KYIV — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday visited the site of the Babyn Yar massacre to mark the 82nd anniversary of one of the largest mass murders of Jews in the Holocaust.
Zelensky, dressed in his usual olive-green attire, placed a candle at the historic site and said Ukraine would “never” forget the tragedy perpetrated by Nazi Germany.
“No matter how many years have passed, humanity will remember the lives taken by Nazism,” Zelensky, who is of Jewish descent, said in a statement on social media. “And it will always remember that this evil was punished.”
Zelensky was joined by Ukrainian rabbis, including from the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.
FCJU deputy chairman Rabbi Raphael Rothman recited the El Maleh Rahamim and Kaddish prayers, both traditionally said over the dead by Jews.
On September 29-30, 1941, around 34,000 adults and children, most of them Jews, were killed at the Babyn Yar ravine outside Nazi-occupied Kyiv, the capital of ex-Soviet Ukraine.
Today, Ukraine and the world commemorate the 82nd anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre, one of the most terrible Nazi crimes committed during the Holocaust.
I paid tribute to the victims and thanked the Ukrainian Jewish community leaders for coming to pray and commemorate them. pic.twitter.com/J3BVpXLqfm
— Volodymyr Zelenskyy / Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) September 29, 2023
Babyn Yar was the scene of mass executions until 1943. Up to 100,000 people were killed there, including Jews, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.
Ukraine marks the grim anniversary as Russia’s invasion of the pro-Western country drags into its second year.
In June, Kyiv launched a counter-offensive but has acknowledged slow progress as its forces encounter lines of heavily fortified Russian defenses.