The Holocaust Memorial will be built in Kyiv: the concept of memorialization of Babyn Yar was presented

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center presented the creative concept of the Memorial and the results of its work for 2020. On January 14, the concept was presented to the Supervisory Board and on January 21 to the Public Council of the Memorial Center.

During the presentation, the site of the Memorial Center was subjected to a powerful hacker attack, because of which we were forced to close our on-line archive.

An international group of authors worked on the creative concept. It included architects, historians, museum curators, artists, and Holocaust researchers recognized worldwide and in Ukraine. Such interdisciplinary approach allowed a comprehensive approach to the memorialization of the entire territory of the Babyn Yar.

According to the concept, the future Memorial Complex will include:

The Museum of Babyn Yar Tragedy 1941-1943

The Museum of the Holocaust in Ukraine and Eastern Europe;

Museum of Babi Yar Tragedy oblivion;

Museum of the History of the Place and the Kurenev Tragedy;

An installation dedicated to the namese of the victims of the Babyn Yar Tragedy;

A space for prayer: synagogue, church, mosque, non-denominational space;

Educational, scientific, and public discussion center;

Mediatheque, Library, Archives and Collection

Educational and play space for children;

 Psychological Trauma Rehabilitation Center.

In 2021, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the tragedy of Babi Yar, the construction of a synagogue is planned, as well as the opening of an exposition zone. The synagogue is the first facility to be built as part of the concept this spring. Its author is the world-famous architect Mauel Hertz, who designed the unique synagogue in Mainz, a professor at the University of Basel.

“The Holocaust tragedy, in particular the tragedy of Babyn Yar, took place 80 years ago. Today the generation of the last witnesses of the tragedy  is being gone. The direct connection of time will soon disappear, the future generation will lose the opportunity to understand, know, and most importantly, feel what happened 80 years ago. Our task is to turn it from an abstraction into something alive, into something emotionally influential, into something that can evoke compassion, a sense of love for neighbors, a sense of shame for humanity that allowed it, a sense of tenderness and pain of losing the whole world. Our goal is to create a space that will make the history of Babyn Yar close, relevant to anyone, regardless of nation, gender, age and religion,” Ilya Khrzhanovsky, an artistic director of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, said.

More details about the concept and the authors can be found here.

The concept was supported by members of the Supervisory Board and received positive feedback from the Public Council of the Memorial Center.

“The presented concept is very interesting and impressive. It demonstrates how this museum and educational center will be of high quality and at the same time not the same as many other Holocaust centers, it will fill this information vacuum that is now present in all the Holocaust studies,” Natan Sharansky, Chairperson of the of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center concluded after the presentation.

Iryna Bokova, a member of the Supervisory Board, Bulgarian politician and diplomat, Director General of the UNESCO (2009–2017), also expressed her impressions of the work carried out by the team of the Memorial Center. “Various aspects are impressive. And there are innovative ways, and, at the same time, an emotional component is present here,” she noted. “We need to preserve it. Based on the experience of my previous work, including that at the UNESCO, I will say that it is not very easy to retain memory even when there are such places of memory. The team is heading in the right direction.”

“We have seen an innovative approach and high quality. A center can become something completely new, without repeating other centers of the world. It can become a center that will allow to make a deeper presentation of this tragedy, find a common language with the younger generation,” Aleksander Kwaśniewski, a member of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, President of Poland (1995–2005), said. “It is very good that the team has representatives of several generations, because they can exchange different views and feelings. It is not easy to find a language for educating young people, because almost 80 years have passed, and there are few witnesses to the Babyn Yar tragedy. Therefore, it is important to create such an interesting concept, a place of education and communication with young people. I think that the team of the Memorial Center will succeed in this.”

“I have to admit the team’s work,” Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, a member of the Supervisory Board of the Memorial Center, musician, politician, public figure, said. “I would like to note two important points. First of all, it is necessary to make sure that the context of the Babyn Yar tragedy and the museum itself become part of the world historical picture. At the same time, there should be something opposite. We should be sure that this museum will be unique. Located in the very heart of Ukraine, in our capital, it will reflect the Ukrainian part of the history of the Holocaust, World War II, history of the land, on which we live. The combination of these things — the global context and the national context — will be successful.”

“We have a lot to think about. After the presentation, the principles of the architects’ work became clear, it is clear on which principles the future architectural concept will be based,” said Diana Popova, a member of the Public Council of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and director of the Kyiv City State Administration’s culture department. “Many things in the presentation was about the moment of the physical embodiment of what will happen. So far, we have only seen the Synagogue. And it’s great, I think it will impress. In any case, we will rethink the fate of all people who was killed in Babyn Yar, not just Jews. But the tragedy of Babyn Yar began with the tragedy of the Jewish people. And the implementation of the concept, apparently, should be started with this.”

Diana Popova also admitted that she was impressed by the educational projects presented by the Memorial Center. In this she was supported by a member of the Public Council, actor, director, Honored Artist of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea Akhtem Seitablaev. “It is a fantastic decision to involve students in co-creation, in research. After all, to the humanistic direction, when a person, researching, participating, creating this memory, gets acquainted with the tragic history of mankind, analyzes, draws conclusions and becomes the adult who will never allow it,” he said.

