Lubny (Luben, Lubin, Łubny) | Poltava

Piryatinskaya Str., Lubny beginning of XX century. © Taken from jewua.org Market square. Lubny beginning of XX century. © Taken from jewua.org Male high school, Lubny beginning of XX century. © Taken from jewua.org Special posters, written in Russian and Ukrainina, were hanging throughout the town, stating that all the Jews had to arrive with their belongings and food provisions for three days at a meeting point for further resettlement.© Yad Vashem Photoarchives An elderly Jewish man and a child waiting at the assembly point before being murdered.©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Jews on their way to the assembly point. © Yahad-In Unum A mother sitting with her children at Lubny, just moments before the executions would begin. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Jews on their way to the assembly point, Lubny, Ukraine. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives A woman waiting at the assembly point in Lubny. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Jews with their belongings on the way to the assembly point. © Yahad-In Unum Jews with their belongings on the way to the assembly point. © Yahad-In Unum A Jew shot during the deportation of Jews from the city, October 1941. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Jews being led to the killing site, Lubny, Ukraine. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Men, women and children at the assembly point in Lubny. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Jewish children at the assembly point. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives SS soldiers standing near women and children at the assembly point in Lubny, Ukraine. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Lubny, Ukraine, SK4a soldiers standing next to Jews who are assembling at the assembly point ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Lubny, Ukraine, Einsatzgruppen C SS officers in the unit club, 1941. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives Probably mass murder site of Jews from Lubny. ©  Yad Vashem Photoarchives / Road to death: behind the trees is the execution site of the Jewish victims © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Nadia S., born in 1929: "After the shooting, they were forced to build a wall to block the blood that flowed from the grave." © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum With the witness, Yahad reconstructs the timeline of October 16, 1942, when more than 1,800 Jews were murdered by the Nazi mobile unit © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum "At this site, before entering the anti-tank ditch where they would be shot, the Jews took off their clothing and underwear. Later, all of it was burned and one could find valuable objects there." © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Vera, born in 1924: "It was poverty that motivated the local women to go to the place where the Jews were rounded up and ask the Germans for a scarf, a skirt." © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum To the right, the site of the round-up and to the left, the path that leads to the shooting site. © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum Mykola S., born in 1931: "Family by family, the Jews were forced to undress and to put their clothing in a pile, before being brought to the shooting." © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of about 4,500 Jews from Lubny and nearby villages © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum The view from the witness’s house. That day, he was watching the scene from the roof of his house. Back then, the forest didn’t exist. © Kate Kornberg/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Lubny

1 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Ravine called Zasulie Yar
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
About 4,500

Witness interview

Nadia S., born in 1929, remembered: “On the day of the shooting, I went with my grandmother to milk the cow, but we couldn’t pass as the way was blocked by the Germans. They stopped us about 50m away from the gathering point, where all the Jews were told to assemble on October 16. They all waited there, some of them sat down, and others remained standing up. They cried a lot. They couldn’t escape anywhere because the territory was sealed off by Germans and policemen. There were a lot of children of different ages. I remember mothers holding their children in their arms and crying. I think they already knew what was waiting for them… They seemed to be desperate. We didn’t stay a long time there, the Germans let us pass when we showed him where we were going to.” (Witness n°1922, interviewed in Zasullia, on October 16, 2015)

Soviet archives

“On October 16, 1941, at 9:00 in the morning, they had already begun making the civilian residents, women, the elderly, and children, run in groups of 35-40. My wife and I were able to see women who were holding small babies in one hand and two or even three children in the other. The elderly also carried or led their grandchildren by the hand. […]

From my house, through the opened window, we could see the atrocities committed against the civilians on the site where they were shot. Once all women, children and elderly people were assembled there, they were forced to take off their underwear and line up at the edge of the ditch. Later, someone fired with an automatic weapon and the corpses fell down into the pit.” [Deposition of a local witness, Moisei P., taken on April 27, 1944, to the Soviet Extraordinary Commission; RG 22.002M. Fond 7021, Opis 70, Delo 981]

German archives

“In the morning, when we left, we didn’t know what kind of intervention it would be. When we had to go to the prison in order to load the detainees into the trucks, we suspected what was waiting for us. I think that in each truck, there were about 20-25 people. Once the truck was full, we put them in a column to lead them outside of town. After about 15 minutes of driving, we stopped at the sand quarry where the gendarmes and the shooters had to form a barrier chain. According to my estimation, there were about 50 soldiers, mostly gendarmes, who formed the barrier. The trucks had to arrive at the pit in reverse so that the detained could get off directly into the pit. Once the barrier was made, I had to open the truck from the back and the detainees got off, one by one, after undressing and leaving their clothing in the truck. One pit measured 20m in length, 3m wide and about 1,5-2m in depth. I didn’t participate in the shooting because I had to stay close to the truck, located about 10m away from the pit. I could observe everything well from that location. As I started to explain, the detainees had to undress inside the truck, get down at the bottom of the pit, lay down facing the ground before being shot.” [Deposition of a driver of FK 608, taken on September 24, 1963 ; B162-5885 pp.24-30]

Historical note

Lubny is located on the banks of the Sula River, midway between Kyiv and Poltava, about 130km northwest of Poltava. The first Jewish settlements in Lubny dated back to the 17th century. During the pogroms in 1648-1649, a few hundred Jews were killed. With time, the Jewish community increased and reached 3,500 people by 1939 (12% of the local population). A well-known Jewish writer and playwright Shalom Aleichem, born in Poltava, lived in Lubny for three years, from 1880 to 1883.

In the 1920s, there were many small industries, such as the tobacco factory, flour mill, rope factory, where a small percentage of Jews worked. Other Jews were involved in trade; almost 90% of stores belonged to Jews or worked as artisans. There was a Yiddish school, a synagogue and cemetery in Lubny. The Germans occupied Lubny on September 13, 1941. By that time, many Jews had managed to evacuate and young Jewish men were enlisted into the army.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the Germans’ arrival, all Jews were registered and marked. Shortly after, on October 10, 1941, the German commander of Lubny ordered all Jews from the town and the rest of the county to gather under the pretext of further resettlement. Special posters were hanging throughout the town, stating that all the Jews had to arrive with their belongings and food provisions for three days at a meeting point on Zamostye Street for further resettlement. Most people came. At 9 a.m. on that day, about 4,500 Jews gathered and were marched by Sonderkommando 4a, accompanied by local police to the rope factory and forced to undress. Then, they were forced to run, in groups of 35-40, to anti-tank trenches located near the factory, where they were shot. The Germans’ reports of SK4a mentioned that on that day, more than 1,800 Jews were killed. The Germans took the valuables and good clothing, while other piles of clothes were burned. From the accounts of local witnesses and the Soviet archives, we believe that the children weren’t shot, but poisoned. Dozens of Jews who were hiding, as well as skilled workers whose lives had been spared earlier, were killed in April-May of 1942.

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