In June 1941, the Soviet Ukraine was home to about 2.5 million Jews. After the June 22, 1941 invasion of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germans and their henchmen murdered an estimated 1.6 million Jews in Ukraine, mostly by shooting unarmed women, men, children, the elderly, the handicapped, and the sick. Some 345,000 Ukrainian Jews, especially from Eastern Galicia, were shipped to Poland and gassed, mainly at Belzec, as well as at Sobibór and Auschwitz.
Paradoxically, the Shoah in Ukraine has only recently begun to be studied in significant depth. The ten chapters of the book under review examine how the Jews were murdered in Ukraine and by whom, including local ethnic Ukrainians and Germans, as well as the German and Romanian invaders.
Deserving special note are Timothy Snyder’s chapter on Volhynian Jewry for its elegant and diligent use of both general and Jewish sources; and Karel C. Berkhoff ’s sensitive analysis of the various testimonies of Dina Pronicheva, who survived the nightmarish Babi Yar massacre. Omer Bar-Tov concludes the book with an overview of how the Jewish facets of Eastern Galicia’s history are systematically ignored and erased by Ukrainians in whose historical consciousness there is no room for how Jews lived and were murdered in a region that was a center of Jewish culture and religion. Bibliography, index, maps, photographs, tables.