Monday, June 1, 2009

Barbarrosa in the Ukraine

A German machine gun post (above) covers a street in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov, which was taken by Rundstedt's German Army Group South in October 1941.

During World War II, Kharkov was the site of several military engagements. The city was captured by the German Army on October 24, 1941, and its military allies, recaptured by the Red Army, captured a second time by the Germans on May 24,1942; retaken by the Soviets on February 16, 1943, captured for a third time by Germans on March 16, 1943 and then finally liberated on August 23, 1943. Seventy percent of the city was destroyed and tens of thousands of the inhabitants were killed. It is mentioned that Kharkov was the most populous city in the Soviet Union occupied by Nazis, since in the years preceding World War II, Kiev was the smaller of the two by population.

Between December 1941 and January 1942, an estimated 30,000 people (mostly Jewish) were killed by the Germans. They were laid to rest in a large mass grave that located at Drobitsky Yar.

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