Photo: Reuters

Spielberg presents documentary about Babi Yar

Film by Ukrainian director Serhiy Bukovsky, Spell Your Name, contains testimony of Jewish survivors from Nazi massacre

Steven Spielberg on Wednesday presented a documentary about the Nazi massacre of tens of thousands of Jews at the Babi Yar ravine in Ukraine, several weeks after Ukraine marked the 65th anniversary of the tragedy.


The film by Ukrainian director Serhiy Bukovsky, Spell Your Name, for which Spielberg worked as co-executive producer, contains the testimony of Jewish survivors who escaped brutal execution and those who rescued friends and neighbors during the Holocaust.


"The stories and experience of survivors in Ukraine need to be seen and heard by the people of the world, who may not know what happened in Ukraine during the Holocaust," Spielberg said at a news conference.


33,700 murdered in 48 hours

The massacre began in late September 1941 when Nazi forces occupying Kiev marched Jews to the brink of the steep Babi Yar ravine and shot them. More than 33,700 Ukrainian Jews were killed over 48 hours.


In the ensuing months, the number of people killed at Babi Yar grew to more than 100,000, and included Roma, or Gypsies, as well as other Kiev residents and Red Army prisoners.


Ceremony at Babi Yar (Photo: AP)


"I really believe that listening to the stories of Holocaust survivors from all around the world is going to change the world and already has in many ways," Spielberg said.


The film was produced by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, a Los Angeles-based organization founded by Spielberg in 1994.


With a collection of nearly 52,000 video testimonies from Jewish survivors, political prisoners and war crimes trial participants, the Institute's archive in one of the largest visual history archive in the world.


"I could imagine making a film from every single one," Bukovsky said.


'I'm home'

"This film is one of the steps forward to complete understanding of the terrible tragedy of mankind, which shouldn't happen again," said Anatoly Kerzhner, a historian at a Kiev-based institute who attended the presentation.


"This film is not only the memory of my people, this is the memory of my family, too," said Kerzhner, whose grandmother was shot dead at the Babi Yar ravine


The premier marked Spielberg's first trip to Ukraine, where his grandparents came from.


"I was brought up in a home where grandparents only spoke Russian and Yiddish," Spielberg said. "I got out of the plane at the airport today and said: 'I'm at home!'"


פרסום ראשון: 10.19.06, 14:51
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