Lida (Lyda) | Grodno 

Lida town. View from Suvalska Street © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com Lida town. View of the Sadovay Street. © Taken from www.edwardvictor.com Market square and synagogue before the war. Everything was destroyed.  © Taken from www.edwardvictor.com A Jewish shop selling pottery in Lida. Prewar picture, 1939 © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com A Jewish water carrier in Lida. Prewar Picture, 1939 © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com Jewish tradesmen in Lida in front of their shops. © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com Members of the He - Chaluts movement from the "Tel Hai" pioneering training commune (kibbutz hachshara) in Lida. © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com Members of the Freiheit and Ha - Tsofim youth movements in Lida. Barczynski Israel © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com A German soldier ( First World War) standing with a Jewish family in Lida. © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com Jews in Lida transferring holy objects from the synagogue to their homes, for fear of looting by soldiers of the Russian army, 1920 © www.eilatgordinlevitan.com / Ambiance in Lida © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum Yahad team looking for witnesses who might know what happened to the Lida Jews © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum The former Gestapo building. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum Former military barracks. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum The location of the former ghetto. The Russians living there were forced to move to another location. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum Zenine B. was forced to move into another house because when the ghetto was created a Jewisg family moved into it. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum Zenine B. shows to Yahad team the former location of his house © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum Zenin B., points out the site where the Jews were gathered for the entire day: “Those who gave up golden objects were allowed to come back home”. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum The execution site of about 6700 Jews in Lida. © Victoria Bahr- Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Lida

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Forest
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941 - 1944
Number of victims :
6700

Witness interview

Zenin B.: "I lived with my family in a street that was supposed to be part of the ghetto, not far from the forest where the Jews were later killed. One day a city official came to tell us that it was necessary to move to make space for the Jews who were coming. We had to look for a house in the city center, and we shared it with another family.” (Witness N°728, interviewed in April, 2014)

Soviet archives

“People were shot with machine guns, in 3 large pits that had been dug in advance. People condemned to death had to undress. After that, they had to come down to the pits in groups of 10 to 50 people. The victims had to line themselves up on top of the previous bodies before being shot. It was done in this way until the pit was filled.” [Deposition of F.B. for the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission, RG-22.002M.7021-86-42]

German archives

“I attended a large extermination of the Jews in Lida by myself, during my service over there. The Gebietskommissar Hannweg asked me to come with him. We left Lida at about 6:45 am. We drove a short distance in the countryside lining the city of Lida. On the order of Hannweg, the driver stopped and we continued on foot, in the direction of the forest. A little farther away, I saw people being shot on both sides of the path. According to what I was able to see, the people lying down were elderly as well as people who had infirmities.” [Testimony of Rudolf D. during Lida’s Gebietskommissariat trial, June 1963, B162-3416p.77/202AR-Z94/59Vol.Xp.2996]

Historical note

Lida is an important city that is located 160 km west of Minsk. Before the war, there were around 8500 Jews living there as well as several synagogues in the city. The main Jewish streets were Pastovskaya and Krasnoarmeiskaya Street. The Jews lived from small trade and craftwork. The city was occupied on June 28, 1941.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

A few days after the Germans’ arrival, 92 educated Jews were selected and shot about 2 km outside of the city. As Lida was an important city, there were several German units within the city, and the city was also the seat of a Gebietskommissariat. A Judenrat was created and had to select Jews for forced labor, like cleaning the streets.

In September 1941, a ghetto was established in 3 separate quarters of the city. The largest one was on Postavska and Chlodna Street. The second one was on two streets close to Borovka Forest. The third was in the Piaski Quarter.

In March 1942, after Jews were accused of having robbed an Orthodox priest, all the Jews were gathered in the central square. The Jews had to give up all their belongings. After denunciations, nearly 40 Jews were shot on the spot, along with 200 Jews who were still in the ghetto.

On May 8, 1942, all the Jews from the different ghettos were gathered in three different locations. Jews able to work were kept apart, the others were conducted in columns to Borovka Forest. According to witnesses interviewed by Yahad, three pits were dug in advance by local inhabitants who lived close to the forest. The Jews were killed by SS Lithuanian and Latvian auxiliaries under German supervision.  More than 5600 Jews were murdered during that aktion. Before the liquidation of the ghetto in September 1943, hundreds of Jews managed to escape to Naliboki Forest, where they joined the Bielsky partisans. The remaining Jews were driven to the railway station and sent to the extermination camps of Maidanek and Sobibor in occupied Poland.

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