Institute of National Remembrance refutes fake news about discarded human remains in Babyn Yar
According to Ukrinform, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance notes this in a comment published on its official website.
"On December 25, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center conducted excavations in the area where, according to the documents of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve, the former St. Cyril Orthodox cemetery is located. The area where the excavations were carried out also borders an ancient Jewish cemetery. Reverence for burial sites is inherent in both Christian Orthodox and Jewish religious traditions. Therefore, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance emphasizes that it is not necessary to carry out earthworks for no particular reason within cemeteries, which can disturb the mortal remains of people or damage burials," the commentary says.
Its authors note that the implementation of projects concerning the Orthodox and Jewish communities without dialogue with these communities and considering their opinion is all the more unacceptable.
"The Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance appeals to initiatives involved or interested in memorializing Babyn Yar with a reminder that this space, unfortunately, has long been a space of tragedy, oblivion and wars of memory. Every project intended to memorialize Babyn Yar, if implemented without proper sensitivity to this complex space and respect for all those concerned, will only provoke tension in society and conflict," the UINR warns.
They remind that there is a "plan for organizing the territory of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve, which indicates protected areas. Using this document, Jewish, Christian Orthodox, Karaite, Muslim or other participating communities can jointly agree on the location of new religious or memorial structures in the Babyn Yar.
They also note that the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance has not been officially requested to recommend institutions that carry out earthworks. During the working communication between the Institute's leadership, the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, several organizations in this area with a good reputation were named, including the private enterprise 'Memory and Glory'.
At the same time, the UINR notes that, according to the information available to them, the message spread by some media, claiming that the human remains found during the excavations were thrown away, does not correspond to reality. During earthworks, fragments of a human skull and animal remains were found. The animal bones were actually removed, while the human remains were returned to the bottom of the pit and covered with soil.
"It is planned that more detailed information about the work carried out will be published in the report of the private enterprise 'Memory and Glory'," the authors of the comment report.
On November 6, 2020, it was reported that a Memorial Synagogue was scheduled to open on the territory of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve in 2021, in preparation for the 80th anniversary of the tragedy. The project was initiated by the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center together with the chief rabbis of Kyiv and Ukraine Yakov Dov Bleich and Moshe Reuven Asman. The construction of the Memorial Synagogue is planned as part of the overall vision of memorialization of the entire territory of the Babyn Yar, which will also include the construction of a museum, scientific and educational centers and the improvement of the entire territory of the Memorial Park.
According to Max Yakover, General Director of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve, the installation of ceremonial structures in Memorial Parks and other places of memory corresponds to common world practice. In addition, this is provided for by the current plans of the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve, on the territory of which an Orthodox church already operates.