Over 875,000 people lived in the city of Kiev, of whom 20 percent were Jews (175,000). It is not known why a ghetto was never built in Kiev. It is estimated that as many as 130,000 of the Jews fell into Nazi hands.
The Germans decided that an appropriate response to sabotage by a Jew cutting the water hose of fire fighting equipment should be the elimination of all Jews in Kiev. A large ravine, called Babi Yar was chosen as the killing site. This ravine was located at the edge of Kiev, around 10 km northwest of the centre of the city, beyond the Lukyanovka Jewish cemetery. Today Babi Yar lies within the city precincts.
The mass murder of Jews in Kiev lasted until 3 October 1941. During the following months the ravine continued to be used as a killing site for Jews, Ukrainian civilians, Soviet POWs and Roma and Sinti. According to Soviet sources 100,000-200,000 people were shot at Babi Yar up until the time that the area was liberated by the Red Army on 6 November 1943. According to the "Operations Situation Report of Einsatzgruppe C" of 7 October 1941, the Germans claimed that 33,771 Jews had been shot in Kiev on the 29 and 30 September 1941.
An eyewitness reports that "During my visit in August I myself witnessed the burning of the corpses in a mass grave near Kiew. This grave was approximately 55 metres long, 3 m wide and 2.5 m deep. After the cover had been removed, the corpses were covered with inflammable materials and set on fire. About two days passed before the fire had burned down to the bottom of the trench. Afterwards the grave was filled in and all traces thereby virtually obliterated. Because of the advance of the front it was not possible to destroy the mass graves located in the South and East which had resulted from execution by the task groups."
The corpses were cremated on funeral pyres, built on iron rails. Firewood was stacked, then the corpses were placed on this petrol soaked material. When the pyres had burned down, the special command of prisoners had to collect the remaining bones which were pulverized with tombstones from the Jewish cemetery. Finally the ashes were inspected in order to collect any remaining silver and gold (these men were called "Goldsucher" ("Gold diggers").
SS- Standartenfuhrer Paul Blobel was condemned to death at Nuremberg in 1948 for the part he played in these horrific massacres. He was executed at Landsberg on 8 June 1951.