2 Execution site(s)
Pavlo K., born in 1931, remembers the day when Jews were taken to the shooting site: " W: [.. ] It was when we had just brought our cows back home after grazing them. We were in the yard. The truck drove through our street and we saw it passing by and the Jews crying and waving at us.
Y. U. : Was it one truck at a time or several?
Witness : I remember seeing one truck. I think it might have gone back once they had unloaded, but I’m not sure.
Y. U. : Which kind of a truck was it: an open or covered cargo one?
Witness : It was an open cargo truck with security guards standing around its borders. They kind of encircled the victims who cried and waved their hands.
Y. U. : Who were amongst them: men, women or children?
Witness : They were all together: men, women and children.
Y. U. : Were they standing or sitting during their transportation?
Witness : We saw them standing, maybe some of them were in other positions. I remember them waving at us when they passed by.
Y. U. : In which direction the truck headed afterwards?
Witness : The truck left from the ghetto and drove to a place where they were shot.
Y. U. : How far was it from the ghetto?
Witness : It’s about 2 kilometers. Yes, a distance to a cemetery is up to 2 km. There’s a monument there.” " (Testimony n°1481, interviewed in Lokachi, on May 5th, 2012).
Lokachi is located 55 km west of Lutsk. The first record of the Jewish community goes back to 18th century. By 1897, 730 Jews settled in the village and represented 75% of the total population. The Jewish community suffered from several waves of pogroms carried out in 1648-1649 and 1918. Between the two wars the village was under the Polish rule, and in 1939 was annexed by the Soviet Union. The majority of Jews were engaged in the commerce, they had over 40 shops, but they were all nationalized under the Soviets. On the eve of the war 1,790 Jews lived in the village. The Germans occupied the village on June 23, 1941.
Immediately after the occupation the Jews continued to live in their house. The first anti-Jewish measures were applied only in November 1941 when all the Jews were confined into an opened ghetto which was later fenced in with 2m barbed wire. At this time they were all registered and their belongings were confiscated. The Jews fit to work, mostly men, were subjected to different kind of forced labor, such as cleaning the streets, cutting the forest, road repair, breaking stones from the Jewish cemeteries. Many Jewish artisans were transferred to different places or work camps outside Lokachi, for instance to Horokhiv. In all, the ghetto numbered about 2,200 Jews including 800 who were brought from the nearing villages. According to the historical sources the first and the only Aktion was conducted on September 9th, 1942, when more than 1,500 Jewish inmates from the ghetto were rounded-up, put in trucks, and taken in the open field where the pits had been dug in advance. During this aktion conducted by German Gendarmerie assisted by local police, the Jews, men, women and children, were shot in groups at the bottom of the pit. The eyewitness interviewed by Yahad could provide the detailed description of how the execution was conducted. They had to get inside and lie down facing the pit and the four Germans fired at them from the edge of the pit. Before being killed the Jews were force to undress. However, during the field research Yahad has discovered that there were at least two more executions, one before and one after the ghetto was liquidated. The first one was conducted six months before the ghetto was liquidated. About 140 Jewish men were marched towards the basements where they were shot. The second one was conducted a few weeks after September 9th, 1942. During the liquidation many Jews managed to go into hiding, but the local police continue to search for them. Thus, 20 Jews were found and killed in basements, located not far from the main execution site. According to the memorial erected on the main execution site 3,667 Jews were murdered in Lokachi. We believe that this number includes all Jews native from Lokachi who were killed during WWII even if they were taken and killed outside of the village itself and also those brought from the nearing villages.
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