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Translations by Maria Krol

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Jewish Council of Ukraine

Kiev Society of Jewish Culture

Foundation “Babi Yar Memory”

 

We express our sincere gratitude to

Kiev City Council of People's Deputies

and its chairman

Alexander Alexandrovich Omelchenko,

with the help of whom this book was published.

 

Editorial board:

Levitas I.M. - chairman
Borodyanskaya B.Ya.
Vinokur K.S.
Omelchenko A.A.
V. V. Radchenko

Kiev. 1999 year

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Memory Doesn't Die

In 1991, in the days of mourning celebrations dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the tragedy of Babi Yar, the Book of memory of the people who had died here was published.

The book listed the names of more than 7,000 people and contained 203 photographs. These were the materials that I was able to collect during the previous 45 years.

Back in 1988, simultaneously with the creation of the Kiev Society of Jewish Culture, the “Memory of Babi Yar” Fund was founded and continued to collect materials on the basis of my collection.

At the same time it was discovered that people who had managed to escape the executions were still alive. Some of them fled from the place of execution, while the majority did not reach Babi Yar, having escaped from the route.

A search began for people who rescued Jews in Kiev. These people, who risked their lives in the same way as the Jews they saved, became the “Righteous of Babi Yar.”

Information about those who were awarded with this title and received the corresponding diplomas was sent to Jerusalem, to Yad Vashem Institute of Heroism and Catastrophe of Jews, where those rescuers were given international status. They were awarded with diplomas, commemorative medals and the title of Righteous Among the Nations. Their names were engraved on the marble slabs of the museum, trees were planted in their honor, forming the Alley of the Righteous. The New York-based Christian Savior Foundation gave them cash benefits. This work is being carried out now as well.

Over the years of existence of the Fund “Memory of Babi Yar”, the tragic list of victims of this tragedy has been enlarged significantly. The Fund has a card index and a photo library with the images of those who died, and those who survived, as well as the photos of the Righteous of Babi Yar.

On the basis of the collection I have assembled, a traveling exhibition “Babi Yar” was created, which is exhibited simultaneously with the exhibition “Jews in the Great Patriotic War.” The heroic history of our people merges with the tragic one.

For the first time this exhibition was presented in 1991. On the main street of Kiev - Khreshchatyk -where next to the stands, which depicted the tragedy of Babi Yar, portraits of 150 Jews - Heroes of the Soviet Union were placed. The blockade of suppressing the events of Babi Yar and the participation of Jews in the Great Patriotic War was broken. Since then, this exhibition has been shown annually. The National Historical Museum of Ukraine, the palaces of culture “Ukrainian House”, “House of the Teacher”, “House of the Artist”, the District House of Officers, the museums of Shevchenko and the museum of Kiev history provided their halls for its exposition.

A photocopy of the exhibition was shown in Prague (Czech Republic) and Bratislava (Slovakia).

Souvenir sets of the exhibition were donated to the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem, the Holocaust Museums in Washington (USA), Nagasaki (Japan) and Berlin (Germany). The same sets, as well as medals and “Books in Memory of Babi Yar” were awarded to the leaders of foreign states during their visits to Babi Yar: US Presidents J.Bush and B. Clinton, Prime Ministers of the State of Israel I. Shamir and I. Rabin, President of Germany R. Duke.

Copies of the Foundation's materials were transferred not only to the museums listed above, but also to organizations in New York, Philadelphia, Amsterdam and Moscow.

Since 1989 The Fund “Memory of Babi Yar” annually organizes the Remembrance Days of the victims of the tragedy. On Remembrance Day of the Perished Jews, a mourning procession is held along the Death Road - from the motorcycle factory to the Menora monument - a symbolic place of executions. A funeral meeting is also held here, and nearby is the Grove of the Righteous - 300 birches planted in honor of the saviors.

At the monument on Dorogozhitskaya street on September 29, the Day of Remembrance of all victims of Babi Yar is observed. President of Ukraine, Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ukraine, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, the mayor of Kiev, Ambassadors of foreign states, representatives of state and public organizations lay flowers at the foot of the monument.

A city-wide international rally is also held here, where representatives of national-cultural societies make speeches in the name of Ukrainian, Jewish, Russian, Polish, Gypsy and Tatar communities speak, and representatives of the religious confessions of Orthodox Christians, Jews, Catholics and Muslims conduct their prayers.

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The Days of Remembrance will end with a solemn and funeral concert. On the same day the state flag is lowered at the building of the Kiev City State Administration.

It should be noted that both monuments mentioned above as well as the Cross erected in memory of the Ukrainian patriots who died here, stand in symbolic places - there were never shootings there, just as there were no shootings during the years of Stalinist repressions, as some journalists unwittingly report. Residents who have lived there since the 1920s (and are still living there) refute this information.

