U.S. Rabbis Visit Babi Yar; Recite Prayer for 100,000 Killed Jews

A group of 22 American Reform rabbis, the largest ever assembled in the Soviet Union, today stood at Babi Yar ravine in Kiev and prayed that Soviet authorities will erect a memorial to the approximately 100,000 Jews murdered there by the Germans in World War II.

The service included the recitation, in English, of the poem “Babi Yar” by the Soviet poet, Yevgeny Yevtushenko. The poem deplored the lack of a memorial there and indicated that anti-Semitism was the reason for its absence. The 22 U.S. rabbis were in Kiev on the last stop of a study tour of the Soviet Union, according to a cabled report received here.

Rabbi Jacob J. Weinstein, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, recited a prayer at the tragic scene. He said: “We stand here on hallowed ground where many thousands of our brethren lie buried in a musty pit. We cannot separate their commingled bones. But we can perform an act of poetic justice. We can insist on a special memorial for those who were so singularly selected for this bitter martyrdom.” No Soviet citizens attended the memorial service.

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