Babi Yar

The massacre in Babi Yar on Sep. 29-30, 1941 of close to 34,000 Jews is one of the most brutal single mass murder during the war. More maassacres of Jews and non-Jews took place in Babi Yar and the total number of victims was well over 100,000.

By the time the Nazis entered Kiev on in 19 September 1941, more than 100,000 of the Jews of Kiev had already fled, but about 60,000 of them came under Nazi occupation. The Nazis didn’t wait much. On the 29th-3Oth September 1941, the Nazis and their henchmen led nearly 34,000 of the Jews of Kiev - men, women and children - to Babi Yar, a ravine outside the city, where they massacred them and buried their bodies in a mass grave. This massacre was the largest single mass killing by the Nazis in the entire war.

The Nazis continued to use Babi Yar as an execution place, murdering 15,000 more Jews, as well as gypsies, Soviet POWs, psychiatric patients, and many civilians. It is estimated that altogether more than 100,000 people were murdered there during the war. The slaughtering place of Babi Yar, the largest of many in German-occupied Russia, will be forever remembered as a place of shame. Only in 1991, after the collapse of the USSR, the Ukrainian government allowed the establishment of a separate memorial specifically identifying the Jewish victims.

Yosef Kuzkovski, in his unforgettable painting "Babi Yar - The Last Way" graphically depicts the last hours of a group of Jews being led to their deaths - their terror; their fear of the unknown fate awaiting them; their shred of hope that "maybe it will not..."; their resignation to their fate; the sadism of their guards who hem their victims in with guns and vicious guard dogs.

The painting was purchased for the nation and hangs in the Knesset - Israel's Parliament building. The artist Yosef Kuzkovski, was born in Russia in 1902 and studied art at the Kiev Academy of Arts. He achieved recognition in Russia as an outstanding artist and held numerous one-man shows. After a protracted fight for the right to leave Russia and immigrate to Israel, he finally attained his goal in 1969, only to die a few months after his arrival in his new homeland.

The stamp was issued in 1983.