Monument “Menora” stands on the site of the former Jewish cemetery, destroyed in early 1960s. Here, on human bones, a television center and a sports complex, which are peculiar monuments of the totalitarian regime, were build.

But Babi Yar cannot be found there. The place was filled up after the well-known tragedy of 1962, when the water and clay accumulated in the ravines broke through the dam and demolished the tram park, residential buildings and trolleybuses passing at that time.

The authorities who were bashfully silent about the tragedy reported that 123 people had died. In reality, there were many more victims.

Babi Yar itself was a small branch (up to 150 meters) of Kirillovsky Yar, which ran almost parallel to the current Olena Teligi Street (formerly D. Korotchenko St.). Babi Yar departed from it at an angle in the direction of the named street. In the same place, near this street, opposite the current pharmacy, it ended.

People were driven to execution on Melnikov St. past the Jewish and Karaite cemeteries to the wasteland, which adjoined the Yar. It was here that the executions of Jews took place on September 29 - October 3, 1941. Kievites and prisoners of war were brought here in cars for execution during two years.

It is in this place, thanks to the initiative of the Jewish Council of Ukraine, a monument to the executed children will be erected, which is noted in corresponding order of the Kiev city administration.

The metro station, located at the corner of Melnikova and Teligi Streets, is outside the execution site.

By another decree, the Kyiv City State Administration supported the initiative of the Jewish Council of Ukraine and the Memory of Babi Yar Foundation to establish the Babi Yar Museum. It will be located in the area of ??Moscow Square (40 let Oktyabrya Avenue, 22) in a building allocated for the Jewish Council of Ukraine.

The Museum will have 20 halls with a total area of ??1020 square meters and it will become a branch of the Museum of the History of Kiev.

In conclusion, I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to the staff of the Memory of Babi Yar Foundation, who did a lot to create the Book of Memory: the secretary of the Foundation Klara Semyonovna Vinokur, who herself escaped execution in Zolotonosha (now lives in Philadelphia, USA), assistants Valeria Vladimirovna Radchenko and Bronya Yakovlevna Borodyanskaya, as well as Vladimir Nikolaevich Georgienko, Tatiana Aleksandrovna Klinisheva and Svetlana Aleksandrovna Solovieva who provided their assistance at the final stage of preparing the book.

Special thanks are given to the employees of the Shevchenko District State Administration of Kiev, (there are monuments on their territory), who do a lot to preserve them and to improve the park area during mourning celebrations: the head of the district state administration Pyotr Iosifovich Romanyuk, heads of services - Nina Stepanovna Samoilenko and Eduard Matveevich Freger.

Thanks to these people, the active support and assistance of the Kiev City Council and its chairman Alexander Alexandrovich Omelchenko, the memory of the victims of Babi Yar, the largest mass grave on Earth, is preserved.

I.M. Levitas
President of the Jewish Council of Ukraine,
Chairman of the Memory of Babi Yar Foundation

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Unsolved Mysteries of Babi Yar

I.M.Levitas

More than half a century has passed since the beginning of the greatest tragedy and the greatest crime of the 20th century - the massacre in Babi Yar. The executions lasted for 2 years. During this time, tens of thousands of people of different nationalities were killed: Jews, Ukrainians, Russians, Gypsies. By the way, the gypsies were shot in the very first days of the occupation - there were three campgrounds from Kurenev. They were shot behind the St. Cyril Church.

Hostages, prisoners of war, underground workers, communists, Ukrainian nationalists, Jews, and the mentally ill from the Pavlov hospital - they all were shot there.

Those who believe that the executions took place where the monument is located on Dorogozhitskaya Street are making a mistake. Babi Yar is a huge ravine with branches, stretching towards Kurenevka - almost three and a half kilometers to the Church of St. Cyril. Streams flowed along its bottom, which overflowed in spring and formed lakes.

The yar began at the Jewish cemetery, the long wall of which stretched along Melnikov Street. It was a very large cemetery, with its sections extended to the regional hospital, to the spurs of Babi and Repyakhovsky Yars. The house where the office of the cemetery was located is still preserved - its No. 44 on Melnikov St. Now here is the hostel of the Sokol hockey team. It was here that the main entrance was located and the main alley began, which rested against Babi Yar. Now a monument of “Menora” - a Jewish seven-branched candlestick - is erected.

The entire area to the right and left of the main alley is the Jewish cemetery. So, both the new TV center and the Avangard sports complex are located on the bones of our ancestors.

That were not Nazis who destroyed this cemetery: they killed living Jews. The heads of the city executive committee and the city party committee dealt with the dead, since it was them who decided to build a television center here and set up a park - with dance floors, attractions, a football field - Have fun, the people of Kiev, on Jewish bones.

