Remembering Babi Yar
Local Russian Jews mark 60th anniversary of the liberation of Kiev.
Special to the Jewish News
The killings lasted 778 days and
ended only with the liberation of Kiev
by Soviet troops on Nov. 5, 1943.
Babi Yar has become a symbol of the
tragedy of the European Jews. It is not
by chance that some lines from the
well-known Russian poem by Yevgeny
Yevtushenko devoted to Babi Yar are
chiseled on the walls at the entrance to
the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Washington, D.C.
To understand why the 60th
who fought for the liberation of Kiev.
One of them is Major Naum Levin of
Oak Park. At that time, he was 22
Raya Danishevskaya is a resident of
Teitel Jewish Apartments in Oak Park.
On Sept. 28,1941, when the Jews of
Kiev were ordered to go to Babi Yar,
her father asked that their neighbor, a
Ukrainian woman, hide 13-year-old
Raya. Putting her own life in jeopardy,
this woman had the courage to save
the girl. Later, when it became too
ext month, members of the
local Russian Jewish com-
munity will commemorate
the 60th anniversary of the
liberation of Kiev, the capital of
Ukraine, from the German occupation
in World War IL The event will be
held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at
Teitel Jewish Apartments in Oak Park.
The importance of this date lies
in the following. The tragedy of
N :f fMn •
Babi Yar in Kiev was the begin-
ning of the Holocaust and it has
become a symbol of the tragedy of
the Jewish people.
On Sept. 19, 1941, after the
Red Army withdrew from Kiev,
the city was occupied by advanc-
ing German troops. Five days
later, Soviet agents began blowing
up German targets in the city.
The German military immediately
declared that the explosions were
masterminded by Jews.
German authorities ordered all
Kiev Jews, young and old, to
report exactly at 8 a.m. Sept. 29
with all their valuables, warm
clothing and food for three days.
That day was Yom Kippur.
The shootings at Babi Yar, a
ravine on the outskirts of Kiev,
began in the morning and lasted
German soldiers shoot Jewish civilians into a pit at Babi Yar.
till dark. Early the next morning
the massacre resumed. And the
following days, too. By the Nazis'
dangerous for Raya to hide in the city,
anniversary of the liberation of Kiev is
own account, 33,771 Jews were mur-
she was brought to smaller villages.
so dear to many members of the local
dered in two days.
Thus Raya was rescued. All the
It is estimated that about 80,000 of
members of her family that
Kiev's 180,000 Jews were murdered at
in Kiev were shot at Babi Yar.
Babi Yar. The rest fled before the
will speak at the
of the liberation
Later, not only Jews were killed in
of mass killings. It is the community's
the Babi Yar. There were also mass
Some years ago, a book of memory
duty to pay tribute to the fallen vic-
shootings of prisoners of war, resist-
the names of the victims of Babi
tims of Babi Yar and the war against
ance members, partisans, sailors, rail-
published. In it, the author of
way and factory workers — over
this article found the names of some
And Kiev, for many people, is the
of his relatives — his aunt Udlya
dear place where they were born,
Lev Paransky, 79, of Berkley is a Kiev
Troyanovsky, 35, and her 11-year-old
where they studied and worked and,
native who volunteered for the Red
son, Fima. Because of illness, Udlya
simply, fell in love with their beloved.
Army in 1941 and fought the Germans
could not escape from the city, and
as a paratrooper in World War II. He
neighbors brought her on a
later was a professor in Kiev and at
to Babi Yar. The mother and
Wayne State University in Detroit. He
her son were both shot and thrown
Among the members of the Detroit
wrote a book about the Kiev resistance
into the ravine.
community are Red Army veterans
against the Germans.
But little Fima was only slightly
wounded. At night, when the shoot-
ings stopped, he managed to crawl out
from the heap of corpses, and he ran
to the house where he lived. For sever-
al days he was hiding on the garrets of
the houses, hungry, cold and fright-
ened. When he was discovered by
neighbors, he was shot in the yard of
the house where he was born. Nobody
remained alive from this family of
Troyanovsky — the head of the family
was killed in the war. The author of
this article will speak about
them at the event.
Among those who will
also share their memories
will be veteran Lev
Kupestein of Southfield. He
was drafted to the Red Army
on the second day of the
war. He bid farewell to his
relatives, friends and his
beloved girl. He returned
home only when the war
was over — after 1,418 days
of the war.
Gregory Griner of
Southfield returned to his
native Kiev at age 13 with his
mother days after the libera-
tion. It was completely
ruined. His father, a promi-
nent physician in the army,
died in the war. Gregory,
thanks to his abilities, was
later admitted to the
Conservatoire in Kiev; he
became a prominent singer in
the musical theaters in Kiev and in
Moscow. He will sing at the Nov. 6
One could continue the list of the
participants of this meeting — many
of them have interesting life stories.
The participants invite American
friends, veterans of the war and sur-
vivors of the Holocaust to join them
at the commemoration.
The commemoration of the liber-
ation of Kiev will take place 7
p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, at Teitel
Jewish Apartments in Oak Park.
For information, contact Lev
Paransky at (248) 544-2123.
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