SESSION 24. ROUNDTABLE. BABYN YAR MEMORY TODAY  — PUZZLES AND TROUBLES

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How to commemorate the tragedy of Babyn Yar is one of the most complex questions in Holocaust memory. Babyn Yar is the emblematic case of the so-called Holocaust by bullets. In Babyn Yar in 1941, the Germans shot 34,000 Kyiv Jews, the residents of three Romani tabors and the patients of the Pavlov Psychiatric Hospital. The shootings continued until 1943: in addition to Holocaust victims, Babyn Yar saw the execution of many who opposed the occupation. Babyn Yar also stands for the Soviet government’s obstinate refusal to memorialise the tragedy, as well as for sustained efforts by those who strove to keep memory alive. Thirty memorials have emerged here since Ukraine gained independence, and recent years have seen a competition between rival memorial construction projects. In the spring of 2020, that standoff erupted into public scandal.

At this roundtable, three of the people who have been most closely involved with efforts to memorialise Babyn Yar will share their views of what is happening around Babyn Yar and what is at stake.

Participants:
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Warsaw)
Dieter Pohl (University of Klagenfurt)
Yana Barinova (independent researcher, Kyiv)
ChairIuliia Skubytska (War Childhood Museum, Kyiv)

Background reading in English:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/world/europe/ukraine-holocaust-babyn-yar.html

https://en.lb.ua/news/2020/04/17/8676_karel_berkhoff_my_impression.html

https://www.tabletmag.com/sections/arts-letters/articles/dau-babyn-yar-khrzhanovsky

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-ukrainian-center-to-commemorate-babi-yar-largest-ever-jewish-massacre-1.8448655