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Written Testimonies

From the testimony of Giza (Jean) Chapnick, who was born in Turczyn and was living there during the German occupation
… it happened on the Sabbath, the 9th of the month of Elul, August 22, 1942: before sunrise the ghetto was surrounded by a human chain of murderous Ukrainian police. Everyone in the ghetto realized that their death was imminent. Their will to live was very strong. The young people walked around crying that they wanted to live, but everyone was powerless. The Ukrainian police only reacted to these cries with a satisfied smile. Thirty three artisans were selected and taken out of the ghetto. They believed that they would remain alive. The Germans collected the Jewish forced laborers working on nearby farms and forced them into the ghetto. At 10 a.m. a few hundred Ukrainian auxiliary policemen and several Germans from Łuck arrived in Torczyn and, together with German [units] from Torczyn, entered the ghetto with dogs. They started to work immediately. Like locusts, the entire [German and Ukrainian] force began to drive all the Jews from all their houses to the area near David Liber's bridge. The men were beaten while they were being loaded onto trucks. In the afternoon the women and children, and whoever remained waiting at the site under the guard of the Ukrainian [police] were taken away. They took everybody to the Jewish cemetery, to a large ditch prepared by Christians [i.e. local non-Jewish residents] from the town the previous day. All the Jews had to undress and, when naked, were ordered five at a time to enter the ditch, where they were shot to death in the back of the head one on top of the other, and buried in that ditch. After the murder of the Jews, on their way home from the [Jewish] cemetery the Ukrainian policemen sang joyful songs about Ukraine being independent and free from Jews. The following day a few Jews who had managed to hide… were promised by the authorities that the killings would stop as soon as all the Jews reported for work. A few hundred [in fact, they numbered only in the dozens] Jews remained alive after that first massacre. On the first Wednesday after the slaughter, the Germans again ordered all the Jews to appear at the square near the [Ukrainian Greek] Catholic Church, where they were supposed to receive documents; they were told that anyone without [these] documents would be shot. This was yet another German tricks. Jews, including the first group of selected artisans, were once again collected by the Ukrainian police from all the places where they were working. At the square [i.e. in a building near the square] they had to strip naked and, once again [i.e., like previous victims], were taken by truck to the Jewish cemetery, where they were slaughtered in a second mass grave.…

YVA O.33/5024