At this infamous site and in the adjoining Syretz concentration camp the same number of Russian speaking east Ukrainians, Jews and Roma were incarcerated and killed. These murders were supervised by Nazi-led SS divisions and einsatzgruppen death squads assisted by east Ukrainian collaborators.

In 1939 Poland had been ruthlessly divided between the USSR and Nazi Germany ; this included the province of Kresy which is now in the western region of the nation state of the Ukraine. Within this province lived a large minority of Ukrainians by ethnicity who did not resist the Nazi advance in 1941 . From their numbers the Germans enlisted 250.000 personnel for duties in the three Ukrainian Insurgent, National and Liberation armies, the auxiliary police force and an SS Division (Galicia) who engaged with the retreating Red Army and formed a new structure of local government By the end of 1942 concentration and extermination camps had been established under German SS control but with west Ukrainians performing guard and administrative duties in a ratio of 1 : 15. Following a series of atrocities against Jews in the cities of Lviv Lutsk and Zhytomyr the “final solution” was set in motion by training volunteers at the Trawniki camp in the implimention of the horrific extermination processes. By 1945 when the victorious Red Army had regained its previously occupied territory, the Jewish urban population had been reduced by 80%.

The Germans largely succeeded in winning their war in eastern Europe by playing slav nations against one another and appealing to latent nationalist movements in a huge propaganda exercise which concealed the true motives of obtaining lebensraum and Aryanising populations. It is this which was at the heart of the strife of 2010 and is now being repeated in Putin´s punitive and quite pointless war of attrition. It can only lead to the immense distress, bereavement and poverty of the Russian and Ukrainian peoples who may yet come together with a peaceful intent to halt this wanton waste and bring honourable peace to the remembered dead of Babi Year.

Roberto Cavaleiro, Tomar 02-03-2022