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Extermination of Jews from Wielkie Oczy


This information is based on public and private sources and may be incomplete. Readers who have more details and wish to pass these along are welcome to do so.

The statements quoted below in text of this color are taken from a memoir written by
 Mme. Stanislawa Cicha, a Polish women and an eye-witness to the events she describes. She passed away in 2000. The original memoir is in the possession of the authors of this site.

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September 1 Outbreak of WWII. Germany invades Poland from the north, west and south.
September 12 German troops enter Wielkie Oczy
September 17 Soviet Union invades Poland from the east.
September 26 In accordance with secret protocols of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, Soviet troops replace Germans in some regions of eastern Poland, including Wielkie Oczy.
September - October Tens of Jewish refugees from German-occupied western parts of Poland arrive in Wielkie Oczy, swelling the Jewish population from approximately 500 to 700.

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  Soviet administration, some Poles taken to labor camps in Siberia.

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June 22 Germany invades Soviet Union. The same day German troops reenter Wielkie Oczy.
July (beginning) Some Ukrainians initiate acts of brutality against Jews. First victims dead.
July/August  Creation of  the Judenrat, with its office established in the Weiss house in the town square. The head of the Judenrat was Wolf Thaler, and its secretary was Estera Thaler.
July/August  Jews forced to wear white armbands with a blue Star of David.
summer - autumn Persecutions of Jews: "Particular cruelty was exhibited by the chief of German police from Jaworów, a man named Wolf. His favorite occupation was scaring Jews with his German shepherd dog with which he never parted. Particular persecutions met those fathers of families whose sons or daughters were able to flee east, to Russia, before the Germans entered. Victims were tied to a post in the town square and beaten without mercy. The executioners were the Ukrainians from the local police precinct." 
summer - autumn  Plundering of Jewish property: "Wolf, the chief of the German police from Jaworów, very often visited the precinct of the Ukrainian police in Wielkie Oczy to impose contributions on Jews that ravaged them financially.  Jews were ordered, under penalty of fines, to bring specific amounts of gold,  money and lengths of wool. Workers of the Judenrat were forced to administer this process. After couple of weeks, a new contribution of gold, money, etc. was demanded. And after some time, all furs, more gold, pearls and all valuables were demanded."
summer - autumn  Compulsory labor: "Ukrainian police also teased Jews by taking men and women to clean the precinct and the office of Ukrainian administration."
summer - autumn  Expulsion of Jewish families from surrounding villages—including from Kobylnica, among others—to  Wielkie Oczy,  
autumn  Germans took younger and stronger Jews from Wielkie Oczy, according to a list that Judenrat was forced to prepare. They were taken probably to Janowska camp in Lwów, from which they never returned..
winter  Compulsory displacement of groups of Wielkie Oczy Jews to Jaworów.

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June 10  German and Ukrainian police gather all the Jews in the town market and, expelled most of them to Krakowiec and Jaworów. 

"One sweltering day a couple of cars with German gendarmerie and civil clerks arrived, among them were some women. There was an awful fear at the unknown of what was to come. The Germans passed every Jewish house and rounded up all the Jews, bringing them to the town market. Everyone was allowed to take along only what could be carried in hand. This aktion lasted from morning until late afternoon. All Jewish houses were immediately sealed. When the Jews had been expelled from their homes farm wagons were brought around. The old, infirm and others who weren't able to walk were carried on the wagons. The others were driven like cattle, kicked and beaten, to the ghetto in Krakowiec, 7 kilometers away from Wielkie Oczy. On the way, those who could not keep the pace were beaten with extraordinary cruelty by a helper of Ukrainian police, a mute from village of Horysznie, named Iya who was armed with a club. He wielded his club like an animal, with no mercy and with complete indifference to whether his blows struck old women or children. In this way, the Jews were moved to the Krakowiec ghetto."

