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Babi Yar Anniversary to Be Observed by Radio Liberty Broadcasts to USSR

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During the last week of Sept. Radio Liberty will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre of Soviet Jews with special broadcasts to the USSR. According to Dr. Gene Sosin, director of broadcast planning, “both the Russian and Ukrainian services are preparing programs for RL’s listening audiences–Jews and non-Jews alike–which will remind them that the Soviet regime has consistently muted and distorted the truth about Babi Yar.” He added that “our broadcasts will coincide with the Jewish High Holy Days, culminating with Yom Kippur, which this Year falls on September 29, the very day when the Jews of Kiev were rounded up by the Nazis to be slaughtered at the ravine.”

Radio Liberty’s programs will include a rebroadcast of Yevtushenko’s famous poem, written 10 years ago, but virtually unknown to Soviet youth today. Anatoli Kuznetsov, the Soviet writer who defected to London in 1969, will read over the air the full version of his novel, Babi Yar, which was published in the Soviet Union in a censored form. The “Babi Yar” passage from Shostakovich’s Thirteenth Symphony, banned inside the USSR, will be played for Soviet listeners.

Radio Liberty will repeat the text of the poignant samizdat document about Babi Yar written by Boris Kochubievsky, the young Jewish engineer from Kiev who was later imprisoned. Appropriate readings of Yiddish poems and the singing of the Hebrew prayer for the dead are also scheduled. “Radio Liberty will inform its audience about the observance of the anniversary on the part of synagogues and Jewish organizations in the U.S.,” Dr. Sosin said.

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