Holocaust in Kiev, Ukraine
According to the military-economic information from May 1941, 215.7 thousand Jews lived in Kiev, accounting for 25.5% of the urban population. According to Yad Vashem, the number of Jews in Kiev on the eve of the occupation was 224,200.
Accurate data on the number of those drafted into the Red Army and evacuated has not been preserved. It is known that on the eve of the occupation, the Jewish population of Kiev was replenished by refugees. At the time of the occupation of Kiev on September 19, 1941, 400 thousand inhabitants remained in it.
On September 24, 1941, Soviet underground workers staged an explosion on Khreshchatyk. The invaders blamed the Jews for its organization. A few days later, about 3 thousand Jewish prisoners of war held in the camp on Sholudenko Street were shot.
On September 28, 1941, announcements appeared in the city demanding that the Jewish population come with documents, valuables and warm clothes to the cemetery area (corner of Melnikova and Degtyarevskaya streets) for resettlement in Palestine. On the eve of the invaders gathered the Kiev rabbis and ordered to convey information about the resettlement to the members of the community.
Babiy Yar was chosen as the location for the extermination aktion for several reasons:
• This is a sparsely populated suburb where no shots will be heard.
• There was a train station nearby, giving victims the illusion of resettlement. According to the recollections of eyewitnesses, specially trained people on the days of the extermination aktions rushed the Jews standing in line, shouting that the trains were already full and leaving.
• The area abounds in natural ditches and ravines in which the bodies of the victims could be left without the effort of digging the ditches.
At the corner of Melnikova and Degtyarevskaya streets, a checkpoint and a field office were set up, which gave the victims the illusion of registering before leaving.
The Nazis separated from the lined up Jews by 30-40 people and took them outside the checkpoint. They took away things and documents, forced to undress and took them to the edge of the ditch, on the opposite edge of which a machine gunner was located on a special platform. The teams participating in the executions changed each other every hour.
The belongings collected from the victims were taken for sorting to a school on Nekrasovskaya Street. All four floors of the premise were filled with the belongings of the killed.
During the two days of the extermination aktion (September 29-30, 1941), 35,700 Jews were shot. In total, over the years of the occupation of Kiev in the area of Babiy Yar, the Nazis killed more than 150 thousand Jews.