They say “the dead have no shame.” Unfortunately, the living do not have it either. THe lucky ones succeeded in transferring the remains of their loved ones and monuments to other cemeteries. The bulldozers finished the job.

It was all in late 1950's - during the reign of “ the owner” of the city Alexei Davydov. He was also the culprit of the famous Kurenev catastrophe, when the waters from Babi Yar broke through the dam and flooded the tram park, adjacent houses and trams with silt. Many people died.

Believers said that it was G-d who punished the city for blasphemy over the graves of the dead. And the memory of A. Davydov is still alive: a boulevard on Rusanovka is named after him and, apparently, no one is going to change the name. What a pity!

The attempt to amuse the people of Kiev in the former cemetery provoked the outrage of many residents of the city. The unexpected happened - the intellectuals came out against the attempt. There were voices of protest from our fellow countrymen, Ukrainian Ivan Dziuba and Russian Viktor Nekrasov.

The poem “Babi Yar” by Yevgeny Yevtushenko sounded like a bomb explosion. It was published on the front page of Literaturnaya Gazeta on September 19, 1961 - exactly twenty years after the occupation of Kiev by the Nazis. The whole world heard the words “There are no monuments over Babi Yar ...”.

As a result, the park of culture and recreation was not built, but the monument was nevertheless erected. Not there and not the same - but it was put in place. During the excursions and tours held here no one mentioned that Jews were shot in this place: this word was out of fashion for decades. Jews who visited this place in order to commemorate their loved ones on the anniversaries of the executions were not allowed here. The most persistent ones were taken by the hands to a police car ... Will our grandchildren believe that it was possible? But it was.

It is known that in addition to the indigenous people of Kiev, there were many refugees in the city from the territories already captured by the enemy. They even fled from Poland to Kiev, being sure that the city would not be surrendered to the enemy. Susch statements were published in the newspapers. Famous writers, speaking at the meetings and on the radio, said the same: “The enemy will not drink water from the Dnieper”, “Kiev was and remains Soviet.” They knew that Stalin had forbidden to leave Kiev.

But something terrible happened. Three of our armies were surrounded and defeated, and the road to Kiev was

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open ... Fearing the final defeat, our troops were forced to hastily leave the capital and go beyond the Dnieper. It happened on September 17th. And the Germans entered the city on the 19h. One day, the 18th, Kiev did not belong to any army.

Many Red Army soldiers were added to the refugees, parts of which were defeated. Some of the Kievites from these units returned to the city, to their families, to the already occupied Kiev. Some of the refugees settled in empty apartments. Many of them, especially newcomers, lived on the territory of the Botanical Garden on Shevchenko Boulevard, on the flower beds of Tolstoy and Bohdan Khmelnitsky squares. They say there were 10-15 thousand of them. Most were Jews, and they also went to Babi Yar. Some of the refugees lived with relatives. According to the calculations of the invaders, there were up to 150 thousand Jews in Kiev in total.

How did the people of Kiev meet the fascists? In different ways. Most with hatred, some with wariness, and some with delight. The invaders themselves noted this in their reports.

It is no secret that underground fighters and saboteurs stayed in Kiev (In German reports they are called NKVD agents, and there is a note that there were many Jews among them). It was them who called the people of Kiev to sabotage, harmed the enemies as best as they could, put up leaflets, i.e. did what they had to do then. There were many underground groups as well as unorganized actions of resistance.

But there was also something else. There were those who gladly betrayed those underground fighters, prisoners of war, and hiding Jews. Many of them went to serve in the police.

A very odious traitor was known - the secretary of the Lenin district committee of the Communist party Romanenko. Meeting acquaintances on the streets, he shaked their hands. It was his signal to the disguised policemen who followed him for arrest. His handshake became a XX century “Judas kiss”. They both betrayed their close ones. Judas did it to Jesus Christ, and Romanenko - to his friends and acquaintances.

The shootings in Kiev began literally from the first day of the occupation and were so far sporadic. These were mainly soldiers of the Red Army, parts of which were defeated near Kiev. Those who were Kievites leaving the encirclement, of course, returned home, where they were hiding. Many of them were exposed by local “well-wishers”, among whom there were many janitors. Before the war they betrayed “enemies of the people” and now they did the same to soldiers of the Red Army; nationality did not matter to them yet.

On September 20, 1941, the Kiev citadel located in Pechersk was blown up. The first group of hostages was shot. On the 24th explosions began on Khreshchatyk and adjacent streets. The city center was on fire.

Explosions and fires in the city continued, however, the enemy managed to find a mining plan drawn up by the Soviet authorities and defuse a large number of mines that were supposed to be detonated by radio. So, in the Lenin Museum on Vladimirskaya St. (now the Teacher's House) 70 hundred kilos of dynamite were found; in other buildings they found bottles with Molotov cocktail. In just a week 670 mines were found.

