The president of the International Council of the International Society for Human Rights, (ISHR, Ukrainian/German IGFM) Thomas Schirrmacher, visited “Babi Yar”, the memorial site for the massacre of Jews and Roma, carried out by German forces. He was escorted by the director of the institution, Boris Ivanovich Glazunov, and by the founder of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR, Prof. Dr. Andrej Suchorkow.

Thomas Schirrmacher with the founding president of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR, Andrej Suchorkow, in front the monument for the murdered Roma people in “Babi Yar” © BQ/Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher with the founding president of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR, Andrej Suchorkow, in front the monument for the murdered Roma people in “Babi Yar” © BQ/Warnecke

Babi Yar is a 2,5 km long ravine on the territory of the Ukrainian capital Kiev, situated formerly beyond the city borders, but today in the middle of the city. In 1941 this ravine was the site of the greatest single massacre of Jewish men, women and children, carried out during World War II with the participation of the German Armed Forces. On September 29th and 30th, 1941, the Security Police, SD (Security Service of the Reichsführer SS), Ukrainian collaborators and the 6th Army under General Field Marshal Walter von Reichenau executed 33.771 Jews by shooting. By the end of 1943 100.000 to 150.000 more people were killed, among them, besides Jews, Soviet POWs, Communists, Ukrainian Nationalists and Roma people (‘Gypsies’).

Thomas Schirrmacher with the board members of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR at very cold temperatures in front of the monument for the murdered Jews in “Babi Yar” © BQ/Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher with the board members of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR at very cold temperatures in front of the monument for the murdered Jews in “Babi Yar” © BQ/Warnecke

Not before 2007, the largest part of the area was blocked for further building development and designated as a memorial. In 2010 the Ukrainian President raised the memorial to the rank of a national monument. Since then it is called “National Historical and Memorial Reserve Babyn Yar”. Since 2008 Boris Ivanovich Glazunov is the director of the memorial. He has been deputy chairman of the Ukrainian section of the IGFM since 1993. Under Glazunov each victim group was given a monument of its own, plus an own separate documentation on the premises. Besides that, there is an older monument at the ravine’s entrance.

Thomas Schirrmacher with the board members of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR at very cold temperatures in front of the monument “Babi Yar” (2nd from left, the founding president, Andrej Suchorkow, far right, the current president, Anton Alexejew) © BQ/Warnecke

Thomas Schirrmacher with the board members of the Ukrainian section of the ISHR at very cold temperatures in front of the monument “Babi Yar” (2nd from left, the founding president, Andrej Suchorkow, far right, the current president, Anton Alexejew) © BQ/Warnecke

Schirrmacher, escorted by the memorial’s management and the board of the Ukrainian section, visited the whole spacious site and kneeled at the places of memorial for the Jews and the Roma people. In addition, he also visited a decaying building, which the state had donated to the memorial place for the purpose of creating a museum. At present, however, the donor pledges needed for the creation of the exhibition and for the ongoing operation are lacking.

The founding of the IGFM in the Ukraine by chemistry professor Dr. Andrej Suchorkow, who also partook in the site inspection, followed immediately after the Ukrainian independence. Suchorkow, however, had already cooperated with the IGFM in Germany for many years. He was president for a long time and is today honorary president. The current president is the lawyer Anton Alexejew.

 

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