Dancing at Babi Yar - ForumDaily
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"Dancing" at Babi Yar

Menorah at Babi Yar. Photo: Depositphotos

Menorah at Babi Yar. Photo: Depositphotos

75 years have passed since the tragedy at Babi Yar. Today, many Ukrainian and Jewish organizations around the world celebrate this date. Mark differently ...

There is no other, more significant place in the world that symbolizes human tragedy - first of all, the tragedy of the Jewish people. In the Kiev Yar, where for many months an endless series of elderly people, women, children, peaceful and unarmed, doomed to death stretched, tens of thousands of Jews died simply because they were Jews. Many books have been written about this, films have been made, and exhibitions have been opened. I remember how I couldn’t hold back my tears when I read about a 5-year-old Jewish boy who, on the way to Babi Yar, kept asking his mother: “Why are we going there? This morning I listened to you and ate all the porridge - you said that they wouldn’t kill us?”... How can such horror not touch the human heart! How can the wonderful music of my friend, composer and musician Yan Tabachnik, written for the film “Babi Yar” not touch the soul!

With all this, Babi Yar is some kind of damned place. I have recently begun to understand this more clearly. All over the world there are many places of mass death of Jews - and everywhere there are monuments and memorials. In Babi Yar, it would seem, in the very place where a truly epochal memorial-reminder of the tragedy should have stood, there is none of this. Every time someone takes on the task of implementing such a memorial, something unexpected happens.

Let us briefly follow the chronology of the actions of those people who tried to promote the idea of ​​a memorial in Babi Yar.

The first ascetic was Ilya Levitas, who invested in this idea a lot of strength, soul, time. He, in fact, devoted his entire life to perpetuating the memory of the victims of Babi Yar. But for a variety of reasons, he could not complete this idea.

Almost 10 years ago, we - me and Alexander Levin - created the Babi Yar Memory Fund, investing considerable funds in its work. There was a committee and an international jury that determined the winner of the competition for the best project for the memorial at Babi Yar. It was a project by the famous architect Mikhail Reva.

Alas, this wonderful project was not destined to be embodied: the land under it, which we had leased before, ... was simply stolen. It is hard to believe, but it is a fact. One morning, we discovered that the land was already owned by completely different people, on which the land register was rewritten. No one in the country shook from this horror, we almost single-handedly fought against this for almost a year (!), Trying to prove the legal correctness.

Then the Babi Yar Memory Fund received a lot of help from Igor Kolomoisky, to whom I told about the situation. He picked up the phone and arranged a meeting for me with Andrei Portnov, a famous lawyer. He undertook to return the land of Babi Yar - and truly became the only lawyer who succeeded. Thanks to his expertise and efforts, we returned the land to its rightful owners.

From left to right: Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry, Igor Kolomoysky, a billionaire, former head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration, Vadim Rabinovich, MP. Photo courtesy of the press service of Vadim Rabinovich

From left to right: Alexander Levin, President of the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jewry, Igor Kolomoysky, a billionaire, former head of the Dnipropetrovsk regional administration, Vadim Rabinovich, MP. Photo courtesy of the press service of Vadim Rabinovich

And then the Babi Yar Memory Fund began work on a new project. Alexander Levin was closely involved in its implementation, he attracted American investors, it seemed that Babi Yar would finally receive an epic memorial...

But that didn’t happen either. It turned out that a large area adjacent to Babi Yar was intercepted by “hawks” from the entourage of another person - mayor Leonid Chernovetsky. They were going to build... an entertainment complex there. And they suggested that we do the following: they say, buy the site so that there is no entertainment complex there! I wrote and spoke a lot about this at one time, but, alas, it also did not receive a wide response. We had to buy this land, but construction slowed down.

And only six months ago a new person appeared - businessman Pavel Fuks, who again took up the idea of ​​​​implementing the memorial in Babi Yar. He created a new board of the Babi Yar Memory Fund, which included prominent businessmen Fridman, Khan, Pinchuk, and Surkis. It seemed that everything would move much faster now. But this is still in a very preliminary stage.

Besides the people mentioned above, no one, as they say, raised a finger so that a worthy memorial was erected over the site of the colossal tragedy of the Jewish people.

Sketch of Babi Yar memorial project.

Sketch of Babi Yar memorial project.

But today, when the 75th anniversary of the tragedy is approaching, there are many organizations and people who, excuse me, “celebrate” this anniversary with various events: receptions, concerts. Money is spent on all this—hundreds of thousands of dollars. Wouldn't it be fairer and more correct to give this money to create a memorial worthy of the memory of the victims?

I intend to ignore these events, because I consider them, forgive the harshness, PR and “dancing on bones.”

Those buried in Babi Yar deserve not a concert in the hall, but a truly significant memorial... Not a Soviet monument to who knows who, not a small memorial sign - the Menorah, which almost every 2 months is outlined with swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans, but a real modern museum-memorial complex of the highest international standards!

Those who come to Kiev these days to attend a concert or reception, walk through the park next to officials from the Ukrainian authorities, hardly, I think, really want to commemorate the victims of Babi Yar worthy. And could really help a particular case!

The Babyn Yar Memory Fund will make every effort to ensure that not only on the anniversary of Babyn Yar, but every day, work is carried out - difficult, painstaking, often thankless - to adequately perpetuate the memory of the victims of this terrible tragedy.

See also:

Russian billionaires will give Ukraine a record amount of the memorial to the victims of the Holocaust

American Nobel laureate: salvation during the Holocaust in Ukraine

Holocaust Remembrance Day: photos and videos that will shake everyone

The story of a child who survived Babiy Yar

The Holocaust Babiy Yar loudspeakers
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