• Memorial Park at Drobitskiy Yar
In Kharkov (Ukrainian: Kharkiv), Ukraine's second largest city, the Memorial Park »Drobitskiy Yar« commemorates the Jews murdered in 1941 and 1942.
Image: Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey
Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey

Image: Kharkov, December 14, 2002, Dedication of the Memorial at Drobitskiy Yar, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova
Kharkov, December 14, 2002, Dedication of the Memorial at Drobitskiy Yar, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova
Before 1941, Kharkov was home to one of the largest Jewish communities in the Soviet Union, consisting of about 130,000 members. A majority of them could flee from the approaching German Wehrmacht in the summer of 1941. Kharkov was occupied by the Wehrmacht on October 23, 1941. In November 1941, the German military administration introduced strict food rationing for the Jews of Kharkov - compared to the already slim rations for the remaining population, the Jews now only received 40 per cent of that. In addition, the military commander of the occupied territories ordered hostage-taking, shootings and hangings of Jews. On November 26, the Sonderkommando 4a (mobile killing unit) under the command of Paul Blobel, reached the city. Many Jews were arrested, tortured and finally murdered in »gas vans«. On December 14, 1941, over 15,000 Kharkov Jews had to go to a tractor factory twelve kilometres away at the behest of the city commander. There they were interned; many died of hunger or froze in the unheated and unsanitary sheds. At the beginning of January 1942, members of the Sonderkommando began to systematically murder the Jews: supported by Police Battalion 314 and units of the Waffen-SS, the Sonderkommando brought the Jews in groups in trucks to the Drobitskiy ravine (Drobitskiy Yar). There they shot around 15,000 Jews or asphyxiated them with engine exhaust fumes in »gas vans«.
Image: Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey
Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey

Image: Kharkov, December 14, 2002, Dedication of the Memorial at Drobitskiy Yar, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova
Kharkov, December 14, 2002, Dedication of the Memorial at Drobitskiy Yar, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova
In all, between 15,000 and 21,000 Jews from Kharkov perished in the mass murders conducted by the German occupiers and the Sonderkommando 4a (mobile killing unit) in the years 1941 and 1942.
Image: Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey
Kharkov, 1943, Open graves in Drobitskiy Yar, Kharkiv'skiy Istorichniy Muzey

Image: Kharkov, 2004, Detailed view of the memorial with the inscription »Thou shalt not kill«, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Kharkov, 2004, Detailed view of the memorial with the inscription »Thou shalt not kill«, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
The »Komitet Drobitskiy Yar« set up the Memorial Park between 1998 and 2002. It was financed partly by the distict administration Kharkov and partly through donations. The sculptures are the creation of the architect A. Leibfreid. A path connects the black menorah sculpture with a white stone arch, which symbolises a part of a synagogue. In the walls of an underground memorial hall, the names of thousands of victims of the extermination site Drobitskiy Yar will be engraved.
Image: Kharkov, December 14,  2002, The Menorah in the memorial park at its dedication, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova
Kharkov, December 14, 2002, The Menorah in the memorial park at its dedication, Tatyana Nikolaevna Krasnova

Image: Kharkov, 2004, View of the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Kharkov, 2004, View of the memorial, Stiftung Denkmal, Lutz Prieß
Name
Memorialnyj Kompleks – Drobizkij Jar
Phone
+038 057 700 499 0
Fax
+038 057 714 095 9
Web
http://holocaustmuseum.pochta.org
E-Mail
volovik@vlink.kharkov.ua
Open
The Memorial Park is accessible at all times.