19.01.2022

International symposium dedicated to the Babyn Yar massacre and Eastern European Holocaust ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day to be held in Kyiv

On January 24–25, а symposium dedicated to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place in Kyiv. The event is held by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in cooperation with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.

The two-day symposium will include panel discussions on the history of the Holocaust, the fight against anti-Semitism and incitement to ethnic hatred in modern realities, and educational initiatives in these issues. Patrick Desbois, Head of Academic Council at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, President of “Yahad-in Unum” will make a presentation about the history of Babyn Yar’ tragedy, the unknown details about the catastrophe and the deliberate policy of silence of the USSR.

Babyn Yar has become a powerful symbol of the ‘Holocaust by Bullets,’ the estimated 2.5 million Jews who were murdered near their homes in similar Nazi mass shootings across Eastern Europe, 1.5 million of them in Ukraine alone. In just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941, 33,771 Jewish victims were shot at Babyn Yar by the Nazis, while tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others were shot thereafter at Babyn Yar throughout the Nazi occupation of Kyiv. The estimated number of victims murdered at Babyn Yar is around 100,000, making it Europe’s largest mass grave.

Among participants Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine Olha Stefanishyna, members of the Verkhovna Rada, the representatives of the European Parliament and parliaments of European countries, representatives of the Jewish organizations. The Holocaust survivors will also speak at the symposium.

Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center welcoming the delegation of the event.

"Babyn Yar is a symbol for millions of Jews and Israelis, for the nation of Ukraine, and serves as a lesson for humanity as a whole. Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center welcomes the EU parliamentarians delegation to Babyn Yar, this is an important initiative as part of our efforts to expose the lesser known story of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe known as the “Holocaust by Bullets”. This is the only way to truly honour the memory of the victims and learn the vital lessons of the past".

Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said,

"We are here for to fight back against all those that are still waging Holocaust denial and cover-up operations across social networks to obscure the memory of the Holocaust and it’s lessons to humanity. It is here, in Kуiv and Babyn Yar, that not only the victims were killed in an act of such barbarity and evil, but that later, the perpetrators also tried to kill the consciousness and the memory. They Conducted a cover-up operation and for many years not even a monument was here. We have brought parliamentarians from across the continent, members of the European Parliament, Jewish leaders, and public figures, to demand on behalf of the victims and their relatives the only effective response against the disappearance of the atrocities and the moral lesson required of them: Significant educational work in all formal and informal educational frameworks and across civil society. This will be our legacy to future generations, ensuring that the heinous crimes of the past are not forgotten, not learned from and not repeated."

On January 25 the Memorial Ceremony to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day will take place in Babyn Yar. There also will be a guided tour around the territory of the ravine to see the progress in commemorating Babyn Yar tragedy that is made in the road to build the full future Memorial Complex, which is now under construction by the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. In the last two years, BYHMC managed to create the first phase of the Memorial (which consists of a spiritual space – the symbolic synagogue “Place for Reflection” (designed by a Swiss architect Manuel Herch), The Crystal Wall of Crying (by an artist Marina Abramovic), the monument to the Kurenivska tragedy, the installation “A Look Into the Past”). In 2022, the Memorial Center will open the first museum space on the territory of Babyn Yar – Kurgan (architectural studio SUB, Berlin). Science and education are also among the focuses of BYHMC. The researchers at the center have restored the names of a third of all the victims of Babyn Yar (28.5 thousand names). The names of more than 160 Nazi soldiers who massacred Jews in the tract were identified.

As a reminder, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is a commemorative event introduced by the UN General Assembly on the 1st of November, 2005. 27 January was chosen to commemorate the date that Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated by the soldiers of the Red Army – First Ukrainian Front.

Language: English

Accreditation for media: [email protected]

Join the symposium online. The broadcast will take place on the official Facebook page of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.

European Jewish Association (EJA) – is the biggest and widest federation of Jewish organizations and communities working all over Europe. It’s associates represent hundreds of communities and thousands of Jews across the continent. EJA was set up to deal with anti-Semitism.

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre is a non-governmental charity whose purpose is to preserve and cultivate the memory of the Holocaust and the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine and to contribute to the humanization of society through preserving and studying the history of the Holocaust. Babyn Yar has become a terrible symbol of “Holocaust by bullets” in Eastern Europe, because 1.5 million Jews of Ukraine were murdered and buried in mass graves near their homes.

Programm 

Monday 24 January

  • 14:00 – Symposium Opening Remarks (Hilton Hotel, 30 Tarasa Shevchenka Blvd, Dallas ballroom)

Speakers:
- Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of the European Jewish Association
- Mr Ruslan Stefanchuk, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada
- Mr Marek Siwiec, Director of European Affairs, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
- Mr Olivér Várhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood & Enlargement, H.E. (video)

  • 14:30 – Testimony from Holocaust survivor.


