1 Execution site(s)
“I personally witnessed Germans and policemen killing Jewish people on the outskirts of the village of Lyubcha, not far away from the orthodox cemetery. In 1942, the German gendarmerie ordered the entire Jewish population to move into what we used to call a ghetto. There were 500 people in the columns. At the moment of the execution I was working at the mill, which was quite far away, so I couldn’t distinguish either the people who fired or those who were about to be shot. The shooting took place at about 400-450m away from the mill, behind the cemetery garden. Although it was clearly visible how the German soldiers and policemen forced the groups of five or six people to approach the edge of the pit, pushed them inside and then fired at them from the top with submachine guns and rifles. Once the first group was shot, they made another one approach and pushed them inside the pit and then shot them. I watched the scene for about an hour, during which more than ten groups were shot.” [Deposition given by a local villager Veniamin R., born in 1894, Pole, to the Soviet State Extraordinary Commission (ChGK): GARF 7021-81-102]
Lyubcha is a village situated 50km east of Grodno. Before the war, approximately 1500 Jews lived in the village. There were 2 synagogues and a Jewish cemetery. German forces occupied the village at the end of June 1941.
A short time after their arrival, the Germans selected 50 Jewish men and took them to Novogrudok, where they were shot. At the end of 1941, the Jews were relocated to approximately 30 houses, located near the synagogues, which functioned as an open ghetto. Groups of Jews were sometimes sent to nearby properties to perform hard labor, including agricultural work. Some of them were also sent to the nearby forced labor camp of Dvorzhets. In March 1942, the ghetto was fenced in and Jews from surroundings villages, such as Delatyche, were transferred there. Later, three members of the Judenrat and Jewish police were shot by the Germans under the pretext of bad hygienic conditions inside the ghetto. Though the fate of the remaining Jews is not completely clear, it seems that a group was sent to the Novogrudok ghetto, where they were later shot in August 1942. Another group was sent to complete road construction near the village of Vorobyeviche, where they were also shot in August 1942. It appears that several hundred Jews were also shot and buried in the cemetery in the spring of 1942.
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