יום חמישי י"ז בכסלו תשפ"ד 30/11/2023
  • The Mission Continues

    As in the past so it remains today - we were and still are under the selfsame commitment to adhere to the directions of the Gedolei Yisrael, who stand guard against breaches of purity threatening our camp. When we were required to ask – we asked. When we were instructed to depart – we left. The moment we are summoned back to raise the flag, every other consideration is pushed to the side and we answer: We are ready!


בראי היום

  • Harav Yisrael Friedman zy”a, the Rebbe of Husyatin

    מוטי, ויקיפדיה העברית

    The ancestral chain of Harav Yisrael Friedman, the founder of the Husyatin chassidic court, originates with the holy Baal Shem Tov. The Husyatin chassidus has its roots in Galicia and eventually came to Tel Aviv, during the turbulent years between the two World Wars.



  • Maccabi'im Gravesite

    In honour of Chanukah, we will discuss a fascinating, ongoing investigation attempting to establish the place of burial of Mattisyahu Kohen Gadol and his family.


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Valley of Death: Babi Yar

One of the most notorious locations used by the Germans for their mass executions was the ‘Babi Yar’ valley near the city of Kiev, Ukraine. Here, the Nazis shot over fifty thousand holy Jews into a communal grave. May Hashem avenge their deaths.

Motty Meringer 29/09/2009 11:39
Summer 5701 (1941), the second year of World War II. German forces entered Russia in a campaign to recapture the sections of eastern-Poland territory that had been under Soviet rule since the beginning of the war. In a flash they conquered the area, and continued in a haze of blood and smoke into Soviet territory, crushing the heels of the Russians and driving them further inside Russia.

On the 27th of Elul 5701 (1941) the German army conquered the capital city of the Ukraine – Kiev. At the time the Jewish community of Kiev numbered over one hundred fifty thousand people. With the ominous sounds of approaching German artillery, most of the Jews fled eastward, away from the danger. By the time the Germans occupied Kiev sixty thousand Jews remained.

 A number of days after the invasion of Kiev, a series of explosions shook the city as the buildings occupied by German forces were targeted by underground activists, resulting in many German casualties. After the war it was determined that the instigators of the attacks were agents of the Bolshevik regime - known as the N.K.V.D., who had remained in Kiev after the retreat of the Russian army with the express intent of inflicting as much harm and damage to the German war machine as possible. The Nazis did not know who attacked them, and decided that the Jews were to be the scapegoat on which to vent their frustration and anger.

On the 5th of Tishrei 5702 (1941), a top-secret conference was held amongst four of the elite Nazi commanders: Army general Mior Eberhart y’m, captain of the ‘Einzatzgruppen’ (the army unit set up for the sole purpose of exterminating the Jews); Brigadefuhrer Dr. Otto Rosh y’m, captain of the Sonderkommando SS - the unit whose function was to cover up the murderous activities of the SS; the notorious Paul Blaubel y’m, and SS Captain Friedrich Yaklon y’m. The four murderers sat together, and with cold-blooded thoroughness they systematically planned the extermination of the entire Jewish population of Kiev. By the end of the meeting a detailed and methodical plan was drawn up, and the required forces were dispatched with due haste. 

The morning of the 7th of Tishrei greeted the Jews of Kiev with ominous posters plastered over the streets, announcing that at eight o’clock the next morning all Jews were required to gather near the cemetery on the corner of Melnik and Dieterovska Streets, for the purpose of ‘resettlement’. The Jews were instructed to wear warm clothing, and come equipped with valid personal documents. A warning spelled out in no uncertain terms that any Jew who failed to appear, would be shot immediately.

The unsuspecting Jews saw no reason not to believe that the Germans did indeed intend to transfer them to an alternative location, and it did not occur to them for a second that by complying with the Nazis they were in effect sealing their own fate.
The 8th of Tishrei 5702 (1941) dawned and crowds of Jews made their way towards the plaza near the cemetery. Over thirty thousand Jews of Kiev willingly abandoned their property and gathered obediently at the assembly point, where they waited to board trains that would allegedly transport them to their new place of settlement. Only, there were no trains to be seen on the horizon; instead the Jews were to be led away to the nearby valley of Babi Yar, which had been cordoned off with a barbed wire fence to deter any escape attempt.

