1 Execution site(s)
Sofia M., born in 1922: "My uncle was requisitioned by the Starost to dig the pit and fill it in. So he had to stay at the site and witness the execution. He told me that the Jews were forced to undress before going down into the pit. There, they were shot by the Germans. The lightly wounded men and anyone who had survived had to climb out before being shot one by one." (Witness n°62B, interviewed in Lukoml, on July 18, 2008)
Lukoml is a village located 95 km (60mi) southeast of Vitebsk. The first Jews started to settle there in the second half of the 18th century. In 1847, 400 Jews lived in the village. By 1897, the Jewish community had grown to 700 individuals. The majority of Jews lived off commerce, forest exploitation and handicraft. The community had a synagogue and a cemetery. Under the Soviet regime, the number of Jews decreased due to immigration, with many moving to bigger towns. On the eve of the war, 867 Jews lived in the Chashniki district, the majority of whom lived in the small villages of Chereia and Lukoml. There are no records of the exact number of how many Jews lived in Lukoml before it was occupied by the Germans.
Contrary to other localities in the region, the Lukoml Jews continued to live in their homes. The Germans did not establish an enclosed ghetto, possibly because the whole Jewish population already lived in the central part of the town. The Lukoml Jewish community was murdered on October 18, 1941. All the Jews, except for those who had managed to go into hiding, were rounded up at their homes and taken to the school building under the pretext of being transferred to Chashniki. They were marched towards the cemetery where they were shot. According to the accounts of local witnesses interviewed by Yahad, the Jews were first forced to take off outer clothes, before being shot on the edge of the pit. After the shooting, the pits were filed in by requisitioned villagers. Three Jews managed to escape from the execution site, but were found and shot the following day.
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