World War II in Ukraine:

Kiev Waitresses

Andrew Gregorovich

Kiev Waitresses

Although most of the executions in Ukraine were carried out by shooting the victims (because all the death camps like Auschwitz were in Poland) some people were killed by hanging and others in trucks by gas. The Ukrainian author Anatoly Kuznetsov writes:

"On one occasion a gas-van arrived full of women. When the usual procedure was over and the shouting and banging had died down the door was opened. After the fumes had cleared, the van was seen to be packed full of naked girls.

"There were more than a hundred of them, pressed tightly together, sitting on each other's knees. They all had their hair done up in scarves, as women do when they take a bath. They had probably been told when they were put into the van that they were on their way to the baths. Many were found to have rings and watches, lipstick and other small things hidden in their headscarves. The drunken Germans hooted with laughter, explaining they were waitresses from the Kiev night-clubs.... When Davydov lifted them and laid them on the stack... still warm, the breath would come out of their mouths with a faint noise, and he got the impression again that they were alive but had simply lost consciousness. They were all burnt on the fire [in Babyn Yar]." (Kuznetsov, Babi Yar. Penguin Books, 1982, p. 377-8)

Page 15 of 29
Icon Icon Icon

Icon  Return to FORUM: A Ukrainian Review Page

Copyright © 1995 Andrew Gregorovich

Reprinted from FORUM Ukrainian Review No. 92, Spring 1995

since March 1st 1997