The date and format of the Memorial Synagogue inauguration will depend on the quarantine - "Babyn Yar"

05.04.2021, 09:35
The date, format and number of participants in the public opening of the symbolic synagogue and place of prayer in Babyn Yar will be determined after the date of lifting the quarantine restrictions of the "red zone" in Kyiv is announced.

This was announced by Ruslan Kavatsyuk, deputy general director of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Charity Foundation, in response to a request from Radio Svoboda (Liberty).

"Kyivan residents, guests of the capital and media representatives will be invited to the opening of the facility," Babyn Yar representatives noted.

On February 23, the Kyiv City Council postponed voting for the transfer of three additional land plots for lease to the Babyn Yar International Holocaust Memorial Center. Kyiv Mayor Vitaly Klyko said that it is necessary "first to hold separate deputy hearings, where the fund will represent the concession and will be able to answer all the questions that the deputies are concerned about."

The date of these hearings also depends on the lifting of quarantine restrictions, the Memorial Center said.

"As soon as the quarantine restrictions are completed, and public hearings are held, we expect that the City Council will put the issue of allocating land plots on its agenda according to the schedule of meetings," the response to the request says.

The opening of the Memorial Synagogue in Babyn Yar was preliminarily scheduled for April. The art object will be created in the form of a symbolic Memorial Synagogue, which, like a book, will be opened and closed by mechanisms. The author was the world-famous architect, Professor of the University of Basel Manuel Hertz, who designed the synagogue in Mainz.

The synagogue will be located on a small plot behind the Menorah Monument near the slope of the ravine.

The Jewish community, public figures and scientists led by dissident, former political prisoner, co-president of the VAAD of Ukraine Joseph Zisels also oppose the construction of this synagogue, arguing that it will stand on the land of the old Kirillovsky cemetery.

Zisels is also convinced that the synagogue construction project is part of Russia's information war against Ukraine. The construction "violates all possible prohibitions and restrictions on the Jewish religion, as well as Ukrainian legislation and international obligations of Ukraine," he said.

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center was founded in 2016 on the initiative and at the expense of Russian businessmen Mikhail Fridman, Pavel Fuchs and German Khan. In May 2020, an appeal of the Ukrainian cultural and scientific community on the memorialization of the Babyn Yar was published. It was signed by more than 750 people, including well-known human rights defenders, writers, and historians. The signatories are concerned about the Memorial Center's ties with Russia and the general concept of covering the events in the Babyn Yar.

During the German occupation during World War II, the Babyn Yar tract in Kyiv became the site of mass shootings of civilians. Most of the extermination was carried out by Jews and Roma, as well as prisoners of war and members of the OUN. The data on the number of those killed in the Babyn Yar varies from 70 to 200 thousand. The Ukrainian Center for the study of the history of the Holocaust indicates about 100 thousand victims during the two years of occupation of Kyiv.