In the autumn of 1941, one the gravest atrocities of the 20th century unfolded in a ragged ravine on the outskirts of Nazi-occupied Kyiv. The massacre of 33,771 Jews on September 29-30, 1941, at Babi Yar was an early example of the industrial-scale murder the Nazis would employ in their quest to annihilate the Jewish race.
“All yids of the city of Kyiv and its vicinity must appear on Monday, September 29, by 8 o’clock in the morning at the corner of Melnikova and Dorohozhytska streets (near the Viiskove cemetery). Bring documents, money and valuables, and also warm clothing, linens, etc. Any yids who do not follow this order and are found elsewhere will be shot.”
“There are events, tragedies, the enormity of which make all words futile and of which silence tells incomparably more — the awesome silence of thousands of people. Perhaps we, too, should keep silent and only meditate. But silence says a lot only when everything that could have been said has already been said. If there is still much to say, or if nothing has yet been said, then silence becomes a partner to falsehood and enslavement. We must, therefore, speak — and to speak whenever we can, taking advantage of all opportunities, for they come so infrequently.”
— Address made at Babi Yar by Ukrainian writer Ivan Dzuiba in 1966