Victor Yushchenko and his Israeli colleague, Moshe Katsav, have opened an exhibition commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.
In his speech, the President said: “Today we are honoring the tragedy of the Second World War, one of its most horrific crimes, the Babyn Yar tragedy. The Holocaust and Babyn Yar killings have wounded our nations. Babyn Yar should be that injection to prevent aggressive bloody xenophobia,” he said, adding that it was vital to promote democracy and the rule of law, the president press office qouts.
President Yushchenko called on the world community to never forget the massacre: “Let’s read our history, omitting ‘no titles and no commas,’ as Taras Shevchenko wrote, for this is a bitter lesson for us and posterity.”
Moshe Katsav also said people must never forget this event.
“We must pass on the memory of the Holocaust to the young for the sake of posterity and to preserve kindness and human values,” he said.
“We must act together to root out anti-Semitism and racism for the sake of mankind,” he continued. “Like us, many leaders of the free world are worried about the spread of anti-Semitism. They are combating it confidently and responsibly.”
The Israeli President said such exhibitions “help ensure security of our children and grandchildren.”
Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Oleksandr Moroz, Kyiv Governor Vira Ul'yanchenko, Kyiv Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky, First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko, Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, Montenegrin President Filip Vujanovic and other participants of tomorrow’s forum LET MY PEOPLE LIVE! attended the ceremony.
Victor Yushchenko and his wife held a reception after the opening. Addressing those present, the Head of State said his generation of politicians must spare no effort to make such tragedies never happen again and help future generations preserve historical memory.
“And so we are working for that, we worked last year and we will continue working,” he said, adding that the Ukrainian nation “will remember this tragic event forever.”
He thanked his colleagues for coming.
Babyn Yar, a large ravine on the northern edge of Kyiv, is the site of a mass grave of victims, mostly Jews, whom Nazi German SS squads killed between 1941 and 1943. After the initial massacre of Jews, Babiy Yar remained in use as an execution site for Soviet prisoners of war and for Gypsies as well as for people of other nationalities. Soviet accounts after the war speak of 100,000 dead.
Following the sixtieth anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation in 2005, Victor Yushchenko announced that Kyiv would mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre.
The exhibition, which has two parts, A Warning for the Future and No Children’s Games, was organized by Ukraine’s Culture Ministry, the Babyn Yar Memory Foundation, the Kyiv Council Culture Department and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.
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