During the war, Fritz Höfer was a truck driver for German units. On 27 August 1959, he testified during West-German investigations on the alleged mass shooting of Kiev Jews at Babi Yar. He claims to have driven a truck to the ravine in order to get loaded up with items left behind by the Jews when walking up to their execution. According to him, the Jews left their clothes on the high plateau above the Babi Yar ravine in such a fashion that every item of clothing had its own pile. Hence, the items were pre-sorted by types, such as shoes, coats, trousers etc.
However, the photos taken by Johannes Hähle presumably showing the items left behind by the executed Jews are all at the bottom of the ravine, and they were dumped randomly onto the ground. There are no piles, and most certainly no piles of pre-sorted items.
Höfer claimed that the Jews – men, women and children – had to walk down into the ravine through two “entrance ways” and lay down on already executed Jews, where they themselves were then shot. Only two men did all the shooting, while one man made sure the Jews arranged themselves conveniently for the shooter to kill them. The shooter walked across the wobbly surface of already shot Jews from one pre-arranged Jew to the next.
This version is in stark contrast to claims by witnesses who were interrogated by the NKGB after the German retreat from Kiev. They insisted that the victims were either shot while standing at the upper edge of the ravine, then falling down into the ravine dead or wounded. Alternatively, they had to run along the ravine and were shot at while running by men standing at the ravine’s edge. Children were tossed alive into the ravine.
It is moreover unlikely that only two men did the shooting. In order to kill 33,771 Jews within two days of 12 hours of daylight, as is claimed for Babi Yar, every shooter had to kill 8,443 victims during a full 12-hour workday of uninterrupted shooting. That amounts to 703.5 Jews per hour, or some 12 per minute, or one every 5 seconds.
And if Höfer was loading up clothes outside and away from the ravine, how would he have known the particulars of the shootings?
Another German witness, Kurt Werner, who claims to have shot victims at Babi Yar, stated that there were 12 shooters. That would have reduced the workload per shooter to one per minute.