According to the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, the erection of a memorial synagogue at the site of the mass shootings in Babyn Yar is a joint initiative of a member of the Presidium of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Yaakov Dov Bleich (Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine) and Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine Moshe-Reuven Asman (All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress), which has been supported by the Memorial Center.
The synagogue opening will be part of a commemorative event in preparation for the 80th anniversary of the tragedy in Babyn Yar.
As the chief rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine (Association of Jewish Religious Organizations of Ukraine) Yaakov Dov Bleich noted, “the reserve territory is a place of murder and eternal rest for tens of thousands of Jews who had fallen victim to the criminal Nazi regime. Thousands of people now visit Babyn Yar to commemorate the victims of the tragedy and to pray for the deceased, most of whom are to be commemorated by the Jewish traditions.
In addition to the memorial synagogue, a museum, scientific and educational centers will be built on the territory of Babyn Yar, and the entire territory of the memorial park will be improved.
“Creating conditions for remembrance and prayer for the dead will be a manifestation of the due memory and respect to them. We also see it as our duty to take care of the people who visit Babyn Yar and need to honor the memory and pray for the rest of their loved ones and all those who had died in the terrible tragedy of the Holocaust,” said Moshe Reuven Asman. Chief Rabbi of Kyiv and Ukraine (All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress) on the initiative to build a synagogue.
An Orthodox church already operates on the territory of the reserve. The synagogue will allow also Jews to commemorate the victims according to their traditions.
The initiative to build a synagogue has already been supported by the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and Religious Organizations (AUCCRO), the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine, Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine Epiphanius.
“The tragedy of Babyn Yar is known all over the world as one of the terrible symbols of the Holocaust and innocent suffering. This place is soaked in blood of tens of thousands of innocent people who had been killed here. Neither the present generations nor those who will live after us have the right to forget this tragedy. Everyone, regardless of religion, should have an opportunity to remember their loved ones, the people who had died here, to honor the memory and pray for their rest, so that this catastrophe will never happen again,” said the head of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine.
Erection of ceremonial buildings in memorial parks and other places of remembrance complies with the widespread international practice, said Max Yakover, CEO of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. Besides, the location of such buildings corresponds to the current plans of the National Historical and Memorial Reserve “Babyn Yar”.
“In our opinion, creation of a place for ceremonial actions and prayers directly at the site of the tragedy and at the final resting place of the killed people will further transform the place of oblivion into the place of remembrance and create an opportunity for the living descendants of the victims to pray for their repose at the specially intended for this purpose place,” said Max Yakover.
Let us recall that the Government of Ukraine and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation. The document was signed on September 29 during the events marking the 79th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy. On behalf of the government the Memorandum was signed by the Minister of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine Oleksandr Tkachenko, and on behalf of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center – by the President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was present at the signing ceremony.