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06.10.2021

​​The first phase of the Babyn Yar Memorial is launched. The Supervisory Board of the Holocaust Memorial Center reported on results of 5 years of work

The first phase of the Babyn Yar Memorial is launched. Today, on October 6, the world-famous conceptual artist Maryna Abramovych will present a new memorial object – "Crystal Crying Wall". Within six months, the first museum space – "Kurgan" – will be unveiled. This was announced by members of the Supervisory Board of the organization, summing up the results of the five-year work of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. The participants of the press conference also noted that the work on memorialization of the place of mass killing of thousands of people is being held in full synergy and cooperation with the state for the first time in 80 years.

"When I came to Babyn Yar with my friends, guests, foreigners, I always felt that something needed to be done here. But I always thought that this is actually an impossible task. And only in 2015, when we started talking about this topic, I felt that it was real. Five years ago, we announced our commitment to create the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. I think it's very important. We feel a huge responsibility, we have no right to make mistakes. A huge team of talented young Ukrainians, leading world specialists, great world artists, architects, sculptors is involved in this – an excellent and huge team of those who are aware of their responsibility. We have to tell the truth. When this truth is powerfully told by us, it will be an important statement. Ukraine will powerfully declare: we are a modern healthy nation and we will be one of the most successful European nations. This is very important for the successful future of Ukraine", noted Victor Pinchuk, businessman and philanthropist.

More than 80 years have passed since the first day of the mass shootings in Babyn Yar. However, the story of the "Holocaust by Bullets" still remains untold and contains many white spots. Since its creation, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center has set itself the task of commemorating the victims of the Babyn Yar tragedy and contributing to the humanization of humanity by preserving and studying the history of the Holocaust. The organization aims to bring the Babyn Yar tragedy out of oblivion, as it has been in fact for 80 years, and to build a memorial complex of international level in the territory of the ravine, to honor the memory of all the victims of Babyn Yar and the Holocaust.

Last year, the Memorial Center signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Government of Ukraine in the presence of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky.

Over the years, a historical narrative recognized by the world scientific community has been developed. Research has been being conducted, which has led to a number of important scientific discoveries. Earlier this year, the Memorial Center team developed and presented the artistic concept of the future memorial. Also a number of objects where you can remember the history of the place and commemorate the victims have already been presented: a symbolic synagogue "Place for Reflection", an audio-visual installation "Mirror Field", an audio-installation on the "Road of Sorrow", a series of installations "A Glimpse into the Past". And in half a year the first museum space will appear here, it will be "Kurgan", designed by the German architectural company SUB.

A number of other museums will also be opened: the 1941-1943 Babyn Yar Tragedy Museum; the Museum of Holocaust in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, the Museum of Oblivion of the Babyn Yar Tragedy, the Museum of 1961 Kurenivka mudslide, and others.

Babyn Yar is the largest mass grave of the victims of the Holocaust in Europe, it is important to remember this tragic story, said the chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center Natan Sharansky. «Since childhood, I understood that Babyn Yar is a terrible place, a terrible tragedy and its history is somehow hushed up. Even when we started working on the development of the memorial, only 10% of the names of victims were known, although many of them were simply kept in archives. Babyn Yar is not only a symbol of the "Holocaust by Bullets", it is also a symbol of the incredible efforts of the Soviet Union to destroy the memory of this tragedy. At the same time, antisemitism begins with Jews, but does not end there, – he stressed. – We didn't just create a strong international team. We began to restore the place's memory. This place should become the main center for studying the history of the Holocaust. I am glad that we are working closely with the state on the way to achieving this goal."

Mikhail Fridman, a member of the Supervisory Board, co-founder and chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Alfa Group Consortium and the international investment company Letterone, co-founder of the Jewish Congress of Russia and the Genesis Philanthropy Group charity fund, told that he did not hesitate to join the initiative to create a memorial to Babyn Yar. "My relatives died in Babyn Yar, even no graves were left. Of course, the Jewish community knew what had happened here. But for many years, it was a taboo topic. The turning point was the poem "Babyn Yar", written and read by Evgeny Yevtushenko. This was the first public case of protest against the oblivion of victims. Then people felt it was possible to fight to keep this place from turning into a stadium or something else. Creating a memorial here is important not only for Ukraine and the Jewish community, but also for the whole world", he noted.

"Some of my relatives also went to Babyn Yar by order. When I first heard about the Memorial Center project, I agreed to take part in it with great responsibility, – told during a press conference Herman Khan, co-founder and member of the Supervisory Board of Alfa Group consortium and the International Investment Company Letterone, headquartered in London, co-founder and a member of the Supervisory Board of the Jewish Congress of Russia and the Genesis Philanthropy Group Charitable Foundation. – One of the main tasks of this project is to tell the truth and try to influence the younger generations so that such tragedies can never happen again in the future. The development of tolerance, acceptance and equal treatment of people of different nationalities - this is the task that we set ourselves."

It's time to create a memorial in Babyn Yar. The next generations will be too far away from this tragedy. Politician, former president of Poland Alexander Kwasniewski stressed upon. In addition, according to him, this is a chance for Ukraine to start talking about different pages of its history and rethink them. "3 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust In Poland, in concentration camps and not only there. We need to talk about this. We need to talk frankly. Of course, every nation would like to see itself as a hero. But the truth is that there were people always and everywhere who helped, who really were heroes, and there were those who helped to kill. The history of Ukraine is complex and dramatic. But the modern nation is ready to tell the truth, see the truth, analyze it and draw conclusions that will benefit", – he stressed.

"I spent part of my childhood in the former Czechoslovakia, and our school education included visiting concentration camps that were located around Prague, as well as in Poland and Germany, – said Ukrainian athlete, multiple world boxing champion, public figure Volodymyr Klitschko. – The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is important not only for Kyiv, not only for Ukraine, but also for the whole world. He will teach future generations, just as I was once taught, how terrible Nazism is. History tends to repeat itself, so the research center is important, because such tragedies occurred not only in Babyn Yar, but also throughout Europe. I am sure that the Holocaust Center is very significant for the younger generation, for adults who are not very familiar with history. It is a great honor for me to be a member of the Supervisory Board of the Center."

80 years have already been lost, they were 50 years of Soviet regime, when the policy of oblivion was carried out. Finally, there is an opportunity to create a memorial, the chief rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich noted in his speech. "Now we can do something unique, something that will put Ukraine on the world map, and that may make other Holocaust museums in Ukraine and around the world think again about how to bring the museum sphere to a better modern stage. We have lost generations who knew nothing about the Holocaust. Those who were born in the 40s and 50s, even in the 60s, understood this, those born in the 90s and 2000s will now know this. And in the 70s and 80s, because of the Soviet system, they might never have known about it. But this is not a reason for us to lose the next generations. The most difficult thing is to tell the truth. Those in Ukraine who were killed in Babyn Yar were double victims. They were killed, and then their memory itself was destroyed by the Soviet authorities", he said.

As a reminder, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the tragedy, Babyn Yar hosts commemorative events designed to honor the memory of all the victims.

On September 29-30, 1941, almost 34 thousand Kyiv Jews were shot in Babyn Yar. Babyn Yar has become a terrible symbol of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe. It is almost the largest single mass grave of the Second World War. From 1941 to 1943, the Nazis shot 70 to 100 thousand people in Babyn Yar in Kyiv, they killed almost the entire Jewish population of the city. Roma, Ukrainians, Soviet prisoners of war, and patients of the psychiatric hospital were also killed in Babyn Yar.

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