The full story of the Nazi massacre of Jews in the ravine of Babi Yar, in Kiev, in 1941, has now been revealed in the Soviet Union for the first time by an eyewitness writing in a Soviet magazine, The New York Times reported from Moscow today.
A soviet writer, Anatoly Kuznetsov, who was living in Kiev and was 12 years old when the Babi Yar massacre took place, has written the Babi Yar story in Yunost, a Soviet youth magazine. According to the Times dispatch, this is the story Kuznetsov told:
On September 28, 1941, a week after the German army occupied Kiev, posters were put up by the Germans throughout the city ordering “all the Jews of Kiev and surroundings” to assemble at 8 a.m., the following day, at Babi Yar. The posters ordered all Jews to bring documents, money, valuables and warm clothing. The Germans warned on the posters that all Jews failing to comply with the order would be shot. Many of the Jews, according to Mr. Kuznetsov, thought they were to be evacuated to a zone away from the war front.
Mr. Kuznetsov told how he watched the Jews going to the ravine at Babi Yar the following morning. At the edge of the ravine, he reported, German troops checked the documents carried by the Jews. He saw German soldiers, helped by Ukrainian policemen, forcing the Jews to undress and march into the ravine. There, the writer reported, machine guns mowed the Jews down, shooting at their backs.
The author told of a Jewish woman who saved herself by crawling out of one of the graves at night. He reported that Germans ordered the shooting of Ukrainians who had got into the ravine by error, for fear that the Ukrainians would spread the word about what had happened at Babi Yar.
For years, the Soviet authorities have followed a policy of speaking of Nazi terror against Russians and Ukrainians, without mentioning Jews. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia mentions only that, at Babi Yar, the Nazis shot “195, 000 peaceful citizens.”
Former Prime Minister Nikita Khrushchev, had objected strenuously when the Soviet poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, wrote his poem, entitled “Babi Yar, ” in which he criticized the absence of a monument at the site for the killed Jews. Subsequently Yevtushenko had to alter part of his poem to satisfy Khrushchev’s denial that Jews were the only victims of the Babi Yar massacre, Mr. Kuznetsov emphasizes that the Germans intended to execute only Jews. He adds that a few Ukrainians and Russians were shot as a result of confusion or because the Germans feared that they had seen too much to be released.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.