ARC Main Page Occupation of the East Babi Yar

Babi Yar Statements

Last Update 3 September 2005

Affidavits from persons concerning the massacre of Babi Yar:

Testimony of the driver Höfer: 
"One day I was ordered to drive my lorry towards the city outskirts. A Ukrainian accompanied me. It was approximately 10 a.m. On our way we passed Jews carrying luggage who went in the same direction as I did, complete families among them. The further we drove towards the outer city, the denser the columns became. On a wide, empty field were heaps of clothes. This was my destination. The Ukrainian showed me the way. After I stopped at a place near the heaps of garments, the lorry was immediately loaded with clothes. This was carried out by the Ukrainians there. I observed that the arriving Jews - men, women, and children - were met by the Ukrainians. The Jews were led to different places where they firstly had to put down their luggage, then their coats, shoes and their outer garments, and finally their underwear. The same had to be done with their valuables at a special location. For each type of clothing a particular heap was designated. Everything was carried out in a hurry, and when someone hesitated, the Ukrainians rushed them along by kicking and shaking them. I think that not a single one required a minute from the time of pulling off their coat until they were completely naked. Here no difference was made between men, women, and children. The Jews following surely had the opportunity to escape at the sight of the others undressing. Still today I wonder why they did not do so.

The naked Jews were led into a ravine which measured approximately 150 m long, 30 m wide and 15 m deep. Two or three narrow entrances led to the ravine, through which the Jews were driven. When they arrived at the edge of the ravine they were taken by Schupo officers, and laid down on top of Jews who had already been shot. All this happened very quickly. The corpses were neatly stacked. As soon as a Jew lay there, a Schupo marksman came with an mp and shot him in the neck. The arriving Jews were so shocked when they saw this horrible scene that they were absolutely submissive. It even happened that some lay themselves down and awaited the shot.

There were only two marksmen who carried out the shootings. One marksman was at one end of the ravine, the second one at the other end. I saw the marksmen standing on the already piled-up corpses while shooting one person after another. As soon as a Jew was killed by a shot, the marksman climbed over the corpses of the killed to the next supine Jew, and shot them. This went on again and again, without any distinction being made between men, women, and children. The children were led to the ravine with their mothers, and killed with them.

I only witnessed this for a short time. When I approached the pit I was so shocked by that horrible sight that I could not look at it for longer. I saw three rows of corpses already lying in the 60 m-long pit. I could not see how many layers had already been piled up. The view of the trembling bodies, smeared with blood, was unbelievable, so that I could not grasp the details. Beside the two marksmen there was a "packer", a Schutzpolizist, at each entry to the ravine who put the victim on the corpses in such a way so that the passing marksman had only to shoot.

When the victims came to the ravine, and at the last moment saw the ghastly scene, they screamed terribly. But the next moment they were pulled down by the "packers", and laid on top of the others. The people following could not see this dreadful sight because they had to go around a corner.
During the undressing most people resisted, and there was much shouting. The Ukrainians did not care about that. They drove the Jews through the entrances to the ravine in a hurry.
From the undressing place one could not make out the ravine, which was around 150 m away from the first heap of clothes. Besides that a sharp wind blew, and it was very cold. The shots in the ravine were not audible. Therefore I explained to myself that the Jews could not realize what was happening. Still today I wonder why the Jews did not do anything about the executions. New masses of Jews from the city arrived constantly at this site, which they entered unsuspectingly, always thinking that they were to be resettled.

Testimony of Kurt Werner, member of the SK 4a: 
"The whole command, except one guard, marched out at around 6 a.m. for the shootings during those days. I myself sat in a lorry. Everyone available had to join. We then drove northwards for around 20 minutes. We stopped on a paved road which ended in open terrain. Countless Jews were assembled there, and a place was established where the Jews had to put down their clothing and baggage. After 1 km I saw a large, natural ravine. The terrain was sandy. The ravine was around 10 m deep, 400 m long, 80 m wide at the top, and around 10 m wide at the bottom.

Soon after my arrival at the execution site I was ordered to the bottom of the ravine, together with other comrades. After a short time the first Jews were brought to us via the slopes of the ravine. The Jews had to lay face down at the edge of the ravine. Three groups of marksmen were in the pit, around 12 marksmen. Jews were constantly brought from above to these groups of marksmen. The Jews following had to lie down on the corpses of the Jews who had already been shot. The marksmen stood behind the Jews and killed them by shots in the neck. Today I still remember the horror of the Jews who saw the corpses in the pit. Many Jews were shocked, and screamed. One cannot imagine the nervous strain involved in carrying out this dirty job in the pit. It was horrible...
The whole morning I had to stay in the ravine. There I was ordered to shoot again and again for a while, and then I was busy filling mp magazines with ammunition. During this time other comrades were detailed for shooting. At noon we were allowed to leave the ravine, and in the afternoon together with others comrades I had to bring the Jews towards the pit. During this time other comrades carried out the shooting in the pit. We brought the Jews to the border of the pit; from there they ran down the slopes themselves. On this day the shooting went on until approximately 5 or 6 p.m. Then we were ordered back to our quarters. That evening alcohol was handed out again.

Anton Heidborn (SK4a) about the following days: 
"On the third day after the execution we were driven to the extermination site again. On arrival we saw a woman sitting by a bush, having obviously survived the execution. This woman was shot by an SD-man who joined us, name unknown. Furthermore, we saw a person waving to us with their hand out of a pile of corpses. I don't know if it was a man or a woman. I assume that this person was shot by the SD-man but I did not see it. That day we started to cover the heaps of corpses. For this purpose civilians were used. In addition some walls of the ravine were partially blown up. After that day I did not return to the execution site. For the next several days we were busy smoothing banknotes from the property of the shot Jews. I estimate that it must have amounted to millions. I don't know what the money was used for. It was packed in bags, and sent away."

Table of Witnesses

© ARC 2005