Panorama of Kysylyn with ruins of Catholic church in the background
Kysylyn was founded in 1545. The first documentation of Jews in the town dates to the 17th century. During the First World War, Kysylyn was severely damaged. Sources indicate that the Jewish population declined from over 850 in 1897 to under 100 in 1921. By 1939, at least 61 Jewish households are known to have existed in the town, suggesting a population of several hundred. In addition to Jews, Ukrainians and Poles lived in Kysylyn as well.
World War II
According to the census of 1921, 94 Jews lived in the village. The village was occupied by Germans at the end of June 1941. The first anti-Jewish actions started at the end of summer beginning of autumn 1941. All Jews were forced to wear distinguishing badges. They were subjected to force labor, assaults and robbery. First 48 Jews were executed on August 19, 1941 on the outskirts of the village. From the first days of November, 1941 a closed ghetto was established and existed till August 1942 when it was totally liquidated by Germans who were helped by Ukrainian police. As a result, about 500-550 Jews were murdered during this Aktion.
The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, supported by a group of local Ukrainian peasants, committed a mass murder of around 60 to 90 ethnic Poles in the centre of town on July 11, 1943. The Polish citizens who assembled for a Sunday service at a local Catholic church, were killed by a machine gun. The wounded, including children, were murdered with axes and knives. The Kisielin massacre was part of the province–wide massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Galicia, with the estimated 35-60 thousands ethnic Poles and thousands Ukrainian-Polish loyalists from Wołyń killed by Ukrainian partisans during World War II. The memory of Kisielin massacre was featured in Agnieszka Arnold's 2003 feature film Oczyszczenie (Cleansing) also in film "Było sobie miasteczko..." ("There once was a town...") based on memories of composer Krzesimir Dębski.
- Volhynia Gazetteer. Location according to SGGEE guideline, p. 17: Kisilin (Kisielin/Kysylyn) Archived 2011-01-09 at the Wayback Machine.
- Grzegorz Motyka. "Zapomnijcie o Giedroyciu: Polacy, Ukraińcy, IPN." Archived 2011-07-13 at the Wayback Machine. "Na Wołyniu relacja jest wprost porażająca – po polskiej stronie było może nawet 50–60 tys. ofiar, po ukraińskiej – raczej nie więcej niż 2–3 tys." Gazeta Wyborcza, 24 May 2008.
- Władysław Siemaszko, Ewa Siemaszko, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na ludności polskiej Wołynia 1939-1945, Warszawa 2000, ISBN 83-87689-34-3
- Genocide and rescue in Wołyń; Kisielin, July 11, 1943. Google Books