Holocaust: The Babi Yar Massacre

September 29, 1944: Jews gather in liberated Kiev, Ukraine, to commemorate the third anniversary of the Nazi massacre of Jews at Babi Yar, Ukraine.

Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kiev and a site of a series of massacres carried out by German forces and local collaborators during their campaign against the Soviet Union.

The most notorious and the best documented of these massacres took place on 29–30 September 1941, wherein 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation. The decision to kill all the Jews in Kiev was made by the military governor, Major-General Kurt Eberhard, the Police Commander for Army Group South, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. It was carried out by Sonderkommando 4a soldiers, along with the aid of the SD and SS Police Battalions backed by local Kiev police force.  The massacre was the largest single mass killing for which the Nazi regime and its collaborators were responsible during its campaign against the Soviet Union and is considered to be “the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust” to that particular date, surpassed only by the Aktion Erntefest of November 1943 in occupied Poland with 42,000–43,000 victims, and the 1941 Odessa massacre of more than 50,000 Jews in October 1941, committed by Romanian troops.

Israel issued a postage stamp in 1983 which memorialized this horrific tragedy.  The stamp features a painting by Yosef Kuzkovski called “The Last Way”.

babi yar - israel

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