Jennifer Wilson at the NYT:
On Sept. 29 and 30, 1941, in a ravine just outside Kyiv called Babyn Yar (“Babi Yar” in Russian), Nazis executed nearly 34,000 Jews over the course of 36 hours. It was the deadliest mass execution in what came to be known as the “Holocaust by Bullets.” We were never supposed to know it happened. In 1943, as the Nazis fled Kyiv, they ordered the bodies in Babyn Yar to be dug up and burned, to erase all memory of what they’d done.
The Nazis planned to kill the workers they tasked with destroying the bodies. “But they didn’t succeed,” one declared proudly. The Ukrainian filmmaker Sergei Loznitsa included newsreel footage in his documentary “Babi Yar. Context” (2021) of one of the men giving an interview. He and 12 others (out of 300) escaped “and can now testify,” he tells the camera, “to the whole world and our motherland to the acts of barbarity committed by those fascist dogs in our beloved Kyiv.”