The Ukrainian president of Jewish origin Volodymyr Zelensky this morning (Friday) participated in the official ceremony held at Babi Yar – one of the most prominent Holocaust memorials in Europe. The event was held to commemorate the “International Holocaust Remembrance Day” which took place today and was organized by the “Federation of Jewish Communities in Ukraine” in collaboration with the “Holocaust Commemoration Center in Babi Yar” and the “Babi Yar National Historical Remembrance Center”.
Speech, prayer and candle lighting
Zelensky took part in the prayer and the candle lighting ceremony, and together with him, the ambassadors of Germany, USA, Great Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Spain, Austria, the head of the European Union delegation to Ukraine and the head of the UN delegation to Ukraine participated in the entire ceremony.
The vice chairman of the federation and the organizer of the event, Rabbi Raphael Rothman, gave opening remarks, followed by speeches from President Zelensky and some of the ambassadors. After the line of speeches, the participants lit a special memorial candle and the ceremony ended with a special memorial prayer led by Rabbi Rothman.
“We must not forget the terrible crime against humanity”
As you remember, on January 27, 1945, the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland began. During World War II, over 6 million Jews were murdered in the genocide committed by the Nazi Germans, of which 1.5 million people were murdered in the territory of modern Ukraine. Babi Yar became one of the prominent symbols of the terrible holocaust when, in just two days, on September 29 and 30, 1941, the Nazis murdered 33,771 Jews.
According to the chairman of the federation, Rabbi Meir Stammelber, “These days, it is more important than ever to remind ourselves of the universal lessons of the Holocaust. We must not forget the terrible crime against humanity that occurred years ago and we must stop the history of the Holocaust from being transmitted in a distorted way.”