Massive Holocaust Memorial Center to Be Built at Site of Babyn Yar Massacre in Ukraine, Where Over 30,000 Jews Were Killed
One of the largest Holocaust memorial centers in the world is set to be built at the site of the Babyn Yar Massacre near Kyiv, Ukraine, in which over 30,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis in 1941.
On September 29-30, 1941, 33,771 Jews were taken from Kyiv to the Babyn Yar ravine nearby and shot to death, marking one of the first major massacres of what would become the wholesale murder of Europe’s Jews.
Over the coming years, the site became an all-purpose Nazi killing ground for Jews and non-Jews, with an ultimate death toll estimated at 100,000.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) unveiled its plans for the new complex on Thursday. It will include a dozen buildings that will memorialize the Jewish and non-Jewish victims of Babyn Yar, as well as the Holocaust as a whole.
Among the planned sites will be a museum to commemorate the original massacre; another museum on the slaughter of Ukrainian and Eastern European Jews generally; a structure bearing the victims’ names; a spiritual center with a synagogue, church, and mosque; an educational center; and a multi-media center.
The synagogue and exhibition space are scheduled to be completed as early as this year, ahead of September’s 80th anniversary of the massacre.
The Ukrainian-born former head of the Jewish Agency and Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky, who is the chair of the BYHMC’s Supervisory Board, commented, “The concept which was presented is both very interesting and amazing. It demonstrates how the museum and educational center will not only both be high quality, but at the same time different from many other Holocaust centers. As such, it will help fill a vacuum in the field of Holocaust studies.”
Board member Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, a Ukrainian politician and artist, said of the planned complex, “Being in the very heart of Ukraine, in our capital, it will reflect Ukraine’s history within the Holocaust, World War II, part of the history of the land we live in.”
Board member Aleksander Kwasniewski, the former President of Poland, said the new center “will allow us to find a common language with the younger generation, in order to show the depths of this tragedy.”