A new memorial complex will be built at Babi Yar, the site in Ukraine where some 50,000 Jews were murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust, the World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews (WFRJ) announced on Sunday.
Speaking at a gala event in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, on Sunday evening, WFRJ President Alexander Levin presented a model of the future museum, which will include documents from the Nazi archives, interviews with survivors of the Babi Yar massacres, a 3D film, and historical material, including clothes and belongings of victims killed at the site.
The complex will also include a Jewish center and a synagogue, meant to “symbolize the revival of Jewish life in the place where Nazis once planned to exterminate every remnant of Judaism,” according to a press release sent by a PR group representing the WFRJ.
During World War II, more than 100,000 people were killed by the Nazis in the ravine near Kiev. Of some 50,000 Jewish victims at Babi Yar, approximately 34,000 were executed over a two-day period — September 29-30, 1941. Several memorial monuments have been erected at the site over the years.
In August 2012, Jewish groups were outraged when authorities replaced a plaque identifying most of the tens of thousands of victims at the site as Jews with one that referred to the victims merely as “the peaceful citizens of Rostov-on-the-Don and Soviet prisoners of war.”
On Sunday evening, Levin noted that the massacres at Babi Yar were “not just a tragedy for the Jewish people,” but “a tragedy for the entire world.” He pledged that “the memorial site will commemorate not only the killings of Jewish people, but also all other victims who were brutally murdered by the Nazis on Ukrainian territory.”
Construction is set to begin in the coming months and is expected to take two and a half years to complete, Levin said.
In attendance at the WFRJ event were Ukrainian Foreign Minister Leonid Qajar, Israel’s Immigrant Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky.