Babi Yar by Anatoli Kuznetsov

By Anatoli Kuznetsov

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There were, however, others about the place who were able to 'live thieves, it up' : party officials, secret police officers, informers and various trade-union officials. * For his frightful job of crawling round inside the drains my grandfather received a monthly salary which was only half the price of a cheap suit of clothes. All his life he never owned a proper suit; he died without ever wearing one. But there were other people to whom the life of Grandpa's family seemed like the joys of paradise.

Our neighbour Pavel Sochava said with heavy irony, so that the whole street could hear: 'So Tolya's been out looting as well. Go and tell Mummy, so that she can give you a good hiding. ' I felt as though I'd had a bucket of cold water thrown over me. I had been so proud to carry my l amp and my brushes, but now I ran into the courtyard as quickly as I could and unloaded my spoils inside the house . . ' Gramp, on the other hand, backed me up and said approv­ ingly: 'Why shouldn't he? Good lad! The Bolsheviks have taken everything away from the people and sold i t back at three times the price.

What a chance i t was! ' I learnt that while I had been down in the market six sol diers had come demanding eggs and milk-had poked their noses into everything as if it belonged to them and had taken a lot of potatoes, cabbage and tomatoes . . ' Whilst some people were looting down there, others were looting u p here! Still shaking with excitement, and encouraged by G ramp 's words of approval, I ran off to find Shurka Matso and we BABI YAR 20 hurried down again to the market together. I t was already empty.

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Babi Yar by Anatoli Kuznetsov
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