Jewish Mass Graves Survey Report Online

The survey team at work under a canopy of trees at the north site

The survey team at work under a canopy of trees at the north site. Photo © 2017 Marla Raucher Osborn.

For nine days from late May to early June, Rohatyn Jewish Heritage commissioned a non-invasive professional archaeology survey at WW2-era Jewish mass grave sites in Rohatyn. The 80-page final report by the Centre of Archaeology from Staffordshire University is now online. Within the surveyed areas, two mass grave boundaries were detected and defined (one at each location, north and south), and a third, possible grave was identified at the north site. In addition, two new related issues need to be addressed in 2018: an ongoing problem with criminal looting at the south mass grave site, and a mismatch between the current fenced perimeter of Rohatyn’s new Jewish cemetery and its pre-war boundaries as seen in the 1944 Luftwaffe aerial photo.

We have prepared a summary of the results which includes not only the survey’s findings but also descriptions of the methodology, issues encountered during the survey, the documented history of the execution sites (1942-43), and follow-up recommendations.

Click here to read the report summary, and for access to the full report.

We hope to continue our work with the Staffordshire team as relevant new information is collected, and to begin working with the City of Rohatyn in 2018 to explore options for enhanced protection of these vulnerable sites from development and disturbance and for commemoration of Rohatyn’s wartime Jewish victims.

We now have a Ukrainian translation of the full 80-page report in process; we will share with the City of Rohatyn and post it publicly online when available.

We wish to thank Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls, her team, and the many others who participated in this important and long-overdue project, including Vasyl Yuzyshyn who worked with us in Rohatyn for the full nine days serving as interpreter, driver, and helping hand, and Rabbi Kolesnik of Ivano-Frankivsk who assisted with advice and guidance when unexpected and difficult issues arose during the survey work at the south mass grave site. Special thanks to Sasha Nazar and our friends at the Lviv Volunteer Center of Hesed-Arieh for their two days of hard work in preparing sites before the survey, and Wito Nadaszkiewicz of LawCraft LLC for advance arrangements with the City of Rohatyn and support during the project.

Sample data and analysis from the north site survey

Sample data and analysis from the north site survey. Image © 2017 the Centre of Archaeology, Staffordshire University.