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  • Writer's pictureAnnemeet Hasidi-van Der Leij

Babi Yar: more than 33,000 Jewish people murdered in 2 days!

Updated: May 8

Over the course of two days, beginning on 29 September 1941, more than 33,000 Jewish people were murdered at Babi Yar, a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

From 26 September onwards, notices written in Russian, German and Ukrainian were posted around the city of Kiev, ordering the city’s Jewish population to gather at Babi Yar.

Babi Yar is a ravine located on the outskirts of Kiev, once home to one of the city’s many Jewish cemeteries. The notice read as follows:

‘On Monday, September 29, you are to appear by 7:00am with your possessions, money, documents, valuables and warm clothing at Dorogozhitshaya Street, next to the Jewish cemetery. Failure to appear is punishable by death.’

Jewish people were led to believe that, by gathering at the ravine at the ordered time, they would be resettled elsewhere in the country and taken to safety. Instead, they were murdered in one of the single deadliest events of the Holocaust.

Raisa Maistrenko (photo below) was one of only 29 people known to have survived. When she was three years old, 18 of her relatives were killed at Babi Yar. ‘All the Jews decided to go because they thought they would be evacuated by train as the railway station was nearby’, she said. ‘Nobody could possibly assume there would be a mass execution.’

The killings were led by the Einsatzkommando, a sub-group of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen which was responsible for the systematic murder of Jews, communists, Sinti and Roma in the German invasion of the Soviet Union. The Einsatzcommando were supported by the Order Police battalions with the Ukranian Auxiliary Police forces and local supporters of the Nazi regime in Ukraine.

While estimates of the number of Jews killed at Babi Yar vary, according to reports by the Einsatzgruppe to headquarters, 33,771 Jews were massacred in two days. Over the course of the occupation, it is estimated that between 900,000 and 1.6 million Ukrainian Jews were murdered.

Dina (Vera) Mironovna Pronicheva (7 January 1911 – 1977) was a Soviet Jewish actress at the Kiev Puppet Theatre, and a survivor of the 29–30 September 1941 Babi/Babyn Yar massacre of Jews by Nazi German forces in Kyiv.

This is her witness statement at the trial of case No.1679 “On the atrocities committed by fascist invaders on the territory of the Ukranian SSR”. Kiev. January 24. 1946:


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