» Articles » Ghetto in Lokhvytsia

Ghetto in Lokhvytsia

The black page in the history of the Jewish community of the small town of Lokhvytsia in the present Poltava region was the German occupation. The Germans occupied Lokhvytsia in early September 1941 and immediately began to establish their "new order". According to the last census in 1939, Jews made up almost half (43%) of the inhabitants of this small town. The Jews in Lokhvytsia were ordinary citizens who worked mainly in the service sector: hairdressers, photographers, watchmakers, shoemakers, and so on.

Almost immediately, the Germans ordered the Jews to wear a white band on their clothes, and then a star and the inscriptions "Jude". Already at the end of September, the Lokhvytsia Jews were herded into a ghetto near Telmana Street, where they were kept without food, water or any medical care. The ghetto in Lokhvytsia was overcrowded, because in addition to the locals, Jewish refugees were also sent there. Unsanitary conditions and rampant various diseases reigned there, from which dozens of prisoners died. Those who managed to survive hunger and disease faced a terrible death. 

On the eve of the extermination, the Jews were told to pack their valuables and be ready to go to Palestine or the United States. Local peasants, by whose houses a column of prisoners was to pass, were ordered not to leave their houses in the morning. At dawn, a column of unsuspecting Jews stretched through the streets of Lokhvytsia towards their death. It was May 12, 1942.

The Jews of the Lokhvytsia ghetto were shot on the outskirts of the town near the village of Blagodarevka. First, they were ordered to undress and leave all their belongings by the road, and then they were driven in groups to a large ravine. All along their last journey to the place of execution stood Nazi soldiers and local policemen. 

By lunchtime it was all over. The small silence after the shots was soon broken by a powerful explosion. By evening, after the invaders left, many local residents ran to the ravine to see if anyone was left alive. They saw that the punishers, after the execution, undermined the slopes of the ravine, covering the bodies with a thick layer of earth, so that no one could survive there. And near the road, bonfires from the clothes and belongings of the Lokhvytsia Jews were burning out ...

On that day, according to official figures, 287 Jews were shot, however, other evidence suggests that there were more than 300 of them, and the youngest victim was not even a year old.

After the war, a three-meter obelisk was erected at the place of execution in memory of the victims of Nazism.