KYIV, Ukraine, June 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, announced today at a joint press briefing alongside the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC), that an official state event to mark the eightieth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre will take place on 6 October, 2021 in Kyiv.
33,771 Jewish victims were shot at Babyn Yar by the Nazis during just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others were shot thereafter at Babyn Yar throughout the Nazi occupation of Kyiv. The estimated number of victims murdered at Babyn Yar is around 100,000, making it Europe's largest mass grave. Babyn Yar has become a powerful symbol of the 'Holocaust by Bullets,' the estimated 2.5 million Jews who were murdered near their homes in similar Nazi mass shootings across Eastern Europe, 1.5 million of them in Ukraine alone.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center announced earlier this year for the development of a museum complex, which will stretch over an area of 150 hectares, making it one of the world's largest Holocaust memorial centers. A dozen buildings will eventually be erected as part of the complex, including a symbolic synagogue, which was recently completed. Two additional structures, both memorial installations, will be unveiled to coincide with the state commemoration on 6 October.
The "Crystal Wall of Crying," by conceptual and performance artist, Marina Abramović will be one of the biggest art installations constructed in Europe during the last decade. "Kurgan of Memory" will be the first museum building on the site. The architecture takes the shape of a kurgan, a type of tumulus or burial mound raised over a final resting ground, significant to the history of Ukraine.
Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak noted that the state is preparing a significant action plan regarding the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
"It is very important for us that after 80 years since this deplorable tragedy took place, and on the 30th year of Ukraine's Independence, President Volodymyr Zelensky has become the one who has finally taken personal control over this issue. And we have really started building the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, the first stage of which will be opened this year."
Yermak said that President Zelensky has established a task force to complete the entire memorial within a few years and start operating as a museum complex.
"Historical justice and historical memory, without which humanity cannot develop, are really very important for Ukraine. This is a global event to emphasize once again that such tragedies should not be repeated. On the other hand, it will once again demonstrate that Ukraine is a country of tolerance, a peaceful country."
Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that the Cabinet of Ministers plans to approve an action plan for the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy as soon as possible. He commented, "Implementation and support of the initiatives to commemorate the events at Babyn Yar is testament to our sadness and awareness of the greatest tragedy on the European continent during the last century."
Human rights activist Natan Sharansky, Chair of the supervisory board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, told today's briefing, The 80th anniversary of this dreadful massacre is the ideal opportunity to right an historic wrong, for the sake of Ukraine, the Jewish People and indeed the world. It is a chance to tell the stories of those who were murdered, to honor their memories and to learn the lessons of this terrible tragedy."
Ilya Khrzhanovsky, BYHMC's Artistic Director, who is developing the museum complex along with an international artistic board comprising world renowned architects and artists said, "Our goal is to create a space that makes the history of Babyn Yar close and relevant to anyone, no matter the nation, gender, age or religion. We want people to feel and understand that the story of Babyn Yar is their story, the story of their neighbours, their city, their nation, their world. Babyn Yar is a place of death for many victims - Jews, Roma, Soviet prisoners, psychiatric patients, Ukrainian nationalists, communists. All those who died there must be remembered and commemorated. All of them deserve to have a voice to tell the story of Babyn Yar. In this way, Babyn Yar is a polyphonic story, made up of the many stories of the people who died there, witnesses and survivors, of the tangible, cultural and natural objects that call this history."
Photos – Courtesy, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
About the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre https://babynyar.org/en is a non-governmental charity whose purpose is to preserve and cultivate the memory of the Holocaust and the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine by turning the Babyn Yar area into a place of remembrance. The Foundation's mission is to worthily honour the memory of the victims of the tragedy and to contribute to the humanization of society through preserving and studying the history of the Holocaust. In September 2020, Ukraine's government represented by the Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko, under the auspices of the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation with BYHMC, represented by Supervisory Board member Ronald S. Lauder, to promote the construction of a fitting memorial to the Babyn Yar tragedy. A series of commemorations during 2021 will mark the eightieth anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
SOURCE Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center