Cover Osteuropa 5-6/2023

In Osteuropa 5-6/2023

“We Mustn’t Lose This War …"
Babyn Yar’s Killers on Trial

Pavel Polian

Deutsche Fassung


Few of the perpetrators stood trial for the 1941 mass murder of Kyiv’s Jews at Babyn Yar. However, there were some court cases. Best known are the Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals and the subsequent Einsatzgruppen trial. The International Military Tribunal personalised responsibility for state crimes and thus made a significant contribution to the further development of international criminal law. In the Soviet Union, the first trials of German perpetrators took place during the war. After the war, almost 20 more trials followed, addressing not least of all the murder of Kyiv’s Jews. Many of the accused were sentenced to death, while the rest received prison sentences, often of up to 25 years. But just as the Western Allies released all of the convicted perpetrators who had not been executed in the first half of the 1950s, the last Germans convicted of war crimes in Soviet proceedings were able to return to Germany as free men in 1955.

(Osteuropa 5-6/2023, pp. 187–204)