The National Historical and Memorial Reserve Babyi Yar is a memorial complex opened at the world famous place of mass executions of civilians who suffered Nazi genocide during the Second World War. During the fascist occupation of Kyiv, more than 100 thousand people were shot here. Among them there were mainly Jews, as well as gypsy, mentally ill and prisoners of war. Today Babyi Yar is a memorial dedicated to those tragic events. Every year thousands of people from different countries come here to honor the dead.
In the 1950s, it was decided to whelm Babyi Yar and to set up a park in its place. The territory was jammed with dams and silted with pulp from the Petrovsky brick factory. In the spring of 1961, the pulp broke through the dam and flooded a significant part of the Kurenivka region, taking lives of hundreds of Kyiv citizens. After the tragedy, the slopes of the area were re-designed, trees were planted, highways were laid, and a park with alleys was laid out in a ravine.
For a long time, Soviet power was silent about the scale of the Babyi Yar tragedy. And only after the rally on the occasion of the 25th anniversary, which was held in 1966 with the participation of Kyiv activists, they started talking about this publicly. Among the activists, there also was a dissident writer Viktor Nekrasov, who criticized the local authorities for indifference to the memory of the executed Kyiv citizens. Subsequently, Nekrasov was expelled from the country.
Only in 1976 the first monument commemorating the victims was established, and slabs with the following inscription placed: “Here, in 1941–43, German fascist invaders shot more than 100 thousand citizens of Kyiv and prisoners of war”. An opening of the monument was met with harsh criticism, since it did not convey the tragedy of the Jewish people. For a long time, the monument remained the only monumental embodiment of the tragedy in Babyi Yar.
To tell generations of the history of the mass destruction of the citizens of Kyiv and prisoners of war by the Nazis, to honor the memory of the victims of Nazi terror and the Holocaust, in 1999, it was decided to develop the area of Babyi Yar and to create a memorial. Since 2007, Babyi Yar has been a historical and memorial reserve.
Today, the memorial complex includes:
– the Alley of the Righteous,
– the Alley of Martyrs,
– Road of sorrow,
– Monument to the shot children,
– Memorial to the victims of the Kurenivska tragedy of 1961,
– Gypsy wagon in memory of the executed gypsies,
– Cross to the executed clergy,
– Crypt of the Kachkovsky family,
– Gravestones from a former Jewish necropolis,
– Memorial to the victims of Nazism,
– Monument to Soviet citizens and the Soviet Army prisoners of war, who were murdered by Nazi occupiers,
– Monument to the spy T. Marcus,
– Memorial cross to the executed poet O. Teliga and members of the OUN,
– Commemorative stella in honor of the construction of the “Heritage”Jewish community cultural center,
– Monument to O. Teliha and her comrades-in-arms who died for the independence of Ukraine,
– Memorial sign of the executed Kievites of Jewish nationality,
– Lapidarium from the grave monuments of the former Lukyanivsky Jewish cemetery found in Repyakhov Yar,
– Stands with photos and descriptions of events that took place in Babyi Yar,
– Commemorative Crosses, etc.
It is planned to open a Museum in memory of the victims of Babyi Yar in the building of the former office of the Jewish cemetery. In addition, the project plans to erect the Wall of Remembrance along with the Eternal Flame, to open the Holocaust Museum, as well as the Peace Square, where a church, a synagogue, a church and a mosque will be built.