UNMI holds a public discussion of the Babyn Yar concept
This was announced during a press conference by the head of the Ukrainian National Memory Institute Anton Drobovych, Ukrinform reports.
"The concept of Integrated Development of Babyn Yar is a 200-page document. Electronic consultations, which are a form of public discussion, will last until November 10, 2021. Please send your suggestions, comments, and suggestions – preferably specific, with a link to specific pages and sections of the concept – to the Ukrainian Institute of national memory. We will process them and publish a report," Drobovych said.
He noted that the report on the result of the electronic discussion will be published on the UNMI website. After the completion of public and expert discussions, the concept of Integrated Development (memorialization) of Babyn Yar will be proposed to the government for consideration.
Drobovich recalled that the concept was developed by a special Working Group at the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, established in 2017 in compliance with the Presidential Decree and government decision. It includes historians, museum specialists, architects, and lawyers. The concept has been reviewed by more than 40 scientists from all over the world.
While presenting the document, its co-author, senior researcher of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences Tetiana Pastushenko, stated that the concept provides for the creation of an integral memorial complex in Babyn Yar as an alternative to the chaotic construction of individual monuments and memorials, it offers a vision of how to organize and combine existing objects and memorials into a complete Memorial Park. The concept also provides for the creation of two museums - the Ukrainian Holocaust Museum and the Babyn Yar memorial museum.
"Our concept is dedicated to the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar. These are Jews, Roma, captured Red Army soldiers, civilian hostages, patients of a psychiatric hospital, prisoners of the Syretsky camp, Ukrainian nationalists, Soviet underground workers and victims of the Kurenev disaster that occurred in 1961. But along with the memory of the victims, we also honor the memory of the people who saved the Jews, and the memory fighters who in the post-war period advocated a worthy celebration of the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar. We suggest moving away from creating separate monuments and memorial signs and looking at this problem in a comprehensive way. One of the means of such a comprehensive improvement of the territory is the creation of the Babyn Yar memorial park," Pastushenko said.
According to her, the museum complex, which will include the Babyn Yar History Museum and the Ukrainian Holocaust museum, should tell about the extermination of Jews on the territory of Ukraine during World War II in the context of the pan-European tragedy of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people. She noted that today in Ukraine and in Kyiv there is no inground exhibition that would tell about the history of Babyn Yar, and there is also no state museum dedicated to the Holocaust.
Pastushenko noted that the working group of the project, together with the Babyn Yar nature reserve, developed the concept of the exhibition of the Babyn Yar memorial museum, which is planned to be created in the office building of the Jewish cemetery – the only original building that remained on the territory of Babyn Yar. Repair and restoration works have been carried out there since 2017.
"If our concept of integrated memorialization is adopted, then in the future the exposition of this museum should be a pilot project, since the building itself is too small for such a large-scale project, and this will make it possible to make an exhibition dedicated to Babyn Yar in a short time and with a modest budget. And in the future, when the projects of the Memorial Park and Museum Complex are implemented, an Information Center may be located here," she said.
The Memorial Park, according to her, will include places of shootings and burials, as well as the territory associated with the Kurenev disaster of 1961.
"In other words, we suggest that the Memorial Park should include not only the territory of a modern nature reserve "Babyn Yar" and this should be a territory where all the tragedies that occurred in Babyn Yar would be reflected. The Memorial Park is our response to the chaotic development that currently continues on the territory of Babyn Yar. Our main goal is to prohibit further construction at the sites of shootings and burials and to create a territory that would honor the memory of the victims of Babyn Yar by means of landscape design and park architecture. Of course, all existing architectural memorial objects should be properly preserved here," Pastushenko emphasized.
In turn, co-author of the concept, Head of the Department of history of Ukraine during the Second World War of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Alexander Lysenko expressed hope that in the situation with the existence of the private project "Babyn Yar", Ukrainian civil society will demonstrate its maturity.
"In my opinion, such projects are implemented thoroughly, one hundred percent, only when, on the one hand, the state that takes responsibility is included, and on the other hand, civil society. Such large-scale projects are essentially gates that allow Ukraine to communicate with the world, and allow the world to communicate with Ukraine," Lysenko stressed.
The document can be downloaded on the website of the Institute of History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences. Please send your comments and suggestions to the following email address [email protected]. Specify "Babyn Yar" in the subject line.