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|Date||13 March 1961|
|Location||Babi Yar, Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union|
|Cause||Dam design flaws and poor maintenance|
|Deaths||145 (Soviet official sources), up to 1500 (unofficial later investigations)|
The 1961 Kurenivka mudslide occurred on March 13 in Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. The mudslide started at the edge of the Babi Yar mass murder site and dumped mud, water, and human remains into the streets of Kyiv. The Soviet authorities suppressed information about the disaster, and claimed 145 people were killed, while forbidding any memorial events for the victims. A 2012 study in Ukraine estimates that the number of victims was closer to 1,500.
The mudslide started when a dam securing the loam pulp dump of a brick factory near the Babi Yar mass murder site collapsed after rain, releasing large volumes of pulp sludge, mud, water, and human remains down the steep hill of the modern Olena Teliha Street and into the streets of Kyiv. The slide immediately hit the lower-lying Kurenivka neighbourhood, including a residential area, a tram depot, several industrial buildings and a cemetery, as well as cars and trams on its way. The total volume of pulp in the vicinity of Kyrylivska - Novokostiantynivska streets was up to 600 thousand m3 with a depth of up to 4 m. The official report indicated 145 fatalities, while a recent study estimates 1,500.
Recovery operations continued for days, but no official notification of the tragedy was ever published by the Soviet authorities.
Recovery operations were led by the 120 Detached Engineering Battalion and the Anti-gas Regiment of the Local Anti-Aircraft Defence troops of the Soviet Army in the Kyiv Military District, led by the Hero of the Soviet Union Ivan Kharchenko. The events in Kurenivka were strictly censored by the Soviet Government. In order to cover up the scale of this disaster, many of the people who died were buried in different cemeteries in Kyiv and its nearby towns with different dates and reasons for their death in the government records. No public remembrance activities were allowed and Soviet troops were sent to clear all visible consequences of the disaster. [ better source needed ]
As a result of the subsequent investigation, several construction engineers and managers responsible for the dam's design and maintenance were accused of negligence and convicted.[ citation needed ]
In 1962, Ukrainian Communist Party leaders ordered the leveling of the Babi Yar ravine and the establishment of a park on the site where at least 33,000 Jews from Kyiv and surrounding areas had been shot to death in 1941 by the Einsatzgruppen .
Babi Yar is a ravine in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and a site of massacres carried out by Nazi Germany's forces during its campaign against the Soviet Union in World War II. The first and best documented of the massacres took place on 29–30 September 1941, killing approximately 33,771 Jews. The decision to kill all the Jews in Kyiv was made by the military governor Generalmajor Kurt Eberhard, the Police Commander for Army Group South, SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Jeckeln, and the Einsatzgruppe C Commander Otto Rasch. Sonderkommando 4a as the sub-unit of Einsatzgruppe C, along with the aid of the SD and Order Police battalions with the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police backed by the Wehrmacht, carried out the orders. Sonderkommando 4a and the 45th Battalion of the German Order Police conducted the shootings. Servicemen of the 303rd Battalion of the German Order Police at this time guarded the outer perimeter of the execution site.
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Syrets was a Nazi concentration camp established in 1942 in Kyiv's western neighborhood of Syrets, part of Kyiv since 1799. The toponym was derived from a local small river. Some 327 inmates of the KZ Syrets were forced to remove all traces of mass murder at Babi Yar.
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Babi Yar, a ravine near Kyiv, was the scene of possibly the largest shooting massacre during the Holocaust. After the war, commemoration efforts encountered serious difficulty because of the policy of the Soviet Union. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a number of memorials have been erected. The events also formed a part of literature.
Poems about Babi Yar commemorate the massacres committed by the Nazi Einsatzgruppe during World War II at Babi Yar, in a ravine located within the present-day Ukrainian capital of Kiev. In just one of these atrocities – taking place over September 29–30, 1941 – 33,771 Jewish men, women and children were killed in a single Einsatzgruppe operation.
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