Babi Yar ceremony attended by world leaders

June 27, 2013 by Benjamin Rutland
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Hundreds of Jewish leaders from across the globe including Australia’s Dr Danny Lamm, have taken part in a ceremony at Babi Yar in Ukraine, where an estimated 50,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

Nathan Sharansky at the memorial

Nathan Sharansky at the memorial  Photo: Tali Arosnki/Jewish Agency

The ceremony took place during the meeting of The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Board of Governors which is taking place in Kiev this week. The ceremony was attended by Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, James S. Tisch, Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, the Minister of Immigrant Absorption, Sofa Landver, Minister of Housing and Construction, Uri Ariel, , and the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine, Reuven Din El.

Chairman of the Executive of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky laid a wreath in the name of the Jewish Agency in memory of the Jews who were murdered at the site by the Nazis in the autumn of 1941.

“Ten days ago I participated in the opening of “Shoah” the new permanent Jewish exhibit at Auschwitz. Babi Yar and Auschwitz are two symbols of the Holocaust – a crime which has no comparison in human history. Via demonization, double-standards and de-legitimization the Nazis turned the Jews into a group who were so inferior, wretched and hated that their destruction seemed almost natural. Today, we are obliged to eradicate the phenomenon of the new antisemitism, which, through the three D’s – demonization, double-standards and de-legitimization, is attempting to create an atmosphere where the destruction of the State of Israel also appears almost natural”, said Sharansky.

Yesterday at the opening event of the Board of Governors, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Leonid Kozhara said: “We feel great sympathy for the Jews and condemn all of the crimes which have been committed against them. The Ukrainian people will never forget the tragedy of Babi Yar. Today the Ukrainian Jewish community is growing stronger from day to day thanks to cooperation with the government of the new and independent Ukraine.”

After the conclusion of the ceremony, members of the Board of Governors visited various Jewish Agency programs in Kiev.

The Board of Governors of The Jewish Agency for Israel is comprised of Jewish and Zionist organizations from around the world and meets three times a year, traditionally in Jerusalem, to hold in depth strategic discussions about issues affecting Israel and the Jewish world and to set policy for the Jewish Agency. This will be the first time that the Board of Governors meeting will take place in the former Soviet Union and not in Israel, and reflects the solidarity between world Jewry and Ukrainian Jewry.

The Jewish community in Ukraine is one of the largest in the former Soviet Union and numbers around 200,000. Since the beginning of the wave of Aliyah (immigration to Israel) from the former Soviet Union in 1989, 330,000 Ukrainians have immigrated to Israel with the assistance of the Jewish Agency, many of them through special tracks for young immigrants and professionals. Each year, thousands of Ukrainians choose to immigrate to Israel and many hundreds participate in experiential educational programs such as Birthright and Masa Israel Journey.

Dr Danny Lamm is president of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry.


One Response to “Babi Yar ceremony attended by world leaders”
  1. Michael says:

    Yes I visited Babi yar when I visited Kiev last year it woes very emotional tok picture

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