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At various points throughout history, it has been considered a part of Poland.
The current estimated population is around 37,690. According to the census of 1897 it had a
population of 13,785, including 5,608 Jews. In 1650 there were 47 Jewish and 141 Christian
households. In 1931 the Jewish population rose to 7,364. On the eve of the Nazi invasion, about
12,000 Jews lived in Dubno, including more than 4,000 refugees from Poland. When Germany
invaded Poland in September 1939, hundreds of thousands of Jewish and non-Jewish refugees
fled the advancing German army into eastern Poland, hoping that the Polish army would halt the
German advance in the west. Many of the refugees fled without a specific destination in mind. They
traveled on foot or by any available transport -- bicycles, carts, or horses -- clogging roads to the east.
Most took only what they could carry. Some refugees could not escape Poland before Soviet and
German authorities established their control of the country. By the time some refugees reached the
German-Soviet demarcation line as well as Poland's borders with her neighbors they found both
closed and heavily guarded. Some refugees attempted to sneak across, often at great danger. Those
caught trying to cross between occupation zones or trying to flee without papers faced arrest and
arbitrary violence at the hands of both Soviet and German border guards.
The Nazi occupation of Dubno started on June 25, 1941 and remained until February 9, 1944. The
Dubno Ghetto was created on the first day of Passover, 1942. The Dubno Ghetto existed for less than
seven months, from April 2 to Oct. 23, 1942. The ghetto was closed so the residents were not given
much opportunity for resistance. Some did resist with the help of non-Jewish friends. Others did so
with false papers. And others survived bitter cold and hunger in fields by themselves, in groups, or with
the partisans. Within the Dubno Ghetto, all Jews were identified by the Star of David on an armband.
With 12,000 people in a small area, the ghetto became overcrowded and hunger/sickness were abundant.
In Dubno's killing fields, more than 1,000 Jews were shot in July and August of 1941. This murderous
act was carried out by a SD unit from Rowne (Rivne), and was 200 meters from the Catholic cemetery in Dubno.
After being driven into the ghetto in April 1942, 8,000 Jews from the ghetto were murdered in a series of aktions
between May and October 1942. More than half of its residents were slaughtered in May of 1942, even while
some of the residents were still settling into the ghetto. On July 22, 1941 Einsatzkommando 5 killed 83 Jews
in the Jewish cemetery in Dubno. The Dubno ghetto was liquidated on October 24, 1942. The surviving 1,000
Jews were ordered to appear at Rybnaya Street in Dubno. There, about 40 Jews hid in the cellar of one building.
A man named Anikeev informed on these Jews, but when he was sent down to the cellar to bring them out,
one of the Jews killed him with an ax. From this point, the last Jews of Dubno were taken on foot to the airport
in the suburb of Surmicze, where they were all killed and buried. On February 9, 1944, the Red Army
liberated Dubno. Around 300 Jews survived the Dubno Ghetto. By 2000, around 10 Jews resided there.
According to one witness, who testified under oath about the murders in Dubno: "I, Hermann Friedrich
Graebe, declare under oath: From September 1941-January 1944 I was manager and engineer-in-charge
of a branch office in Sdolbunow, Ukraine, of the Solingen building firm of Josef Jung. In this capacity it was
my job to visit the building sites of the firm. Under contract to an Army Construction Office, the firm had
orders to erect grain storage buildings on the former airport of Dubno, Ukraine. On 5 October 1942, when
I visited the building office at Dubno, my foreman Hubert Moennikes of 21 Aussenmuehlenweg, Hamburg-
Haarburg, told me that in the vicinity of the site, Jews from Dubno had been shot in three large pits, each
about 30 meters long and 3 meters deep. About 1,500 persons had been killed daily. All of the 5,000 Jews
who had still been living in Dubno before the pogrom were to be liquidated. As the shootings had taken
place in his presence, he was still much upset. Thereupon I drove to the site, accompanied by Moennikes,
and saw near it great mounds of earth, about 30 meters long and 2 meters high. Several trucks stood in
front of the mounds. Armed Ukrainian militia drove the people off the trucks under the supervision of an
S.S.-man. The militia men acted as guards on the trucks and drove them to and from the pit. All these
people had the regulation yellow patches on the front and back of their clothes, and thus could be
recognized as Jews. Moennikes and I went directly to the pits. Nobody bothered us. Now I heard rifle
shots in quick succession, from behind one of the earth mounds. The people who had got off the trucks --
men, women, and children of all ages -- had to undress upon the order of an S.S.-man who carried a
riding or dog whip. They had to put down their clothes in fixed places, sorted according to shoes, top
