One of the largest Holocaust memorial centres in the world is set to be built in Ukraine at Babyn Yar (also known as Babi Yar), near the capital, Kiev.
Plans for the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre (BYHMC) were unveiled on 20th January. The site will have a dozen buildings including, a Holocaust exhibition space and a memorial to those slaughtered at Babyn Yar. The BYHMC will also include an educational centre, a multi-media centre and a spiritual centre containing a synagogue, church and mosque.
Babyn Yar was chosen because it was the site of the the first major massacre of European Jews in World War II. In September 1941, over 33,000 Jews were taken from Kiev to the Babyn Yar Ravine and shot. Afterwards, the site became a Nazi killing ground for Jews and non-Jews with an estimated death toll of 100,000.
The synagogue and exhibition space are scheduled to be completed this year in time for the 80th anniversary of the massacre.
Natan Sharansky, the Ukrainian-born former head of the Jewish Agency and one-time Soviet refusenik, is the chair of the BYHMC’s Supervisory Board. Describing the concept as “amazing”, he said that the museum and educational centre would be “different from many other Holocaust centres”, so helping to “fill a vacuum in the field of Holocaust studies.”
Poland’s former President, Aleksander Kwasniewski, who is also a member of the Supervisory Board, said that the new centre “will allow us to find a common language with the younger generation.”