In 1957, in a village Zasullya (near Lubny, Ukraine), Simon G. Bronshvag organized local people to collect and bury remains of thousands of Jews killed by Nazis. The location of the killing site was well known and the bones and bodies were not hard to find. The “cleanup” was a sporadic, volunteer effort, and dangerous too. Soviets did not like to be reminded about the mass killings of Jews. Small burial sign did not mention Jews, but”4,000 Soviet citizens”.
It took decades until the actual memorial was created at the killing site in Zasullya. The monument you see below (architect Ruslana Kisel) was built in 2001. It took three years of organizing people, collecting funds and creating the memorial grounds.
On October 16th, 2015, RememberUs.org planted eight metasequoias at this killing site.
The WWII and the Holocaust
Lubny was created as a small military outpost (лубяная крепость) on the banks of Sula River in the year 988, the year of christening of Russia. First known written mentioning of Lubny is attributed to a significant battle in 1107. Jews first settled in Lubny in the first half of the 17th century. Famous writer Shalom Aleichem served there as a rabbi in 1880–1883. By the beginning of 20th century Lubny had almost 30 percent of Jewish population and more than 90 stores in town belonged to Jews.
Jewish life in Lubny was bustling until the summer of 1941, but the war changed it all. On September 13th, 1941 lead elements of the 3rd Panzer Division of the German Army reached Lubny from the north, while elements of 16th Panzer Division reached the outskirts of the town from the south.
Almost immediately all Jews in Lubny were required to register.
Everybody who came to the meeting point was marched to the Zasylskiy Ravine. They were all killed by the Sonderkommando 4a.
On a single day, October 16, 1941, 1865 Jews of Lubny were killed.