1 Execution site(s)
Ulinana S., born in 1924, remembered: “The mayor and the policemen knew who were Jewish. One day, all of the villagers, including Jews and non-Jews, were gathered in the town square. After a selection, the Jews were forced to get in trucks. Those who refused were beaten and pushed roughly inside. The Belarussians were also divided in three groups. At that time, a new burgomaster was elected. The police was also installed My father went into hiding in the forest at that time, so our family was put aside. We were put separately from our mother because we were hiding in the field and they brought us from there. Those who were not at home at the moment when they gathered people were all put in one group. Those people, whose relatives stayed hiding in the forest, were put in another group. There was a lot of noise in the market square. Everyone was crying.” (Testimony N°699, interviewed in Lyubonichi, on July 23, 2013)
Lyubonichi is located about 100 km southwest of Moguilev and 20km northeast of Bobruisk. The first record about the Jewish community goes back to the early 19th century. In 1897, 506 Jews lived in the village along with Belarussians and Poles. Due to pogroms conducted in 1920 and migrations to bigger cities, the Jewish population decreased significantly. The majority of Jews lived off of small business and handcrafting. There was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery but do not currently exist anymore. On the eve of the war, about 150 Jews lived in the village. The Jewish population slightly increased with the refugees who arrived from Poland in 1939. Lyubonichi was occupied in early August 1941.
There was no ghetto in Lyubonichi. The Jews could live freely until the first Aktion was conducted in August 1941 (November 1941 according to some sources). According to the testimony, between 150 and 200 Jews, who were mostly men, were shot in the nearby forest by Germans. They were taken in trucks from the central square where the entire population had been gathered to the forest where the pit had been dug in advance by young Jewish men. The Jewish women and children were murdered several months later, in December 1941. They were taken in trucks to Orekhovka village and shot. Those who managed to hide or escape were caught afterwards and shot dead. In 1970s, the corpses of Jews murdered in Lyubonichi were reburied in the cemetery of Bobruisk by the relatives.
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