to the
above, around 700 people were transported by railroad to the town of
Belzec. Their fate is not known.

Guilty in the extermination of peaceful Soviet citizens, war prisoners, and
partisans in the city of Tarnopol, the Commission considers:

1. General Kittel-Kommander Stronghold, City Tarnopol.
2. General-Major Neiclorf- Garrison Command, City Tarnopol.
3. "Podpolkovnik" Henrich Heinsburg -Adjutant Garr. Cmdr.
4. General Von - Horbun -Gestapo Command. Tarnop. Reg.
5. Rakita-Dep. Gestapo Reg. Comm., also Commandant of the Jewish Slave-Labor
Camp.
6. Captain Struchlas -Command. Gestapo staff.
7. Captain Welker and Herman-Gestapo Officers.
8. Palfinger -Gestapo, Referent Jewish Questions.
9. Dornicla-Helper Command. City Tarnopol.
10. Rain - Gestapo-Man.
11. Sturmfuehrer Graf Von Miller-Gestapo Command. City Tarnopol.
12. Leks Fritz -Dep. Comm. Gestapo.
13. Gagar (Hagar) -Commandant City Tarnopol.
14. Mysh- Prosecutor SD.
15. Tumynik, - Dep. Comm. Jewish Camp.
16. Chervonyj-Dep. Comm., Executions.
17. Rieman-Reinish, Miller-Gestapo
18. Borykovich, Olejnik- Gestapo Agents
19. Pramor Ernst-command. War Prisoner Camp.
20. Sklaryk, Reitord, Weipel, Gibky, Winkler, Gensprowski- Criminal
21. Spinger, Fleg Willy-Secret Police.
22. Chechowich Wasia-Agent Secret Police (Polish).

                         FATHERLAND TRAITORS -POLICEMEN
                                 (UKR. NATIONALISTS)
1. Madarskii
2. Salema
3. Jawnij
4. Shtyk
5. Pawtos Oleksa
6. Gulko
7. Wassh Myron
8. Wysotskij
9. Zborowski
10. Chowrow
11. Barasa
12. Martynevich
13. Kochurka
14. Shkombora
15. (illegible)
16. Shkambara Konstantin
17. Pshzhemirski
18. Kucan
19. Mushka Taras
20. Shaderskyj
21. Chomowa, Secret Police Agent
22. Rychkowskij - Police Commander
23. Kobylenskij Kostia
24. Grinfeld (Jewish)
25. Blimfeld-Kommander Jewish Police.
26. Weinstein -Jewish Police
27. Fuchs - Police
28. Jampolex-Police

                                   KOMMISSION
                                        
1. Dep. Supreme Soviet SSSR-Kornpariets
2. P. S. Nasenko
3. Deputy City Soviet-Zue- 1. P.
4. Captain - Gudemchuk J. A.
5. Head Med. Instit.-WOjtkewIch M. 1.
6. City Priest-lvantiuw A. A.
7. Captain, Justice- Novikow A. M.
8. Major Justice- Kozachenko K. A.
9. Major M/C - Cherninskij P. J.
10. Represent. Extraordinary government Commission of the USSR -Kuzinin, S. T.

Osnovanye: Gato, Fond No, P-274, OP. 1 D. 123 LL. 111- 117.
Archive Director-L.I. Lelekova
Archive Elder-G. W. Trotskaja
(STAMP)
            (Translated by S.Brinstein)
                                       

                         Work Cited
                              
Sabrin, B.F., Ed. Alliance for Murder: The Nazi-Ukrainian
Nationalist Partnership in Genocide. New York: Sarpedon, 1991
(pp 269-275)

Home ·  Site Map ·  What's New? ·  Search Nizkor

© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012

This site is intended for educational purposes to teach about the Holocaust and to combat hatred. Any statements or excerpts found on this site are for educational purposes only.

As part of these educational purposes, Nizkor may include on this website materials, such as excerpts from the writings of racists and antisemites. Far from approving these writings, Nizkor condemns them and provides them so that its readers can learn the nature and extent of hate and antisemitic discourse. Nizkor urges the readers of these pages to condemn racist and hate speech in all of its forms and manifestations.