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The tragedy of the Bobrynets ghetto

A photo catalog of the burials of this cemetery is available at the LINK 

Bobrynets was occupied by the Germans in early August 1941. Almost immediately, repressions were launched against the Jewish population of the city, who did not have time to evacuate inland. Herewith, for some time, an exception was made for certain specialists who were needed by the occupation authorities: doctors, engineers, dental technicians, shoemakers, etc.

The first anti-Jewish action was carried out by the Germans on August 10. 5 Jewish citizens were killed. Almost immediately after the occupation of the city, the Germans issued an order to register Jews and mark them with special signs - white armbands with yellow hexagonal stars. The constant humiliation of the Jews began by beatings and coercion to hard physical labor.

In December 1941, in the center of the city, in the premises where the city police used to be located, a Jewish ghetto was created. Its territory was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by local policemen. All the Jewish population remaining at that time in the city was evicted here from their homes. According to eyewitnesses, at nights in the ghetto, the Nazis with their henchmen-policemen committed atrocities: robbed, beaten and raped.

The ghetto in Bobrynets did not last long - about two months. In early January 1942, one prisoner escaped from prison. After that, on the orders of the head of the local gendarmerie, 10 Jews were taken and, as a warning to other prisoners of the ghetto, they were burned alive in one of the Jewish houses. According to local residents, there were women and children among them.

Soon the Germans began to completely exterminate the Jews of the ghetto. During January and February 1942, Jews in small groups of 20-25 people were taken to be shot in the nearest suburban forest. Special pits were dug there, to which the Nazis brought naked women and men, shooting them in the back of the head. They didn’t waste cartridges on old people and children, killing them with blows of rubber sticks on the head, and very small ones were simply thrown into the pit alive ...

According to archival data, 358 Jews were brutally murdered in Bobrynets. However, according to other sources, the number of victims was 379. In any case, this tragedy is forever inscribed in the history of Bobrynets and will remain in the memory of the surviving members of the Jewish community of the city and their descendants.