Kyiv, Ukraine, 1 March 2022 – RUSSIAN FORCES STRIKE BABYN YAR HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL SITE
Natan Sharansky: “We, at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, built on Europe’s largest mass grave of the Holocaust, work to preserve historical memory following decades of Soviet suppression of historical truth, so that the evils of the past can never be repeated. We must not allow the truth to – once again – become the victim of war.”
Earlier today, before the attack on Babyn Yar this afternoon, the leadership of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, issued a strong condemnation of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s use of language related to the Holocaust, and loudly condemned the country’s aggression against Ukraine, pledging to document and submit war crimes committed by Russian forces to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
The statement was signed by Maksym Rabinovich, CEO, Ilya Khrzhanovsky, Artistic Director, Ruslan Kavatsiuk, Deputy CEO, and Oleksiy Makukhin, Executive Director, of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. They noted, “As experts who work with Holocaust research and commemoration, we are deeply outraged that the aggressor country has used genocidal rhetoric to justify its shameful actions. Russia has vulgarly instrumentalized anti-Nazi rhetoric and is trying to take on the role of a fighter against Nazism.”
The statement continued, “We remind the Russian leadership that Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were last subjected to massive bombing by Nazi Germany during World War II, now they are burning under the blows of Putin’s army, under the false and outrageous narrative of “denazifying” Ukraine and its people.”
The signatories went on to pledge, “As experts in research on crimes against humanity, we will thoroughly collect and record evidence of crimes against humanity committed by the Russian aggressors. We will create a database for the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague. Our Academic Council has already addressed a letter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. Only a principled position and joint action can defeat evil.”
In an open letter sent today to Mr. Karim A. A. Khan QC, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, by BYHMC academic council, headed by lifelong genocide researcher, Father Patrick Desbios, they noted: “President Putin accused Ukraine of committing genocide against the Donbass inhabitants. As an expert in both the field and region, I want to certify that after close examination of the facts and reports, there has not been a single trace of the crimes qualified as genocide since 2014.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is a non-governmental charity whose purpose is to preserve and cultivate the memory of the Holocaust and the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine by turning the Babyn Yar area into a place of remembrance. The Foundation’s mission is to worthily honour the memory of the victims of the tragedy and to contribute to the humanization of society through preserving and studying the history of the Holocaust.
The charity was founded in 2016 by Ukrainian-born businessmen, among them Michal Friedman, German Khan and Victor Pinchuk. On the international advisory board, chaired by Natan Sharansky, sits the founders as well as a host of international leaders such as ALEKSANDER KWASNIEWSKI President of Poland (1995–2005); JOE LIEBERMAN United States Senator 1989-2013; RONALD LAUDER President of the World Jewish Congress; JOSCHKA FISCHER German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany 1998-2005; IRINA BOKOVA Director-General of UNESCO (2009–2017); SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH Belarusian writer, Nobel laureate in literature (2015) full list: https://babynyar.org/en/about#about-supervisory-board.