Another member of the Public Council, co-founder of the Tabletochki Charitable Foundation, Olga Kudynenko, noted the complexity of the approach and the longevity of the projects. “Due to the fact that it will go through several stages, a lot of people will be involved in it, these people will think about what happened. It is a support for collective memory. The concept does not leave you indifferent for a second. I am completely with you,” she said.

Oleksandr Zlotnyk, a member of the Public Council, composer, People’s Artist, and chairman of the Religious Association of Progressive Judaism of Ukraine, thanked to the team of authors for the concept. “This is a very good multifaceted work, in which worthy people are involved,” he said. “Of course, we must remember that not only Jews were killed in Babyn Yar. But at the same time, it should be emphasized that only Jews and Roma are those who were exterminated not because they were related to the government or for fighting the Nazis, but because they were Jews and Roma. This is a colossal tragedy. Of course, Babyn Yar is a tragedy for all mankind, for all nationalities. But for the Jewish people first of all.”


The composition of the authors of the creative concept:

Nick Axel – curator, architectural critic, editor of e-flux Architecture magazine and head of the architectural design department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

Robert Jan van Pelt – Dutch writer and architectural historian, professor at the University of Waterloo and Holocaust researcher. Dr. Robert Jan Van Pelt is one of the world’s leading experts on Auschwitz. Jewish Award winner.

Troy Conrad Therrien – Curator of Architecture and Digital Initiatives at the Guggenheim Museum Professor of Architecture at Columbia University.

Ines Weizman – professor of architecture theory, Ines is the Head of the PhD Architecture Program at the Royal College of Art. Director of the Bauhaus-Institute of History and Theory of Architecture and Planning and director of the Centre for Documentary Architecture (CDA) at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.

Adrien Gardere – French designer and museographer, has designed museums: the Louvre-Lens in northern France (2012), the Cairo Islamic Art Museum in Egypt (2010), Aga Khan Museum in Toronto (2013), the future Museum of Roman Antiquities in Narbonne in France.

Barbara Holzer – an architect, professor at the Peter Behrens School of Architecture in Dusseldorf (D). Well-known works: the National Holocaust Memorial Buchenwald in Weimar, Military History Museum in Dresden (D) and many joint works with Daniel Libeskind as on Jewish Museum Berlin, Felix Nussbaum Museum or the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.

Martin Dean – PhD focused on History from Queens’​ College, Cambridge, England. A research scholar at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, worked as an historian at the Metropolitan Police War Crimes Unit, Scotland Yard.

Manuel Herz is a professor at the University of Basel. He is the architect of the Synagogue in Mainz, is currently transforming a synagogue in Cologne, is building a large hospital in Senegal and is carrying out several projects in Europe and beyond.

Sergei Loznitsa – Ukrainian director, winner of Cannes film festival, the Oleksandr Dovzhenko State Prize of Ukraine. Received numerous international awards, including festival prizes in Karlovy Vary, Leipzig, Oberhausen, Krakow, Paris, Madrid, Toronto, Jerusalem, St-Petersburg.

Ilya Khrzhanovsky is an artistic director of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. Director, screenwriter, cultural leader. Winner and participant of many international film festivals, including the Berlinale. Member of the European Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Ruslan Kavatsiuk – Deputy General Manager of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. An advisor to vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration (206-2019), adviser to the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (2015-2017).

Vyacheslav Mishiev – Doctor of Medicine, Professor, Honoured Physician of Ukraine, Head of the Department of General, Child, Forensic Psychiatry and Narcology at the National Medical Academy. Director of the Territorial Medical Association “PSYCHIATRY” in Kyiv.

Boris Berenfeld – Boris Berenfeld is a PhD biophysicist and Internet education theorist specialising in the application of technology in education and information and reference pedagogy. Chief Education and Technology Advisor at BAM, President and CEO of the International Laboratory for Innovative Educational Technology (ILAET).

Anna Kamyshan – Director of Conceptual Development and Research Projects at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre. Curator of art and architecture projects, including the Milan Triennale exhibition project and the Rotor Centre for Contemporary Art in Graz, Austria.  Author of the installation “A Glimpse into the Past” on Victory Avenue.

Maksym Rokmaniko – Director of the Centre for Spatial Technologies. An architect and researcher.

Ksenia Marchenko – one of the directors of “ЯR Media” project at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre.

Oleh Shovenko – Director of the Library, Collection and Publishing Projects at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre.

Anna Furman – Director of the “Names” project at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre. More than 10 years’ experience in legal practice – migration law, various social and community Jewish projects.

Marina Abramović – conceptual and performance artist. Abramović is awarded the Golden Lion prize for Best Artist of the Biennale. A professor at Hochschule für Bildende Kunste in Braunschweig, Germany, founder of Marina Abramović Institute (MAI).

Alexey Makukhin – Executive Director at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre. Вrand manager of Beeline Ukraine, 1+1 and ArmiyaFM. From 2015 to 2018, Advisor to the Minister of Defence of Ukraine on Public Communications.

Dasha Dzhuromskaya – Administrative director at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre.
Max Yakover – CEO of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre. Founder of Kiev’s first co-working “Chasopys”, CEO of VDNH (2014-2016) and CEO of UNIT City Innovation Park (2016-2019).

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