KYIV, Ukraine, July 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- At an online meeting to discuss construction of the future Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky told the Center's Supervisory Board that he supports its construction:
"The establishment of the memorial is extremely important for our country. Its history contains a lot of tragic pages. But we must bear them in mind and tell the coming generations about them. Such moments should stay in the history of Ukraine. They are in our talks, in our memory, in books. It would be very good if this project were brought into life and we built history together with you."
President Zelensky also emphasized the importance of remembering the Ukrainian "Righteous Among the Nations," who saved Jews in the Holocaust.
In a significant development, the meeting participants agreed to form a working committee, headed by Andrii Yermak, Head of the Presidential Administration. The committee will coordinate regarding the framework of the Memorial's establishment as well as to prepare for the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
Supervisory Board member, President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, stressed that the future memorial must give visitors a clear answer to the question of what is anti-Semitism and draw the world's attention to Babyn Yar.
Ronald Lauder said, "This is the third generation that knows about the Holocaust. But while almost everybody knows about Auschwitz, the history of Babyn Yar is almost unknown to young people. I want people to visit Kyiv in order to see the Babyn Yar Memorial, to understand what happened here. We have a chance now to do something fantastic. The more people that know what happened at Babyn Yar, the better off the world will be."
The Head of the Supervisory Board, Natan Sharansky pointed out that the history of Babyn Yar is not only of importance for Jewish people, as it is also the site where other nationalities perished, in particular, Ukrainian, Belarus, and Polish people.
Natan Sharansky said, "This initiative is not just a monument, but a critical memorial, with a museum, a research center, contributing to raising the degree of tolerance in society, playing a global role in Ukraine's positioning in the world. Such institutions throughout the world are established in partnership with the state and supported by its key officials."
The first President of Ukraine (1991-1994) Leonid Kravchuk, who has also joined the Supervisory Board, emphasized that the future Memorial will make an indisputable historical statement. "This Project is interesting, important, and highly comprehensive. It is part of history. Babyn Yar is a terrible tragedy and that's why we have to create an unrivalled memory of it, to make the best project possible."
Another Supervisory Board member, former-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chancellor of Germany (1998-2005) Joschka Fischer, said "For my country, it's very important not to forget and to contribute everything that we can towards memory of the Holocaust and this terrible crime."
In September 1941, just days after the Nazis occupied Kyiv, around 34,000 of the city's Jews were marched to the Babyn Yar ravine and shot dead over a two-day period. Later massacres were also carried out at the same site, killing victims of other minorities and nationalities.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center will respectfully commemorate the victims of the tragedy and promote the humanization of mankind through preserving memory and study of the history of the Holocaust.
About the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre 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.
SOURCE Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center