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Бабий Яр / Babiy Yar

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,093 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Babi Yar: A Document in the Form of a Novel is an internationally acclaimed documentary novel by Anatoly Kuznetsov about the Babi Yar massacre. The two-day murder of 33,771 Jewish civilians on September 29-30, 1941 in the Kiev ravine was one of the largest single mass killings of the Holocaust.

The novel begins as follows: "Everything in this book is true. When I recounted
Published (first published 1966)
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Chris Herdt
May 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People with very strong stomachs
If I could change one thing about this book, I would wish it to be fiction.

I read D. M. Thomas's The White Hotel in college, in which an execution is described based on the true tale of Babi Yar. When I saw a tattered paperback of Babi Yar at a secondhand shop, I picked it up and it sat on my shelf for years.

It tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Kiev from the point of view of the author, who does his best to recapture his 12-year-old innocence (hiding with his cat in the bomb shelter, the
Tanuj Solanki
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the greatest crimes in History made into an eternal document through masterful technique, blending personal experience, reportage, survivor testimonies, and so on. May such books never have to be written.


Holodomor (a poem)


The paleness of the starved
reached incandescence.
In a cauldron, a ten year old hand.
In Moscow the wife kills herself
and the sky is painted in bands of red.
He does think, he does,
whether an idea can be pyrhhic.
'What does this country need, comrades?
'Comrades this count
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Бабий Яр"на Анатолий Кузнецов. За съжаление не издавана у нас в пълния си вариант. Книга - документ за зверствата в годините 1941- 1944 та. Място - Киев, Куреневка, местността Бабий Яр. Авторът, очевидец, тогава момче на 12 години, записва и запазва в тетрадка, собствените си наблюдения и спомени,както и тези на съседи, роднини, приятели и съученици. Книга разказваща всичко,така както е било.. без украса, без цензура, без художествена измислица и гръмки фрази..  Разказ за убийствата, глада в Укр ...more
This book is brilliant -- by far a top-tier Holocaust book and World War II book in general. The author was a boy of twelve when the Nazi occupation of Kiev began, and began recording his experiences then; these jottings were part of the basis for this book, which is both a memoir and a documentary nonfiction.

