a) north-east to south-east view of the mass grave b) south to north-east view of the mass grave, from inside

Mass grave whereabouts (highlighted)

This article presents a brief history of the city of Zalishchyky, also known as Zalischyky, or Zaleszczyki, including the story of the local Jewish community and mass graves. Full text of the article is prepared in Ukrainian.

The village of Zalishchyky came into being approximately in 1469, known then as Zalissia and Zalishche. The town of Zalishchyky has been founded in 1750 on the territory of Zalishchyky Village.

The history of Jews in the town of Zalishchyky starts from the very first years of the town's development. In late XVIII century the majority of Jews living here were merchants and artisans. In 1784 the town had a population of 1474 people and 254 households. 138 families were Christian, totaling 598 people, while 181 families were Jewish, totaling 846 people, which equaled to almost 70% of the total. By 1784 this picture had changed. There were then twice as many Jews as Christians, specifically 1127 Jews and 586 Christians. From December 31, 1789 onwards a German-Jewish school had been running in Zalishchyky.

Jews in Zalishchyky were actively engaged in trade. In 1863 tensions over economic issues led to a minor revolt against Jews in which several members of the Jewish community were beaten and some Jewish property was destroyed. In 1890s the economic decline and competition from members of other nationalities led to an emigration of Jews to the United States of America.

In early 20th century the Jewish Creditors Association was created. In 1908 it consisted of 551 merchants, 25 artisans, 6 farmers, 3 doctors/lawyers, 33 professionals of other types of occupation, including religious, and 95 other professions.

In the early 1800s a synagogue was build and a Jewish cemetery was consecrated. The synagogue and four other smaller houses of prayer were destroyed during a great fire in 1871. The synagogue was rebuilt thanks to the support of Baron Rothschild and a local mayor.

The first rabbi of Zalishchyky was R. Samuel, the son of Isaac Dov Margolisa.

In 1890 the Jewish population of Zalishchyky consisted of 4513 people.

In 1894, Baron Girsh opened a Jewish school, which enrolled 235 students. In 1904 a Jewish school providing all levels of schooling was opened.

In 1914 the Russian army broke into the town, killing many Jews. In April of 1915 Jews were expelled from Zalishchyky and many died from disease. The ones who returned later found their homes devastated.

WWII and Holocaust

In the Stanislavsky register of 1938, Zalishchyky had 7322 residents, among which 3170 people were Greek-Catholics, 1395 people were Catholics, and 2757 people were Jews, accounting for 38% of the total population of the town in that year.

The Germans forced into Zalishchyky on 8 July 1941 and started to persecute Jews right away. A Jewish ghetto was established. It was located on Bluchera St. and kept 3500 people. Numerous decrees were issued against Jews and a curfew was imposed. Doctor Mikes Katner headed the Judenrat in 1941. In September Jews were told to pay 3 kilograms of gold, silver and other valuables.

The Germans sent around 200 Jews to a concentration labor camp in Kamyanka, about 40 people, including Katner, were deported to the nearby military camp in Zalishchyky to dig mass graves. Soon, another 800 Jews were transported there and shot dead.

The data on the location of two mass graves in Zalishchyky has been obtained from decoded German aerial photographs of 1944 (by means of photogrammetry and geodetic surveying) from the National Archives of United States and further confirmed by on-site research in 2010.

A set of records containing technical reference, archival and geodetic documentation was produced for this site. It is available upon request. If you feel concerned about the state of this cultural heritage site as much as we do and would like to contribute to our continuous efforts to ensure its upkeep and protection, please write to us to support our work.