Rudki during the war years

On December 9th 1939 at 11:00 am while the young men and women congregated in the center squares, the Rynek and the Gessel, the Germans invaded Rudki, the advanced guard on motorcycles followed by the army. Already on the first day, houses were burned and terror inflicted on the population. They stayed in the city for about
2 weeks and then the Molotov-Ribbentrop accord was signed and the Red Army invaded the town and took control. The Russian army was received by the Jewish population with mixed feelings but with a sigh of relief that the immediate danger for their lives was removed.

During the Russian rule, a severe policy of hard labor was imposed on all, without regard to race, religion or gender.

And then, on June 22nd 1941 the German army crossed the agreement lines and the Russian army retreated in panic and disorder. The Germans re-entered Rudki on
July 7th 1941.

The Germans ruled with terror, humiliations and degradations.

As soon as they entered the town they incited the local population against the Jews.

A Ukrainian Militia was established to assist the Germans and the Ukrainian population took the opportunity to take revenge on the Jews, the Poles and the Russians, and given a free hand, they inflicted many pogroms and lootings on the Jews.

The academia and intelligentsia were rounded up and killed. The synagogue was torched and burned.

The Jews were ordered to work in slave labor, building roads, barracks, and anything else that the Germans needed. Food was scarce, the beatings and the killings on going. Their property was looted and frequently they were ordered to pay ransom money to save themselves from immediate death. Every now and then, they will have an “Akzia” when Jews will be herded into the town square and then taken to the forest to dig ditches and be shot in front of them.

A Judenrat was established which was given the unfortunate task of managing the Ghetto, managing the labor and managing the rounding up of Jews to be taken and be killed.

In October of 1941 the Ghetto was established and 2200 Jews from Rudki and Komarno were forced to live there. The Ghetto was crowded, and conditions unsanitary and dire.

In March of 1942 many Jews were taken to the extermination camp Belzec, in Rava Ruska. A second Akzia took place on Saturday November 11, 1942 when about 1000 Jews were rounded up and sent to be gassed in Belzec.

In 1943 the 3rd Akzia took place in which the Ghetto was liquidated. The Jews were taken either to the Janow camp in L’vov or to the Brzezina Forest were they were shot
to death.