I would not normally post the following photo, which is of quite poor quality. But on a day when the memorial to the more than 30,000 Jews killed by the Nazis at Babi Yar has been “badly vandalized,” I must post it. As a small token of remembrance. And as an expression of outrage.
Babi Yar is on the outskirts of Kyiv. In September, 1941, the Einsatzgruppen killed over 100,000 people in the span of a few days, including nearly 20% of Kyiv’s Jewish population in the first two days of the masacre.
We visited the site on our final evening in Kyiv last summer. Time was running out on our trip to Ukraine. But it hardly seemed right, for a trip devoted in large part to exploring the country’s Jewish heritage, to leave without a visit to Babi Yar.
It was late and getting dark, especially by the time we finally reached the monument to the Jewish vicitms, deep within the park, near where the massacre actually took place.
Located nearer to the metro station is the Brezhnev-era monument to “Soviet citizens” and a newer monument to child victims. Both are depicted in the Ladera Frutal travel pages.
The Jerusalem Post story linked at the beginning of this entry notes:
President Viktor Yushchenko has announced tentative plans for a high-profile service this September to remember Babi Yar victims, inviting numerous heads of state, including US President George W. Bush. Ukrainian Jews have welcomed the plans, but said the government needs to do more to combat anti-Semitism after some high profile attacks on Jews last year.
The following is an excerpt from the moving poem of Yevgeny Yevtushenko:
The wild grasses rustle over Babi Yar.
The trees look ominous,
Here all things scream silently,
and, baring my head,
slowly I feel myself
And I myself
am one massive, soundless scream
above the thousand thousand buried here.
each old man
here shot dead.
here shot dead.
Nothing in me
shall ever forget!