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February 8, 2018 3:29 pm

‘Ukraine Remains Blind Spot on Map of Holocaust Memorials’

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The visiting Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center delegation and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Feb. 8, 2018. Photo: Mark Neiman / GPO.

A group of executives from the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Thursday and briefed him about their effort build a museum at the site of the September 1941 massacre in which more than 33,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in a ravine near the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

“Ukraine remains a blind spot on the map of the Holocaust memorials,” BYHMC CEO Gennadii Verbylenko said. “Our goal is not about construction, but it is about building trust. We intend to be a community building institution. BYHMC is about remembering the past and building the future.”

Marek Siwiec — the BYHMC’s director for international affairs — said, “In a world where extremism grows stronger it is our goal not only to build a center, but to create a space that will form such a consciousness, with which it will become impossible to repeat the tragedies of World War II.”

Yana Barinova — the BYHMC’s chief operating officer — said, “I am sure that the implementation of the BYHMC project will not only change the historical consciousness of Ukraine, but, given the great interest and attention in the world to the problems of the Babi Yar, it will undoubtedly become one of the significant events in the life of the international community.”

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Rivlin praised the BYHMC’s work, saying, “It is a pleasure to meet all of you, because this is something so necessary. The new generations, even the current generation, they don’t know exactly what happened all over.”

“I say to all heads of state I meet with, that Israel is not compensation for the Holocaust — my family came here 210 years ago — but it is important to let everyone know that the Holocaust is a milestone in our lives and in our history, and Babi Yar is something that must be remembered when we talk about all the things we have been through as a nation,” Rivlin continued.

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