The History Place - Holocaust Timeline


Jews on their way out of the city of Kiev to the Babi Yar ravine pass corpses lying on the street. Below: Portrait of two-year-old Mania Halef, a Jewish child who was among the 33,771 persons shot by the SS during the mass executions at Babi Yar.

Below: Nazis sift through the enormous pile of clothing left behind by the victims of the massacre.

A Survivor's Eyewitness Account
by Dina Pronicheva

"It was dark already...They lined us up on a ledge which was so small that we couldn't get much of a footing on it. They began shooting us. I shut my eyes, clenched my fists, tensed all my muscles and took a plunge down before the bullets hit me. It seemed I was flying forever. But I landed safely on the bodies. After a while, when the shooting stopped, I heard the Germans climbing into the ravine. They started finishing off all those who were not dead yet, those who were moaning, hiccuping, tossing, writhing in agony. They ran their flashlights over the bodies and finished off all who moved. I was lying so still without stirring, terrified of giving myself away. I felt I was done for. I decided to keep quiet. They started covering the corpses over with earth. They must have put quite a lot over me because I felt I was beginning to suffocate. But I was afraid to move. I was gasping for breath. I knew I would suffocate. Then I decided it was better to be shot than buried alive. I stirred but I didn't know that it was quite dark already. Using my left arm I managed to move a little way up. Then I took a deep breath, summoned up my waning strength and crawled out from under the cover of earth. It was dark. But all the same it was dangerous to crawl because of the searching beams of flashlight and they continued shooting at those who moaned. They might hit me. So I had to be careful. I was lucky enough to crawl up one of the high walls of the ravine, and straining every nerve and muscle, got out of it."

(Photo credits: Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, middle, Yelena Brusilovsky Collection, courtesy of USHMM Photo Archives)

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