The event, commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Nazi mass-murder, features survivors and witnesses of the Babyn Yar massacre.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 19:13
Preparations for dedication of the ‘Mirror Field’, 79 years after the massacre at Babyn Yar (photo credit: BABYN YAR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL CENTER)
Global leaders join together at a ceremony commemorating the 79th anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre. Hosted online by the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial Center (BYHMC), participants include Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, former US Senator Joe Lieberman, human rights icon Natan Sharansky and chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev.
The Babyn Yar massacre is one of the largest instances of mass-murder during the Holocaust. In just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941, Nazis forces who had only days earlier occupied Kyiv, marched the city’s Jews to the Babyn Yar ravine, where 33,771 men, women and children were ruthlessly shot dead. Later, throughout the Nazi occupation in Kyiv, the site also saw tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others shot and killed.
Babyn Yar symbolizes the ‘forgotten story’ of the Holocaust: the 1.5 million Jews who were not taken to camps and gas chambers but shot across Ukraine, and similar stories beyond.
Mainly due to decades of Soviet efforts to suppress the memory of Jewish suffering, their story has until now largely evaded the historical record. The ceremony, viewed across the world online, features survivors and witnesses of the Babyn Yar massacre.
Testimony is also provided by Olga Kobets, whose family risked their own lives by hiding an 8-year-old Jewish boy at their home in Kyiv during the Nazi occupation.
Speakers at the event include Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Chair of the supervisory board at BYHMC and human rights icon Natan Sharansky, Chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev, Former US Senator Joe Lieberman, Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee David Harris, Chairman of the International March of The Living Dr. Shmuel Rosenman and Chairman of the Jewish Agency Isaac Herzog.
In addition, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center CEO Max Yakover and Artistic Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky presents details of the Center’s new research, shedding fresh light on the massacre. This includes the discovery of more than 900 newly discovered names of victims, plus research which has utilized state of the art topographic, forensic tools, and historic photos to identify the exact location of the massacre for the first time, recreating the area in a 3D model.
Although the museum is due to open its doors in 2026, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center already operates twelve education and commemoration programs. The broadcast can be also accessed via the Babyn Yay Holocaust Memorial Center Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/babynyar.memorial/