President Victor Yushchenko and his wife visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem on Wednesday. They honored the victims of the Holocaust with a wreath-laying ceremony, a minute of silence, lit candles and prayers, president's press office reported.

The president gave the museum the book of Deuteronomy (Devarim), the fifth book of the Torah, a stone and some soil from Babyn Yar and books about the Babyn Yar tragedy.

The book presented to Yad Vashem belonged to Mordehay Gentzel from Berdychiv, who wrote down the names of his relatives killed during the Holocaust and World War II in it. It was then kept in the archive of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy center researching the history and culture of East European Jews.

Ukraine is ready to study the Holocaust with Israel to ensure that the two countries “come closer to the triumph of justice. We are ready to continue our cooperation with the Jewish people in studying the Holocaust and historical materials relating to it,” the president said.

Yushchenko said there were quite many “unopened pages” in the history of the Holocaust. He added that Ukraine and Israel had both “good pages in their common history and those which need some response.” “I am convinced the two countries will walk this path. This is done to reach a deeper understanding,” he said.

The president said those recognized as Righteous Among the Nations deserve Ukraine’s state awards. “I would like to affirm and demonstrate on behalf of the Ukrainian nation and the people of Ukraine that we are a committed party in the process of unveiling all crimes against humanity,” he said and added that Ukraine took measures to fight anti-Semitism and xenophobia. “I am happy that today anti-Semitism and xenophobia are not characteristic of Ukraine.”

He commended those working at Yad Vashem and said the Holocaust was not only the Jewish people’s tragedy, as “each fourth victim of the Holocaust was born in Ukraine.” “It will always be a very sensitive subject for Ukraine.”


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