Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a delegation of 50 parliamentarians will commemorate Babyn Yar massacre

January 28, 2022

The delegation is organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in partnership with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.

Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a delegation of around 100 people, including fifty members of Parliaments from several countries across Europe, will gather on Monday in Kiev, Ukraine, where one of the first and largest massacres occurred during World War II: the Babyn Yar massacre.
Also known as the ‘’Holocaust by Bullets’’, Babyn Yar, a location near Kiev where the Nazis shot around 100,000 people in plain sight, including almost the entire Jewish population of Kiev in the space of just two days on September 29-30, 1941.
The delegation is organized by the European Jewish Association (EJA) in partnership with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center and the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine.
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is currently being built in order to immortalize the stories of the 2.5 million Jews of Eastern Europe, including 1.5 million in Ukraine alone, murdered and buried in mass graves near their homes during the Holocaust. Over the past year, a number of memorials have been erected at the site of the Holocaust-era massacre as part of the establishment of an innovative and expansive museum complex across the whole of the Babi Yar area. The establishment of the new center is being guided by public figures and leaders from around the world, chiefly Natan Sharansky, the chairman of the board of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center.
‘’The delegation we bring to Babyn Yar will commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day by also introduced to aspects of the Holocaust that often go overlooked or whose memory has been suppressed,’’ said Alex Benjamin, Director of the European Jewish Association.
‘’Nazi forces and their collaborators attempted to cover every trace of the massacre. Soviet, and until recently post-Soviet authorities attempted to suppress any memorialization thereof,’’ noted Benjamin.
On Monday, a symposium will be used as an incubator for presenting, discovering, developing and establishing new and effective tools for sustained Holocaust education.
Delegation participants, especially parliamentarians, will be asked to adopt political action and take home best practices shared during the Kiev trip, and to advance public measures that will lead to effective Holocaust remembrance education and criminal prosecution mechanisms against Holocaust denial,
On Tuesday, the participants will visit the site of Babyn Yar where they will be introduced to the Babyn Yar Memorial Center, listen the testimony of a survivor and participate in a memorial ceremony.
The parliamentarian delegation comes at a time of growing tension between Ukraine and Russia.
https://ejpress.org/ahead-of-international-holocaust-remembrance-day-a-delegation-of-around-100-people-will-visit-babyn-yar/

Additional Articles

The Labour party approves a draft action plan against antisemitism to be submitted to the government’s anti-racist body

The Labour party’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) has approved a draft action plan against antisemitism it is required to submit to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), the government anti-racist body,  ahead of a deadline later this week, The Jewish Chronicle reported.
The plan comes in response to  recommendations  of the EHRC report into antisemitism in the party.
The Labour’s action plan comprises the 18 key recommendations of the EHRC report, including the setting up of an independent complaints process to handle  allegations of antisemitism, other forms of discrimination and bullying.
The party had receive a 10 December deadline to produce a draft action plan in response to the findings and recommendations of the report released by the government anti-racist and equality body.
A Labour spokesperson said: ”Labour’s national executive committee has given its approval to the draft action plan it is required to submit to the EHRC this week.
“It covers all the EHRC’s recommendations and is an important step towards Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner’s commitment to rebuilding trust and confidence with our Jewish members and the Jewish community.”
The action plan is believed to contain details on how  Labour intends to live up to Keir Starmer’s zero tolerance commitment to reports of antisemitism in the party in the future, how it will introduce training sessions on anti-Jewish racism to be conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement, and how it will effectively monitor improvements to ensure lasting change within the party.
Asked to comment the process in the Labour party by its new leader Keir Starmer, Gideon Falter, Chairman of the UK-based Campaign Against Antisemitism, who has been in the forefront of the battle to refer the party  to EHRC because it was not taking its complaints against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn seriously, said: ‘’‘’The point is that this is a man, Jeremy Corbyn, who put 47% of British Jews in fear of their future in this country.He surely cannot be allowed by his political party, which claims to be anti-racist, to go without answer for that. He must be held to account in a fair, independent disciplinary process.’’
Falter added during a webinar hosted by the European Jewish Association: ‘’If this is going to be polluted by Keir Starmer’s  political considerations about who has the power in Labour, then I don’t think the party has learned his lesson. The Labour party has to secure justice against anti-Semites.’’
Last month, Starmer decided not to readmit Corbyn in its parliamentary ranks despite the fact that a Labour disciplinary panel lifted the suspension of Corbyn’s party membership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation identified serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process of handling anti-Semitism complaints.
Its report said the party was responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act: political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints and harassment.
Read More

Tourists take selfies in front of Holocaust war memorial

What are they thinking? Tasteless tourists take sick selfies and BREAKDANCE at site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered in one day by Nazis in WWII Kaunas massacre

Tasteless tourists who post pictures of themselves breakdancing, doing handstands and even performing ballet at a holocaust memorial site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered by the Nazis in one day are being shamed online.

The shocking images were taken in front of the mass murder memorial at Ninth Fort in Kaunas, where 9,200 children and their parents were slaughtered on October 29, 1941.

They show tourists grinning happily alongside hashtags such as #happy – apparently oblivious to the gravity of the massacre that took place behind them.

