“So on this anniversary, we honor the memory of all those lost at Babyn Yar, recommit ourselves ensuring that their full history is told, and pledge to act, every day, so that history is not repeated,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on the occasion of Babyn Yar commemoration, an Ukrinform correspondent reported.
In his speech, Blinken noted that for much of the last eight decades, the world had not remembered what happened at Babyn Yar.
The U.S. Secretary of State mentioned his stepfather, a Jew who had been born in Poland. Blinken said he had joined a small delegation of Americans for a series of off-the-record discussions with leaders from the Soviet Union and the remarks from much of the Soviet delegation had been hostile and rife with anti-Semitism. Then Blinken's stepfather offered to visit Babyn Yar.
“He knew that one of the most powerful ways to conquer hatred is to show people where it leads – its human consequences. He made those delegates see that he could just as easily have been one of the people buried in that ravine. Or one of the six million,” the diplomat said.
As reported, presidents of Ukraine, Israel, and Germany, as well as other foreign guests, attended memorial events dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the tragedy in the territory of the National Historical Memorial Preserve Babyn Yar on October 6.
During World War II, the German occupation forces used the Babyn Yar tract in the northwestern part of Kyiv as a place of mass executions of civilians, mainly Jews. On September 29, 1941, by order of the occupation administration, the entire Jewish population was obliged to appear in Babyn Yar. People were escorted in groups through the checkpoint, after which they were driven to the edge of the ravine and shot. On September 29-30, 33,771 people were killed. The massacres in the tract lasted until the occupiers left the city. According to official data, about 100,000 people were shot down there.
Photo credit: State Department Photo by Ron Przysucha
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