I have posted previously how visiting American journalists were sceptical about what the Soviets alleged and happened at Babi Yar; what I wish to do now is examine the claims that in order to conceal the 34 000 bodies, the walls of the ravine were dynamited. The claim is repeated in many places and may have been a finding of the trial of Sonderkommando 4a by the West German courts. One reference will suffice here, War of Extermination: The German Military in WWII, edited by Hanse Heer et al, page 254; “Immediately following the massacre on 30 September, engineers blew up the edges of the ravine in order to cover the mass grave with stones and earth.” My view is the story about the about blowing up the walls of Babi Yar developed very early among resistance groups inside Nazi Germany, and when this claim is repeated it points not to an actual event but rather contaimination by pre-determined narrative which was never grounded in any sort of reality.
We have photographs allegedly immediately after the massacre and immediately after liberation and to my mind there is no trace of the use of explosives:
The bizarre assertion that bodies were seen by American journalists at Babi Yar is made by a group of somewhat erratic bloggers can be read here. The post begins with the perfectly reasonable observation that American journalists did see some dead bodies in a rather frightful Soviet exhibition at Klooga, Estonia. But then tries to claim by pointing to an archived news report from 1943, that American journalists also saw dead bodies at Babi Yar. In order to disprove this I will reproduce the entire article that they point to below (in fairness a journalist did say he saw some fingers). In contrast to the claims of the Holocaust Controversies blogging team, the scepticism of William Lawrence regarding a massacre at Babi Yar during his visit is an established fact: “[William] Lawrence had been sceptical that a massacre had taken place at Babi Yar. Years later, he said his doubts evaporated when he arrived at the camp near Lublin [Majdanek, 30 August 1944], Lublin” .
Why this scepticism might exist can be easily understood when viewing the photographic materials produced by the Soviet Special Commission of 1943. I reproduce a few of these photos and the rest can be viewed offsite here. I should add I have quite a bit of material regarding Babi Yar, problems with its documentation and twisted path of its genesis, but I won’t be presenting it at this stage – although as always the case, there is certain to have been some level of executions at various points during the occupation.
One of my beliefs is that our understanding of Holocaust history has been distorted by the systematic tainting of archives, primarily but not solely in the Eastern Bloc. One of these is the Czech Military Archive in Prague that in 1968 released a documentary collection regarding the RF-SS entitled Unsere Ehre heisst Treue. This was a facismile collection detailing atrocities during the invasion of the Soviet Union 1941 and 1942. (more…)