The true faces of the Babyn Yar Murders revealed

Published date07 October 2021
Publication titleIsrael National News (Israel)
From the testimony of Nazi soldier Viktor Trill: "It is possible that on this day I shot between around 150 and 250 Jews. The whole shooting went off without incident. The Jews were resigned to their fate like lambs. After we got out, first we were issued with alcohol. It was grog or rum. I then saw a gigantic ditch [ravine] that looked like a dried out river bed. In it were lying several layers of corpses. The execution began first by a few members of our Kommando going down into the ravine. At the same time about 20 Jews were brought along from a connecting path. The Jews had to lay down on the corpses and were then shot in the back of the neck. More Jews were continually brought to be shot."


BYHMC research is a signal for today:,"If you are taking any part in genocide or mass crime today against humanity, you will be held accountable".

- Between 29-30 September, 1941, the Nazis murdered 33,771 Jewish Ukrainians in the Babyn Yar Ravine on the outskirts of Kyiv.

- Perpetrators have never been convicted – despite extensive testimonies gathered after the War, now revealed by the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

- Having already uncovered new information about the victims and the Massacre, the Babyn Yar Memorial Center has begun compiling evidence and testimonies shedding light on the perpetrators of the crimes, being released to mark the 80th anniversary of Babyn Yar.

- The first 159 names of Nazi Soldiers who murdered Jews in Babyn Yar released by BYHMC.

While the commanding officers of the Nazi units who carried out the massacre was a matter of historical record, the new information uncovered by the BYHMC, details the biographies and testimonies of commanders and rank and file soldiers who murdered Jewish men, women, and children, young and old, in the Babyn Yar forest.

Despite confessions, evidence and testimonies being submitted as late as the 1960s by some of the Nazi soldiers who carried out the murders, only a few of those involved ever faced justice for their heinous crimes.

In all, more than 33,771 Jewish victims were shot at the Babyn Yar ravine by the Nazis during just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others were shot thereafter at Babyn Yar throughout the Nazi occupation of Kyiv. The estimated number of victims murdered at Babyn Yar is around 100,000, making it Europe's largest mass grave.

An academic task group of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center set up to identify the personnel that participated in the shooting of Jews at Babyn Yar, estimate that hundreds of German soldiers, policemen and SS-personnel were complicit in the Babyn Yar Massacre. To mark the 80th anniversary of the Massacre, the Center has released the findings of their research into the first 159 Nazis who participated in killings, from across Germany and other countries under Nazi control.

Aged between 20 and 60 years old, they were educated and uneducated, they included engineers and teachers, drivers and sales people. Some were married and some were not. The vast majority of them returned to live a normal life after the War. They testified at trial and were found not guilty, except for very few commanders - not the soldiers who carried out the horrific massacre.

Father Patrick Desbois, Head of the BYHMC Academic Council stressed that of the initial 159 names revealed, "Some were shooters, others extracted the Jews from their homes, others took their belongings and their luggage. Others loaded the weapons while others were serving sandwiches, tea and vodka to the shooters. All of them are guilty. In a mass crime, anyone who was involved in any way, directly or indirectly, must be considered guilty".

Fr. Desbois explained the German murder protocol: a shooting shift lasted from morning until five in the evening, in which thousands upon thousands were shot, and from there the soldiers were taken to parties where they were served alcohol and women. He noted that one of the killers described in a testimony revealed in the study, how the unit was taken after the Massacre to a spa town, to "recover" before returning to the front.

Desbois added that BYHMC research is a signal for today:,"If you are taking any part in genocide or mass crime today against humanity, you will be held accountable".

"Few of these men were bothered by justice after WWII," explained Andrej Umansky, Deputy Head of the BYHMC Academic Council...

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