The shootings took on an organized character: there were shootings for disobedience, violation of blackouts, for leaflets, for sabotage, for diversions. For the killed Germans hostages were taken. First they took 100 people, then 300, 400. Newspapers reported about this, threatening the people of Kiev. Lists of those who were shot were published in those same newspapers.

Among the caught “saboteurs” were also Jews. The Germans focused attention on this and prepared acts of reprisal. Once one of the hoses that the Nazis pulled from the Dnieper to extinguish the fires on Khreshchatyk was cut by a young Kiev resident. He turned out to be a Jew and, of course, was killed, which also triggered new actions.

Sonderkommando 4-A took part in the executions on September 29-30, 1941. Before coming to Kiev almost 15 thousand were shot on its “combat account”.

The advanced part of this group entered Kiev along with the advanced units of the Wehrmacht: there were 50 of them. This is perhaps the only case when the execution specialists entered the conquered city together with the army units.

Why? Were they in a hurry to prepare the executions of the Jews? Which means that the executions at Babi Yar were planned in advance? Or did the idea of ??a mass execution emerge after Kiev was occupied?

This is the first secret of Babi Yar.

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The main part of Sonderkommando 4-A, headed by SS Standartenfuehrer Paul Blobel, arrived in Kiev with their headquarters on September 25. On the same day, two police battalions (45th and 303d) of the South Russian police, numbering about 500 people, entered the city. They were headed by SS Obergruppenführer Eckeln.

What an amazing coincidence. So they were preparing? In total, by this day in Kiev together with the headquarters and a separate SS company more than1500 SS men and policemen were gathered. They were the perpetrators of the September 29-30 executions.

On September 26, a meeting was held with the participation of the already mentioned Blobel and Ekkeln, as well as the commandant of the city of Eberhardt, where the plan for the extermination of the Jews was considered and approved: they appointed the place, time, ways of informing the masses.

On September 28, from the headquarters of the C group, report No. 97 was sent to Berlin saying that “in Kiev there may be 150 thousand Jews. It is not yet possible to confirm this information. During the first action of 1,600 arrests measures were taken to seize all Jews, execution of at least 50 thousand Jews was performed” (a quote from the report).

On the same day, 2000 announcements in Russian, Ukrainian and German were posted in Kiev:

“All Jews of the city of Kiev and its vicinity must appear on Monday, September 29, by 8 o'clock in the morning at the corner of Mel'nikova and Dokterivskaya 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. Any civilians who enter the dwellings left by Jews and appropriate the things in them will be shot.”

The city froze in anticipation.

Did the people know where they were called, what awaited them on this Day of Judgment (namely, September 29 was the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur - the Day of Judgment)?

The majority believed that they would be resettled to another place: after all, the Germans were considered to be a civilized nation. The memory of the short stay of German troops in Kiev during the civil war also lived among the people. Why kill if the very fact of being expelled from your home is already a punishment. The place of collection was not in doubt as well - it was on Syrtsa that there was a freight station and a railway line.

But there were other thoughts, and there were reasons for them too. Firstly, as several Kievans note, on the 28th, the SS appeared in the city: they were given out by a black uniform and a distinctive logo: a skull and crossbones. Such people have never been seen in the city. And now they appeared in the area of ??Senny and Lukyanovsky bazaars.

One of them said bluntly: “Morgen youde paf - paf, kaput.”

There were several such cases of “notifications” which are reliably known. Some janitors spoke about the same, wishing to save their tenants.

Many already knew that the Nazis were capable of this, due to rumors regarding the shootings in Berdichev and Vinnitsa.

To imagine the situation of people who will go to Syrets tomorrow, to trace the course of their thoughts, reasoning and actions, try walking in their shoes. Close your eyes, get distracted and imagine that the announcement “To all the Jews of the city of Kiev” concerns you, your loved ones and, most importantly, your kids. Have you done so? Do not try: it will not work - you will subconsciously feel that this is a game.

The same people, 50 years ago, had to make some decision. And what to decide when there was no choice? You cannot stay at home - this means you will be shot. There was no time to leave the city, and there were fascist posts and policemen at the exit from the city. Hiding with neighbors, as suggested by some of them, is to expose their families to harm. So there was only one way out - to go. And hope that the worst will not happen, it simply cannot happen. Still, hope is the last to die. It usually dies with the person.

So, on the morning of September 29, crowds of Jews from all sides of Kiev rushed to Syrets: old men, women, children ... Many, many children. Before the war, Jewish families were usually large. There were old people who were transported on carts. There were children who were only a few days old, they were born already in occupied Kiev. They dragged bags, backpacks, suitcases, bags of groceries, because they were going into the long voyage. Many were seen off by neighbors. There were “mixed families” where one of the spouses was not Jewish. At the end of Artem Street began

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something incomprehensible. The first obstacle appeared at the crossroads: a chain of fascists and local police. Here they took away things and, laughing, beating the passing people with truncheons, hurried on. Passports and documents were taken at the next point. The papers were simply thrown on the ground and laid there in large piles. Some say that first documents were taken, then things. Then, already at the cemetery itself, the road was blocked by tanks, leaving a passage to death. They say that these were not tanks, but ordinary vehicles. They also remember the barriers made of “hedgehogs”.

