Russia Bombs Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial, Israel Promises to Repair Itby Hana Levi Julian · The Jewish Press
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid condemned a Russian missile attack on Tuesday that damaged the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center in Kiev. Five people were killed in the attack, which may have been aimed at the Kiev TV Tower next door.
The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center was built over the mass grave where 34,000 Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis in 1941, during World War II.
Lapid “denounced the damage” to the memorial – and to a nearby Jewish cemetery – calling for “the sacred site to be protected and honored,” but was careful not to identify Russia as the perpetrator of the attack.
“At the instruction of Foreign Minister Lapid, the ambassador to Kiev is in contact with the managers of the site and when it is possible, we will help fix the damage,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.
In response to Lapid’s tepid statement, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said bitterly in a tweet, “To the world: what is the point of saying ‘never again’ for 80 years, if the world stays silent when a bomb drops on the same site of Babyn Yar? At least 5 killed. History repeating . . .”
Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Center, former Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky and Knesset member Alex Kirshnir all slammed the attack and had no problem identifying Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as the cause of the tragedy.
Yad Vashem said in a lengthy statement that it “voices its vehement condemnation,” and called on the international community to “take concerted measures” to safeguard civilian lives as well as “these historical sites” because of their “irreplaceable value for research, education and commemoration of the Holocaust. Rather than being subjected to blatant violence, sacred sites like Babi Yar must be protected,” the statement said.
Kirshnir called the bombing a “damage to the heart of the Jewish People, to the memory of the Holocaust. This war is become more and more brutal; we must do everything to stop it.”
Former MK, Jewish Agency chairman and past Soviet refusenik Natan Sharansky had harsh words for the attack, accusing Putin of seeking to “distort and manipulate the Holocaust to justify an illegal invasion of a sovereign democratic country.
“It is symbolic that he starts attacking Kiev by bombing the site of Babyn Yar, the biggest of Nazi massacres,” Sharansky said.
In a separate statement issued together with the leaders of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial complex, he added, “As experts who work with Holocaust research and commemoration, we are deeply outraged that the aggressor country has used genocidal rhetoric to justify its shameful actions. Russia has vulgarly instrumentalized anti-Nazi rhetoric and is trying to take on the role of a fighter against Nazism.
“We remind the Russian leadership that Kiev, Kharkiv, Kherson, Mariupol and other Ukrainian cities were last subjected to massive bombing by Nazi Germany during World War II; now they are burning under the blows of Putin’s army, under the false and outrageous narrative of “denazifying” Ukraine and its people.”