Kiev – Jewish Pilgrimage

Many of the tourists who travel to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, are Jewish people on pilgrimage. They come to accommodations in Kiev so they can pay homage to the victims of the Massacre of Babi-Yar. That was the worst atrocity of the Holocaust to take place in Ukraine.

At the time of the outbreak of World War II, Ukrainian cities like Kiev, Lviv, and Odessa had large Jewish communities. Some two million Jews were well established in everyday Ukrainian life as doctors, educators, businessmen, tradesmen and publishers. With the German invasion of 1941, those people fell into Nazi hands. In September, the Nazi military governor, Major-General Friedrich-George Eberhardt, decided to kill all of the Jews in Kiev. On September 29-30, with the help of local collaborators, the Nazis rounded up 우머나이저 Jewish men, women and children, and herded them out of town to a ravine called Babi-Yar. There, the helpless people were stripped of their valuables and clothing, and shot. The bodies were covered up in a mass grave. It has been estimated that about 35,000 Jews were murdered, along with several thousand Gypsies, Ukrainian nationals, suspected communists, and Russian prisoners of war.

During the Soviet era, the government of the Soviet Union erected a monument to the Russians who died at Babi-Yar. But it was not until after Ukraine became independent that monuments were erected for the murdered Jews and other victims. Today visitors staying in Kiev hotels and touristic Kiev apartments can tour the site and see the various monuments. There is a Menorah-shaped memorial for all of the Ukrainian Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Another monument, which is very moving to look upon, is dedicated to the children killed at Babi-Yar. There is a large wooden cross erected to the memory of 621 Ukrainian nationals slain by the Nazis.

 

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