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Community Commemorates Babi Yar

Community Commemorates Babi Yar

29 September 2014

At the Jewish Holocaust Centre on Sunday 28 September, the Victorian Jewish community commemorated the massacre at Babi Yar, a ravine near Kiev, where 33,771 Jews were shot over a two day period starting on 29 September 1941.  For many decades, little was known of those events.  despite evidence from survivors and witnesses of the events.

The commemoration was a joint project of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV), Kangarusskis, the Australian Forum of Russian Speaking Jewry, Russian Sunday School LIDER and the Association of Nazi Victims.

Nearly eighty members of the Victorian Russian-speaking Jewish community attended the commemoration, which focused on the dangers of antisemitism, the importance of remembrance and the celebration of freedom for new generations.

Highlights included performances by Russian Sunday School students and Kangarusskis representing the young members of the community, and the future.  Helena Gorodetski, a survivor of the massacre, brought soil from Babi Yar to the stage as a symbol of the link to the past.

Yevgeni Yevtushenko’s famous Babi Yar poem was movingly read in Russian and English by Larry Fudim and Tania Shvartsman, and book extracts telling the story of Babi Yar were read by Ella Apter and Roy Tzur.

Nina Bassat AM, President of the JCCV and Gennadi Vilkov, President of the Association of Nazi Victims spoke about the importance of remembering Babi Yar and other tragedies that befell the Jews of the Former Soviet Union.

Ms Bassat said, “Memory is all that we have left of those who perished in the Shoah.  To remember is the mandate of the survivors and of all the generations which follow. If we forget, we negate the very existence of those who perished; it is as if they had never been participants in the world in which they lived. If we fail to remember, the lives have not just been lost; they have also been obliterated.”

Read Nina Bassat's speech here

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