Although the story centers around the September 1941 mass murder of some 33,000 Jews at Babi Yar, a ravine outside Kiev, that's not all this story is. Kuznetsov's writing encompasses far mo
May 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this book is insane. Very well written. I am surprised it hasn't been reprinted since the 1970s. It's about the Nazi invasion into Kiev and their 2 year takeover of the city. Babi Yar was a ravine near the city where 70,000 Jews were murdered and 100s of thousands other people as well. The Nazis tried to cover it up by burning everything then the Soviet Union tried to cover it up by building a dam over it. The author is a 12 year old boy when the Nazis invade. The writing is very thorough a ...more
Kateryna Martynenko
Це унікальна книга, одна з найкращих серед тих, що я читала. Цю книгу обов'язково варто прочитати усім, хто живе в Києві та любить це місто, хто цікавиться його історією та історією нашої країни в 20-му столітті. Ця унікальна книга написана на основі спостережень, які зробив автор, будучи 13-річним хлопчиком в окупованому німцями Києві. Книга також повна цікавих та страшних історії, що їх автор пізніше зібрав серед виживших Киян. Наприклад, історія однієї з небагатьох виживших єврейок, яка вряту ...more
Vitaliy Kovalev
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Отличная историческая книга, описывающая все ужасы войны, глазами обыкновенного 12-ти летнего мальчика и его семье, оставшихся в оккупированном Киеве в течении двух лет. Описано много документальных фактов, которые в советское время в лучшем случае умалчивались, а то и совсем переписывались и переворачивались с ног на голову. Очень подробно описаны настроения жителей Киева перед войной как к наступающим немцам так и к отступающим советским властям, описано отношения немцев к разным национальност ...more
Dasha M
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Babi Yar" is a monumental book. For those who have never heard the name before, it refers to a natural landmark ravine in the Ukraine, which in World War Two was the  location of a brutal execution site. In the most notorious of its purges, during just two days in 1941, over 33,000 Jews were killed by the occupying Nazi forces and local police collaborators. For nearby towns, the sound of gunfire became a daily soundtrack.
The author of this documentary work was a boy at the time of the executi
Jan 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I've never liked nonfiction books. I always liked reading about things that could only happen in a dream or in my imagination. That might be why I love this book so much; it sounds like something that happened in a nightmare.
I chose to read this book for some insight on my research project on Babi Yar. I didn't have time to read the whole thing so I read thoroughly the first half and then skimmed the second half in one day. I have never abused a reading of a book like "Babi Yar" before. Even as
Eva D.
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Suddenly we realized we were walking on human ashes." Always a good sentence to read. The book gets very dark, very quickly. Definitely a page turner. I'd recommend it highly, just...make yourself a cup of tea or something afterwards.
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Found this while snooping around in my dad's closet when I was about thirteen. Could have come upon something worse, I guess. Something less appropriate for a girl of my age. I read it and returned it and my dad was none the wiser. I, on the other hand, was a changed person.
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"No monument stands over Babi Yar/a drop sheer as a crude gravestone, I am afraid." These lines were written by the great Russian poet Yevgeny Yevteshenko in 1961, 40 years after the Nazis -- over a period of two days in September 29-30, 1941 -- murdered 30,000 Jews in Kiev. They were ordered to report to a street corner with their IDs and warm clothing after the German Army occupied the city. They were then taken to Babi Yar, and systematically shot and shoved, dead or alive, into a huge ravine ...more
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as research as it is the one of the only pieces of evidence that aktion 1005's sondercommandos attempted to erase the mass graves at babi yar. the sections of the book that cover that topic are as hard a thing to read as you could find. There are two small sections of the book that specifically deal with these mass killings- the first is the re-telling of the only known survivor of the mass executions, and no summary can do it justice. The second section deals with aktion 1005 a ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a very stark portrayal of just how horrible the 20th century was. It's hard to understand just how so many sadists managed to take over so much of the world, between Stalin and Hitler and the millions who supported their twisted regimes. The truth about how Khreshchatyk was blown up in WWII (ny the NKVD, of course), as well as the Lavra, and how all this sabotage killed way more civilians than German forces, and how this diabolically organized sabotage turned the Germans against the ...more
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after we visited Kiev and went to Babi Yar, where there are several monuments to the people massacred there, starting with 30,771 Jews over two days in September.

The author, who was 12 (and not Jewish) when the Germans entered Kiev, is adamant that people need to know what it was like to live in Ukraine during the German occupation. He was eye witness to many of the events which took place. He also includes eye witness reports of others who survived the atrocities. The book was
I first read Babi Yar as a teenager, maybe for school? I always hate to say that I "enjoyed" a book about something as horrific as the Holocaust, but I did enjoy reading the book back then. I recently got a box of books about the Holocaust & have been slowly going through them, separating the ones I wanted to read or reread from the rest. I decided to reread Babi Yar. It's a very honest & blunt look at the horror of the event. I don't remember it being so slow-going when I read it the fi ...more
Jan 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A picture is worth a thousand words.


Apr 19, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I have ever read. I have always been very interested in books dealing with the Holocaust - I think it is the demonstration of the lengths to which the human spirit can be pushed - both the very best and the very worst. Though this book has stayed with me for years and I can see the passages on the pages, I've never been able to bring myself to read it again. The warmth the author gives as he weaves his story of wonder, chance, love and darkness is haunting.
Rob Hood
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is very well written by a man who as a boy witnessed the slaughter of Jews, gypsies, communists and whoever else the Germans wanted dead in Kiev. It also showed the horror of German occupation. The author was unable to write this book while he was behind the Iron Curtain because he was very critical of the communist government. The book tells it as it was and is often difficult t5o read without tearing up.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anatoly (aka Kuznetsov) was a boy of 12-13, growing up in Kiev, when the Germans invaded in 1941. His memoir encompasses the massacres in Babi Yar, as well as a day-by-day account of life under the Nazis for poor people like his family. It is absolutely fascinating in itself.

