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Luben (Yiddish), Łubnie, Lubin, Łubny (Polish)

Lubny is a city in the Poltava region. Serving as the administrative center of the Lubensky Raion (district), the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast. The current estimated population is around 52,600 (as of 1999).


Jews settled in Lubny in the first half of the 17th century, under the auspices of the important Vishnievietski family.

Jews defended the town during the Pavliuk uprising (1637–38), and 200 of them were killed during the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648–49, rabbi was burned alive.

The Jews appeared again in Lubny at the end of the 18th century.  In 1865 there were 2 synagogues.

PreRevolution Lubny

PreRevolution Lubny

From 361 in 1847, their numbers increased to 3,006 (30% of the total population) in 1897.

The writer Shalom Aleichem served there as state rabbi in 1880–83 and Mair Shapiro in the end of 19th century. After his death state rabbi became his son.

Ruins of old PreRevolution building in Lubny, 2019

Ruins of old PreRevolution building in Lubny, 2019

In the 1881 riots some Jewish homes and stores were robbed. In the beginning of the 20th century there was a talmud torah, 5 synagogues,  library,  bank and jewish cemetery. In 1913 Jews owned two pharmacies, all 7 warehouses pharmaceutical goods, bakery and bath. five hotels, two laundry rooms, three hair salons, more than 90 shops and stores (including all three jewelry and all three pubs). Among the Jews there were 7 tailors and jeweler (one in Lubny). Shimon-Moishe Diskin (1872–1930) was a rabbi between 1904 and 22.

Lubny businessmans in 1903:

Ukrainian Army organized pogrom in 1919 (16 Jews were killed). Next pogrom was organized by Volunteer Denikin’s Army.

Map of Lubny, 19 century

Map of Lubny, 19 century

After Civil War

There was Zionist activity, and after the October 1917 revolution all members of the community council were Zionists. In 1920th there was opened jewish labor school. In 1922 there were 1068 jewish laborers.

This report was found on JDC website and dated by August 6, 1923:


Despite the fact that the imperialistic war had been going on for 3 years in 1917; in spite of the flood of Lithuanian refugees, – which contributed a considerable current of needs into the Jewish circles of Luben – this had in no way affected the economic situation of the town in the sense of making living conditions worse. All the sources of commercial and professional branches of activities were so numerous that a considerable number of Lithuanian refugees participating in these activities obtained some means for subsistence without any detriment to the native population of the town. It is understood that such a participation called for considerable investments. In general, there were very few poor in the town; there were just a few professional poor and a few women whose husbands – reservists had been killed in the war; these women were maintained at the expense of the Jewish population of the town.

Market square. Lubny beginning of XX century

Market square. Lubny beginning of XX century

The town was served by the following 4 Loan Institutions: Bank, two Mutual Credit Associations and one Loan Kassa, which institutions functioned till 1918. Besides, the business men obtained credits from the banks at the nearest large enterprises. In general, the situation of the locality prior to the Revolution was comparatively decent.

The February and October revolutions – before the pogrom movement – did not introduce any bad changes. Sad and deplorable results were caused by the Petlura movement at the end of 1918. While victims were few the Jewish population of the city was completely plundered. Besides, new refugees, widows, orphans and invalids – the victims of pogroms in nearby localities made their appearance. These people went through awful experiences during the Denikin storm and during the Grigoriev, Tituinuik and Makhno bandit raids. The number of refugees increased daily; one staked his life when one ventured outside the city’s limits; trading came to a standstill; business stopped and from time to time various bands attacked the city and continued to plunder.

Piryatinskaya Str., Lubny beginning of XX century

Piryatinskaya Str., Lubny beginning of XX century

With the advent of the Soviet Government quiet and tranquility ensued; commercial activities ceased altogether; everybody was selling out remnants of clothes and household belongings; some existed on slender aid received from the Social Welfare Department. Such was the condition of the city during the old economic policy.

In 1922 some kind of a revival took place. This was due to two causes: 1) Content with relatives in America and shipment of food packages by the letter, and also relief from the ARA 2) the New Economic Policy which improved the conditions of the Jewish population. The present population of the city is 10,000, This number includes,105 widows who are very much in need, 268 orphans (not in institutions) and 126 families much in need and lacking sources to earn a living.

The economic situation of the Jewish population in Luben at the present time can be characterized as follows: there is general want, with the exception of a small percentage of business people and some groups of workmen and office employees receiving comparatively decent wages; the rest of the population is in a distressing state and lack care, particularly widows, orphans and invalids.

Artisans: are in need owing to frequent unemployment. These could be helped through the issuing of non-interest loans for the purchase of raw material, thus giving them an opportunity to sell their products on the market.

Small Traders: Shortage of means in this group is more critical than in the previous one. The small business people, at least a greater part of them, either have no money at all, or their capital is so small that they cannot hope for a profitable turn over. There is neither a bank, nor a loan kassa; these business men are thus forced to pay from 50 to 60 per cent per month interest for money obtained from usurers.

