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Let My People Live! International Forum 65 Years Since the Murders at Babi Yar

Yad Vashem Chairman Shalev to participate in events in Kiev and Babi Yar

25 September 2006

Marking 65 years since 33,771 Jews were murdered at Babi Yar on September 29-30, 1941, the Second International Holocaust Forum, under the auspices of the World Holocaust Forum, chaired by Moshe Kantor, will convene in Kiev on September 26-27, 2006. Heads of State from Ukraine, Israel, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia, and delegations from other countries will attend.

As a part of the commemorative events marking 65 years since the tragedy at Babi Yar, on September 26, in the evening, special exhibits will be displayed in the Ukrainian House Arts Palace. No Child’s Play, organized by Yad Vashem, and Forewarning the Future, organized by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine, the Babi Yar Memory Foundation, and the Department of Culture of Kiev, will be opened by Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko.

The International Forum “Let My People Live!” will be held on September 27, 2006, in the afternoon, at the Shevchenko National Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre of Ukraine in Kiev. Organized by the Government of Ukraine, the World Holocaust Forum Foundation and Yad Vashem, this year’s Forum will be held under the patronage of President Yushchenko. The forum will follow the official ceremony in remembrance of Babi Yar’s victims at the Babi Yar Memorial.

Avner Shalev, Chairman of the Yad Vashem Directorate will speak at the Let My People Live! International Forum on Wednesday, September 27.

“Babi Yar represents the beginning of the systematic murder of the Jews of Europe. In Babi Yar tens of thousands of men, women and children were murdered in cold blood while the bystanders were quiet. From an ideology of racist hate, the “final solution” of the Jews was born. We must, especially today, as antisemitism creeps toward the mainstream, be vigilant that hateful words and intentions do not become actions,” said Shalev.

“Here the Nazis and their collaborators tried to cover up their crimes, and obliterate forever the memories of the victims,” Shalev added. “It is our duty to remember, to recover the identities of the people murdered here, and reclaim them for posterity.”

While approximately half of the Jews murdered in the Shoah resided in the territories of the Former Soviet Union, only 25% of them have been identified and registered on Pages of Testimony. Yad Vashem’s International Shoah Victims’ Names Recovery Project is working in Ukraine and other areas in the Former Soviet Union, together with local organizations, to encourage those who remember the victims to fill in Pages of Testimony, which will then be added to the Names Database.

More information on the World Holocaust Forum is available at www.whf.ru/eng

More information about the Names Recovery Campaign is available at: www.yadvashem.org .

Events marking Babi Yar will be held at Yad Vashem on September 28, 2006.