Conflicts & War

Descendants of Babi Yar victims remember ‘Holocaust by bullets’ 80 years on

By Olga Tokariuk

Kiev, Sep 30 (EFE).- “It was a miracle my father Vladimir survived Babi Yar,” says Polina Dudchenko, 48, a doctor from Kiev.

Dudchenko is one of thousands of residents of the Ukrainian capital whose relatives were killed in the massacre of Jews by Nazi German forces in a local ravine called Babi Yar.

Her grandfather, Noah Lifshitz, along with his brother Moses and their mother Sofia, were all shot dead by Nazis in the mass killings.

Over the course of two days on September 29-30, 1941, more than 33,000 Jews were massacred and buried in the ravine, in what became known as ‘Holocaust by bullets.’

On the 80th anniversary of the massacre, Dudchenko came to the Babi Yar memorial in Kiev to pay her respects. “It is a part of me. I always felt it in my genes, even at times when our family had to hide our Jewish identity,” she says during an interview with EFE.

Dudchenko recalls her family story, told by her grandmother, Olga Lifshitz. She and her husband Noah were architects and had a 3-year old son Vladimir, when Kiev came under Nazi occupation in 1941.

“The Nazis told all Jews to come to Babi Yar with their documents and belongings. It was rumored they would be sent to work in Germany,” Dudchenko says.

“My grandmother began packing, but her husband Noah Liftshitz told her: stay home with our son, me and my brother will go and check what is going on. They went to Babi Yar with their mother and they never came back.”


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