The Path of Destruction

A map and timeline of mass murder

From the moment the Germans and their Hungarian, Italian and Romanian allies invaded Ukraine from the west and south on 22 June 1941, it was clear what lay in store for the Jewish families that did not flee eastward: death by starvation, beatings, deportations to death camps in German-occupied Poland (from western Ukraine), and for well over a million men, women and children: death by firing squad. The total: between 1.5 million and 1.6 million.

The map and chart below show the progress of the German Army, its allies and the Waffen SS in the early months of the war. As can be seen, the vast majority of Jews in the west of the country had no chance to flee; the farther east they were, the better their chances to escape.

Date28 June29 June25 Aug19 Sept.16 October24 Oct
CityRivneLvivDnipro.KyivOdessa (*occupied by Romania, not Germany)Kharkiv
Nr of Jews, prewar25,000 200,000 by 194189,000 150,000 200,961 by 1931130,250
Nr killed between 41-4420,540 152,200 17,000 33,771 (by 1941) in Babyn Yar. By the end of 1943 over 50,000 Jews were killed in Babyn Yar.111,000 12,000
Nr fled to eastBasically none10,00074,000 100,000 80,000-90,000 115,000
% survived17,9% 23,9% 81%66,7%44,8%90,8%