Ghetto_Lwow

Above: Nazi's hang members of Lwów's Judenrat

The Jewish community of Lwów (pronounced Lvov, also known as Lemberg, now Lviv, Ukraine), was the third largest in Poland at approximately 110,000. Initially, in 1939 Lwów was taken by the Soviet Union as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact. Refugees from the advancing Nazi armies in the other parts of Poland swelled the Jewish population of Lvov to over 200,000. With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, those Jews came under Nazi control. After July 8, 1941, all Jews aged 14 and older were required to where a white badge with a blue Star of David on their right arm.

The killing started immediately, with German and Ukrainian nationalist forces massacring at least 6,000 Jews in the first two months of occupation. The Ukrainians accused the Jews of backing the Soviet Union, which had executed thousands of Ukrainians before fleeing the city ahead of the advancing Germans. 

In November 1941, the Germans established a Jewish ghetto in the northern part of the city. All Jews were forced to relocate to the ghetto, and about 5,000 elderly and sick Jews were shot crossing under the bridge into the ghetto during the relocation. The leader of the Jewish Council (Judenrat), Josef Parnes, is executed by the Nazis for refusing to turn over Jews for forced labor.

In March 1942, deportations to the extermination camp in Belzec began. By August, about 65,000 Jews had been deported and murdered. In September, the chairman of the Jewish Council, Henryk Landesberg, was hanged. In January 1943, the Nazis transport 10,000 Jews to Piaski, a ravine outside the city, where they were shot. Many more Jews are shot in Piaski in the following months. In June 1943, the ghetto was liquidated, with thousands shot and the remaining residents sent to Belzec or to the nearby work camp on Janowska Road. 

Only a few thousand Jews from Lvov survived the Holocaust. One of them was Simon Wiesenthal (1908-2005), who became famous for his work as a Nazi hunter bringing war criminals to justice.

Ghetto_Lwow_Map