Notes on Babi Yar
Babi Yar

I remember looking at this innocent looking depression in the ground, nicely landscaped outside of--now actually in--Kiev.  I knew, however, that this was no park or picnic grounds.

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From reading this book, I knew about the massacres of Jews that had taken place at Babi Yar, a ravine on the outskirts of Kiev during World War II.

The Book
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Babi Yar

On 24 September 1941, less than a week after the German army had entered Kiev, a massive bomb exploded around four o'clock in the afternoon at the German headquarters.  Then over the next few days, there were more explosions in buildings in the Kreshchatik that had been occupied by Germans.  Many Germans and civilians were killed and injured.

After the war, it was determined that a group of NKVD (Soviet secret police) members were left behind by the Soviets to offer some resistance against the conquering Germans.  The Germans decided that the explosions were the work of Jews and that the sabotage provided a good excuse to eliminate the Jewish population of Kiev, disposing of the bodies in the Babi Yar ravine.  What is now clear (and what has remained a politically-explosive issue) is the fact that the Germans did have some collaboration from residents of the city in the destruction of the Jews.

Babi Yar Babi Yar
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Please read further details about Babi Yar:

For political reasons an official memorial was not built at the Babi Yar site until 1976.  The first memorial did not mention the fact that most victims were Jews.  It took a further 15 years before a new memorial (a Menorah) was built which today serves as a place for commemorative ceremonies.  (The Menorah was not there when I was there in 1990.)

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