The first and biggest mass-murder was carried out on 27-28 August, 1941 (4-5 Elul 5701), near the city of Kamenetz-Podolsk. In those two days, 23,600 Jews were killed, most of them Hungarian Jews (14,000-16,000) and the rest local Polish Jews. As the researchers of the Holocaust point out, the Kamenetz-Podolsk massacre was the first mass action in the “final Solution” of the Nazis, and the number of its victims reached 5 figures. Eye-witnesses reported that the perpetrators made no effort to hide their deeds from the local population. The Rabbi of Munkacs, Rabbi Baruch Rabinowitz, who was among the deportees (and only by powerful intercession was returned to Hungary), described his path of suffering to a Yad Vashem interviewer; This interview was recorded and transcribed and is found in the Yad Vashem Archives (03/3822).
Rabbi Rabinowitz suggested the possibility that the Nazis purposely did not hide their actions, in order to test the reaction of the Allies. And when this reaction failed to come – as is known to all of us – those in charge of the killings concluded (and to our sorrow, rightly so) that Jewish blood is free for the shedding, there being no one to protect or to avenge its spilling. Those responsible for the annihilation of the Jewish People continued to carry out the slaughter with even greater vigor and according to the detailed plan of the “final solution”.
Not all the deported Hungarian Jews – and the Jews of Marmaros among them – reached Kamenetz-Podolsk. The great majority of them were, however, brought to this city’s ghetto, which was being erected in the summer of 1941. Before gathering the Jews into the ghetto, the Jews of Hungary were spread out among the Jews of Kamanetz-Podolsk and the nearby towns. As the survivors relate, the Hungarian Jews were received with open arms and the local Jews shared their meager bread-crusts and their living-quarters with them. The public buildings as well, synagogues and schools were made available to the deportees by the local Polish Jews.
When the ghetto was established, tens of thousands of Jews from the city and the entire area were concentrated there. The Hungarian Jews were also placed in the ghetto. As was already stated, the overwhelming majority of the Jews of the ghetto were murdered at the end of August, 1941. This was done slyly. They were told that it was decided to remove the Jews from Kamenetz-Podolsk and that they have to be taken elsewhere. Surrounded by Hungarian soldiers from the pioneer unit, German S.S. men, and Ukrainian troops, they were led 15 kilometers on foot over an area strewn with bomb-craters. They were commanded to undress and group by group were placed into the cross-fire of machine-guns. Many were buried alive.