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Thursday: Special Event with the Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Poet Will Read from Babi Yar and Other Works
Russian Poet Laureate in Israel Specially for Event

12 November 2007

Celebrated Russian Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko will visit Israel this week at the invitation of Yad Vashem, Keren Hayesod, and the Israeli Authors’ Unions Federation (IAUF).

On Thursday, November 15, 2007, Yevtushenko will visit Yad Vashem, where he will tour the Holocaust History Museum, participate in a memorial ceremony, and participate in a special event held in his honor, where he will read from his poetry, including the poem “Babi Yar”.

Following are press arrangements for the Yad Vashem events:

15:00: Tour of the Holocaust History Museum -- CLOSED to Cameras

16:30: Photo-Op in the Hall of Names, Holocaust History Museum: OPEN in coordination with the Media Relations Department: 02 644 3410.

17:30: Wreath-laying ceremony, Hall of Remembrance -- OPEN

18:00: Special Event in honor of Yevgeny Yevtushenko: Yad Vashem Auditorium, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Amb. Avi Pazner, Josef Chaïm Kaufman, a Holocaust survivor from Belgium who facilitated Yevtushenko’s visit to Israel, Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev, and Holocaust survivors. The event will take place in Hebrew and Russian and is OPEN to the press in coordination with the Media Relations Department: 02 644 3410.

In the week following the Yad Vashem event, Yevtushenko will meet with state leaders and the cultural elite, and will give a series of public readings throughout Israel.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (born 1933, Siberia) is a well-known Russian poet, novelist, professor of literature and cinema, screenwriter and director of two motion pictures. In 1961, Yevtushenko published “Babi Yar”, a protest poem against antisemitism. Today, excerpts from the poem are inscribed in the Holocaust History Museum at Yad Vashem, and in the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The poem also inspired the Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich to write his Symphony № 13 ("Babi Yar"). “Babi Yar” represented a watershed moment in many Russians’ and Ukrainians’ attitude toward the Holocaust. Thanks to Yevtushenko’s poem, the Jewish tragedy in the Holocaust became public knowledge after years of denial by the Soviet establishment. “Babi Yar” is a symbol for Jewish remembrance and since the publication of the poem, the world identifies Babi Yar as a symbol of the murder of the Jews in Ukraine, and of all the murders by the Einsatzgruppen and their collaborators.

Throughout his life, Yevtushenko has been an advocate of democracy. He has received numerous awards and honors around the world. He has toured 96 countries and his works have been translated into 72 languages. Yevtushenko currently divides his time between Russia and the United States where he teaches Russian-European Cinema and Russian Literature at the University of Tulsa.