Lyubar (Liubar) | Zhytomyr

/ Vasyl M., born in 1926: “I was about 500m from the killing site. I saw a truck stop and a man opened the canvas covering.”©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Vasyl M. shows the Yahad team the place where he saw a truck stop and Jews getting out of the truck ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Maria K., born in 1925: “While working in the field, I saw the shooting. I remember two men were carrying a body that they threw in the pit. Then, they were shot.”©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum After the interview, if the witness agrees, he takes us to the sites to reconstruct the process of the crime ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum Lyubov, born in 1928: “The truck arrived from there. We could see the Jews jumping out of the trucks and approaching the pits.” ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The execution site of more than 2,086 Jews from Lyubar ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum The monument erected in memory of the Jews from Lyubar ©Victoria Bahr/Yahad-In Unum

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Execution of Jews in Lyubar

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Field/Sand quarry
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1943
Number of victims :
2086

Witness interview

Vasyl M., born in 1926, recounted: “The majority of the Jews were shot in a sand quarry outside the village. I didn’t see the shooting. But, when I was working in the field, I saw the Jews being brought in trucks. The specialists and artisans were shot the last because the Germans needed their services. So I was about 500m from the killing site. I saw a truck stop and a man opened the canvas covering, and the Jews started to get off. There were only men among the victims. I can’t tell you how many there were because I didn’t count them, but they were numerous. After a while, we heard the bursts of gunfire. I guess they were shot with submachine guns.” (Witness n°1709, interviewed in Yurivka, on May 30, 2013)

Soviet archives

Upon the arrival of the German bandits on the district territory, the extermination of the civil population started. Before being shot, the population was subjected to inhuman suffering. The Jewish artisans, including tailors, cobblers, and carpenters were first used for the needs of the Germans rascals, but afterwards, they were badly treated and murdered. […] The shooting of the civilians took place in the so called “Peschanoye Pole”, sand quarry, located 2km northwest of Lyubar. The shootings were carried out by mobile SS units and policemen. The victims were thrown in the pits, some of which remained uncovered. [Act of Soviet Extraordinary Commission drawn up on June 5, 1945; 22.002M.7021- 60-302]

German archives

“In November or December 1941, 400 Jews were shot by Dr. B., F., G. and one SS-commando from EK5. 15 Jews were spared in order to fill the grave but were also killed at the end of the shooting.” [Public ministry’s report, 27.05.1980, B162-7356]

Historical note

Lyubar, a former Jewish agricultural colony, is located 80km southwest of Zhytomyr.  The Jewish community dates back to the 15th century. In the course of its history, several pogroms were carried, one in the middle of 17th century by Cossacks and another in 1920. On the eve of the war, half of the population was Jewish. Due to the sizable Jewish population there were several synagogues, a Jewish hospital, and theater. The majority of the Jews lived off of trade or handcrafts. The town was occupied by Germans in early July 1941. By that time, 15% of the Jewish population had evacuated or in the case of young men were enrolled in the Soviet army. 

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Immediately after the Germans’ arrival, an open ghetto was established in mid July 1941. All Jews were forced to wear armbands and all contact with the local population was prohibited. Due to poor living conditions and lack of food, many Jewish inmates died. There were three major Aktions against Jews carried out by the reserve police battalion and police regiment, which began one month after the Germans’ arrival. During the first Aktion, carried out on August 9, 1941, 300 men were taken away under the pretext of forced labor and shot close to the village of Yurovka. The second and the largest Aktion took place in the middle of September, aimed at liquidating the remaining Jews from the ghetto. On this day, over 1,000 Jews were murdered in the sand quarry by the Reserve Police Unit, helped by local police. The 250 specialists and artisans, who were first detained at the school building, were killed last, at the end of October 1941. According to the sources, in addition to the local Jews, Jews from Polonne, Grytsiv, Ostropil, and Slavuta were killed in a sand quarry in Lyubar.

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