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  • Published: 14 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781784878405
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $26.00

Babi Yar

The Story of Ukraine's Holocaust




A Ukrainian classic - the gripping account of Kyiv during the Second World War told by a young boy who saw it all.

This gripping story of Kyiv during the Second World War told by a young boy who saw it all.

'Rightly hailed a masterpiece' Daily Mail

'So here is my invitation: enter into my fate, imagine that you are twelve, that the world is at war and that nobody knows what is going to happen next...'

When the German army rolled into Kyiv in 1941 the young Anatoli was just twelve years old. He began writing down what he saw in his journals.

Within ten days of the invasion, the Nazis had begun their campaign of fear and murder in Ukraine. Babi Yar (Babyn Yar in Ukrainian) was the place where the executions of Jews and many others took place. It was one of the largest massacres in the history of the Holocaust. Anatoli could hear the machine guns from his house.

Anatoli’s clear, compelling voice, honesty and determination guide us through the horrors of that time. Babi Yar has the compulsion and narration of fiction but everything recounted here is true.

'Extraordinary' Orlando Figes, Guardian

'A vivid first-hand account of life under one of the most savage of occupation regimes... A book which must be read and never forgotten' The Times

This is the complete, uncensored version of Babi Yar - its history written into the text. Parts shown in bold are those cut by the Russian censors, parts in brackets show later additions.

  • Published: 14 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781784878405
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $26.00

About the author

A. Anatoli

A. Anatoli (Kuznetsov) was born in Kyiv in 1929. After training in ballet and acting and working as a carpenter and builder, Anatoli succeeded in forging a career as a writer. His books were heavily censored by the Soviet authorities but they were very successful, selling a total of about seven million copies in the Soviet Union, and were translated into more than thirty languages. Most famous was Babi Yar, published in Russian in 1966. On the day the Soviet Army invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, Anatoli made a decision to leave the Soviet Union. He photographed all his manuscripts, both the unpublished volumes and the originals of censored works. The K.G.B. refused him permission to travel abroad and demanded that he collaborate with them as an informer. This he pretended to agree to, writing a fictitious report to convince them. He then received permission to travel to London for fourteen days to gather material for a book about Lenin. Arriving in London on 24 July 1969, with the film of his manuscripts hidden in the lining of his jacket, Anatoli evaded his companion and sought asylum. He renounced the surname Kuznetsov, declaring his former self to be 'a cowardly and conformist writer'. The smuggled photographic films of Babi Yar provided him with the text for the first uncensored edition of the book to come out in English, published in 1970 by Jonathan Cape. Anatoli took the decision to make visible the censorship of his work, revealing the fascinating editorial history of the book on the page - censored parts appear in bold and later additions are shown in square brackets. Anatoli died in 1979. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery.

Praise for Babi Yar

Moving and shaking in a way that links it with the works of Solzhenitsyn

Times Literary Supplement

Superb... One of the most frightful exposures yet of human iniquity

Anthony Burgess

Not just a great book, but a valuable document

New Yorker

Absolutely stunning. A raw, devastating account of one of the greatest tragedies of WW2. Babi Yar provides a painfully intimate look at life during the Nazi occupation in Ukraine through the eyes of one resilient young boy. Told in poetic yet unflinching prose, this compelling book should be necessary reading for anyone looking to not only understand Ukrainian history, but humanity

Erin Litteken

Babi Yar is one of the classic accounts of life under Nazi rule in occupied Europe and a depiction of man's inhumanity to man... [a] masterpiece

Henry Marsh, New Statesman

A masterpiece . . . Every bit the peer of the canonical works of witness [such as] Anne Frank's diary . . . Wiesel's Night . . . Solzhenityn's Gulag Archipelago

George Packer, The Atlantic

Read it and weep... Nothing I have read about that barbaric time has been as affecting as this gripping, disturbing book - rightly hailed a masterpiece

Tony Rennell, Daily Mail

By the end of this raw, direct, meticulously assembled collection of testimony, there is no choice but to recognize, and to bow before, the assertion of its opening sentence: "This book contains nothing but the truth"

Wall Street Journal

A rediscovered masterpiece that must be read and never forgotten

Arts Desk

Rightly hailed as a masterpiece. In its intimacy, imagery and immediacy, it leaves you despairing that such terrible atrocities were actually committed… Read it and weep

Daily Mail, *Books of the Year*