3 The Holocaust in Ukraine

On the eve of World War II, about five percent of the population of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was of Jewish descent. By the middle of 1941, there were about 2.7 million Jews in the territory of what today is the independent state of Ukraine, including the Crimean peninsula. During the German-led war against the Soviet Union between June 1941 and May 1945, some 1.5 million of these Jews died at the hands of Germans, but also Romanians, Hungarians, Ukrainians, and others. In Ukraine, only about 100,000 survived the war and the Holocaust in areas under German rule. Thus about 60 percent of Ukraine’s pre-war Jewish population was murdered—and it all was done in less than two years.