clothing and underclothing. I saw a heap of shoes of about 800 to 1000 pairs, great piles of under-linen
and clothing. Without screaming or weeping these people undressed, stood around in family groups,
kissed each other, said farewells and waited for a sign from another SS-man, who stood near the pit, also
with a whip in his hand. During the 15 minutes that I stood near the pit, I heard no complaint or plea for
mercy. I watched a family of about 8 persons, a man and woman, both about 50 with their children of
about 1, 8 and 10, and two grownup daughters of about 20 to 24. An old woman with snow-white hair was
holding the one-year old child in her arms and singing to it, and tickling it. The child was cooing with
delight. The couple were looking on with tears in their eyes. The father was holding the hand of a boy
about 10 years old and speaking to him softly; the boy was fighting his tears. The father pointed toward
the sky, stroked his head, and seemed to explain something to him. At that moment the SS-man at the pit
shouted something to his comrade. The latter counted off about 20 persons and instructed them to go
behind the earth mound. Among them was the family, which I have mentioned. I well remember a girl,
slim and with black hair, who, as she passed close to me, pointed to herself and said, "23". I walked around
the mound, and found myself confronted by a tremendous grave. People were closely wedged together
and lying on top of each other so that only their heads were visible. Nearly all had blood running over their
shoulders from their heads. Some of the people shot were still moving. Some were lifting their arms and
turning their heads to show that they were still alive. The pit was already 2/3 full. I estimated that it already
contained about 1,000 people. I looked for the man who did the shooting. He was an S.S.-man, who sat at
the edge of the narrow end of the pit, his feet dangling into the pit. He had a tommy gun on his knees and
was smoking a cigarette. The people, completely naked, went down some steps which were cut in the clay
wall of the pit and clambered over the heads of the people lying there, to the place to which the S.S.-
man directed them. They lay down in front of the dead or injured people; some caressed those who were
still alive and spoke to them in a low voice. Then I heard a series of shots. I looked into the pit and saw
that the bodies were twitching or the heads lying already motionless on top of the bodies that lay before
them. Blood was running from their necks. I was surprised that I was not ordered away, but I saw that
there were two or three postmen in uniform nearby. The next batch was approaching already. They went
down into the pit, lined themselves up against the previous victims and were shot. When I walked back,
round the mound I noticed another truckload of people which had just arrived. This time it included sick and
infirm people. An old, very thin woman with terribly thin legs was undressed by others who were already
naked, while two people held her up. The woman appeared to be paralyzed. The naked people carried the
woman around the mound. I left with Moennikes and drove in my car back to Dubno. On the morning of
the next day, when I again visited the site, I saw about 30 naked people lying near the pit -- about 30 to 50
meters away from it. Some of them were still alive; they looked straight in front of them with a fixed stare
and seemed to notice neither the chilliness of the morning nor the workers of my firm who stood around.
A girl of about 20 spoke to me and asked me to give her clothes, and help her escape. At that moment we
heard a fast car approach and I noticed that it was an SS-detail. I moved away to my site. Ten minutes
later we hear shots from the vicinity of the pit. The Jews still alive had been ordered to throw the corpses
into the pit -- then they had themselves to lie down in this to be shot in the neck. I make the above
statement at Wiesbaden, Germany, on 10 November 1945. I swear before God that this is the absolute
truth." -- Hermann F. Graebe,before H. Crawford, WC Investigator and Elis. Radziejewska, translator.
Note: Graebe also testified that the S.S.-man acting as the executioner on the edge of the pit during the
shooting of Jewish men, women and children on the airport near Dubno wore an S.S.-uniform with a
grey armband about 3 centimeters wide on the lower part of his sleeve with the letters "SD" in black on it,
woven in or embroidered.
of the actions against the Jews of Dubno, it was still considered part of Poland. In 1942 a large
ghetto was established in Dubno. Roughly 12,000 men, women, and children were put into the
ghetto. Most were shot at mass executions by the SS Einsatzgruppe, paramilitary death squads,
outside the town town. A detailed description of the mass murders was provided by a righteous
non-Jew named Hermann Friedrich Graebe at the Nuremberg trials. A young German officer
of the German Infanterieregiment 9, Axel von dem Bussche, witnessed the executions of 3,000
Jews at the former site of the Dubno airport. Soon after he joined the resistance movement.