The hours passed, and when it was clear that the last few Jews had trickled in, the Nazis began to lead groups of ten people to the narrow opening of the valley. There the SS Officers commanded the Jews to undress, remove any jewellery and items of value, and surrender them to the Nazis. They were then forced into the valley amidst kicks and curses, and there – facing the walls of valley, the innocent Jews were shot and died Al Kiddush Hashem - sanctifying G-d’s Holy Name.
The deafening sounds of submachine fire were heard from afar, and the thousands of Jews confined behind the barbed wire began to understand what it was that truly awaited them. Many of them attempted to turn back and flee, but it was too late – the Nazi officers and their willing Ukrainian accomplices prevented the Jews from escaping their bitter fate. For the entire duration of that terrible day and the next Jews were brought to be shot inside Babi Yar, and when the guns were finally silenced the accursed Nazis covered the thousands of corpses with a thin layer of sand and went on their way. According to the report of the Einzatzgruppen, the number of those executed on these two days was a staggering 33, 771 Jews. May Hashem avenge their blood.

The valley of Babi Yar continued to serve as the execution site for the Germans over the ensuing months. Thousands of Jews, who had not obeyed the initial command and instead escaped, were later caught and brought to Babi Yar where they were shot over the bodies of their slaughtered brethren. Most of the Jews who were caught had succeeded in hiding from the Germans, but were turned in by their malicious Ukranian neighbours who willingly informed on them. The Ukranians hated the Jews no less than the Nazis did. One SS officer testified after the war that reports from the Ukranian locals about Jews in hiding were so numerous and incessant, that they were unable to deal with all of them due to lack of manpower. The total number of Jews who were executed by the Nazis in Babi Yar now rose to over fifty thousand, according to later estimations.

Aside from the tens of thousands of Jews who were shot in Babi Yar, the Nazis also murdered thousands of gypsies and Russian captives. According to the calculations of the Russian army who liberated Kiev, the total number of men, women and children whose bodies lay lifeless in the depths of Babi Yar, was around one hundred thousand.

Babi Yar Memorial [צלם]

In the summer of 5743 (1943), the Russian army began to ward off the Germans. As they neared the city of Kiev the Nazis hurried to cover up their nefarious activities in Babi Yar. To this end Paul Global y’m worked together with Dr. Max Tomas, who himself was personally responsible for the murder of many of the Jews. The two Nazis brought 327 prisoners from the nearby Sirzak camp, one hundred of whom were Jews. The prisoners were shackled by their feet with iron chains, and armed guards kept close watch over them. A mammoth bulldozer was brought to the site, and its claws overturned the soil of the valley until all the remains of the murdered martyrs were unearthed. The wretched prisoners were forced to gather the corpses and burn them until the bodies became dust. Even at this point the greed of the depraved Nazis knew no limit, and they instructed the prisoners to sift through the ashes in order to remove any gold or jewellery. Any bones that remained after the cremation were removed from the ashes, and ground up with the help of tombstones that were uprooted from the nearby Jewish cemetery.

The burning of the bodies continued unabated for a month and a half, and when the prisoners saw that their work was over and the Nazis intended to kill them too, twenty-five of the prisoners escaped in the dark of night and scattered in all directions.

When the Red Army liberated Kiev and arrived at Babi Yar, there was no trace or memory of the atrocities that took place there. Only the reports of the survivors and eye-witnesses bore testimony of the ground that opened its mouth and swallowed the bodies of those murdered Al Kiddush Hashem.

For many years the valley of Babi Yar stood desolate and bleak, with no memorial to the thousands who were slaughtered there. Finally in the 1960’s the Russian authorities saw fit to build a monument on the site, and after close to ten years of planning, a stone statute was erected in the valley. This silent monument stands in lone isolation on the blood soaked soil, and attempts to commemorate the tens of thousands of vibrant lives which were stilled, forever. May Hashem avenge their blood.