Over 1,000 religious and political leaders, in addition to members of the public, marked the massacre of more than 34,000 Jews murdered by National Socialist forces in 1941 in just two days. The memorial took place on September 27 at a ravine near Babi Yar
Survivors recall that Jews in
At the memorial service, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, and Israeli President Moshe Katsav, solemnly processed behind an honour guard of Ukrainian soldiers bearing flowers to mark the place where the victims fell. Both of the dignitaries spoke to the assembly, while witnesses, liberators, and survivors – as well as some now recognized as Righteous Gentiles by the Israeli Government – were also on hand. Representatives from other countries were also present. The memorial was the brainchild of Russian Jewish businessman and founder of the World Holocaust Forum Vyacheslav Moshe Kantor. “Most people today simply don’t know what happened here”, said Kantor who added that the idea for the memorial came to him some years ago when he noticed children playing soccer at the site of the massacre. Some observers express misgivings that the site is now used as a park for picnickers and children’s sports. The September 27th memorial was held at a Soviet era monument, while a more private memorial service was held by Jews at another nearby monument in the form of a menorah.
Sixty-five years ago, Nazis murdered some 33,771 persons at the
Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.