Cover Osteuropa 1-2/2021

In Osteuropa 1-2/2021

“After the massacre, the silence”
On Babi Yar, the family memory and the obstacles to remembering

Katja Petrowskaja

Deutsche Fassung


Katya Petrovskaya (author of the German-language book “Vielleicht Esther”) found out early on about the atrocity that took place at Babi Yar in 1941 from the private circle of her family. Yet in the public sphere, Babi Yar was for many years a symbol of the impossibility of remembering. Too few people had survived who were able to remember the victims. The nature of the suffering among the millions of victims of the war varied too widely, and Soviet anti-Semitism and the ideologically motivated censorship was too oppressive. At the same time, Babi Yar, which today is a park in the middle of Kyiv, remained inseparably linked to the massacre, of which no trace can be found. There are no corpses; only a narrative remains. Remembrance entails physical and psychological effort. It requires a language of its own.

(Osteuropa 1-2/2021, pp. 175–184)