Звернення українських євреїв до громадськості України (переклад англійською)
Звернення українських євреїв до громадськості України
щодо спроби керівництва проекту Меморіального центру Голокосту «Бабин Яр» (МЦГБЯ) у Києві збудувати синагогу на землі Кирилівського православного цвинтаря у Бабиному Ярі.
Dear friends and colleagues,
This year, the media published a lot of materials in support of the Ukrainian project for the comprehensive memorialization of Babi Yar, and no fewer materials criticizing the Russian memorialization project. This huge stream also includes our modest contribution. In August-September, we did a great job with you — we created, signed and published the Appeal of Ukrainian Jews to the civil society of Ukraine regarding the problems that have developed in recent years around Babi Yar. Many public organizations and civil society activists responded to our call. Various letters and appeals collected about one and a half thousand signatures in support of our position.
Unfortunately, this was not enough. The leaders of the Russian project for the memorialization of Babi Yar, cynically violating the universal norms of attitude towards the memory of people buried in Jewish and other cemeteries, at places of mass graves, violating Ukrainian legislation and international treaties of Ukraine, continue their aggressive policy of invasion of Babi Yar. At the end of September, they created and presented a temporary installation, despite our protests, on the grounds of the former Jewish cemetery in Babi Yar.
Impunity inspires, and now they are trying to build a temporary memorial synagogue behind the Menorah monument on the grounds of the Kirillovsky Orthodox cemetery. A more cynical and provocative plan is impossible to imagine. Every year I am growing moreand more convinced that Russian billionaires (Fridman, Khan and Fuchs) are more interested in provoking indignation and protests from Ukrainian civil society in order to impose another propaganda lie about Ukraine’s «terrible anti-Semitism» on the world, than actually building a memorial.
We, the Ukrainian Jews, wherever we live, in my deep conviction, must prevent this disgusting provocation.
Our associates in Israel, on the initiative of a prisoner of Zion, a participant in the «Leningrad affair» (1970), Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich, created the «Initiative group of Israelis for the preservation of the sanctity of burials at Babi Yar.» They have already written a letter to the Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, asking him to stop the construction on the grounds of the Jewish cemetery. After the end of Shabbat, a meeting of the Israeli initiative group took place, dedicated to a new aggravation by the leadership of the Russian project — an attempt to build a temporary memorial synagogue on the ground of the Orthodox Kirillovsky cemetery in Babi Yar.
In connection with the events mentioned, we, the Ukrainian Jews, once again appeal to the civil society of Ukraine to prevent the desecration of the memory of the victims of Babi Yar.
In your responses to this letter, I ask you to inform us if you also allow your name, surname, and country of residence to be added to this Appeal.
Respectfully, take care,
Josef Zisels (Kyiv, December 23, 2020)
The second appeal of Ukrainian Jews to the civil society of Ukraine.
We, the Ukrainian Jews, like many Jews from different countries, certainly support the idea of perpetuating the memory of tens of thousands of Jews and people of other ethnicities and denominations killed by the Nazis in Babi Yar during the Second World War. The best representatives of our and other peoples have fought for this for many years. But we do care who and at what cost will bring this idea to life. We consider as impossible and unacceptable any solution that provides for the construction on the grounds of cemeteries and places of mass graves — this is absolutely contrary to Jewish and universal human tradition and morality. Therefore, we support the Ukrainian project for the comprehensive memorialization of Babi Yar, which does not imply any fundamental construction on the land where the Orthodox, Jewish, Karaite, Muslim cemeteries were located, and where the remains of tens of thousands of victims of Nazi executioners were buried.
That is why we were outraged by the plans of the initiators of the Russian project of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) to build the so-called temporary memorial synagogue on the territory of the former Kirillovsky Orthodox cemetery in the Babi Yar tract, right behind the Menorah monument.
This is not the first attempt by the leadership of the Russian project — it is cynical and unacceptable for religious Jews, as well as for believers of all denominations, and in general, for normal, decent people, to use the territory of the cemeteries and the Babi Yar reserve to promote their provocative ideas and PR actions. Let us recall the aesthetically dubious art installation dedicated to the anniversary of the start of the shootings in Babi Yar and installed in September this year, despite public protests, directly on the ground of the destroyed Jewish cemetery.
It is at this place that the initiators of the BYHMC promise to build a giant memorial-museum complex, in violation of all possible prohibitions and restrictions of the Jewish religion, as well as Ukrainian legislation and Ukraine’s international obligations.
Jewish religious tradition explicitly prohibits any construction on the grounds of cemeteries and mass graves. An attempt to build a synagogue on the land of the Orthodox cemetery is an insult to Jewish spiritual and moral values, as well as an open provocation against Orthodox believers, against everyone whose relatives and friends are buried in the Kirillovsky cemetery.
Impunity is inspiring. It seems that the Russian billionaires who sponsor the project (Fridman, Khan, and Fuchs) are more interested in provoking public outrage against its creation than in the construction of the memorial. The purpose of such provocations is to disrupt the interfaith and interethnic peace in Ukraine, and to declare those who oppose such blasphemous construction to the whole world as “terrible Ukrainian anti-Semites”.
People who declare themselves zealous for the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, even more than others, should not dare to desecrate graves — neither the places where the victims of the Nazis died as martyrs, nor the territory of the cemeteries destroyed by the Soviet regime.
A decent person cannot, has no right to come to terms with such a sacrilege.
We ask those who share our position and concerns to support this Appeal.
Please let us know if you also allow us to add your first name, last name, and country of residence to this Appeal.
You can leave your responses in the comments on FB.