On the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar tragedy, President Petro Poroshenko together with civil activists and philanthropists initiated the establishment of the First Memorial Center of Holocaust Victims “Babi Yar”. The Memorial will be installed in Kyiv on the site of mass extermination of Jews, Ukrainians, Roma and members of other nationalities.
The ceremony of signing the declaration of intent to establish the Memorial Center took place in Taras Shevchenko National Museum of Kyiv. “It is a symbolic place of the father of the Ukrainian nation,” the Head of State noted.
“We, Ukrainians, understand the sorrow of Jews as our own,” the President said and reminded that Ukrainians and Jews had been living on one land, in one country for centuries.
“In the years of the Second World War, Ukrainians have also suffered multimillion losses and we are well aware of the pain for our deceased friends and relatives, which lasts for decades,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
“Holocaust is the most tragic page in history of Jews and Ukrainians. Genocide of Jews took place on our land as well, contrary to the will of Ukrainians, because Ukraine was one of the main theaters of the cruelest war in the history of mankind,” he said.
The Head of State noted that today ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Jews were building a modern political nation and modern Ukraine jointly. “Together we are building the country where there is no place for antisemitism and our unity is a precondition of our victories,” Petro Poroshenko emphasized.
The President thanked Ukrainians, Jews, people of all nationalities for a “fantastic unity demonstrated today”.
Petro Poroshenko recalled dreadful statistics when Ukraine had lost up to 60% of its Jewish population because of the Nazis. 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews felt victims to the Holocaust. Only in the first two days of the tragedy on September 29-30, 1941, the Nazis killed 34 thousand people. In general, the Nazis killed about 120 thousand innocent people in Babi Yar.
“This is not a national tragedy. This is a global tragedy. The Holocaust is a crime not only against the individual nation, but also against the entire humanity,” Petro Poroshenko said. He emphasized the importance of preserving memory about those tragic historic pages “for the entire humanity to remember the roots and bloody facts of the Holocaust, for this remembrance to be a warning for modern and future generations about the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and intolerance”.
“Never again. The tragedy should not repeat,” the President said. According to him, the new memorial must become “a place of powerful vaccination, a symbol of respect of all Ukrainians irrespective of their nationality to the tragedy of Holocaust”.
“As President of Ukraine, as citizen, as Ukrainian, I have initiated the establishment of this Memorial together with many other Ukrainians,” Petro Poroshenko said and urged the Ukrainian and global community to join the initiative.
The Head of State is confident that the establishment of the Memorial in Babi Yar must become a symbol of unity of nation and has a huge meaning for the whole world.
The President also had a conversation with witnesses who survived the Babi Yar tragedy.