Historical Background

After the Second World War broke out on September 1, 1939, many hundreds of Jewish refugees came to Zloczow from Western Poland. After their attack on the Soviet Union, the Germans occupied the town on July 2, 1941. On the same day attacks began on Jews by local Ukrainians and farmers, who flooded into the town to welcome the German army. In the coming days 3,00-4,000 Jews were murdered by the Germans and their collaborators. Over the coming months, Jews were taken to labor camps. In August and November 1942 a second and third wave of killing took place. On December 1, 1942 the Zloczow ghetto was established in a very small area of ramshackle houses. Between 7,500-9,000 people were concentrated there, including remnants of communities of the surrounding areas. The ghetto was liquidated on April 2, 1943. Those who worked outside the ghetto were not permitted to go to work on this day.

The ghetto was surrounded and the Germans and the Ukrainians concentrated all these people in the market square. From the market square the people were taken by truck to a pit near the village of Yelichowice, about four kilometers east of Zloczow, and were murdered by gunfire. Many were buried when they were still alive. Only two Jews succeeded in fleeing from this place of execution. In all about 6,000 were killed. Jews who were caught afterwards were executed in the city cemetery. Among the remnants of the destruction of the ghetto there was only a group of artisans. These last Jews of Zloczow had the idea of buying weapons, and going into the forest to become partisans. P. Nachumovits headed one group, and Hillel Safran, the father of Roald Hoffmann, headed another part of this underground, however its members were caught by the Germans, possibly because of informers, and were executed. The Red Army freed Zloczow on July 18, 1944.