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Chapter 10

Extermination of the Jews of Stryj and Vicinity



1. First Persecution

12.000 Jews lived in Stryj at the time of the occupation by the German Army in July, 1941. The German administration Authorities arrived there in August.

On the 22nd August, 1941, the SD assisted by the Ukrainian Police arrested a 1000 Jews in the town. Among them were Jewish intellectuals and prominent Jews. The arrested were brought to the courtyard of the local magistrate. They were beaten and maltreated most cruelly and a number of them were killed on the spot. The others were left for 2 weeks in the open air in the mud covered courtyard. Neither food nor water was given to them and they were tortured continuously. Only 100 Jews succeeded in escaping by bribing their guards. The remainder was taken after two weeks to a forest near Holobotow. There they were killed by machine guns.

2. Anti-Jewish Decrees

All Jews were ordered to wear a special badge. They had to register at the local German Labour Office and were employed at different forced labour. The German authorities appointed a Jewish Council which had to carry out German orders. Jewish enterprises were confiscated and no compensation was paid to its owners. The Judenrat had to deliver large quantities of various goods to the German Authorities. SD officers looted much Jewish property for their own personal use.

3. Small Scale Murder

Young Jews fit for work were often apprehended in the streets and sent away to SS forced labour camps. In the spring of 1942, Jews were ordered to move to a special quarter. They were allowed to move freely in the town until 8 pm. The SD would often carry out small-scale extermination actions. Small groups of Jews were seized in the town and were murdered in the local prison or in one of the forests outside the town. Jews who committed the slightest offences against German regulations were arrested and summarily executed.

4. First Action

On a day in September 1942, the Jewish quarters were suddenly surrounded by the SD, Gendarmerie and Ukrainian Police. 5,000 Jews were seized and were marched to the local railway station where they were loaded onto trucks and sent to the Belzec extermination camp.

5. Second Action

On the 7th October, 1942, a similar action was carried out by the same Formations: 3-4,000 Jews were deported to the Belzec extermination camp.

6. Third Action

Jews from towns and villages of the vicinity were ordered to move into the town. The ghetto was closed and no Jew was allowed to leave it without permission. Almost daily small-scale actions were carried out in the town. Jews were taken in small groups to the Holobotow forest for execution. There were special days for murdering of children, women, old people, non-workers, etc. The actions were carried out by the SD from Drohobycz and Stryj, Schutzpolizei, Gendarmerie, Ukrainian Auxiliary Police and SS formations composed of Russian P.O.W's.

In all towns of the vicinity extermination actions against Jews were carried out. In Mikolajew almost 600 Jews were deported to Belzec and a great number were shot in the town. In Rosdol 1,300 Jews were deported to Belzec and 500 were brought to the prison in Stryj. In Medenice, Roswadow, Zydaczow, Chodorow, Bolechow and Skole similar actions were carried out. Several thousand Jews were brought to the prison at Stryj. These actions were carried out by the SD from Drohobycz and Stryj, German Gendarmerie and Ukrainian Auxiliaries.

Part of the Jews were released immediately from the Stryj prison and were allowed to enter the ghetto. Part of them were held back in the prison under horrible conditions until they were released in February, 1943.

The conditions in the ghetto were unbearable. The German Supply Authorities issued practically no food to the Jews and a great famine prevailed in the ghetto. Jews falling ill were killed immediately by the SD in the local Jewish hospital.

7. Fourth Action

In February 1943, the SD arrested in the forest near Stryj several young Jews belonging to the Jewish Underground Movement, who were preparing Jewish resistance. As retaliation 1,500 Jews were seized in the town and executed in Holobotow.

8. Fifth Action

In March 1943, the ghetto was surrounded by the SD, Schutzpolizei, Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, and SS formations composed of Russian P.O.W.'s. Old Jews were dragged out of the houses and brought to the local synagogues. Those unfit for transportation or trying to resist were murdered on the spot. Children who were running about aimlessly in the ghetto were killed on the spot. The Jews were left for several days in the synagogue without food. They were maltreated continuously and a great number died. Approximately 2,600 Jews were taken to the Holobotow forest. There they were ordered to undress and were murdered by machine-guns.

9. Sixth Action

3,500 Jews remained in the ghetto. In April 1943 small actions were carried out almost every day and Jews were murdered in the town. On the 21st May 1943, 1,000 Jews were seized and murdered in the Holobotow forest.

10. Seventh Action

On the 5th June 1943, the ghetto was surrounded by the SD from Drohobycz and Stryj by Schutzpolizei and Ukrainian Police. Several days before, all alien Jews who previously were authorized to live out side the ghetto were ordered to move into the ghetto enclosure.

The ghetto was searched house by house and all the Jews were dragged out of the houses. Many houses were set on fire and Jews perished alive in the flames. A great number of Jews, especially old people, women and children were murdered in the ghetto. Only 750 Jews were officially allowed to remain: 500 at the local saw mill and 250 at the glass works. All the others were slaughtered at Holobotow or killed in the local Jewish cemetery.

Several hundred Jews succeeded in hiding. Continuous searches were conducted after them, and all those detected were murdered on the spot.

11. Eighth Action

In July 1943, Jewish labourers employed at the glass-works were executed. They were taken out of the factory by the SS, Schupo, and were murdered in the street.

12. Final Extermination

On the 22nd August 1943, the final extermination action against the old Jews took place in Stryj and in the sub-District. The actions were carried out by the SD from Drohobycz and Stryj, commanded by Obersturmführer Bock, Obersturmführer Hildebrandt, SS, Schutzpolizei, Gendarmerie, Ukrainian Police and members of the 'Werkschutz,' an auxiliary SS formation composed of Russian P.O.W.'s.

All Jews were taken to the local prison. A great number were killed during the proceedings.  A small group of Jews who had succeeded in obtaining arms started active resistance. They were over-powered after a short fight, but 30 of them succeeded in escaping. In the prison 40 Jewish specialists were singled out and transferred to Drohobycz. The remainder were taken to Holobotow forest and executed there.

Similar actions were carried out at Bolechow, where a number of Jews had been left at the local municipal workshops, and at Skole, where Jewish forced labourers were employed at the local saw-mill.

The searches continued for the escaped and hiding Jews; every day small numbers were found and executed on the spot.

On the occasion of Stryj being declared 'Judenrein', the SD, civil authorities and local inhabitants arranged a great festival, which was attended by the General Governor, Dr. Hans Frank.

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