Thе places of memory, where the names of the victims of the Babyn Yar tragedy can be heard together with the prayers and memorial songs.


The centre of the ‘Mirror Field’ audio-visual installation is the symbol of the Tree of Life, which is found in most religions and mythologies of the world. The Babyn Yar tragedy shows how easily this tree can be destroyed, and its branches broken.
The structure is made of stainless steel, the podium is in the form of a mirror disk with a diameter of about 40 meters, with 10 columns of 6 meters high installed on it. The columns and the disk were shot through by bullets of the same caliber that the Nazis used during execution in Babyn Yar.
The installation is available around the clock. During the day, the sky is reflected in it. At night, the light and the sound of memory pass through the bullet holes, and rays fall from the tops of the columns into the sky.
An electroacoustic pipe organ of 24 pipes is built into the podium. An algorithm for translating the names of the victims into sound was developed especially for this pipe organ. Each letter in the Hebrew alphabet has its own number. According to the gematria principle, the names of the victims have been translated into numbers, which, in turn, set the pitch of the sound. The combination of audio waves of the name numbers creates a common sound composition.
The main background is overlaid with archival recordings of pre-war Kyiv, unique Yiddish songs of the 1920s and 1930s from the collections of the National Library named after V. Vernadsky restored by the Institute for Information Recording of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Choral and Memorial Christian music, Ukrainian and Roma Memorial songs, works by contemporary Ukrainian composers are performed.


The audio installation on the site of the destroyed Jewish cemetery was built jointly with the National Historical Memorial Preserve Babyn Yar. Dozens of speakers are installed along the walkway from the entrance of the Jewish cemetery to the Menorah monument. The names of the victims are heard from them. Women's, men's, and children's voices can be heard from different angles, creating a sense of chorus.
Along the walkway, the names are joined by quiet voices reading prayers, they are complemented by Khazan chants and traditional memorial songs. Then there is El Malei Rachamim, an important memorial prayer that is considered one of the iconic songs of the Holocaust. The ancient Aramaic song Rozo D'Shabbos ends the way along the walkway. The exit to the Menorah monument takes us back to the beginning – here once again the names of all the currently known victims are heard. The content is created with great respect for the traditions of Judaism in relation to cemeteries.
© BYHMC 2022
Babyn Yar