This page will not display properly in your browser. Internet Explorer officially went out of support in June 2022. If you're using a screen reader such as JAWS, please feel free to continue. Otherwise, please consider using another browser.
View all events 1939–1941

September 19, 1941

Occupation of Kyiv

Almost three months after the initial German attack, German forces enter Kyiv (Kiev), the capital of the Soviet Ukraine.

Before the war about 160,000 Jews resided in the city, comprising about 20 percent of Kyiv's population. Approximately 100,000 Jews fled the city in advance of the Germans. During the first days of the German occupation, two major explosions, apparently set off by Soviet military engineers, destroyed the German headquarters and part of the city center. The Germans used the sabotage as a pretext to murder the remaining Jews of Kyiv. On September 29–30, 1941, SS and German police units and their auxiliaries murdered the Jewish population of Kyiv at Babyn Yar (Babi Yar), a ravine northwest of the city. As the victims moved into the ravine, Einsatzgruppe C detachments shot them in small groups. According to reports by the Einsatzgruppe to headquarters, 33,771 Jews were massacred in two days. In the months following the massacre, German authorities stationed at Kiev killed thousands more Jews at Babyn Yar, as well as non-Jews including Roma (Gypsies), Communists, and Soviet prisoners of war. It is estimated that some 100,000 people were murdered at Babyn Yar. This was one of the largest mass murders at an individual location during World War II

Thank you for supporting our work

We would like to thank Crown Family Philanthropies and the Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation for supporting the ongoing work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. View the list of all donors.