• Memorial Complex Babi Yar
In the Babi Yar ravine (Ukrainian: Babyn Yar), 7 kilometres north of the city centre of the Ukrainian capital Kiev (Ukrainian: Kyiv), several memorials are dedicated to those murdered in the largest mass shooting of Jews during the Second World War. In September 1941, Einsatzgruppe C (mobile killing squad) shot at least 33,000 Jews in Babi Yar.
Image: Babi Yar, end of September 1941, Members of the German order police search the clothing of murdered Jews, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung
Babi Yar, end of September 1941, Members of the German order police search the clothing of murdered Jews, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung

Image: Babi Yar, 2004, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Babi Yar, 2004, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Around 220,000 Jews lived in Kiev before it was occupied by German troops, making up a little under a quarter of the population. About 70,000 Jews fled from the approaching German Wehrmacht to the East. On September 19, 1941, the 6th Army of the Wehrmacht occupied Kiev. They were followed by Sonderkommando 4a (special unit) and shortly afterwards the entire Einsatzgruppe C (mobile killing squad). The local Wehrmacht and SS leaders began planning the murder of the Kiev Jews under the pretense of retaliation measures for bomb attacks on several buildings undertaken by the retreating NKVD. City commander major general Kurt Eberhard explicitly agreed to the murder plans - according to a report of the SS, the Wehrmacht demanded »radical measures«. On the morning of September 29, the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Jews of Kiev had to gather for their supposed »resettlement«. Over 33,000 Jewish women, children and men were chased to the Babi Yar ravine on Kiev's outskirts by Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C, who were assisted by Ukranian militia and Wehrmacht soldiers. There the Jews had to undress and submit their valuables. They were then forced to line up in rows of ten and stand at the edge of the ravine. Members of Sonderkommando 4a shot them with machine guns. The murders lasted the entire next day, afterwards military sappers blew up the ravine. The SS also regularly murdered prisoners of war and Romanies at Babi Yar. In the summer of 1943, Paul Blobel returned to Babi Yar with Sonderkommando 1005. This unit's task was to destroy evidence of the murders before the invasion of the approaching Red Army: Jewish forced labourers had to dig up and incinerate the decaying corpses. The massacre of Babi Yar is considered the single largest mass shooting of the Holocaust.
Image: Babi Yar, end of September 1941, Members of the German order police search the clothing of murdered Jews, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung
Babi Yar, end of September 1941, Members of the German order police search the clothing of murdered Jews, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung

Image: Babi Yar, 2004, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Babi Yar, 2004, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
According to their own records, members the Einsatzgruppe C murdered 33.771 Jewish children, women and men in Babi Yar between September 29 and 30, 1941.
Image: Kiev, end of September 1941, Jews shot dead on the marching route to Babi Yar, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung.
Kiev, end of September 1941, Jews shot dead on the marching route to Babi Yar, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung.

Image: Babi Yar, n.d., Ceremony at the Memorial to the victims of Babi Yar, ITAR-TASS.
Babi Yar, n.d., Ceremony at the Memorial to the victims of Babi Yar, ITAR-TASS.
For decades after the end of the Second World War, no monument was erected in Babi Yar. Instead, Ukrainian communist party leaders had the ravine levelled in 1962 and established a park on the site. Upon pressure exerted by survivors and from abroad, a memorial was dedicated on September 29, 1976, the 35th anniversary of the murders. Since the park from the 1960's is on the site of the ravine, the authorities set up the memorial further away from Babi Yar and marked the former outline of the ravine with dug out channels. The inscription on the memorial does not mention Jewish victims. In 1991, the first official commemoration ceremony dedicated to the Jewish victims of Babi Yar took place, and an inscription to honour the murdered Jews of Kiev was added. Moreover, a stone menorah was set up in the vicinity of the former ravine. Since then several different memorial sculptures, crosses and signs were erected at the site, for instance in 2001 in the memory of the murdered children or in 2016 to honor the Roma victims. To this date, however, there is no central memorial or information centre at the site.
Image: Babi Yar, 2004, Memorial to the children murdered in Babi Yar, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Babi Yar, 2004, Memorial to the children murdered in Babi Yar, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß

Image: Babi Yar, 2004, Menorah from the early 1990s, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Babi Yar, 2004, Menorah from the early 1990s, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Image: Babi Yar, 2016, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal
Babi Yar, 2016, The 1976 memorial, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Babi Yar, 2016, Detailed view of the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal
Babi Yar, 2016, Detailed view of the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Babi Yar, 2016, The menorah a few days after the memorial service to mark the 75th anniversary of the massacre, Stiftung Denkmal
Babi Yar, 2016, The menorah a few days after the memorial service to mark the 75th anniversary of the massacre, Stiftung Denkmal
Image: Babi Yar, 2016, Memorial to the murdered Roma, Stiftung Denkmal
Babi Yar, 2016, Memorial to the murdered Roma, Stiftung Denkmal
Name
Memorialnyj Kompleks Babij Jar
Address
Dorogozhitska-Street
01030 Kyjiw
Phone
+380 (0)442 488 917
Fax
+380 (0)442 488 917
Open
The memorial complex is accessible at all times.