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Lyady, Dubrovno County, Vitebsk District, Belarus

To enlarge the map click here The town of Lyady in the 1930s The town of Lyady in the 1930s Courtesy the Mishpoha journal (Vitebsk)

The origins of the Jewish community in Lyady date back to the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Lyady was the center of Habad Hasidism and the site of the court of Shneur Zalman, the founder and first rebbe of the Habad movement.
During the Soviet period, a Yiddish school operated in the town, but it was closed in 1938. A Jewish kolkhoz named Naye Lebn was founded in the town’s vicinity, employing a number of local Jews. In January 1939, 897 Jews resided in Lyady, accounting for 40 percent of the total population.
When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, Lyady was situated on the main route of the Wehrmacht’s offensive, and sustained significant damage.
The Germans occupied Lyady on July 18, 1941. Only some of Lyady’s Jews were evacuated (via the railway station seven kilometers from the town), and many who attempted to escape were forced to turn back. In March 1942, all of Lyady’s Jewish inhabitants, along with Jews who had arrived from other localities, were forced into a ghetto. The Lyady ghetto was liquidated at the beginning of April 1942. Only five Jews who were in Lyady during the Nazi occupation survived.
The Red Army liberated Lyady on October 8, 1943.