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2 Execution site(s)
Pyotr P. born in 1930, remembers the Lakhva ghetto revolt: "The Jews set fire to their houses. That day, we were mowing grass when we heard shots from Lakhva. My father said: ‘Something is wrong there.’ Then, we saw that the Jews were running. Those who were young had a rifle or a machine gun in their hands. They ran to the Pripyat River.” (Witness N°182, interviewed in Lakhva, in 2009).
"Near the village of Lakhva, the Commission found a pit (25x2x2,5m), on the territory of the fishing area, 50m to the west of the vicinal road Lakhva-Mikashevichi, in which there were the bodies of the Jewish population of Lakhva – including 698 women and 724 children.” [Act of the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, drawn up on April 10, 1945; RG-22.002M/7021-90/31]
"We managed to find many fugitives. The dead and injured were taken to the execution site by members of the unit. I had to carry a dead woman with a comrade as far as the killing site. There, I saw a pit, which was 10m long, 3m wide and 2m deep. To the best of my knowledge, the grave was already filled a third of the way up with dead people - men, women and children. I spent a brief time at the execution site. I saw how the victims jumped or were pushed into the pit, where they lay on people who had already been killed. Then, they were shot from the edge of the mass grave with a machine gun." [Deposition of Heinrich S., made on July 4, 1962, a member of a police battalion who took an active part in the liquidation of the Lakhva ghetto; B162-4954]
During the interwar period, Lakhva was located in Poland. There were many Jewish organizations: Zionist movements, a sport association or Maccabi, a Tarbut school. Typically, the Jews worked in stores, workshops, mills and warehouses. On the eve of World War II, about 2,300 Jews were living in Lakhva. The town was first under Soviet administration in 1939. Many Jewish organizations were banned and the three synagogues were closed.
The Germans arrived in Lakhva in July 1941. In April 1942, a ghetto, divided into two parts, was established next to the river. The local Ukrainian and Belarusian police guarded the ghetto. Some young Jews organized an underground resistance group. The liquidation of the ghetto took place on September 02, 1942, and was conducted by the Security Police based in Pinsk. When the Germans entered the ghetto, the Jews set fire to the building of the Judenrat. Some Jews managed to escape while the ghetto was burning. About 600 Jews were able to reach the Pripyat River and some of them joined up with the partisans in the forests. About 1,500 Jews were killed during the ghetto uprising, and approximately 300 were shot in mass pits. Only 90 Jews from Lakhva survived.
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