Unfortunately, there is no one to say anything more definite: those who saw this were killed there.

... There was no way back behind this passage. They passed the Jewish treasure, followed by the Karaites one. Here the wasteland began followed by the ravine, which became known to the whole world - Babi Yar. Those who arrived here were forced to undress quickly and were driven with truncheons to the ravine itself. On the slopes of the ravine there were placed narrow terraces in the form of paths. Machine guns fired from the opposite side of the ravine. The terraces were narrow and people could only fall down. Some were shot with pistols. A plane was flying over the ravine, muffling the shots. They say that some of the fascists counted the doomed people. Otherwise, why such accuracy - up to single person - 33771 were shot. This very number the “executors” reported to Berlin a few days later.

This went on for the entire first day. The rest were left to spend the night in the open air and in the old garage. They were finished off the next day.

The second secret is how many Jews were shot?

The report sent to Berlin by the “executors”, Sonderkommando 4-A, said: on September 29 and 30, 33,771 people were shot.

This figure raises strong doubts. First, the occupants themselves believed that in Kiev remained 150 thousand Jews. So where did more than 100 thousand people go if less than 34 thousand were shot? Let's say the Germans were mistaken in their calculation, but not this much! And they shouldn't have been wrong. On the eve of the execution local janitors were ordered to hand over to the city council the lists of Jews living in their homes, allegedly in order to count the number of wagons required for shipment. (This fact enforced confidence that they would just send people away, with no other intentions). Several janitors once told me that the lists were being compiled, including Sergei Vasilyevich Blashchuk from house 18 on Krasnoarmeyskaya St. and Zinaida Ivanovna Sheligovskaya. She lived at 59 Lukyanovskaya Street and in the 1950-60s worked as a janitor at school N27, where I worked as a teacher.

If these lists have survived (which is quite possible), then you need to look for them in Ukranian archives, both in German and in American ones, where part of the documents from the Second World War was removed. Most likely - in Ukranian.

The same report N 97 to Berlin dated September 28 (!), mentions 150 thousand Jews in Kiev, and says: “Take measures to capture all Jewry, execution of at least 50,000 Jews is envisaged. The Wehrmacht welcomes these measures and asks for decisive action. The commandant approves the public execution of 20,000 Jews. “ So: they wanted to shoot, but not all and every one?

It is known that for the action, which, of course, was expected to be completed in one day, 100 thousand cartridges were allocated. This congruent with the intent to shoot 50 thousand people.

Let's say that the exact figure - 33771 - was obtained since each killer knew the exact number of his victims. Then it is not difficult to sum them up.

Initially, they expected to kill with rifles and pistols and thought to finish the execution in one day - by nightfall.

But the number of those killed was so unexpected that the Nazis were forced to place a machine gun on the opposite side of the yar, which fired incessantly. The machine gunners of course changed one another. When firing from a machine gun, it is almost impossible to count people falling into the yar.

And the fact that they were shooting from a machine gun was mentioned by many, including women who lived then and live now in nearby houses, particularly on Babiy Yar St., 15

How did the executors consider their victims?

Here is their track record. According to the document, which is called “Report N 128 (secret file of the empire)”, the number of victims of Sonderkommando 4-A grew in the following way: on August 24, 1941, 7,152 people were shot, by September 6, there were already 11,328 killed, by September 25 (the day of entry into Kiev) - 15,000. By October 12, the number of victims reached 51 thousand - and Babi Yar is not singled out in this report.

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And we will single it out. 51 thousand minus 15 thousand, minus another 537 Jews who were shot on September 4, in Pereyaslav. We have approximately 35,500 people. The numbers almost coincide - although there are almost 2000 “extra” left. They could have been “picked up” after Pereyaslav - there was a whole week in reserve, and this team knew how to shoot: in just a week, from October 12 to 20, they killed another 24,000 people.

However, all this sad arithmetic does not correspond to other information.

The newspaper “Izvestia” on November 19, 1941 wrote: “New York, November 18 (TASS). As the correspondent of the Overseas News agency reports from one newsroom in Europe, credible reports were received that the Germans in Kiev executed 52 thousand Jews - men, women, children. “

This was the first message about the Babi Yar tragedy in the Soviet press.

On November 6, 1942, V. Molotov, in a note “On widespread robberies, devastation of the population and monstrous atrocities of the German authorities in the Soviet territories seized by them,” announced the mass extermination of 80 thousand people in Kiev, mostly Jews.

