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Date of birth – 23 December, 1906 

Place of birth – Matijiw city, Volyn, Ukraine

Place of interview – Montreal, Canada

Date of interview - 2 February, 1982

Audio interview (hard copy transcript available)

Language – Ukrainian


Interviewer - How did the Jewish "operation" look in Matijiw?

AL - The Jewish "operation" was cunningly executed by the Germans. At first, the Jews lived normally except for the fact that they had yellow patches in the form of the star on their backs to signify they were Jews. They worked, they went to work...

Interviewer - But they lived in the ghetto already?

AL - No, no, we did not have a ghetto at all. There was no ghetto. In our city, they lived in their own homes, and they were even allowed to appoint their own Jewish administration. It was called 'Judenrad' in German.

Interviewer - So they were not subject to the city's administration?

AL - 'Judenrad' fell under the city administration. So yes, it was subject to the city, to the head of the region. Whenever there were any instructions from the city, they would go through the 'Judenrad'; sometimes they would be given directly [to the people]. At one point, they [Germans] told all the Jews to gather in the large square in the local Monastery, where the German army, the Gestapo, was stationed. They told the men to gather and the women to stay at home. Then there was segregation by profession - butchers on one side, specialists (like shoemakers, tailors) on the other side. Traders on the same side as the butchers. They divided them. They [the Germans] told those who they thought could be useful to sit. They told them to sit cross-legged on the ground and told the others that they were being taken to work. Witnesses later recalled that prior to this they had dug pits, but the people did not know [what was happening]. What is interesting is that some say 'Judenrad' knew about this, because they were so close to it all. So they took those [that one group of] Jews and all that could be heard by those that were left sitting were the gunshots. Our people could not hear it. It was somehow so far away, so masked. Maybe some people heard, but we did not. They later let the remaining Jews go home, but they knew what was waiting for them. They [the Germans] said they took the Jews to work, but nobody believed that. The Gestapo shot them themselves. The most important thing was that our people took great personal risks. When they found out that they [the Germans] were "deporting" Jews, the head of the region (my husband) and the priest went to the Germans to try and save the Jews and to convince them that they were very nice people. The head of the region and priest, who had a big cross on his chest, went to the  “Gebitz Comisar". They believed they could still reason with German people. They began talking and begging him, saying "these people have children, don't take them away", because they thought they were being deported. With blood-filled eyes, the Gestapo man said, "you are a priest, go to church. That is your place. You are the head of the region, go back to your office and never come back here again". So that did not help much. Our people were naive and they were in danger as well.


• Full interview transcript (Ukrainian) can be found in the following book:

Винницька, Іроїда. "Незвичайні долі звичайних жінок. Усна історія ХХ-ого  століття." Львів: Видавництво Львівської політехніки, 2013.

excerpt from the Interview with ANASTASIJA LEBID

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org