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The Holocaust in Ukraine
Location Ukraine
Date 22 June 1941 to late 1944
Incident type Imprisonment, mass shootings, concentration camps, ghettos, forced labor, starvation, torture, mass kidnapping
Perpetrators Erich Koch, Friedrich Jeckeln, Otto Ohlendorf, Paul Blobel and many others
Organizations Einsatzgruppen, Ordnungspolizei, and others
Victims 3,000,000 Ukrainians & non-Jews
850,000 - 900,000 Jews
Memorials At various points in country

The Holocaust in Ukraine took place during the occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany.[1] Between 1941 and 1945, approximately 3,000,000 Ukrainian and other non-Jewish victims were killed as part of Nazi extermination policies, along with between 850,000 - 900,000 Jews who lived in the territory of modern Ukraine.[2][3] Original plans of genocide called for the extermination of 65% of the nation's 23.2 million Ukrainians,[4][5] with the remainder of inhabitants to be treated as slaves.[6] Over 2,000,000 Ukrainians were deported to Germany for slave labor.[7] In ten years' time, the plan effectively called for the extermination, expulsion, Germanization or enslavement of most or all Ukrainians.

Generalplan Ost[edit]

Jews digging their own graves. Storow, July 4, 1941
Nazi soldier murdering Jewish civilians, including a mother and child, in 1942, at Ivanhorod, Ukraine
A map of the Holocaust in Ukraine

One of Hitler's ambitions at the start of the war was to exterminate, expel, or enslave most or all Slavs from their native lands so as to make living space for German settlers.[citation needed] This plan of genocide[8] was to be carried into effect gradually over a period of 25–30 years.[9]

Death squads (1941–1943)[edit]

A member of Einsatzgruppe D is about to shoot a man sitting by a mass grave in Vinnytsia, Ukraine in 1942. Present in the background are members of the German Army, the German Labor Service, and the Hitler Youth.[10] The back of the photograph is inscribed "The last Jew in Vinnitsa"

Total civilian losses during the war and German occupation in Ukraine are estimated at four million, including up to a million Jews who were murdered by the Einsatzgruppen and local Nazi collaborators. Einsatzgruppe C (SS-Gruppenführer Dr. Otto Rasch) was assigned to north and central Ukraine, and Einsatzgruppe D (SS-Gruppenführer Dr. Otto Ohlendorf) to Moldavia, south Ukraine, the Crimea, and, during 1942, the north Caucasus. According to Ohlendorf at his trial, "the Einsatzgruppen had the mission to protect the rear of the troops by killing the Jews, Romani, Communist functionaries, active Communists, uncooperative slavs, and all persons who would endanger the security." In practice, their victims were nearly all Jewish civilians (not a single Einsatzgruppe member was killed in action during these operations[citation needed]). The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tells the story of one survivor of the Einsatzgruppen in Piryatin, Ukraine, when they killed 1,600 Jews on April 6, 1942, the second day of Passover:

I saw them do the killing. At 5:00 p.m. they gave the command, "Fill in the pits." Screams and groans were coming from the pits. Suddenly I saw my neighbor Ruderman rise from under the soil … His eyes were bloody and he was screaming: "Finish me off!" … A murdered woman lay at my feet. A boy of five years crawled out from under her body and began to scream desperately. "Mommy!" That was all I saw, since I fell unconscious.[10]

The most notorious massacre of Jews in Ukraine was at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev, where 33,771 Jews were killed in a single operation on September 29–30, 1941. (An amalgamation of 100,000 to 150,000 Ukrainian and other Soviet citizens were also killed in the following weeks). The mass killing of Jews in Kiev was decided on by the military governor Major-General Friedrich Eberhardt, the Police Commander for Army Group South (SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln) and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. It was carried out by a mixture of SS, SD and Security Police, assisted by the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police. On the Monday, the Jews of Kiev gathered by the cemetery, expecting to be loaded onto trains. The crowd was large enough that most of the men, women, and children could not have known what was happening until it was too late: by the time they heard the machine-gun fire, there was no chance to escape. All were driven down a corridor of soldiers, in groups of ten, and then shot. A truck driver described the scene:

Jews of the city of Kiev and vicinity! On Monday, September 29, you are to appear by 08:00 a.m. with your possessions, money, documents, valuables, and warm clothing at Dorogozhitskaya Street, next to the Jewish cemetery. Failure to appear is punishable by death.

