Babi Yar Monument to Mass Execution of Jews in Ukraine Vandalized
by Eli Wishnivetski
On the eve of Rosh Hashanah this past Wednesday, a monument to one of the largest shooting massacres of Jews during World War II was vandalized with swastikas and other graffiti marks. The incident was reported by LifeNews, a Russian news website.
Babi Yar is a large ravine on the outskirts of Kiev, which was occupied by the Nazis in 1941. The city’s Jews responded to a summons to gather in the center of the Ukrainian capital, assuming they were to be deported. Instead, they were forced into lines and marched two miles to the ravine, where they were systematically gunned down by the machine guns of the Einsatzgruppe, the Nazi paramilitary death squad. Their bodies fell straight down into the mountain gorge.
A total of 33,771 Jews were executed at Babi Yar on September 29-30, 1941, according to Einsatzgruppe Operational Situation Report No. 101. An additional 100,000 to 150,000 corpses are estimated to share the mass grave, as Soviet war prisoners, Gypsies, Ukrainian civilians, and psychiatric patients were also killed and dumped into the bottom of the ravine.
The Soviet regime rebuffed any attempts to erect a memorial at the site for the Jewish victims. Instead, a monument to Soviet citizens and prisoners-of-war killed at Babi Yar was constructed in 1976. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, several monuments sprung up at the site, including those commemorating Ukrainian nationalists, children, and priests.
A menorah-shaped monument to the Jewish victims was erected on September 29, 1991 – the 50th anniversary of the massacre. Last week, in addition to the swastika, this monument was defaced with graffiti markings depicting a sun, hearts, skulls, and crosses. No indication of the identities or whereabouts of the perpetrators was noted.