(c) Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
KIEV, Ukraine – The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center will be moving forward on plans to erect a museum honoring the tens of thousands murdered at the Babyn Yar site by the Nazis 79 years ago this week. On behalf of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder visited the Babyn Yar site to sign a memorandum of understanding and cooperation between the Memorial Center’s board and Ukraine’s government. Lauder, as well as Ukraine’s Minister of Culture and Information Policy, Oleksandr Tkachenko, signed the agreement in the presence of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Before the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, Kiev had been home to some 160,000 Jews, 100,000 of whom fled before the Nazis invaded Kiev in September 1941. In a horrific mass murder on September 29-30, 1941, at the Babyn Yar ravine northwest of the city, the Nazis killed 33,771 of the Jews who remained. This massacre was one of the largest of the Holocaust. In subsequent months, the German killing machine brought the total killed at Babyn Yar to some 100,000, murdering thousands of additional Jews, as well as Roma and Soviet civilians, prisoners of war and government officials.
Lauder emphasized the role of the memorial and museum in expanding Holocaust education, “Babyn Yar was one of the single biggest slaughters of the Holocaust, and yet the tragic history of the murderous horrors the Nazis committed here is almost unknown to young people today. This memorial and museum will change that. This site demonstrates the most vile and murderous form that antisemitism and racism can take when allowed to go unchecked. The world must – and will – learn from Babyn Yar, as it must learn from the Holocaust as a whole, that we must stop all manifestations of antisemitism and bigotry as soon as these hatreds appear.”
Ambassador Lauder acknowledged the Ukrainian government’s commitment to honoring the Babyn Yar victims. “President Zelensky and his government have demonstrated strong support in making a memorial and museum become a reality. We have much work to do – together – to educate the next generation. I speak on behalf of World Jewish Congress in sharing how much we look forward to continuing to work closely together with the government of Ukraine in the months and years to come on this very important project.”
On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in January, Zelensky joined Lauder at an event in Krakow honoring more than 100 Holocaust survivors and their families.
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