Lebedevo (Liebiedzieva, Lebedeve, Lebiedziew) | Minsk

/ Yelena M., born in 1939: “The Jews were traders, but there were also a Jewish pharmacist and a doctor. They spoke Russian at the market, but among themselves they spoke their own language.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Vera S., born in 1935: “Jews were gathered in the ghetto located behind the selsoviet. I used to go to play with Jewish children Dreisia and Judik there, and my mother used to send me to bring milk to the Jews.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Antonina R., born in 1930: “Our neighbor Sviridov was hiding Jews for a while. When it got too dangerous he brought them to the forest so that they could join the partisans.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Mikhail Z., born in 1933: “An Orthodox priest sheltered the 3-year-old son of Marusia, the wife of the dentist Tsukerman. She managed to escape, but she came back after the war, took her son and disappeared.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Valentina S., born in 1926: “One Jewish woman left the ghetto to help our family dig the potatoes in exchange for food.” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Fiodor S., born in 1939: “A poor Jewish shoemaker Gotel was about 50 years old and had five daughters. Our family used to pay him for shoes with potatoes and other products. ” © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The ghetto was located between Sovetskaya and Zaretchanskaya street and bordered the Nevezha River. The village was burned down in 1944. All the houses that stand there today were built after the war. © Jethro Massey/ Yahad-In Unum The witness brings Yahad team to the Jewish cemetery, where his father transported the bodies of the Jews who escaped the mass shooting, but were caught and shot later. It is located on a mound, overgrown with high grass. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum The remaining tombstones at the Jewish cemetery © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum Here about 950 Jews were shot and burned in a barn. Before, the barn stood in a field outside the town. Now in the same field young trees are growing around the monument and the mass grave. © Jethro Massey/Yahad-In Unum

Execution of Jews in Lebedevo

2 Execution site(s)

Kind of place before :
Jewish cemetery (1); Barn in the field (2)
Memorials :
Yes
Period of occupation:
1941-1944
Number of victims :
?/600-959

Witness interview

Antonina R., born in 1930: “The Jews were gathered in the ghetto created on Zarechnaya and Molodechnenskaya streets, including a part of the central square. The river Nevezha crossed the ghetto. It was fenced in with barbed wire. I used to go inside the ghetto by the river and bring bread, milk and butter to the Jews, and to see my friends Sirka and Eida; they were good, kind girls. The Jews offered something in exchange, but every time I refused to take it. I remember that all the Jews, both young and old, were marked with six-pointed stars on their shoulders.” (Witness n°923, interviewed in Lebedevo on July 31, 2017)

Soviet archives

“Before the beginning of the war, that is to say before July 1941, there were about 1,900 Jews in the Lebedevo Selsoviet, in the district of Molodechno. From July to October 1941, these Jews lived in their own homes. In the same month [October] of the same year [1941], the German authorities rounded up the entire Jewish population and confined them in the so-called “ghetto” created on Zarechnaya Street and part of Vilinskaya Street. In this way they separated the Jewish population from the rest of Lebedevo’s inhabitants. The ghetto was surrounded with barbed wire. In addition, the Germans set up a permanent surveillance of the ghetto, which was provided by the local policemen. On June 24, 1942, at dawn, around 3am, the German punitive detachment, as well as the police, surrounded the ghetto and gathered about 600 people including children. The Germans announced that the Jews would be sent to work and forced the Jews to put on their warm clothes. Then, they took all these Jews by the paved road to the village of Markovo about 1 km away of Lebedevo and locked them in the barn. There, the Germans shot them all, then sprinkled them with gasoline and burned the bodies.” [Deposition of Anton S., born in 1885, given to the State Extraordinary commission (ChGK) in 1944; RG 22.002M: 7021-89-9]

German archives

“The Jews, whose apartments had been given to the locals, were gathered by the SD and shot in a barn outside the city. There were about 50-100 Jews. The barn was burned after the execution. A Jew, who had not been mortally wounded, escaped from the barn, his clothes on fire. But he was shot on the spot.” [An excerpt from the investigation report; B162-1296]

Historical note

Lebedevo is located 73 km north-west of Minsk. According to the census of 1897 1,232 Jews lived in the village, making up half of the total population, by 1921 their number decreased down to 900. During the pogrom conducted on September 5, 1915, the Jewish houses and shops were looted or destroyed. Between the wars the village was under Polish control. At that time the Jews had their own primary school and a two-storied wooden synagogue. They lived off small-scale trade and handicraft, and some of them worked as doctors or pharmacists, whilst some owned local industries.  In 1939 the village was taken over by the Soviet Union as a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

Holocaust by bullets in figures

Lebedevo was occupied by the Wehrmacht troops in the end of June, 1941. After the occupation the Jews continued to live in their houses until October, when a ghetto was created.   Located on two streets, where the majority of Jews lived before the war, the ghetto was surrounded with a barbed wire and guarded by the local police. The Jews were marked with yellow sixpointed stars. The Jews fit to work were required to perform forced labor on the railway. In the ghetto the victims suffered from overcrowding and hunger however some of them secretly managed to leave the ghetto to ask for food. On June 24, 1942, a German punitive squad arrived and selected about 600 Jews under the pretext of being taken to forced labor. However, instead, they were brought to a barn 1km outside Lebedevo to be shot. According to the memorial which stands on the site, the number of vcitims was even bigger. Some Jews managed to hide in the village but were found and shot by the Germans.  Their corpses were buried in the Jewish cemetery by the requisitioned villagers.  With the help of local witnesses Yahad-In Unum was able to identify this site, which remaisn without any memorial today.

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