Kyiv

Babyn Yar

02 Mar 2022
The darkest page in the history of Kyiv’s Jewish community was written during World War II. Nazi Germany invaded Ukraine in June of 1941 and occupied Kyiv by September. On September 29, Nazi commanders ordered all Jews to meet on Dehtyarivs’ka street. At the time, a train station happened to be nearby and people naively assumed they were being deported. Almost to a man, the city’s Jews obeyed the order, and were systematically marched off to Babyi Yar, a deep ravine in the woods. As the procession neared the edge of the city, naivety turned to terror. Like livestock through slaughterhouse gates, the crowd was funnelled between rows of armed German soldiers. Stripped of their possessions and human dignity, men, women and children were lined up against the edge of the ravine and shot. Thirty-two thousand Jews were murdered in the massacre of September 29-30. Altogether 100,000 people were executed at Babyi Yar during the German occupation. The few survivors were later star witnesses at the Nuremberg Trials. After the war the ravine was filled with soil, and now Babyi Yar is a park with a number of stirring monuments devoted to those who perished.

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