1 Execution site(s)
Ulinana S., born in 1924: “The mayor and the policemen knew who the Jewish inhabitants were. One day, all of the villagers, Jews and non-Jews, were gathered in the town square. After a selection, the Jews were forced to get into trucks. Those who refused were beaten and forced inside, roughly. The Belarusians were also divided into three groups. A new burgomeister had been elected and a police force was set up. My father went into hiding in the forest, so our family was put aside. We were separated from our mother because we were hiding in the field and they took us away. People who were not at home at the moment of the round-up were all put in one group. 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 100km southwest of Mogilev and 20km northeast of Bobruisk. The first record of the Jewish community goes back to the early 19th century. In 1897, 506 Jews lived in the village, alongside 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 small business and handcrafts. There was a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery, neither of which survive today. On the eve of the war, about 150 Jews lived in the village. The Jewish population slightly increased as refugees began arriving 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 one testimony, between 150 and 200 Jews, mostly men, were shot in the nearby forest by the Germans. They were taken there in trucks from the central square where the entire population had been gathered. A 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 the village of Orekhovka and shot. Those who managed to hide or escape were caught afterwards and shot in turn. During the 1970s, the bodies of the Jews murdered in Lyubonichi were reburied in the cemetery of Bobruisk by surviving relatives.
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