The Babin Gar Pass near Kiev became the first place of the systematic extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany.
On Wednesday, the presidents of Ukraine, Israel and Germany jointly honored the nearly 34,000 Jewish victims of the Babin Gar massacre near Kiev, perpetrated by German Nazis and local collaborators 80 years ago. The Associated Press reported it.
Not everyone was killed directly
The Babin Gar Pass near Kiev became the first place of the systematic extermination of European Jews by Nazi Germany. The mass murder of the local Jewish population there took place over two days – on September 29 and 30, 1941. The remains of the victims – 33,771 men, women, children and elderly – ended up in mass graves.
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the massacre, the names of 159 of the hundreds of members of the Nazi SS units who participated in the killings at the Babina spring were published on Wednesday.
Not everyone was directly killed: some dragged Kievan Jews from their homes, took their possessions and belongings, or served refreshments to the archers. These were people between the ages of 20 and 60, and only a few of them were ever brought to justice; The vast majority of them returned to normal life in their homeland after the war.
The largest mass grave of the Holocaust
“Pabin Jar is the largest mass grave in the Holocaust…and it’s the one that filled up as quickly as it could,” said Natan Saransky, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Babin Jar Holocaust Memorial Center.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky attended a memorial service Wednesday with colleagues from Israel and Germany – Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Isaac Herzog.
The three presidents opened a memorial center dedicated to the story of Eastern European Jews murdered during the Holocaust and buried in mass graves. They also participated in the unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the Babina Spring massacre by well-known conceptual artist Marina Abramovichova.
Crystal Wailing Wall
The so-called Crystal Wailing Wall is one of the largest art installations built in Europe in the last decade. It is a 40-meter wall made of black anthracite, and has 75 large embedded crystals.
“For us Germans, there is only one reaction (to the events of the Babylon Spring): it will not happen again,” German President Steinmeier said during a memorial service, stressing the need for an ongoing fight against anti-Semitism.
He regretted that anti-Jewish prejudices were now stronger in Germany and other countries. “The evil spirits of the past reappear in a new mask,” Steinmeier said.
Even according to Israeli President Isaac Herzog, the events of 80 years ago should never be repeated. He stressed that “for the good of all mankind, we must ensure… that there will be no other two neighbours.”
A disgusting chapter in history
Ukrainian President Zelensky described the massacre in the Kiev Valley as “a disgusting black chapter in world history”. According to him, it is a common tragedy of the Jewish and Ukrainian peoples.
The Nazis used the Babinjar Strait for mass murder throughout the period of their occupation of Kiev, which lasted more than 100 weeks. In total, it is estimated that they killed more than 100,000 people, including Jews, Gypsies, Ukrainians and Russians.
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