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New Babi Yar monument unveiled

KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) — A monument to the victims of Babi Yar based on a book about German-occupied Kiev during World War II was unveiled.

The bronze statue representing a teenage boy, which reflects the main character of the Anatoly Kuznetzov novel “Babi Yar,” was unveiled Tuesday in the Kurenivka district of the Ukrainian capital, not far from the Babi Yar reserve. The book describes Kuznetzov’s experiences in Nazi-occupied Kiev during the war.

The novel included previously unknown details about the execution of 33,771 Jews over the course of two days, Sept. 29-30, 1941, in the Kiev ravine Babi Yar. Kuznetzov said he grew up "a stone’s throw" from the ravine.

The memorial was erected on the initiative of Kuznetzov’s son, Alexey, by Vladimir Zhuravel, a Kiev architect, and funded by an anonymous Ukrainian businessman with support of the Inshe Zhyttya International Charitable Fund.

Holocaust survivors, witnesses to the tragedy, local Jews and other area residents attended the unveiling. The ceremony featured a dramatic theatrical performance.

"Babi Yar," published in Russian in 1966, gained greater fame for Kuznetzov but led to his persecution by the Soviet regime. He died in London in 1979.

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