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Photo: World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews
Illustration of new memorial site
Photo: World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews
New Babi Yar memorial site revealed
Complex to be built in Ukraine aims to allow visitors from around world to experience emotional connection to horrific slaughter of some 50,000 Jews by Nazis 70 years ago
A model of the new memorial site to be built at Babi Yar in Ukraine, where an estimated 50,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust, was presented Sunday for the first time by Alexander Levin, president of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews (WFRJ) and head of the Jewish community in Kiev.

 

Levin spoke at a gala in Kiev, sponsored by the WFRJ, in honor of the gathering of the Governing Board of the Jewish Agency that convenes in Kiev this week.

 

Among the attendees at the event were Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Qajar, Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency James Tisch, Chairman of the Jewish Agency Natan Sharansky, and officials from the United Israel Appeal, KKL and Jewish communities around the world.

 

According to Levin, the purpose of the new memorial site is to allow visitors from around the world to experience an emotional connection to the horrific slaughter that occurred at Babi Yar over 70 years ago.


Levin next to model of site (Photo: Shimon Briman)

 

The site will display a variety of historic material, including remains of clothes and belongings of the murdered, documents from the Nazi archives, a 3D film, and interviews with survivors.

 

Another main element of the site will be a Jewish center and synagogue that will symbolize the revival of Jewish life in the place where Nazis once planned to exterminate every remnant of Judaism.

 

Construction of the site will begin in the next few months and is expected to take around two and a half years to complete. The funding of the site will come mostly from Levin and Vadim Rabinovich, a Jewish philanthropist from Ukraine. United Israel Appeal is also expected to raise money.

 

Babi Yar is a ravine in the northwest sector of the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the location where Nazis murdered around 100,000 people in total, more than half of them Jews, from September 29, 1941 onward.

 

Nearly 34,000 Jews were slaughtered between the two-day span of September 29-30, which is defined as the most gruesome Holocaust extermination carried out in such a short period of time. Over the next year, 15,000 additional Jews were murdered there.

 

In his speech, Levin called on all leaders of Europe, particularly the president of Ukraine, to serve as board members for the new memorial site.

 

"It’s not just a tragedy for the Jewish people, it’s a tragedy for the entire world, and the memorial site will commemorate not only the killings of Jewish people, but also all other victims who were brutally murdered by the Nazis on Ukrainian territory," Levin said.

 

Levin also sternly warned of the current anti-Semitism plaguing the region and called on European leaders to act more firmly to eradicate all manifestations of anti-Semitism in their country.

 

 

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