US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday released remarks on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar Massacre.

“This is the report filed by one of the Nazis’ mobile killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, on October 2, 1941: ‘Sonderkommando 4a in collaboration with the group staff and two commandos of Police Regiment South on 29 and 30 September 1941 executed 33,771 Jews in Kiev.’”

“A concise, clinical summary, that contained an immeasurable amount of human suffering,” said Blinken.

“The victims at Babyn Yar were forced down into the ravine, where they were made to lie in neat rows on top of the bodies of those who had already been executed. Then, according to an eyewitness, ‘A marksman came along and shot each Jew in the neck … uninterruptedly, with no distinction being made between men, women, and children.’ Row upon row, for two days. The killers worked in shifts. Some took breaks around a nearby bonfire to talk and drink coffee. Not everyone who was shot died immediately. Some suffocated under the weight of the bodies.”

“Survivors later said that the earth around the ravine moved and moaned for days after the mass killings, as if the land itself were rebelling against what it had been asked to hold.”

“As we mark the 80th anniversary of Babyn Yar, we remember that both the victims and the perpetrators were human beings. Every one of the Jews killed in those first two days was a man or woman, boy or girl with a full, distinct life, with loves and hopes. And every one of the dozens of men who pulled the triggers was also an individual who made a choice,” said the Secretary of State.

“We also remember that for much of the last eight decades, the world did not remember what happened at Babyn Yar. That was by design.”

“In 1943, some of the same men from German Sonderkommando 4a returned to Babyn Yar to try to erase evidence of the massacre. They forced prisoners from concentration camps to dig up the remains and place them in huge pyres, where they were doused in gasoline and set on fire. Then the Nazis executed those prisoners, too.” READ MORE

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