Also known as
or Labun'





22 May 2011

"I was looking for a cow in the forest, and all of a sudden heard the sound of motorcycles.  I hid behind the bushes and saw five or six cars coming.  From those cars Germans began herding people to a ditch.  They started shooting.  At this moment I saw a little girl with a doll in her hands and a woman.  I quietly called them and along the lake behind the bushes led them to my home.  The woman asked me to show her the way to Golubchu; they had some relatives there.  When it became dark I took them there.  I have never seen them again and I don't know if they survived."
"My mother and father were killed in September of 1941.  We were taken to the ghetto.  Everyday we had to work, but it wasn't any kind of a useful job.  We simply were supposed to shake the stones in the Jewish cemetery.  To work there was very painful, the Germans whistled and giggled while making us desecrate those graves.  But what could we do being under their automatics and sharp-teethed German dogs?  Being scared and hungry made the people do what they did.  We weren't given anything to eat.  We survived on whatever we could find - goosefoot herbs, potatoes, peels of potatoes, or whatever good people would give us.  On September 10th, 1942, while we were in the Shepetovka Ghetto the Nazis came.  I hid along with a girl from Great Berezna in a ditch and we spent three days there.  Then we started going."

Citizen from Novolabun, Andrey Vladimirovitch Drachuk, told a story about the murdering of Jews in the forest next to his town. How he, a 17-year-old boy, helped to rescue a woman and girl.
Ganna Moiseyevna Kalika, from Novolabun, survived and lived in Odessa after the war.

Both quotes are from Sefer Zakorrem, Book of Memory - The Yizkor Book from the Town of Polonnoye and other shtetls in the vicnity.

By 5 July 1941, Nazi Germany occupied the Khmelnitsky Oblast and Labun'.  From 1941 to 1942 Jewish people in the shtetls were placed in ghettos, starved, and tormented.  Most were placed in a ghetto in a former rock quarry in Polonnoye.  At gun point Jewish residents were forced to desecrate their own cemeteries in Labun and Polonnoye by rolling grave stones from one place to another.  Those who were deemed uncooperative or caught trying to escape, were shot on the spot.  Periods of imprisonment, starvation and torment were broken up by mass shootings on September 1941, 25 June 1942 and 10 September 1942.  Some of these events were orchestrated and carried out by local accomplices of the Nazis. 

A few Jewish residents escaped to the Soviet Union, Israel, the United States and other countries.  Others escaped within Ukraine and Eastern Europe, hiding out with the help of their non-Jewish neighbors until the war was over.  Unfortunately, not all Ukrainians were as courageous or righteous.  By the time the Nazi's occupied this area, pursuit of the "Final Solution" did not mean slow death at concentration camps, but mass slaughter at gun point.  The Jewish populations in many shtetls in this region vanished into burial trenches in a matter of days.  The few who remained were liberated by Soviet troops on 4 January 1944.

Polonnoye Yizkor Book

After World War II those who survived began an effort to recollect and preserve the shtetl life destroyed by the Nazi occupiers.  In the 1950s and 1960s many Yizkor Books were produced for many localities.  Today many are preserved in libraries and museums and, increasingly, online. 

While there is no Yizkor Book specifically for Labun, the one for Polonnoye includes many references to and recollections by former Labun Jewish residents.  Portions of this book have been translated from Yiddish are are available on the Jewishgen website. 

The book includes a list of those residents known to have perished during the occupation as well as several recollections and a short history of the area.  Labun features prominently in the following sections:
  • Memoirs of enslaved Maria Tibun from Polonnoye ghetto
  • Memoirs of a former prisoner of a Jewish ghetto
  • History of the Jews of Polonnoye for Five Centuries
  • I will remember forever
  • On the roads of war
  • The difficult way
List of Labun victims murdered during the Nazi occupation (extracted from Polonnoye Yizkor book and the Yad Vashem dtabase).

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