(September 29, 2020 / JNS) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky honored on Monday the memory of the victims of the Babi Yar tragedy, where some 33,771 Jews were murdered by Nazis 79 years ago in a ravine in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.
Zelensky, who is Jewish, laid flowers at the monument remembering the victims.
“Executed in Babi Yar are thousands of destroyed human fates. Thousands of families that have been exterminated. Thousands of fearful children’s eyes that do not understand that they are being led to death,” said Zelensky. “These are thousands of reminders to humanity of xenophobia, racism and intolerance. And thousands of pieces of evidence that, contrary to science, show that not all people have a heart.”
Notably, he didn’t mention anti-Semitism or Jews as the victims.
“We bow our heads to all the victims of Babi Yar,” added Zelensky. “And we have no right to forget these terrible crimes. Never again.”
The ceremony was also attended by chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov; Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal; head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak; and Rabbi Meir Stambler, chairman of the Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine.
Finally, in the presence of Zelensky, Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine, Oleksandr Tkachenko and World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder signed a memorandum of understanding and cooperation. The document was signed at the site of the future memorial immediately after the ceremony of honoring the victims of the tragedy in Babi Yar.
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