As you can see, the numbers are growing. However, the Extraordinary Commission to Investigate the Atrocities of the Fascists in the Occupied Territory, which began its work immediately after the liberation of Kiev, named the number of victims again and did this with German precision - 33771 people.

How this figure got into the Extraordinary Commission is a mystery as well. The Commission did not carry out excavations, and there was nothing to excavate - the Nazis burned all those killed in Babi Yar on the eve of their retreat from Kiev. The archives containing documents with this number were located in Berlin and were not yet available. So how did this figure coincide again with the accuracy up to one person both in our information and in the information of the invaders? This is already a riddle in a riddle.

Now let's get to the testimonies of living people. In 1948 or 1949, the director of school N6 Nina Ivanovna Burachenko, who was a member of the Extraordinary Commission, told my father in front of me (they were both deputies of the Molotovsky, now Shevchenko district council) that about 100 thousand Jews were shot in Babi Yar. Dmitry Lukich Pasechny named the same figure. When in occupied Kiev he managed to save his Jewish wife Polina Davidovna Sheveleva and her mother. With the help of the priest Alexei Glagolev and his wife Tatyana Pavlovna P.D. Sheveleva, a fictitious birth certificate was issued, where Polina was recorded as Orthodox. This rare and valuable document can be found in my collection.

Long before the war, D.L. Pasechny led a photographic circle in the Lenin Palace of Pioneers. Among his students was Sasha Bichel, who became Alexander Bichel during the years of occupation and worked as interpreter for the commandant of Kiev Eberhardt.

On September 28 evening a former student told L.L. Pasechny that the Jews would not be sent anywhere, but would be shot. This refrained the Pasechny-Shevelev family from going to Babi Yar the next morning. The same Bihel later told D.L. Pasechny that on September 29, from 6 to 10 in the morning, he was sitting in a car and counted people who were passing by. According to him, until 7 o'clock people walked in families or in separate groups, and from 7 to 8 o'clock there was a continuous avalanche, with practically no gap between people: they were in a hurry to get to the appointed time - by 8 o'clock. Then the flow of people gradually dropped and after 10 o'clock nearly ceased. Only those who had been caught were delivered to the place of action. Counting approximately, Bihel counted more than 95 thousand people. He also marked each 100 people in his notebook.

Subsequently, Bihel, according to him, saw a document on Eberhardt's desk, which contained the numbers of those killed and the number of cartridges used. The number of those killed was 98,000.

I think that a document that has not yet been found could clarify the case. Here goes the information about the executions held on October 1-3.

Speaking about the officially killed Jews, they refer to the report of the fascists, where the figure is 33771. Even if this is true, we should not forget that the report speaks of the action carried out only by Sonderkommando 4-A and only in 2 days - September 29-30. On this the “work” of the team was over. Having a 3-days rest the team was already shooting Jews in Pereyaslav on October 4.

Who continued the executions in Kiev on October 1-3? There was undoubtedly a document about this action; reports on the executed actions were regularly sent to Berlin. Where is this document? There is another mystery in it - who “finished shooting” and how many people were killed.

The fact that the shooting was performed in early October is beyond doubt among knowledgeable people. This is confirmed by many Kievites, and the Nazis also confirmed it at the trial, which took place in Kiev at the beginning of 1946. 12 guilty fascists were publicly hanged at the same place,

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where now the famous fountain on the Square of Nezalezhnosti is located.

One woman remembered that she and her friend (they were 12 years old then) were given jars with water and cotton swabs, and they were asked to wet the lips to children in the cemetery.

- So sorry for the kids, they are thirsty, - some men said. The day was hot, the children were really thirsty, so the girls diligently wet their lips. Then it turned out that there was poison in the jars, and the children soon died. The woman firmly remembers the date - October 2 - it was her birthday.

There is also indirect data regarding the number of those shot.

Three surviving prisoners of war from the Syrets camp, Y. Kaper, D. Budnik and Z. Trubakov, together with other 350 prisoners, eliminated the corpses of killed Kiev residents and prisoners of war in Babi Yar. This was in August-September 1943.

They pulled out the compressed corpses with their hooks and burned them. On the tombs brought from the Jewish cemetery were laid lattice fences from the graves and on them, alternating layers, they laid firewood and corpses. All this was poured with oil and set on fire. The corpses were burned, and the ashes were scattered along the bottom and slopes of the ravine.

According to surviving witnesses, there were at least 60 such infernal furnaces. Each oven had the capacity of 2.5 to 3 thousand corpses. Thus, 150-180 thousand corpses were burned in total. This happened mainly at the site of the execution of Jews, where others were almost never shot, because this place was covered with lime.

