Babi Yar

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Babi Yar Massacre
Execution Babi Yar, by Felix Lembersky.jpg
Painting of the Babi Yar Massacre
Location Outside of Kiev
Date September 29-30, 1941
Attack type
Genocide, mass murder
Weapons Machine guns
Deaths 33,771 Jews
Non-fatal injuries
29 survivors
Perpetrators Einsatzgruppe C, other Schutzstaffel (SS), German police

Babi Yar (Ukrainian: Бабин Яр) is a ravine near Kiev in Ukraine.

During the Holocaust, Nazi soldiers massacred 33,771 Jewish people at Babi Yar. This may have been the worst two-day mass murder of Jews in all of the Holocaust.

Background[change | change source]

Nazi Germany and other Axis countries occupied Kiev on September 19, 1941. By September 26, the military governor and the Schutzstaffel (SS) and Police Leader had decided to kill all of the Jews in Kiev. They said this would be revenge for German soldiers being attacked by some Jewish guerrilla fighters.[1]

The Nazis tricked the Jews into coming to Babi Yar by telling them they were going to be sent to another place to live. On 28 September 1941, they put up an order in the town. Part of it said:

All [Jews] of the city of Kiev and [nearby areas] must appear on Monday, September 29, by 8 o'clock in the morning at the corner of Mel'nikova and Dorohozhytska streets (near the Viis'kove cemetery). Bring documents, money and valuables, and also warm clothing, linen, etc. Any [Jews] who do not follow this order and are found elsewhere will be shot.

—Order posted in Kiev in Russian, on or around 26 September 1941.[2]

The massacre[change | change source]

Later, one of the soldiers in charge of the massacre would say:[3]

Although only [about] 5,000 to 6,000 Jews had been expected [to come] at first, more than 30,000 Jews arrived who, until the very moment of their execution, still believed in their resettlement, thanks to an extremely clever organization.[4]

On September 29 and 30, special units of the SS called Einsatzgruppen, and some local Ukrainians who supported the Nazis, took these people to the ravine at Babi Yar. They made them put all of their things in piles. They made them strip naked. The area was so crowded that by the time people heard gunshots, there was no way to escape. The Nazis took people ten at a time into the ravine, made them lay down, and shot them with machine guns.[5]

Between September 29 and 30, the Nazis killed 33,771 Jewish people at Babi Yar.[6][7][8][9]

The Nazis buried these people in a mass grave. People who had survived being shot were buried alive, along with the dead. Only 29 people survived and were able to escape.[10]

The murdered Jews' property was given to Nazi leaders in Kiev.[11]

Sources[change | change source]

  1. Megargee, Geoffrey P. (2006). War of Annihilation: Combat and Genocide on the Eastern Front. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7425-4481-9.
    Murray, Williamson; Millett, Allan R. (2001). A War to be Won: Fighting the Second World War. Harvard University Press. p. 141. ISBN 0-674-00680-1.
  2. Berenbaum, Michael (2006). The World Must Know. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 97–98.
  3. Gilbert, Martin (1985). The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. p.202. ISBN 0-03-062416-9.
  4. Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Einsatzgruppen trial, Judgment, at page 426, quoting exhibit NO-3157.
  5. "Statement of Truck-Driver Hofer describing the murder of Jews at Babi Yar" at the Internet Archive cited in Berenbaum, Michael (1997). Witness to the Holocaust. New York: HarperCollins. pp. 138–139. Retrieved from Internet Archive, April 26, 2013.
  6. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "Kiev and Babi Yar," Holocaust Encyclopedia.
  7. A Community of Violence: The SiPo/SD and Its Role in the Nazi Terror System in Generalbezirk Kiew by Alexander V. Prusin. Holocaust Genocide Studies, Spring 2007; 21: 1 – 30.
  8. Staff. The Holocaust Chronicle: Massacre at Babi Yar, The Holocaust Chronicle web site, Access 17 December 2007
  9. Victoria Khiterer (2004). "Babi Yar: The tragedy of Kiev's Jews" (PDF). Brandeis Graduate Journal 2: 1–16. Archived from the original on 2007-11-28. //web.archive.org/web/20071128164646/http://www.brandeis.edu/gsa/gradjournal/2004/khiterer2004.pdf. Retrieved 2008-01-20.
  10. http://www.izvestia.ru/hystory/article3096753/
  11. Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Einsatzgruppen trial, Judgment, at page 430.