Posted 12 февраля 2021,, 14:54

Published 12 февраля 2021,, 14:54

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Bulldozer after the Holocaust: how the Soviet government tried to hide the tragedy at Babi Yar

Bulldozer after the Holocaust: how the Soviet government tried to hide the tragedy at Babi Yar

12 февраля 2021, 14:54
The Soviet authorities three times tried to erase the memory of the mass shootings in occupied Kiev.

One of the most heinous crimes of Nazism on the territory of the USSR took place in Kiev, in a tract in the north-west of the Ukrainian capital, where from 1941 to 1943 there were, according to various estimates, from 70,000 to 200,000 people. There were also Soviet prisoners of war among them, but the overwhelming majority were civilians, and mainly Jews and Gypsies. The Nazis even began to build a soap factory there, so that the fruits of their "labors" would not be wasted, but did not have time.

Nevertheless, the Germans tried, albeit not very successfully, to hide the traces of their crimes at Babi Yar. And after the liberation of Kiev, the Soviet authorities did the same. Here is what Alexander Lychagin writes about this:

“The first was carried out by the Germans on the second anniversary of the beginning of the executions, in September-October 1943.

A concentration camp was hastily built near Babi Yar, where suicide prisoners of war were rounded up and Sonderkommando were formed. From the tombstones of the nearby Jewish cemetery, cremation ovens were built, firewood and containers with oil were brought. The Nazis worked for several weeks, covering their tracks, but not changing their practicality. There was no Canada (Canada in the famous concentration camp Auschwitz (Auschwitz) was called the cleaning team. The prisoners from this team sorted and loaded the belongings of newly arriving prisoners on the platform. Only Jews worked in Canada, - noted by the ed.), Like in Auschwitz. Everything went into the ditches. And they rushed to fix it. Only ash and bones remained. Cubic meters of ash and bones...

Second try. 1957 year. The Ukrainian Central Committee decided to literally level Babi Yar to the ground. Babi Yar was blocked by a dam and pulp was pumped into it from neighboring brick factories. Pulp is a liquid mixture of water, clay and sand. The calculation was simple: the pulp will fill the ravine to the brim, water will infiltrate into the ground, the dried mass will reliably concreted Babi Yar and buried its terrible contents forever.

But Yar took revenge. The water has not gone anywhere - the layer of clay that underlies it has turned out to be a reliable water seal. The slurry level rose, the dam was built on. She climbed to the height of a six-story building. And in the spring of 1961, it burst through, washed out by spring oxen. A shaft of water and mud up to ten meters high was formed. With great speed, this mass fell on the urban area of Kurenevka, sweeping away everything in its path. 30 hectares, 250 residential buildings, a park, a hospital, a stadium, a tool factory were buried in a matter of minutes under a layer of mud and stones. The disaster site was instantly surrounded by a high fence and strictly classified. Even the passenger airways were sidelined. The excavations lasted two years. The number of victims is still not known, but it is many hundreds, and possibly thousands.

1962 year. Third and most decisive attempt.

An armada of bulldozers, excavators, scrapers was thrown into the fight against Babi Yar. In a matter of weeks, the soil that had spilled out the year before was put into place. A highway passed through Babi Yar, and a residential area was built on the site of mass graves. On the bones. From the balconies of the first row of houses one could admire the site of the first mass shootings of Jews in September 1941. A new stadium and entertainment complex was planned. A television center was built on the site of the Jewish cemetery.

The Nazis could not even dream of this..."

Until the collapse of the USSR, the authorities hushed up the scale of the tragedy with all their might, and even the monument, erected only in 1976, was dedicated exclusively to the prisoners of war who died there. And only on September 29, 1991, on the 50th anniversary of the first mass execution of Jews, a monument was erected there in the form of a ritual Jewish seven-branched candlestick - a menorah, and from the former office of the Jewish cemetery a tiled "Road of Sorrow" was laid to it.