Male high school, Lubny beginning of XX century

Male high school, Lubny beginning of XX century

Otherwise they cannot keep up their business at all. These people need a solid organization of a loan kassa. In connection with the new established policy of subdividing the Ukraine into industrial regions, instead of the former administrative subdivisions, new ranks of unemployed workmen and office employees have been formed. This group is very large and needs urgent help. Such is the difficult and complex situation of the Jewish population of the city,

Luben had a committee appointed by the Landsmanschaft in America. During its existence 250 food packages were received, of which 100 were distributed among the poorest population. The rest of the parcels have been confiscated by the State Political Control. In conversation with a representative of the latter Department he admitted that an error has been made and promised that such a thing will not occur again.

Home for the Mirgorod and Khorol children has been opened. This home shelters 56 children. It is in great need of equipment, underwear, clothing and shoes.

The following are the most urgent needs of the town: 1. Subsidy for the children’s home, especially for the new children’s home which is in a very bad state 2. Establishment of a dining room for 500 children, or the reopening of same which was closed after the ARA withdrew. This home has the necessary inventory and dishes. 3. Subsidy for the Jewish school and kindergarten 4. Subsidy for a loan kassa $1000 5. Subsidy for Hospital and Dispensary 6. Subsidy for Home for Aged: clothes, shoes, linen: bed, underwear. 7. Individual help for 1250 persons 8. Establishment of a Nursery for 200 babies.

Spouses Mihail Davidoich and Leya Zalmanovna Rog, Lubny 1928. Photo from collection of Judaica Institute, Kiev.

Spouses Mihail Davidoich and Leya Zalmanovna Rog, Lubny 1928. Photo from collection of Judaica Institute, Kiev.

In the 1920s about 100 Jews worked in the tobacco factory, others worked in the mills, and 1,200 were artisans. A Yiddish elementary school existed in Lubny.

In 1939 the Jewish population numbered 2,833 (10.5% of the total).


The Germans occupied Lubny on September 13, 1941. All Jewish were registered (~1500 people).

October 10, 1941, Jews were ordered to arrive at October 16, 1941 in the village Zasule for resettlement taking warm clothes and valuables. They gathered at the Kirov Square and built into the columns. All jews were killed outside the city at Zasylskiy Ravine by Sonderkommando 4a. Together with local jews were killed jewish captives from Shtalag. In that day were killed 1865 people. In second half of November 1941 there were killed 73 Jews. The remaining skilled laborers were killed in April–May 1942. During 1941-1942 in Lubny were killed approximately 2000 Jews.

Photo from German Archive:

A temporary prisoners of war camp was set up near the town, where systematic killings of the local Jews took place. The Germans often mistook local Tatars for Jews.

Lubny, 1942. Photo of unknown German soldier

Lubny, 1942. Photo of unknown German soldier

Lubny was liberated by Soviet Army at September 18, 1943.

After WWII

Lubny Holocaust Memorial Book. Published in 2006

Lubny Holocaust Memorial Book. Published in 2006

Part of Jews return to Lubny from evacuation after 1945. In 1946 synagogue was opened (Dostoevskogo str., 7) and community was registered (head of communityLev Moiseevich Grinberg, rabbi Iosif Leibovich Leonov, kantor Morduch Abramovich Brontvan). In weekdays there were 10-12 people visitors and up to 30 people in the Holidays.

The Jewish population numbered about 600 (2%) in 1959 and was estimated at about 250 in 1970. Although there was no organized Jewish religious life, but once a year the Jews assembled at the mass grave of the Holocaust martyrs. Most Jews emigrated in the 1990s.

In 2001 Lubny was visited by Danish filmmaker Ove Nyuholm for creation film about Holocaust. In Berlin Gestapo archiv he find photos of gathered Lubny Jews before murder in 1941 and gave a copy to community. These photos you can see above.

Jewish community existing in Lunby now (~ 250 members). Head of community: Gennadiy Henkin E-mail: Phone:  +38(53615) 71–0–61


Synagogue was destroyed in 1960th together with orthodox church.

Zasylskiy Ravine

Zasylskiy Ravine is a mass murder site of Jews during WWII in Lubny. Small sign appeared there in 1950th. Big monument was erected by Jewish community in 2001.

Commemorial ceremony in 2021.

Monument in Zasylskiy Ravine.

Monument in Zasylskiy Ravine.

Destroyed jewish cemetery

Cemetery was founded in XIX century. Cemetery during the war suffered from bombing. In the early 1960’s it was closed for burials. Local residents began to build up its territory and use gravestones for fundaments, placed gardens on graves. After revival of the Jewish community Jews tried to fix it, but without the technology to do this was impossible. Community activists asked for help in the housing office but received only rejects. Asked the mayor, and he ordered the housing office to restore order. At the appointed time bulldozer leveled cemetery. No idea why it happened and what was a reason of such fault.

Last gravestones of Lubny Jewish cemetery:

Famous Jews from Lubny




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