News04.09.2020

Ilya Levitas' archive has been preserved and will be available to the public again

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center welcomes the transfer of the Levitas’ archive by the Heroism and the Holocaust Museum to the Babyn Yar National Reserve.

Researcher and public figure Ilya Levitas dedicated his life to collecting evidence, photos and documents of the Holocaust period and events in the Babyn Yar. After his death, the archive was inaccessible to researchers and the general public for a long time, as it was located in a closed, sealed room. It has turned out that the tenant of the premises has a debt to public utilities.

In recent years, there have been many misunderstandings between owners of the collection and an owner of the premises. Since 2016, public utilities undertook attempts to evict the tenant from the premises through the court because of non-payment of debts. The room itself was in disrepair. We have repeatedly expressed our concern that the further storage of the archive in such conditions is dangerous for such collection of public interest.

Within the framework of scientific activities, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center works with many archives in Kyiv, systematizes and digitizes archival funds. We closely followed the fate of the Levitas’ archive. We have been informed about another attempt to forcibly vacate the premises and about the risk that the collection may be left completely on the pavement that creates a threat of its destruction. Therefore, we were ready to take the archive for temporary storage.

Yesterday the Levitas' archive was finally taken out of that room in disrepair and transferred to the Babyn Yar National Historical and Memorial Reserve for storage.

We consider this a great victory, since we are confident in the professionalism and responsible attitude of the reserve team. We have a memorandum of cooperation with the state reserve, we are implementing a number of joint projects on the territory of the reserve and are ready to assist in the digitization, restoration, further exposure of the collection to the public and access of researchers to it.

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