Tell the World

June 30, 2023, Israel


Notice in Russian, Ukranian and German ordering all Jews to gather at Babi Yar for resettlement. (the real purpose was to murder them all as part of the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question"

The year is 1941 and civilization has come to an end. Mad men, and women, have taken over the world. Murder is not only legal, but it is the law. To spare a child is now considered immoral and can be punished. To feed starving children is illegal, to murder women after torturing them, can be rewarded by a promotion. If you wiped out an entire village of innocent hard-working civilians, you might get a medal of honor. Such is the world in 1941. For Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, blacks, Communists, political dissidents, this is life.  

The current location is a ravine known as Babi Yar. Babi means grandmother, or baba an old woman as the plot was purchased many years ago from an old woman. Yar, is an old Turkish word meaning ravine. Forever this place will become known as a place of death. 

The Jews of the surrounding areas were told to locate here for "resettlement". The true purpose of course was to murder them all quickly. But deception is an art. The notice read as follows: 

All Yids (Jews) of the city of Kiev and its vicinity must appear on Monday, 29 September, by 8 o'clock in the morning at the corner of Mel'nikova and Dokterivskaya streets (near the Viis'kove cemetery). Bring documents, money and valuables, and also warm clothing, linen, etc. Any Yids who do not follow this order and are found elsewhere will be shot. Any civilians who enter the dwellings left by Yids and appropriate the things in them will be shot.

— Order posted in Kyiv in Russian, Ukrainian, and German on or around 26 September 1941 (See photo above)

The first and best documented of the massacres took place on 29–30 September 1941, killing some 33,771 Jews. Other victims of massacres at the site included Soviet prisoners of war, communists and Romani people. It is estimated that a total of between 100,000 and 150,000 people were murdered at Babi Yar during the German occupation. I had the honor of visiting this place as part of my Krav Maga seminar tours. (Ukraine visit 2009) 

The Germans had discovered the remains of the Soviet massacre of Poles at the Katyn Forest. When the tide had thankfully turned against the German army and the Red Army was beginning to push them back, the Nazi leaders understood that others may come after them and find the evidance of the atrocities they committed. They therefore decided to dig up all the dead bodies piled under ground and burn them; Eliminate the evidence. Of course, they would not do the dirty work themselves, they took Jewish prisoners and others from the local concentration camp, Syrets, Сирець,  For six weeks from August to September 1943, more than 300 chained prisoners were forced to exhume and burn the corpses (using local headstones as bricks to build ovens) and scattered the ashes on farmland in the vicinity.

Eventually the bodies were all burnt and yet the prisoners were instructed to prepare an oven for more bodies, they realized they were preparing the oven that would burn their own bodies very soon as they were no longer needed. The had been planning and preparing a revolt for some time. The time was now. As they attacked the Germans and made their way out of this hell hole, one thought, one message, one mission was on their mind: Tell the World. Let the world know what happened here. That became their purpose for living, to share with the world the message of what can happen, and what did happen, to teach and warn future generations. 

I think of this message. I think of 200 men running out but only 70 surviving, but that did not matter to them, as long as enough got out to share the message. 

Years pass, many years. I visit Babi Yar, it took many decades to finally get the Soviets and then the Ukrainians to agree to put up a monument to commemorate and mark what horrors took place here. And today it is very easy to ignore a few small plaques. When I was there, I saw young couples pushing baby strollers in the Babi Yar Park, so beautiful and calm. I saw children and dogs running around without a care in the world. In a way this is how it should be, people should be happy, but I think back to those men, so desperate to get out, not for their own sake, but for ours, so we can learn the lesson.

And I ask, have we learned the lesson?

Babi Yar Shooting

Jews being shot at Babi Yar, directly into the ravine.


Moshe Katz, 7th dan Black Belt, Israeli Krav Maga. Certified by Wingate Institute. Member Black Belt hall of fame, USA and Europe.

Understand the Israeli Fighting Mentality - Israel a Nation of Warriors by Moshe Katz


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