The S.S. in Dubno included Wilhelm Altenloh and Einsatzkommando 5, who are estimated to have
murdered more than 150,000 people in Wolyn district during the Shoah. The leaders of this unit were
SS-Oberfuhrer Erwin Schulz (June-August 1941) and SS-Sturmbannfuhrer August Meier (Sept. 1941-
Jan. 1942). Erwin Schulz was sentenced to a short prison term, while August Meier killed himself in 1960.
If you know a survivor of Dubno, please contact us. Please review the site content below.
Zachor - We Remember.
[Dubno Jewish Surnames & Researchers]
[Yizkor Book] [Yizkor Book Translation Project]
[Dubno Memorials to the Victims of the Shoah] [List of Survivors]
[Dubno Photos] [Map of Dubno] [Jewish Dubno Today]
Click to subscribe to Dubno-Jewish
Interior of the Great Synagogue of Dubno.
Pictures from S. An-sky's Ethnographic Expeditions."
Poor children of Dubno, undated photo. It appeared in Jewish Nursery, from Exhibition III.
Motel the Butcher, from Dubno. Pre-war.
Tauba Krochmalnik (Tauba Biterman), survivor of the Dubno Ghetto.
The Dubno Synagogue as it looks today.
Polish students visit the remnants of the Dubno Synagogue in 2012.
Dubno Ghetto Links:
About the S.S. Einsatzgruppen
- Witness to S.S. Murder of 3,000 Jews at Dubno Airport
(from witness Axel von dem Bussche)
- Witness Testimony: Mass Murder of Dubno
- Witness to S.S. Einstazgruppen Special Forces Actions
(from witness Hermann Graebe)
Survivors of the Dubno Ghetto:
Tauba Biterman (see also: Video clip; Holocaust Testimony)
Sam Genirberg (see also: Survivor Testimony of Sam)
Sonia Reich (see also: Prisoner of Her Past)
Tova Teper Kaplan
Other Dubno Survivors:
- Pinkus Zyskind, Jewish partisan
Victims of Dubno:
- Yehezkel and Sonya German
- Ruchla, Mikhael, Srul, and Chaim Krokhmalnik
Families of Dubno:
- Krochmalnik family
- Chasdaj, Lipin, Gitelman families
- Halberstadt, Hirszorn, Salonczik families
- Dubno Residents Buried in New York/New Jersey
- There was a shul on the lower east side of Manhattan called:
Chevrah Ohel Jacob Anshei Dubna. It had 45 members; President,
Alexander Wasserman and Secretary, Wolf Chackes
Righteous Gentiles of Dubno:
- Czerewaniow family
- Kucharewicz couple (contact the author for details)
- Kwarciak family
- Wierzbicki couple
Notable Residents of Dubno:
- Joel Berish Falkowitz
Books About the Dubno Ghetto:
- Sheryl Needle Cohn, "The Boy in the Suitcase", chapter one. Available online.
- Douglas Huneke, "The Moses of Rovno" (Dodd Mead, 1st edition, 1985)
- Sam Genirberg, "Among the Enemy" (Robertson Publishing, 2012)
- Roger Moorehouse, "Killing Hitler", chapter 7 (Bantam, 2007)
- H.Z. Margolioth, "Dubna rabati: Toldot ha-'ir Dubna ... gedole ha-'ir" (Warsaw, 1910)
- Moshe Rosman, "Dubno in the Wake of Khmel'nyts'kyi" (2003): pages 239-255
- Samuil Gil, "Krov ikh i segodnya govorit" (New York, 1995)
- Avraham Cohen, "Dubno: Kehilah she-hayetah ve-enenah" (Tel Aviv, 1984)
- Ya'akov Adini, ed., "Dubno: Sefer zikaron" (Tel Aviv, 1966), in Hebrew and Yiddish
- Shmuel Spector, ed., "Dubno" in Pinkas ha-kehilot: Polin, vol. 5, pages 55-61 (Jerusalem, 1990)
Remember Your Family
Wolyn Region: Online Guide to Murder Sites of Jews
JewishGen Family Finder
JewishGen Ukraine SIG
JewishGen Ukraine Database
JRI-Poland: Search for Your Family
Yad Vashem: Search for Your Family
Yad Vashem: Submit Names of Your Family Members