WASHINGTON (Aug. 5)
A wreath, stating for the first time that Jews had died at Bobi Yar, was placed at the Bobi Yar Monument in Kiev Friday by members of President Carter’s Commission for the Holocaust. The wreath contained English, Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew inscriptions saying it was from a Presidential commission formed to establish a memorial “to the catastrophe that overtook European Jewry.”
The writer Elie Wiesel, chairman of the Commission, said in a ceremony at the Monument that when he first came to the site 15 years earlier there was no monument. “We all had hoped to find a memorial for all the Jews who died as Jews as well as for all the others who died here,” he said. “But the Jews are not being remembered.” Wiesel said that between Rash Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1941, more than, 90,000 Jews were machinegunned by Nazi troops. The official estimate is 70,000.
The service at the monument was conducted by Cantor Isaac Good friend of Congregation Havath Achim of Atlanta, Georgia. Civil rights leader Bayard Rustin, a Commission member, sang a spiritual, O Freedom.”
Ten members of the Commission, accompanied by 34 advisors and others, are on a tour to study what type of Holocaust memorial should be established in the U.S. Before coming to the Soviet Union, they inspected Polish memorials at the Nazi death camps at Maidanak, Treblinka and Auschwitz, where museums made it explicit that Jews were murdered as Jews, unlike the Bobi Yar Memorial. However, according to reports from Moscow, authorities in the Ukraine and in Kiev made a special effort to accommodate the group.
The Commission, representing Jewish and Christian organizations, is scheduled to go to Copenhagen and Jerusalem. They attended services at the crowded Moscow Synagogue yesterday and members of the congregation rushed to talk to them at the conclusion.