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In Kiev, Jewish Agency board takes in ceremony for planned Babi Yar memorial

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Babi Yar memorial, babi yar, holocaust

An illustration of the new memorial site to be built at Babi Yar in Ukraine, where tens of thousands of Jews were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. (World Forum of Russian-speaking Jews)

(JTA) — World Jewish leaders participated in a ceremony at the site of the Babi Yar massacre in Kiev, where a new memorial is to be constructed.

Members of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel, currently meeting in Kiev, were among those who attended Monday’s ceremony.

A model of the memorial was unveiled Sunday by Alexander Levin, president of the World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jews and head of the Jewish community in Kiev, at the opening of the Board of Governors meeting.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the next few months and expected to take approximately 2 1/2 years to complete.

The site will display historic material, including the victims’ clothing and belongings, documents from the Nazi archives, a 3-D film and interviews with survivors. A Jewish center and synagogue is intended to symbolize the revival of Jewish life.

More than 33,700 Ukrainian Jews were killed over two days in September 1941 when occupying Nazi troops forced local Jews into a ravine at Babi Yar and shot them to death. The Nazis also murdered thousands of others there.

A memorial to the victims erected at Babi Yar 35 years after the tragedy mentioned only “citizens of Kiev and prisoners of war.” A menorah-shaped Holocaust memorial was erected there in 1991.

In 2009, then-Kiev Mayor Leonid Chernovetzky vetoed a plan to build a hotel at the site.

 Alexander Levin, president of the World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jews, standing next to the model of the Babi Yar memorial in Ukraine. (Shimon Briman)

Alexander Levin, president of the World Forum of Russian-Speaking Jews, standing next to the model of the Babi Yar memorial in Ukraine. (Shimon Briman)

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