On Tuesday March 1,2022 Russian missiles damaged the Babyn Yar (also known as Babi Yar) memorial site. One might say what is the big deal? It didn’t hit a residential area, right?
Five people were killed in that strike which is an awful loss of life, any death cause by war is. But there is more to this. Babyn Yar has a huge historical importance especially in relation to genocide.
It was the site where over 33,000 people were massacred. In September 1941 by the Nazis.
On September 19, 1941, German forces entered the city of Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of Ukraine. Along with a large part of German-occupied Ukraine, the city was incorporated into the Reichskommissariat Ukraine which had been established on September 1 with Erich Koch as administrator.
Before the German invasion, some 160,000 Jews resided in Kyiv,Ukraine . Which was approximately 20 percent of the total population of the capital. Following the start of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, approximately 100,000 Jews fled Kyiv or were already serving in the Soviet military. By the time the Germans occupied Kyiv, there were about 60,000 Jews remaining in the city. Most of those who remained had been unable or unwilling to flee earlier. This included mostly women, children, the elderly, and those who were ill.
The implementation of the order was entrusted to Sonderkommando 4a, commanded by Blobel, under the general command of Friedrich Jeckeln.This unit consisted of SD and Sipo, the third company of the Special Duties Waffen-SS battalion, and a platoon of the 9th Police Battalion. Police Battalion 45, commanded by Major Besser, conducted the massacre, supported by members of a Waffen-SS battalion. Contrary to the myth of the “clean Wehrmacht”, the Sixth Army under Walter von Reichenau worked together with the SS and SD to plan the mass murder of the Jews of Kiev.
On 29 and 30 September 1941, a special team of German SS troops supported by other German units and local collaborators murdered 33,771 Jewish civilians after taking them to the ravine.
The commander of the Einsatzkommando reported two days later:
“The difficulties resulting from such a large scale action—in particular concerning the seizure—were overcome in Kiev by requesting the Jewish population through wall posters to move. Although only a participation of approximately 5,000 to 6,000 Jews had been expected at first, more than 30,000 Jews arrived who, until the very moment of their execution, still believed in their resettlement, thanks to an extremely clever organization.”
According to the testimony of a truck driver named Hofer, victims were ordered to undress and were beaten if they resisted.
The crowd was large enough that most of the victims could not have known what was happening until it was too late; by the time they heard the machine gun fire, there was no chance to escape. All were driven down a corridor of soldiers, in groups of ten, and then shot.
In the evening, the Germans undermined the wall of the ravine and buried the people under the thick layers of earth.According to the Einsatzgruppe’s Operational Situation Report, 33,771 Jews from Kiev and its suburbs were systematically shot dead by machine-gun fire at Babi Yar on 29 September and 30 September 1941.
The money, valuables, underwear and clothing of the murdered victims were turned over to the local ethnic Germans and to the Nazi administration of the city.Wounded victims were buried alive in the ravine along with the rest of the bodies.
The ravine at Babyn Yar was a killing site for two years after the September 1941 massacre. There, Germans stationed at Kyiv murdered tens of thousands of people, both Jews and non-Jews. Other groups of people who were killed at Babyn Yar included: patients from a local psychiatric hospital, Roma , Soviet prisoners of war, and civilians.
It is estimated that some 100,000 people, Jews and non-Jews, were murdered at Babi Yar
The killings at the Babyn Yar ravine continued until the fall of 1943, only a few days before the Soviets re-took control of Kyiv on November 6.
Putin invaded Ukraine under the premise that he wanted to rid the country from Neo Nazis. Yet the Ukrainian President is Jewish.
A spokesperson for the memorial told the Times of Israel that the air strike had caused damage to buildings in the Jewish cemetery located in the Babyn Yar complex, although a monument to the victims of Nazism was not affected. It may not have caused damage but it did desecrate the site and the surrounding Jewish cemeteries. If that isn’t an act by Neo Nazis then what is?
Putin’s logic appears to be to get rid of ‘Neo Nazis’ by committing acts of Neo Nazism himself.
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