06 October 2021, 12:10
Names of first 159 Nazi soldiers who killed Jews in Babi Yar in 1941 made public
Kiev, October 6, Interfax - The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center has published the names of the first 159 Nazi soldiers who murdered Jews in Babi Yar in Kiev during World War II in 1941.
For 80 years, despite the presence of a large amount of evidence gathered after the war, the criminals were never held to account, the memorial center's press service said on Wednesday.
"The memorial center began collecting evidence and testimonies telling the truth about that terrible tragedy, and in time for the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy it published the first part of its vast studies with regard to those who killed Ukrainian Jews on September 29 and September 30, 1941. At least 33,771 people were executed in Babi Yar during those two days alone," the press service said.
Though the commanders of Nazi units that perpetrated that massacre are well known to historians, this new information made public by the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center provides details of the biographies and accounts of commanders and soldiers who killed Jews, among them women and children, the young and the old, in Babi Yar, it said.
"Despite the confessions, evidence and testimonies presented back in the 1990s by some Nazi soldiers involved in those murders, only a small number of those involved went on trial for their terrible crimes. The Holocaust Memorial Center formed a scientific working group to identify each person who was involved or directly participated in the massacre of Jews in Babi Yar," the press service said.
Not only did the working group's members establish the fact that hundreds of Nazi soldiers and SS police personnel murdered Jews in Babi Yar, but they also unveiled the names of the first 159 Nazi soldiers involved in those events, it said.
"These people were from all over Germany and also from other countries that were under Nazi control. They were aged between 20 and 60. Some of them were educated, others were not. They included engineers, teachers, drivers and shop assistants. Some of them were married. The overwhelming majority of them returned to normal life after the war," the press service said.
The majority of soldiers involved in the Babi Yar massacre testified before court and were found not guilty, except for several commanders and soldiers, it said.
"Some of them killed, the next group convoyed Jews from their homes, while other seized their belongings and luggage. Some of them gave weapons, while other served sandwiches, tea and vodka to the killers. All of them are guilty of that massacre. Everyone who was somehow involved, either directly or indirectly, must be found guilty," Father Patrick Desbois, head the Academic Council of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and founder of the Yahad-In Unum organization, said.
Desbois cited the minutes of a German murderer's testimony that executions continued from early morning until 5:00 p.m., killing thousands, after which soldiers were treated to a feast and alcohol, and women were brought to them.
One of the killers featured in the testimony said during the investigation that after the Babi Yar massacre, his unit was sent to a resort in order to "recover" before returning to the frontline, he said.
The studies conducted by the memorial center send a signal that "if you take part in genocide or a massive crime against humanity today, you will be held accountable for it," Desbois said.
"Only few of those men turned themselves in to judicial authorities after World War II... though a lot of them admitted to their role in post-war testimony. All of these men continued to lead a quiet, normal life after the war," Andrey Umansky, a historian and deputy chairman of the Academic Council of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, said.