Ukrainian Jewish leaders are disputing the government’s decision to transfer control of the Babi Yar Memorial Complex to a state institute.
The Ukraine Cabinet of Ministers voted June 25 to transfer control of the complex of memorials at the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev to the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. The memorials commemorate victims of World War II and political repression.
“Transferirng the complex under the control of that Ukrainian institution is an incorrect decision because it does not have enough experience in the field of commemoration of Holocaust victims,” lawmaker Aleksandr Feldman, the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told JTA.
The Institute of National Memory was created in 2006 to examine and memorialize the crimes of the former communist regime, including the Holodomor, or Great Famine, and Hitler’s genocide.
In March 2007, the Ukrainian government had decreed that the complex was to become the State Historical and Cultural Preserve Babi Yar under the aegis of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
From 2005 to 2007, the construction of a memorial to Holocaust victims, including a synagogue, yeshiva and Jewish museum, split the Jewish community in Ukraine.
Nearly 34,000 Jews were massacred at Babi Yar on Sept. 29-30, 1941. More than 100,000 people, mostly Jews, were killed at the ravine during World War II.