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US, Israeli officials celebrate 80th anniversary of Babi Yar massacre

US and Israeli officials on Wednesday honored the victims of the Babi Yar massacre (sometimes called Babin Yar), the 80th anniversary of one of the largest mass killings of Jews in the Holocaust.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted: “On the 80th anniversary of the massacre in Babin Yar, Ukraine, we must redouble our efforts to combat the kind of hatred that led to the Holocaust. We Babin Respect all those lost in yaar and are committed to ensuring that its full history is told. #NeverAgain #ProtectTheFacts.”

Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Michael Brodsky, tweeted A photo of himself at the memorial site near Kiev, writing: “It is our responsibility to remember and preserve the memory for generations to come who did not get to meet Holocaust survivors and hear their story.”

The Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum share Link to a page containing information on some of the victims of the massacre.

David Harris, CEO of the American Jewish Committee, share A photo of the event, adding: “We must never forget.”

On September 29–30, 1941, more than 33,000 people, most of them Jews, were killed in the Babi Yar Valley outside Nazi-occupied Kiev, the capital of former Soviet Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the site of the massacre on Wednesday.

The tragedy of Babi Yar “should never be repeated,” Zelensky – himself a Jew – said at the flower-laying ceremony.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a ceremony at the memorial to the Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on September 29, 2021. (Ukrainian President’s Press Office via AP)

“Not in Ukraine. Nowhere else in Europe. Nowhere in the world,” he said.

Babi Yar was the scene of mass executions until 1943.

More than 100,000 people were killed there, including Jews, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

In May, the Babin Yar Holocaust Memorial Center unveiled a symbolic wooden synagogue built in the shape of a book.

But its plans to build another large monument on the site have sparked controversy in Ukraine.

Critics accused the center’s artistic director, Russian filmmaker Ilya Khrzhanovsky, of planning to turn the future complex into a “Holocaust Disneyland”.

He wanted to allow visitors to experience the carnage in the role of a victim or executioner.

Kiev, part of the Babi Yar Valley on the outskirts of Ukraine where the advancing Red Army unearthed the bodies of 14,000 civilians who had fled the Nazis, 1944. (AP photo)

Next week, Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic is expected to unveil an installation on the site. The “Crystal Wailing Wall” will consist of 75 large quartz crystals embedded in a 40-metre-long (130-foot) wall of black anthracite.

More than 2,600 Ukrainians have been recognized as “righteous among the nations” by Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, because they risked their lives saving Jews.

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