Zoom Program on Babi Yar Part Two

11 May @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Paula Trushin and Inna Stavitsky will present Part Two of the zoom series on the history of Babi Yar (Babyn Yar), the ravine in Kiev where over 33,000 Jews were shot by the Nazis on September 29-30, 1941, shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

In this program, they will describe the Soviet attempt to erase all memory of Babi Yar and how it was at last overcome. The attempt arose both from historical anti-Semitism and from a political need to promote Soviet unity by claiming that all civilians suffered equally during the war. Jewish suffering must not receive special attention. But truth will out. A number of Jewish writers, artists, and musicians courageously tried to pierce the official wall of silence. And in the 1960s, two non-Jewish Soviet authors succeeded in bringing Babi Yar to the world’s attention: Yevgeny Yevtushenko, whose poem Babi Yar (1961) created a sensation both in the USSR and in the West, and Anatoly Kuznetsov, who wrote Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel (1966). Regarded as one of the great works of witness, it is based on a journal that he kept during the two-year German occupation of Kyiv, beginning when he was only 12. At the end of the program, there will be an opportunity for discussion.

In March 2023, Anatoly Kuznetsov’s book was reissued with a new introduction by the journalist Masha Gessen.
We are grateful to the Forward for providing information used in this presentation.