Babi Yar Babushka Ravine— “Grandmother Ravine”
Kiev • Sept. 19, 1941 -- Germans take Kiev • Move onto fashionable Kreshchatik Street • Sept. 20th – 1st building blows up (Wehr-macht artillery housed there – Gen. & Chief of Staff killed • Sept 24th – headquarters of the Wehr-macht field command blows up • Explosions continue – Russians left crates of molotov cocktails Ukrainian Flag as background
Paul Blobel • Commanding 2 commandos of Police Regiment So. & Ukrainian auxillaries • Report to Berlin: Fire in town, valuable buildings destroyed, plan discovered – 670 mines in all public buildings and squares • Report on blame: Communist/Red sabotage, but can blame on Jews; anticipate executing 50,000 Jews • Retaliation was just an excuse, would have been shot anyway.
Notice to Jews • Report by 8 am 29.9.41 near cemetery • Bring documents, money, all valuables, warm clothes, underwear, etc. • Anyone found somewhere else – be shot • Any civilians entering evacuated apartments and stealing will be shot
Journey to Babi Yar • Came early to get good place on freight –train • Hadn’t heard about Einsatzgruppen massacres elsewhere– Soviets suppressed info & communicates cut with war • Most were the elderly, women and children– males had been drafted into Red Army
The 2 mile Journey cont’ • Neighbors waved to them • People carried tattered bags of possessions and food – women wore garlic necklaces • Many sang as they walked through the streets • Blobel’s commandos and Sonderkommando 4a were waiting for them by the cemetery
Through the barrier • Barbed wire & anti-tank barrier w/ passage between them • Ukrainians took 30-40 at a time through after they left their possessions • Next stop -- the desks set up by Einsatzgruppe C – collect valuables & documents, these thrown on the ground • Gauntlet of soldiers w/dogs & clubs – beat the people as they passed through – soldiers laughed & people screamed and bled
Dogs attacked those who fell • Others couldn’t get up and the people behind trampled them to escape the blows • Next – open field surrounded by Ukrainian militia • Disrobe or be beaten – many fought this • Children taken from fighting moms and thrown into the ravine • Next – Babi Yar
Babi Yar • Small groups led into the ravine • Forced to lay on the ground • Shot in the back of the neck • Thin layer of dirt • Schutzpolizisten forced next group to lay on top of the last • Layers of bodies – not all dead • Some managed to crawl out from under dirt, sand, and corpses and hide.
After the Massacre • Site converted into a more permanent camp • thousands of victims from other parts of the Ukraine could be sent for extermination -- Syrets camp, taking its name from a nearby Kiew neighborhood. • hundreds of selected prisoners there -- carpenters, showmakers, tailors, and other artisans — to serve the needs of the SS men and the Ukrainian guards. • usually killed within a few weeks and replaced by others who continued their duties. • Paul von Radomski In charge had a reputation for outdoing his sadist colleagues in other camps.
1943 Red Army advances to Kiev • August 18, 1943 prisoners forced to dig up bodies to hide evidence • Special hook to remove bodies from tangled mass • Hook under the chin and pull out head, body or bodies follow • Hack apart bodies with an axe • Lower layers had to be dynamited
Pull out gold fillings • Take clothes from later victims • Burned 2,000 bodies at a time – stacked on granite grave stones and doused with gasoline • Remaining bones were crushed • After 6 weeks prisoners escaped – only 15 made it
The Nazis • They bragged about what the had done • Einsatzgruppen Report Oct 2, 1941 – killed 33,771 Jews in Kiev • Collected millions in bank notes • Sent truck loads of clothes back to Germany for Germans to wear
Wilhelm Gustav Schueppe • Physician at Kiev Pathological Institute • Destroy the “Minderwertiger” • In 6 months killed more than 100,000 • Lethal injections • Disabled, as well as Jews, Gypsies, Turkmen • “Could kill 3 in a minute!” • Bodies dumped into Babi Yar
Credits • Rhodes, Richard. Masters of Death. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 2002, p. 170-9. • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babi_Yar • http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/aa082399.htm • http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/babiyar.html