- Mr Borys Zabarko, Chairman of the Association of Jews – former prisoners of ghetto and Nazi concentration camps, a member of the Public Council of the BYHMC

  • 14:45 – Panel discussion: The Holocaust: A Warning From History and a duty to Teach its Lessons


Moderator: Mr Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Journal, Germany correspondent

Speakers:
- H.E. Minister Gatis Eglītis, former Chair of Latvia-Israel Parliamentary Cooperation Group
- Deputy Marshal of Senate of Republic of Poland, Senator Michal Kaminski
- MP Zdravka Busic, Envoy of the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament & Chair of Committee

  • 15:15 – Panel discussion: Is Making Holocaust Education Mandatory The Way Forward?


Moderator: Mr Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Journal, Germany correspondent

Speakers:
- MP Marek Rutka, Chair of Parliamentary Group for Commemoration of Crimes in Babyn Yar
- MP Christian Wakeford, Co-Chair of Parliamentary Group on British Jews, UK Parliament
- MP Cornelis van der Staaij, SKG Party Leader, House of Representatives, Netherlands

  • 16:15 – Battleground: Tackling the rising tide of hate


Social media

Moderator: Mr Tal Rabina, EJA Director of Strategy & Head of Israel office

- Mr Marco Pancini, YouTube Director of Public Policy for Europe

Panel discussion

Moderator: Mr Ethan Bergman, EJA Youth Development Officer

- Yvonne Penkakova & Carla Halioua, EJA Jewish Students from Czech Republic & Belgium

  • 16:45 – Battleground: Political action going forwards


Moderator: Mr Bojan Pancevski, Wall Street Journal, Germany correspondent

Speakers:
- MP Konstantinos Karagouni, EJA Parliamentary Working Group Against Antisemitism initiative
- Senator Rémi Féraud, Senator & Chairman of Socialist Group at Council of Paris, French Senate
- MP Martin Engelberg, Deputy Chair of Foreign Policy Committee, Austrian Parliament

  • 17:15 – Closing Remarks by EJA Director Alex Benjamin 

  • 18:00 – Press conference (Hilton, San Francisco room)


Moderator: Mr Tal Rabina, EJA Director of Strategy & Head of Israel office

- Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of European Jewish Association
- Father Patrick Desbois, Founder of Yahad-In Unum & Head of the BYHMC Academic Council
- Mr Joel Mergui, President of Consistoire of Paris and European Centre for Judaism
- Mr Oleksiy Makukhin, Executive Director, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
- Rabbi Meir Stambler, Chairman, Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine
- Roza Tapanova, Acting general director of the National Historical Memorial Preserve "Babyn Yar"

  • 20:00 – Gala Dinner

Speakers:
- Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Chairman of European Jewish Association
- Olha Stefanishyna, Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine
- H.E. Mr Natan Sharansky, Chairman of Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (video)
- Ambassador of Israel to Ukraine H.E. Mr Michael Brodsky
- Rabbi Meir Stambler, Chairman, Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine
- Recognition of Mr Vasyl Nazarenko, Righteous Among the Nations
- Message by H.E. Charles Michel, President of the European Council (video)
- Mr Joel Mergui, President of Consistoire of Paris and European Centre for Judaism
- Mr Ilya Khrzhanovskiy, Artistic Director of Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center

Tuesday 25 January

  • 08:30 – Introducing the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (Hilton, Dallas ballroom)

Speakers:
- Mr Marek Siwiec, Director of European Affairs, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center
Presentation by Father Patrick Desbois, Founder of Yahad-In Unum & Head of BYHMC Academic Council, including excerpts of documentary footage “Babi Yar, Context”
Mr Ruslan Kavatsiuk, Deputy CEO, Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center

  • 9:15 – Jewish life in Europe in light of antisemitism today

    Speakers:
    - Rabbi Meir Stambler, President, Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine
    - Rabbi Avi Lazarus, Executive Director, UK Federation of Synagogues
    - Dr. Leah Floh-Aran, President of Jewish Community Mönchengladbach-Viersen, Germany
    - Babyn Yar eyewitness survivor testimony, Mr Michael Sidko (video interview)

  • 09:45 – Transportation to BYHMC’ Memorial Center by coach

  • 10:30 – Memorial Ceremony and guided tour of memorial areas


- Mrs Roza Tapanova, Acting general director of the National Historical Memorial Preserve "Babyn Yar"
- Mr Joël Guerriau, Secretary of French Senate & Vice-President of Foreign Affairs Committee
- Prayer led by Rabbi Raphael Rutman, Executive Vice-Chairman of Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine
- Kaddish led by Chief Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs from The Netherlands (video)

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