This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Bolekhiv (Bolechów), Ukraine. Please join and add your profiles to the project.
Bolekhiv (Ukrainian: Болехів; Polish: Bolechów; Yiddish: באלעכאב) is a city in Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast (province) of Ukraine. It is designated as a city's municipality of regional importance. As the other numerous cities of the Western Ukraine Bolekhiv once was the home to a big Jewish community, population of which declined drastically during and after the World War II. See Bolekhiv on Wikipedia.
On 28 October 1941, the Germans rounded up 800 of the richer Jews, doctors, and others from their homes, including the Rabbis, and marched them to Dom Katolitzi, a public building in the north of the town, were they were tortured for two days without food and finally taken to a nearby forest and murdered by shooting in what the Germans euphemistically called an Aktion. During these two days, the people were forced to stand in a pyramid, with the Rabbis naked on top, singing German praise songs. They were then thrown to the ground several times. One woman had her face smashed with a chair, another had his head severed so badly, that his son (Dr. David Lands) did not recognise his body, taken along with them to the killing site. Several people died of suffocation in the building, when forced to bow down.
A year later, on 3–5 September 1942, the Jews got a warning message from the Judenrat of Drohobych that a murderous attack was ensuing. Several local Ukrainian residents decided to begin the massacre before the Germans arrived. Mostly children were caught in houses and thrown out a window. A woman who was in the middle of giving birth was dragged out to the town square, forced to stand during birth, the newly born child was stamped to death, amongst laughing local residents. Many children were killed by kicks. The German Gestapo policemen bragged that they had killed 600 children, and one Ukrainian civilian said that he alone had killed 97 children. (Following the war, a son of this man, living in the US, and serving as a priest read about these atrocities and dedicated the rest of his life helping commemorate the Jewish community of Bolekhiv). A total of 600–700 children and 800–900 adults were killed that day. Two thousand others were gathered and sent to Bełżec extermination camp. While marching to the train station they were forced to sing, mostly the song "Belz mein shtetele Belz".
At 1943, various murders and atrocities continued. At one stage, when there were still 900 Jews left, working at a local "work camp", for a few days groups of 100 and 200 Jews were taken to the nearby forest and shot. Evidence was given by local residents that the shots were so close, that some of the people drowned out the sound with heavy machinery.