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The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky had a video conference with the members of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.
The participants of the online meeting discussed construction of the future Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in the city of Kyiv.
Volodymyr Zelensky stressed the importance of commemoration of the Holocaust victims in Ukraine and supported establishment of this Memorial.
‘Many Ukrainians bear the high title ‘Righteous Among the Nations’. These are Ukrainians who saved Jews in the Holocaust sacrificing their own lives. Establishment of the memorial is extremely important for our country. Its history contains a lot of tragic pages. But we must bear them in minds and tell the coming generations about them. Such moments should stay in the history of Ukraine. They are in our talks, in our memory, in books. It would be very good if this project were brought into life and we built history together with you’, – told Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Head of the Supervisory Board of the ‘Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Fund Natan Sharansky pointed out that history of Babyn Yar is of importance not only for the Jewish people, since it is in this place that representatives of other nationalities perished, in particular, Ukrainian, Belarus and Polish people.
‘We have a common goal – to fight for the freedom and democracy of our peoples. This initiative is not just a monument, that is going to be a critical memorial, with the museum, a research centre, contributing to raising the degree of tolerance in the society and playing a global role in Ukraine’s positioning in the world as well as its international recognition. Such institutions throughout the world are established in partnership with the state and supported by its key officials’, – he indicated.
At the same time, the President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder stressed the following: the future memorial must give its visitors a clear answer to the question what anti-Semitism is. This project must be international and must draw attention of the whole world to the history of Ukraine.
‘This is the third generation that knows about the Holocaust. But while almost everybody knows about Auschwitz, the history of Babyn Yar is almost unknown to young people. I want people to visit Kyiv in order to see the Babyn Yar Memorial, to understand what happened here’, – he said.
The President of Poland (1995–2005) Aleksander Kwasniewski added that the project will considerably affect the image of Ukraine. ‘We want to seriously and emotionally speak about the events that occurred 80 years ago. And with this history we want to look and to understand how we should live in the future. The project will greatly affect the image of Ukraine and the way people will perceive contemporary Ukraine’.
The first President of Ukraine (1991-1994) Leonid Kravchuk joined the Supervisory Board. He indicated that the future Memorial is to be objectively truthful, honest and humane. “The Project is interesting, important and comprehensive. However, we have to design it in the way to avoid differences in the interpretations. We need to do our best for it to meet the highest humanitarian goals’, – he stated.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-Chancellor of Germany of the 1998-2005 period Joschka Fischer, the main goal of the project is awareness-raising and reaching out to the young generation. ‘In this project we will deploy advanced technologies to preserve history’, – he said.
And the member of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Fund Sviatoslav Vakarchuk said that construction of the complex equals preservation of the just history of Ukraine.
‘It is highly important to show that Ukraine is a part of the civilized world, that it respects its own memory and knows its history’, – he said.
The meeting participants discussed further partnership, establishment of the working group to coordinate the parties’ activities within the framework of the Memorial establishment as well as to prepare for the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.