Witness: Iryna Khoroshunova


Iryna Khoroshunova

Iryna Khoroshunova, a resident of Kiev, recorded in her diary what she saw and heard from others regarding the two days of intense massacre at Babi Yar.


A Witness Account

29 September 1941:
We still don't know what they did to the Jews. There are terrifying rumours coming from the Lukianivka Cemetery. But they are impossible to believe. They say the Jews are being shot... Some people say the Jews are being shot with machine guns, all of them. Others say that 16 train wagons have been prepared and that they will be sent away. Where to? Nobody knows. Only one thing seems clear: all their documents, things, and food are confiscated. Then they are chased into Babi Yar and there... I don't know. I only know one thing: there is something terrible, horrible going on, something inconceivable, which cannot be understood, grasped or explained.

2 October 1941:  
"Everybody is saying now that the Jews are being murdered. No, they have been murdered already. All of them, without exception—old people, women and children. Those who went home on Monday (29 September) have also been shot. People say it in a way that does not leave any doubt. No trains left Lukianivka at all. People saw cars with warm shawls and other things driving away from the cemetery. German "accuracy". They already sorted the loot!

A Russian girl accompanied her girlfriend to the cemetery, but crawled through the fence from the other side. She saw how naked people were taken toward Babi Yar and heard shots from a machine gun. There are more and more rumours and accounts. They are too monstrous to believe. But we are forced to believe them, for the shooting of the Jews is a fact. A fact which is starting to drive us insane. It is impossible to live with this knowledge. The women around us are crying. And we? We also cried on 29 September, when we thought they were taken to a concentration camp. But now? Can we really cry? I am writing, but my hair is standing on end."