Plus, this is the "new [in 1970], complete, uncensored version." Here's what that means: The book was first published in the Soviet Union in 1966, heavily censored. In 1969 the author escaped to the West & smuggled out
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
По словам автора, при редактуре рукописи в редакции советские цензоры накинулись на фразу о брошенном, подбитом танке "Прекрасной игрушкой для этих детей был этот танк"". Ответ цензуры на полях был таков: "Мы не бесхребетные пацифисты, мы не можем воспитывать у молодежи неуважения к танкам".

Потрясающе правдивая, искренняя книга о ужасах тоталитарных режимов - советского и нацистского. Автор просит считать полной исключительно эту версию, и я поняла, почему. В издании курсивом выделено всё, что в
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2018
Книга очень тяжелая, но стиль хороший, поэтому несмотря на описываемые ужасы -читается хорошо.
Очень познавательно узнать от лица очевидца как происходили разные события. Понравилось, что автор пытается рассказать и о причинах и о последствиях. Часто задавалась вопросом - "Неужели 12-14летний мальчик мог так осознанно об этом всем размышлять и так сознательно это все переживать?" ...Видимо мог...
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My uncle gave me this book many years ago and I read it then - I think it was sometime in the late 1980's. Very moving and horrible and informative. I think the edition I have shows how the book was originally written as well as the highly censored version of the book that was first published in Russia.
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-shelf
This was a reread of a book I read years ago (one of my earliest Holocaust reads). The author is not Jewish but tells of the atrocities he witnessed to Jewish people as well as the political opponents of Stalin. It is sold as "a document in the form of a novel." There are several versions out there; this version was the uncensored version.
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author lived through two years in Nazi-ocupied, war-beseiged Kiev. Babi Yar is the ravine where 200,000 people were killed and buried, the first 50,000 of them Jews. What strikes me most about the Nazi approach was how completely the population was categorized. No one escaped being given an assigned fate. No one escaped punishment. Such dehumanization for everyone!
May 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not really able to rate as it is an historical text about a terrible real life event that was not five star. The content is clearly presented and in depth. One more reciting of horrors of pogroms and genocide.
Adrian Gray
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Profoundly important book especially the section on the trouble killing a fish. But you need to know the context!
Oct 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mitya Mit'Ko
Feb 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Очень спорная книга. Автор выступает якобы и против большевиков, и против нацистов. Но факты в книге не сходятся с реальностью. Допустим, написано: "Очередь на расстрел проходила очень медленно. По N человек за N времени". Точные числа я уже забыл, но помню, что по элементарным подсчетам при таких темпах они ну никак не могли расстрелять 27тыс (да и даже 10 тыс) за день. Просто арифметика, ничего больше.

Очень много бреда сивой кобылы и несуразиц, нестыковок, эмоций, хоть в каждой главе и написа
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Why is it considered fiction on the book jacket? 2 13 Dec 12, 2011 02:25PM  
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By Prof. Yury SHAPOVAL, Ph.D.

In the 1960s the writer Anatoly V. Kuznetsov was touted as the Soviet Union’s most brilliant, talented, and progressive writers, the founding father of so- called confessional prose. His novella, “The Mime Actor,” published in a 1968 issue of the magazine Novy Mir [New World], was equated with Gogol’s “The Overc
“That there is in this world neither brains, nor goodness, nor good sense, but only brute force. Bloodshed. Starvation. Death. That there was not the slightest hope not even a glimmer of hope, of justice being done. It would never happen. No one would ever do it. The world was just one big Babi Yar. And there two great forces had come up against each other and were striking against each other like hammer and anvil, and the wretched people were in between, with no way out; each individual wanted only to live and not be maltreated, to have something to eat, and yet they howled and screamed and in their fear they were grabbing at each other’s throats, while I, little blob of watery jelly, was sitting in the midst of this dark world. Why? What for? Who had done it all? There was nothing, after all, to hope for! Winter. Night.” 8 likes
“. . . so just remember that this is the first sign of trouble- if books are banned, that means that things are going wrong.” 1 likes
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