Babyn Yar

Lonely Planet review

On 29 September 1941, Nazi troops rounded up Kyiv's 34,000-strong Jewish population, marched them to the Babyn Yar ravine and massacred them all in the following 48 hours. Victims were shot and buried in the ravine, some of them still alive. Over the next two years, many more people of all ethnic, religious and political backgrounds lost their lives at Babyn Yar when it was turned into a concentration camp, called Syrets after the Kyivan suburb it was located. The total number of people buried here is estimated at 100,000.

Monuments commemorating various groups targeted by the Nazis – among them Russian Orthodox priests, Ukrainian nationalists, Romany people – are scatterred around the unkempt park. Follow the path from vul Melnykova 44, past a TV station, to the secluded spot where you'll find the 1991 Jewish memorial, a menorah, which better marks the actual killing field. From here several paths lead to points overlooking the ravine itself.

South of Dorohozhychi metro stands a striking non-sectarian Soviet-era monument comprised of choking figures as if struggling to climb out of their grave. Because of anti-Semitism and their own atrocities, it took decades for the Soviets to recognise the Babin Yar tragedy – the monument was only erected in 1976.

A smaller monument nearby is dedicated to the whopping three million Ukranians, mostly young women, who were used as slave labour in Germany. Many of them died because of terrible conditions and allied bombing raids targeting German industries.

Another monument was erected in 2001 beside metro Dorohozhychi to commemorate the Jewish children who perished at Babyn Yar.