The Holocaust in Ukraine
|The Holocaust in 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
2,300,000 Ukrainians deported
|Memorials||At various points in country|
The Holocaust in Ukraine took place during the occupation of Ukraine by Nazi Germany. 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. More Ukrainians were killed fighting the Wehrmacht than American, British, and French soldiers combined. Original plans of genocide called for the extermination of 65% of the nation's 23.2 million Ukrainians, with the remainder of inhabitants to be treated as slaves. Over 2,300,000 Ukrainians were deported to Germany for slave labor. In ten years' time, the plan effectively called for the extermination, expulsion, Germanization or enslavement of most or all Ukrainians.
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. This plan of genocide was to be carried into effect gradually over a period of 25–30 years.
According to historian William W. Hagen, "Generalplan Ost . . . forecast the diminution of the targeted east European peoples' populations by the following measures: Poles – 85 percent; Belarusians – 75 percent; Ukrainians – 65 percent; Czechs – 50 percent. ... The Russian people, once subjugated in war, would join the four Slavic-speaking nations whose fate Generalplan Ost foreshadowed."
Death squads (1941–1943)
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). 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.
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.
[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.
- Lviv pogroms
- Massacre of Lviv professors
- Bila Tserkva
The National Geographic reported: " A number of Ukrainians had collaborated: According to German historian Dieter Pohl, around 100,000 joined police units that provided key assistance to the Nazis. Many others staffed the local bureaucracies or lent a helping hand during mass shootings of Jews. Ukrainians, such as the infamous Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, were also among the guards who manned the Nazi death camps."
According to the The Simon Wiesenthal Center (in January 2011) "Ukraine has, to the best of our knowledge, never conducted a single investigation of a local Nazi war criminal, let alone prosecuted a Holocaust perpetrator."
According to the Israeli Holocaust historian Yitzhak Arad, "In January 1942 a company of Tatar volunteers was established in Simferopol under the command of Einsatzgruppe 11. This company participated in anti-Jewish manhunts and murder actions in the rural regions."
- Einsatzgruppen C & D (Einsatzkommando)
- Abwehr/Brandemburg special saboteur unit Nachtigall Battalion
- Freiwilligen-Stamm-Regiment 3 & 4 (Russians & Ukrainians)
- Ukrainian auxiliary units: Schutzmannschaft as well as Ukrainische Hilfspolizei
- Mina Rosner
- Roald Hoffmann
- Shevah Weiss
- Simon Wiesenthal
- Adam Daniel Rotfeld
- Mordechai Rokeach
- Stefan Petelycky - see "Into Auschwitz, for Ukraine" (Kashtan Press, 2008), available at www.uccla.ca
Righteous among the Nations
- History of the Jews in Ukraine
- Hegewald, a short-lived German Colony near Zhytomyr
- No Place on Earth, a 2012 documentary film on a group of Ukrainian Jews who survived the height of The Holocaust in the Verteba and Priest's Grotto caves
- Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine: Jewish Holocaust in Ukraine
- Magocsi, Paul Robert (1996). A History of Ukraine. University of Toronto Press. p. 633. ISBN 9780802078209.
- Dawidowicz, Lucy S. (1986). The war against the Jews, 1933–1945. New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-34302-5.p. 403
- 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
- 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
- Hagen, William W. (2012). German History in Modern Times: Four Lives of the Nation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 313.
- DIETRICH EICHHOLTZ "»Generalplan Ost« zur Versklavung osteuropäischer Völker" 
- Madajczyk, Czesław. "Die Besatzungssysteme der Achsenmächte. Versuch einer komparatistischen Analyse." Studia Historiae Oeconomicae vol. 14 (1980): pp. 105-122  in Hitler's War in the East, 1941-1945: A Critical Assessment by Gerd R. Ueberschär and Rolf-Dieter Müller 
- Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2nd edition, 2006, p. 93.
- Berenbaum, Michael. The World Must Know, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this edition 2006, pp. 97–98.
- "President Putin Has Called Ukraine a Hotbed of Anti-Semites. It's Not.". National Geographic. May 30, 2014
- Nazi-hunters give low grades to 13 countries, including Ukraine, Kyiv Post (January 12, 2011)
- Yitzhak Arad (2009). "The Holocaust in the Soviet Union". U of Nebraska Press, p.211, ISBN 080322270X
- "Mobile Killing Squads". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
- The Holocaust in Ukraine: New Sources and Perspectives, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Conference Papers, 2013