The executions in Babi Yar continued for exactly 2 years - 104 weeks - on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

The number of people shot those days varied - from a few people to several loaded cars. They were shot even in those days when the prisoners of war were already burning the corpses. The victims were transported in trucks or gas chambers. Those who were shot or suffocated with exhaust gases were immediately burned, while being still warm, along with the old corpses.

People were brought to be shot (or already shot) from distant points, even from Borispol camp for prisoners of war. This was confirmed by many of the surviving prisoners of this concentration camp.

Another question arises: why were people taken so far - from Boryspil to Babi Yar, which took about 50 kilometers. Wasn't it possible to make the dirty “work” closer? What benefit did the fascists have? These freaks did nothing for nothing. This is another mystery that one can try to uncover.

I will offer my version: the corpses, as you know, had to be buried. For this they needed to have pits that had to be dug. In Babi Yar, the pits were already dug. Where and how?

The fact is that in Syrets in summer camps located in the area of ??the children's railway there were two military schools for infantry troops and tank corps. During tactical exercises the cadets dug ditches, trenches, escarps. They became those ready-made mass graves for which people were brought from afar.

Here is the testimony that was given by the former cadet of the infantry school Yakov Moiseevich Bershtein, who lives in Borodyanka near Kiev:

“On June 22, 1941, it was announced to us that the war had begun. Immediately after lunch we were sent to dig shelters in Babi Yar. We dug these shelters with our personal sapper shovels. This lasted until June 24 inclusive and then the whole school was sent to Brovary. We dug shelters at different levels and directions of Babi Yar. The shelter was a L-shaped trench, one and a half meters long in each direction; the depth was 180 cm, width at the top - 90 cm, at the bottom - 60 cm. 16 companies of the infantry school had 115-120 people each. In the tank corps there were fewer companies and cadets. According to rough estimates, 15-18 kilometers of deep trenches were dug then. These were ready-made pits and I think the Nazis took this as an advantage.

In March 1946, we, students of the school N10, saw both sinkholes and mounds, which clearly marked the contours of the trenches on the slopes of Babi Yar. It was closer to Kurenevka. Only many years later it was suggested that they were filled with the bodies of those murdered.

At that time we also saw unfulfilled trenches - they were well preserved: only two and a half years had passed since the day when the fascists were expelled from Kiev. This fact supports the stated hypothesis. Otherwise, why some of the trenches were intact while others were filled up? They could not selectively fill in some pits and leave others untouched. I think that even now in Babi Yar there are thousands of corpses of prisoners of war, hostages, underground workers. Jews were not shot here, they were already shot in September-October 1941 during the well-known mass execution. They were not shot in the place where the “Menora” monument stands now. They were shot behind the Karaite cemetery, not far from the metro station at the corner of Melnikov and O. Teligi streets, where this yar ended.

[Page 13]

All this is confirmed by L. Zavorotnyaya, I. Evgenyeva, N. Tkachenko, who lived then and now on Babiy Yar street.

Perhaps a selective opening of the former trenches will reveal one of the mysteries of Babi Yar.

So, the riddles remain as follows:

  1. Was the action of shooting the Jews planned in advance, or the plan came up in occupied Kiev?
  2. How many Jews were shot on October 1-3, 1941?
  3. Who shot them?
  4. Where is the report of the “executors” on the executed action? It certainly existed.
  5. Where are the lists compiled by the janitors and handed over to the city council on September 28, 1941?
  6. How many prisoners of war, underground fighters, hostages were shot? They were shot according to the plan, and lists on them existed for sure: the Nazis had a strict order. Where are these lists?
  7. Are there any documents left which were handed in by Jews who were to be shot?
  8. How did the exact number of Jews killed - 33771 people - come about?
  9. Why is there not at least an approximate number of other executed people?
  10. Why are the numbers of those killed different in various official reports?
  11. Why did the accurate number of Jews shot (33771 people) coincide both in the German report and in the message of the Extraordinary Commission dealing with the atrocities of the Nazis in the occupied territory ?
  12. Why did the fascists bring people (or already corpses) to Babi Yar tens of kilometers away?
  13. Were the trenches in Babi Yar used as graves for the executed?
  14. It is known that in the first days of the occupation, even before the execution of the Jews, three camps of Kurenev Gypsies were shot. How many people were there?
  15. Where are the lists of the mentally ill patients of the Pavlov hospital who were shot and strangled in gas chambers at the beginning of the occupation of Kiev? Where are they buried?

    The silent Babi Yar has kept its secrets for decades. Till when?

     

    Submissions of Group “C” in Berlin

    Berlin, September 19, 1941

    Report on events in the USSR 88. Task Force “C”.

    On 6.9.41 team 4A held a Jewish action in Radomyshl. Jews from all the neighborhoods were gathered there. As a result, Jewish homes were severely overcrowded. On average, 15 people lived in each room.

