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Solobkovtsy

Solobkovtsy, Solobkovtsy County, Kamenets-Podolsk District, Ukraine

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Jews settled in Solobkovtsy during the 18th century. A Jewish printing house founded in 1804 operated in the town for several years. In 1897 Solobkovtsy had 1,307 Jews, who comprised 39 percent of the total population. On November 23, 1917 a pogrom was carried out. On August 20, 1919, during the Russian civil war (1918-1920), a second pogrom was staged, during which 15 Jews were murdered and about 100 injured.
Under the Soviets Solobkovtsy was the seat of a Jewish rural council. During the 1920s and early 1930s a Jewish kolkhoz called Chervonyi traktor ("Red Tractor" in Ukrainian) was operating near the town, along with two other kolkhozes. In the late 1930s they were combined into the Stalin kolkhoz. Jewish craftsmen and artisans worked in cooperatives and state-owned small factories. Until the late 1930s Solobkovtsy had a four-year Yiddish school. In 1939 the Jewish population was 930 or 19.5 percent of the total population.
The Germans arrived in the town on July 9, 1941 and appointed a town elder. The Jews were forced to wear a yellow badges on their chest and back and were often abused and humiliated. Tombstones from the Jewish cemetery were used to pave the streets. Shortly afterwards a ghetto was set up on one of the town's streets. The ghetto was very crowded, with several families living in one room. The ghetto inmates were taken out daily for forced labor in the area. From time to time so called "intimidating operations" were carried out during which some of the Jews in the ghetto were randomly executed.
On August 4, 1942 about 1,500 Jews from Solobkovtsy and, apparently, from the surrounding area were taken outside of town and shot to death. According to eyewitness testimony, about 200 Jews who succeeded in hiding during this murder operation but were found shortly afterwards were held in the town prison for nine days. On August 14 they were shot to death, apparently at the same location. According to the testimony of a survivor, during this operation about 30 young women were selected and sent to work at the Dunayevty train station. Most of them were subsequently murdered.
Solobkovtsy was liberated by the Red Army on March 29, 1944.