Heads of Jewish communities call on Kyivrada to support the Babyn Yar memorial project

19.02.2021, 13:15
Heads of Jewish communities call on Kyivrada to support the Babyn Yar memorial project - фото 1
The heads of Jewish communities of Ukraine call on the Kyiv City Council to support the project of erecting a memorial in Babyn Yar.

According to Ukrinform, the appeal was published on the Facebook page of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.

"The imposed political labels on the memorial and attempts to use the theme of honoring the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar in the political struggle are of serious concern. We call on all political forces to stop manipulating the topic of the Holocaust, to stop dividing Jews whose relatives died from Shoah into right and wrong. It is inadmissible to use the memory of such a tragedy in the political struggle," the appeal says.

The authors call on the City Council to allocate three additional land plots, two of which are part of the Jewish cemetery destroyed by the Soviet authorities.

The letter says that the memorial is supported by key international institutions that deal with the issue of Holocaust Remembrance.

"The memorial cooperates with the Israeli Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority Yad Vashem, and also has active support from the European Parliament. The memorial center became the first Ukrainian institution with which the Federal Archive of Germany (Bundesarchiv) signed a cooperation agreement," the appeal says.

The heads of Jewish Communities in Ukraine call on deputies to "vote unanimously for this decision, thus demonstrating respect for the victims and their memory."

The appeal was signed by 44 representatives of Jewish organizations from all over Ukraine. They include the president of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine Boris Lozhkin, the president of the Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine, Chief Rabbi of the city of Kyiv and Ukraine Yakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Moshe Reuven Asman, Chairman of the Council of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine Meir Zvi Stumbler, Chief Rabbi of Dnipro and Dnipropetrovsk region Shmuel Kaminetsky, Chairman of the NGO "Association of Jews - Former Prisoners Of Ghettos and Nazi Concentration Camps" Boris Zabarko, Executive Director of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress Joseph Axelrud, several Chief Rabbis of major Ukrainian cities and leaders of Jewish public organizations. The collection of signatures continues.

At the same time, on February 15, well-known artists, scientists, and public activists sent an open letter to the Kyiv mayor and the Kyiv City Council, in which they urge not to support the Russian project of the Babyn Yar memorial. In particular, they drew attention to the direct involvement of Russian businessmen Mikhail Fridman and German Khan, who are associated with Vladimir Putin, in this project.

According to the signatories, there are grounds "to believe that this private Russian project is another special operation of hybrid warfare." In particular, they noted that in the letter of the SBU dated 22.01.2021, the idea of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center to create a Memorial Synagogue on the territory of the St Cyril Cemetery in Babyn Yar was mentioned "as potentially dangerous for the international image of Ukraine."

They called on the Kyiv City Council to hold broad public hearings on the issue of Babyn Yar memorialization based on the Ukrainian concept developed by the working group of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Professor Hennadiy Boryak.

The appeal was signed, in particular, by the participants of the initiative group "December 1" - co-president of the VAAD of Ukraine Iosif Zisels, vice-rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University Myroslav Marynovych, the hero of Ukraine, academician of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Ivan Dzyuba, Hero of Ukraine, honorary president of Naukma Vyacheslav Bryukhovetsky; people's deputy, leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev; hero of Ukraine, long-term political prisoner, people's deputy of the VIII convocation Yuriy-Bohdan Shukhevych; writer, winner of the National Shevchenko Prize Oksana Zabuzhko and others.

As reported, on January 25, 2021, the Babнт Yar Holocaust Memorial Center presented an artistic concept for the future museum complex in Kyiv, consisting of a synagogue, a rehabilitation center, installations and educational spaces.

The press service of the center said that an international group of more than 20 authors under the leadership of the artistic director of the Memorial Center Ilya Hrzhanovsky worked on the concept.

The project is sponsored by Russian businessmen Mikhail Fridman, German Khan, Pavel Fuchs. Later, Viktor Pinchuk joined them.

Minister of Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko said that he saw no risk in the implementation of this project to memorialize the Babyn Yar.