    As a result, the sanitary conditions became completely unsatisfactory. Several Jewish corpses were carried out of their homes every day. It was impossible to supply Jews, including children.

    As a result, the danger of an epidemic became ever stronger. To resolve this condition, Team 4A shot 1,107 adult Jews, and the local police shot 561 children. Thus, Sonderkommando 4A until 6.9.41 killed 11328 Jews in total.

    Berlin, 28 September 1941

    Report on events in the USSR 97. Task force “C”.

    Forward team 4A since 19.9. directly with the fighting troops in Kiev. The group headquarters arrived on 24.9. The NKVD building on the street was envisaged and confiscated as the residence of the group's headquarters on October 25 St.

    The city was almost not destroyed when the troops entered. Numerous barricades and tank barriers were set up on the main streets. In addition, there are powerful defensive structures inside the city. On 20.9. the citadel was blown up killing the artillery commander and headquarters. On 24.9. there was a strong explosion in the premises of the field commandant's office, the resulting fire has not yet been brought under control. The fire spread in the whole city center. The most valuable buildings have been destroyed. Fighting the fire has so far been largely inconclusive. The explosions are still going on. The occurrence of fires. So far, 670 mines have been found in the buildings. According to the discovered

    [Page 14]

    plan, all public buildings and places are mined, including the supposedly new building of the department. The building has been thoroughly searched. At the same time, 60 bottles with Molotov cocktail were found and destroyed.

    In the Lenin Museum there are 70 centners of dynamite, which should be blown up by radio ... Jews are actively involved in the arson. It's like there are 150,000 Jews. It is not yet possible to verify this data. During the first action of 1,600 arrests, measures were taken to capture all Jews, and the execution of at least 50,000 Jews was planned. The Wehrmacht welcomes the measures and asks for radical action. The city commandant is petitioning for the execution of 20,000 Jews. A large number of NKVD officials, political commissars, partisan leaders and partisans were arrested.

    Enemy announcements were captured this morning. Communication has been established with the Wehrmacht and the authorities. Active participation in the formation of the city administration. Informants infiltrated. The advanced team of the highest SS Fuhrer and the police arrived. Detailed report will follow.

    Berlin October 7, 1941

    Report on events in the USSR 106.

    Operational group “C”. Location - Kiev.

    The advanced command of Sonderkommando 4A under the leadership of SS Obersturmführer Hefner and Jansen in the amount of 50 people, together with combat units, entered Kiev on September 19, 1941.The main command of Sonderkommando 4A reached Kiev on September 25, 1941 after SS Standartführer Blobel visited Kiev on September 21 and 22.

    The advance team of the group headquarters, Police Hauptmann Krumme, SS Obersturmführer Dr. Krieger and Breun, SS Oberscharführer Brown arrived in Kiev on September 21, the group headquarters on September 25, 1941. In cooperation with the group headquarters and two battalions of the South Police Regiment, Sonderkommando 4A executed on September 29 and 30, 1941 33,771 Jews. The operation was carried out without hindrance. There were no incidents reported. The “resettlement” of the Jews was approved by the population. The fact that in reality the Jews were liquidated is hardly known to this day; from experience, however, this is unlikely to be objectionable. These measures were also approved by the Wehrmacht. Jews who have not yet been captured, as well as those who gradually return after fleeing to the city, in each case are subjected to corresponding treatment.

    Berlin, October 12, 1941

    Report on events in the USSR 111.

    The total number of those executed by the Sonderkommando 4A has now exceeded 51,000. In addition to the Sonderkommando in Kiev on September 28 and 29, for which 2 teams of the South Police Regiment were assigned, this Sonderkommando carried out all the previous executions so far without anyone's help. The executed people were mainly Jews, a small part were political functionaries, as well as saboteurs and robbers.

    Berlin, November 12, 1941

    Report on events in the USSR 132.

    Upon request of the commandant of the prisoner of war camp in Boryspil, a platoon of Sonderkommando 4A shot on 14.10.41 752 and on 18.10.41. 357 Jewish prisoners of war, including several commissars and 78 wounded Jews who were transferred by the camp doctor. At the same time, the same platoon executed 24 partisans and communists.

    137 trucks with clothes, which we got during the Jewish actions held in Zhitomir and Kiev, were put at the disposal of the NSV for further use. Most of these supplies, by the way, could also cover the need of the SS hospital for woolen blankets, etc.

    A number of functionaries have already been arrested in Kiev in the course of the investigation launched by the Sonderkommando 4A into the case of the underground CP apparatus in Ukraine . Useful and detailed information about the new organization of the Communist Party in Kiev was given by Ivan Romanenko ... Romanenko since 1931 was a member of the Communist Party and recently worked as the secretary of the Lenin District Party Committee in Kiev.

     

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