Russian-specific “denazification”: Putin’s troops have

Archive image used by the Ukrainian director Serghei Loznița in the documentary “Babi Yar. Context ”, presented in 2021 at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo source: Cineuropa.org.

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Rockets and shells fired by Russian troops invading Ukraine have hit areas of the country’s capital, Kyiv, including the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial, where tens of thousands of Jews were massacred during the Holocaust. The memorial is located near the tower of Ukrainian television, which was a target of the Russian army on Tuesday.

Andrii Iermak, Chief of Staff of the Presidency of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter:

“Russia has launched a missile attack on the territory where the Babyn Yar memorial complex is located. These criminals are killing the victims of the Holocaust for the second time. “

Just now, a powerful barrage is underway. A missile hit the place where Babyn Yar memorial complex is located! Once again, these barbarians are murdering the victims of the Holocaust!

– Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) March 1, 2022

Nathan Sharanski, president of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and former head of the Jewish Agency, was quoted as saying by The Times of Israel:

“Putin is trying to distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country, which is utterly detestable. It is symbolic that he is beginning to attack Kiev by bombing Babyn Yar, one of the largest Nazi massacres. “

Saransky referred to Putin’s claims before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that he was doing, among other things, to “denazify” the country.

“We at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, built on Europe’s largest Holocaust mass grave, are working to preserve the historical memory of historical truth, after decades of Soviet suppression, so that the tragedies of the past do not go away. can never repeat. We must not allow the truth to fall victim to the war once again, “said Sharanski, a Ukrainian-born Jew.

On Tuesday morning, the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center sent a statement to the media criticizing Vladimir Putin and his war against Ukraine, demanding that the Russian president be investigated by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. .

“We condemn the bombing of the Jewish cemetery near the Holocaust Memorial to the Jews of Kyiv and the Jewish people of Babyn Yar. We call on the memory of the place to be respected and express our deep sadness at the loss of life, “said Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also reacted after the bombing of the Babyn Yar Memorial on Twitter:

What is the point of repeating “never to be repeated!” for 80 years, if the world remains silent when a bomb falls again, in exactly the same place, at Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeats itself…”

To the world: what is the point of saying “never again” for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating

– Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) March 1, 2022

At Babyn Yar (Babi Yar in Russian), an estimated 33,771 Jews were systematically killed and buried in a ravine for only 48 hours between September 29 and 30, 1941.

In the same place, a total of about 150,000 people – Ukrainians, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and people with disabilities – were killed by the Nazis for a longer period of time, making Babyn Yar the largest mass grave. from Europe.

The Babyn Yar massacre was the largest mass murder under the auspices of the Nazi regime and its collaborators during the war campaign against the Soviet Union, being “the largest massacre in Holocaust history to date.” Subsequently, the horrors of Babyn Yar were surpassed at least three more times.

First, the Nazi occupation troops – German and Romanian – committed the Odessa massacre, which began in October 1941 and continued in early 1942, when, under the control of the Romanian fascist authorities, more than 50,000 Jews were killed.

Subsequently, the number of victims at Babyn Yar was exceeded during the so-called Operation “Harvest Festival” (Aktion Erntefest) in November 1943 in Nazi-occupied Poland, with an estimated 42,000-43,000 casualties.