Ukraine’s Holocaust Center Names Nazi Babi Yar Killers

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) -
Monument created in 1991 to commemorate the Babi Yar massacre. (Alex Long))

Ukraine’s Holocaust memorial center on Wednesday revealed the names of 159 Nazi SS troops who took part in the killing of Jews during the Babi Yar massacre in Ukraine eight decades after one of the most infamous Nazi mass slaughters of World War II.

Nearly 34,000 Jews were killed within 48 hours in Babi Yar, a ravine in the Ukrainian capital, when Kyiv was under Nazi occupation in 1941. SS troops carried out the massacre with local collaborators.

Presidents Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine, Yitzchak Herzog of Israel and Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany are set to attend a ceremony in Kyiv on Wednesday to remember the victims of the massacre.

“It is imperative to keep speaking about this horrific event and learn its lessons,” Herzog said before arriving in Ukraine on Tuesday on the first state visit of his presidency.

Zelenskyy, Herzog and Steinmeier are set to also inaugurate a memorial center dedicated to the stories of Eastern European Jews who were killed and buried in mass graves during the Holocaust. Of the 2.5 million Jews, 1.5 million died in Ukraine alone.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Holocaust memorial center revealed the initial 159 names of hundreds of Nazi troops who took part in the Babi Yar massacre on Sept. 29-30, 1941, when 33,771 Jews were brutally murdered.

“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,” it said.

“They were between 20 and 60 years old,” the center said. “They were educated and uneducated, they included engineers and teachers, drivers and salespeople. 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.”