—Order posted in Kiev in Russian and Ukrainian on or around September 26, 1941.[11]

[O]ne after the other, they had to remove their luggage, then their coats, shoes, and overgarments and also underwear … Once undressed, they were led into the ravine which was about 150 meters long and 30 meters wide and a good 15 meters deep … When they reached the bottom of the ravine they were seized by members of the Schutzmannschaft and made to lie down on top of Jews who had already been shot … The corpses were literally in layers. A police marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck with a submachine gun … I saw these marksmen stand on layers of corpses and shoot one after the other … The marksman would walk across the bodies of the executed Jews to the next Jew, who had meanwhile lain down, and shoot him.[11]


Jewish massgrave near Zolochiv, Lviv region, west Ukraine. Photo was done by Gestapo shortly before the grave was covered. Roald Hoffmann survived the executions in Zolochiv. In 2009, a monument to Holocaust victims was built in Zolochiv on Hoffmann's initiative

Executor units[edit]


Righteous among the Nations[edit]

Ukraine rates the 4th in the number of people recognized as "Righteous among the Nations" for saving Jews during the Holocaust, with the total of 2272 individuals recognized to date.[12]

The religious Christian sect, the Shtundists, helped hide Jews in Ukraine during the Holocaust.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine: Jewish Holocaust in Ukraine
  2. ^ Magocsi, Paul Robert (1996). A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press. p. 633. 
  3. ^ Dawidowicz, Lucy S. (1986). The war against the Jews, 1933–1945. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34302-5. p. 403
  4. ^ Hans-Walter Schmuhl. The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1927-1945: crossing boundaries. Volume 259 of Boston studies in the philosophy of science. Coutts MyiLibrary. SpringerLink Humanities, Social Science & LawAuthor. Springer, 2008. ISBN 1-4020-6599-X, 9781402065996, p. 348-349
  5. ^ http://demoscope.ru/weekly/ssp/ussr_nac_26.php?reg=4
  6. ^ Robert Gellately. Revieved works: Vom Generalplan Ost zum Generalsiedlungsplan by Czeslaw Madajczyk. Der "Generalplan Ost." Hauptlinien der nationalsozialistischen Planungs- und Vernichtungspolitik by Mechtild Rössler; Sabine Schleiermacher. Central European History, Vol. 29, No. 2 (1996), pp. 270-274
  7. ^ http://www.aim.org/special-report/russias-war-on-ukraine/
  8. ^ DIETRICH EICHHOLTZ "»Generalplan Ost« zur Versklavung osteuropäischer Völker" [1]
  9. ^ Madajczyk, Czesław. "Die Besatzungssysteme der Achsenmächte. Versuch einer komparatistischen Analyse." Studia Historiae Oeconomicae vol. 14 (1980): pp. 105-122 [2] in Hitler's War in the East, 1941-1945: A Critical Assessment by Gerd R. Ueberschär and Rolf-Dieter Müller [3]
  10. ^ a b Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2nd edition, 2006, p. 93.
  11. ^ a b Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this edition 2006, pp. 97–98.
  12. ^ http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/righteous/statistics.asp

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust_in_Ukraine — Please support Wikipedia.
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3 news items

World Socialist Web Site
Mon, 21 Apr 2014 22:26:15 -0700

Berlin and Washington support this policy and are working directly with fascist forces to prepare for war against Russia and impose massive attacks on the Ukrainian working class. The documentary on the Holocaust in Ukraine is an important reminder of ...
Purdue Exponent
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 07:05:12 -0700

1:30 p.m. Jeff Veidlinger, professor of Jewish studies and history at the University of Michigan, will discuss the Holocaust in Ukraine and share videotaped histories of survivors' tales. Jan Grabowski, professor of history at the University of Ottawa ...
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 21:08:16 -0700

... its politics – while the party's activists stage torchlight parades through the streets of Kiev carrying flags bearing the dreaded Wolfsangel symbol, the insignia of the Waffen-SS division that helped the German Nazis carry out the holocaust in ...

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