The report of the German Land Commissioner addressed to the county authorities in Lwów, dated 12 June 1942, described these events in a dry, perfunctory manner:

"On 10 June 1942 Jews living in Wielkie Oczy were resettled by me with your permission, as follows: 47 families - 168 persons to Krakowiec and 74 families - 274 persons to Jaworów. Resettling of Jews proceeded without incident. About 100 Jews escaped to the woods surrounding Wielkie Oczy. The mayor of the town and the Ukrainian police were instructed by me to gather these Jews and attach them to their families in Krakowiec and Jaworów. Resettling of old Jews and Jewish children and transport of accompanying luggage was accomplished with 31 carts. Owing to the resettlement of Jews, 96 houses in Wielkie Oczy became vacant. Of these, 70-80% are in relatively good condition. 

On my recommendation, on 11 June 1942, 32 families that were moved from the firing range near Jaworów, were transferred to Wielkie Oczy. On 13 June an additional 35 Aryan families were settled,  followed by 10-15 families on the 15th.

In this way all the houses in Wielkie Oczy that were formerly settled by Jewish families were occupied by Aryan resettlers. These houses have little gardens that for most are already sown with vegetables. Additionally, Aryan resettlers have at their disposal 50
morga [old unit of land measure equal to 5,600 m2] of land to cultivate.

Those families that were moved from the firing ground will receive buckwheat next week to sow in the fields of Wielkie Oczy that still lie fallow."

To see the original German document, click here:   

November  The last Jews from Wielkie Oczy were expelled to Krakowiec. Wielkie Oczy was declared by the Germans to be Judenfrei.
November, 7  1,300 Jews from Jaworów taken to the death camp in Belzec.
November, 8  Germans announced the opening of the ghetto in Jaworów. In this ghetto were gathered Jews from Jaworów and the surrounding area, including Wielkie Oczy (and Krakowiec). The ghetto was created from 80 buildings into which 5,000 people were crowded.
November Aktion in Krakowiec that included Jews displaced from Wielkie Oczy. In Krakowiec there remained only a small group of Jews. 
November, 15  The labor camp at Jaworów was created outside the ghetto. About 60 Jews were kept there as forced laborers to do work necessary for German economy. These workers had badges with letter W. 
December  Remaining Jews from Krakowiec expelled to Jaworów.

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February (end)  About 500 people from Jaworów ghetto were taken to Janowska camp in Lwów.
April, 16-18 Liquidation of the ghetto in Jaworów: Germans, Ukrainian militia and a group of Jewish policemen from Lwów gathered the entire Jewish population in the old Jewish cemetery. Women, children and the elderly were separated and locked in the synagogue. Most ghetto houses were burned to in order to find those who tried to hide themselves. Those who escaped from the fire were thrown back to burn alive. Almost all the victims—about 4,000 Jews, including 547 people from Wielkie Oczy—were loaded on trucks and taken to the Porudenko woods, where they were shot in mass graves by a German SS unit. About 160 men were taken to Janowska camp. About 200 workers remained in the Jaworów labor camp.  Most were shot on April 24th ; some were able to escape.
? The Germans caught a group of 9 Jews (3 men, 3 women, 3 children) in the woods around Wielkie Oczy . All were shot and buried in the Jewish cemetery in Wielkie Oczy.
End of Year  In the woods around Wielkie Oczy, the Germans caught a group of 12 Jews. They were shot and buried in the Jewish cemetery in Wielkie Oczy.

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July 20/21 (or 21/22)  Wielkie Oczy plundered and burned by Ukrainian UPA forces. About 12 Poles murdered.
July (end)  Soviet Army troops enter Wielkie Oczy, re-establishing Soviet military authority.
summer  Four young Jews from Wielkie Oczy, who survived the war in woods and tried to return to their homes, were killed by a local Polish bandit. 
September-November  Polish civil authority re-established in Wielkie Oczy.

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May 8-12  Two Jews from Wielkie Oczy, who survived the war and returned to the village to take their hidden belongings, were murdered by two local men. One of them was later captured and imprisoned.
May 8  End of WWII in Europe.

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  The Ukrainian population of Wielkie Oczy was transferred by Polish authorities to the Soviet Union and to western parts of Poland.

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