Now activist Richard Schofield has collected the photos, posted under the hashtag #Ninth Fort, to shame the tourists involved and to show that young people are not being educated on the horrors of the Second World War.

Holocaust memorial campaigner Simonas Dovidavicius, former leader of the Jewish community in Kaunas, told MailOnline he was sickened by the holocaust selfie trend: ‘This is terrible. It shows how society is not in with what‘s happened.

‘This place cannot be a place of enjoyment and relaxation. I‘ve seen people sitting in the killing fields and having picnics or listening to music. People who were killed there deserve respect and some honour.‘

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association, told MailOnline: ‘It is one thing to take simple pictures of the memorial for the sake of remembrance, yet completely another to joyously pose in front of the camera with the place of mass slaughter in the background.‘

The killings at Kaunus were the biggest single massacre of Lithuanian Jews during World War II.

The condemned were lined up at death site and shot dead before being buried in freshly dug trenches. In total 50,000 Jews were murdered at the site, as Ninth Forth became a Nazi killing station.

But to the horror of 52-year-old campaigner Mr Schofield that brutal history has been has been erased and ignored by tourists to the site posing for light-hearted selfies.

Smiling for the camera, visitors pose in front of the memorial where the victims‘ bodies lay, seemingly unaware of the mass murders that took place there 75 years ago. Some tourists have been pictured doing handstands, jumping on victims‘ graves and even performing ballet.

Mr Schofield was prompted to take action by pictures like one of two teenage girls gazing into their camera for a selfie with the hashtag #Winterwonderland.

In another on the website two male friends grinned in front of the monument with the hashtags #happy and #day.

Another shows a man clinging onto one of the monument stones alongside the hashtag #hangingout.

Perhaps most disturbingly, despite museum bosses trying to discourage it, most of those MailOnline spoke to, knew what happened there – and didn‘t feel they were being contemptuous of its past.

Julija struck a model pose in front of the monument. She said: ‘I knew we were taking pictures in a place where thousands of people were killed.

‘But I don‘t think it‘s bad to make memories of visiting this place by taking pictures.

She added: ‘It‘s more bad mannered to take wedding or birthday pictures there.

Sarune posted a photo of her laughing in front of the monument – and said: ‘Taking selfies and photos isn‘t disrespectful. The place itself is full of monuments that are really beautiful so I think that it is normal to take photos.‘

Their views were shared by Gabriele, who posted a photo of her doing ballet at Ninth Fort on Instagram. She said: ‘It‘s not ill-considered to take selfies there. it‘s more important that nobody vandalises the monument and keeps it clean.‘

Rytis, the tourist pictured hanging from the memorial, admitted: ‘It lacks respect, I think, but I don‘t care about it too much, because it‘s a monument.‘

The museum‘s director Jurate Zakaite told MailOnline: ‘We try to stop selfies being taken because we think it‘s disrespectful to those who died here.

‘It‘s very strange that they know the history but still do it. If we catch them we ask them to stop. It‘s forbidden to climb on the monument.‘

Mrs Zakaite gave permission for Lithuanian rapper Vaiper Despotin to record a music video at the site because the song was about the number of people who had died there.

But the museum boss immediately regretted it when the video featured a Yeti and a woman in tight black leather trousers.

Julia Mozer, spokeswoman for the CEJI A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe which is based in Belgium, slammed the visitors‘ activities, telling MailOnline: ‘Taking happy selfies in front of Holocaust memorial sites is disrespectful and hurtful. Education that develops an appreciation for the impact of the Holocaust is absolutely essential. Memorial sites should also be monitored to prevent such exploitation.‘

Mr Schofield said his campaign to raise awareness, which includes going into schools to educate children about the holocaust to raise awareness has been positive.

The project is ‘designed to begin breaking Lithuania‘s dominant Holocaust taboo and to encourage the next generation of the country‘s leaders and decision makers to start dealing with this difficult subject,‘ he said.

‘We‘re not here to shame these young people. We know they‘re mostly good kids like most kids are. The problem lies with the Lithuanian State, which continues to let its young people down by not teaching them the full story of the Holocaust. ‘

Mr Schofield, from Newhaven, East Sussex, has been living in Lithuania 16 years. He is the former editor of a travel guide for Central and Eastern Europe and stayed in Lithuania because he liked it there.

As a photographer with a keen interest in history he began documenting Jewish life and became aware of how little was being taught about the Holocaust in schools and how little people knew about it.

He set up the NGO International Centre for Litvak Photography in 2015, one of the projects of which is Fifty Schools, which according to his website aims at working with ‘50 secondary schools around the country as part of an ambitious educational project to publish a unique e-book about Lithuania‘s sadly forgotten Litvak history, heritage and culture.‘

 
The article was published on the Stock Daily Dish

IL SIMPOSIO A BABYN YAR: “ACCETTARE LE SFIDE DEL FUTURO SENZA DIMENTICARE LA MEMORIA DEL PASSATO”

Guardare al futuro, alla lotta all’antisemitismo, senza dimenticare la storia, specialmente la Shoah e i suoi massacri. La memoria può dunque diventare un punto di partenza per riflettere anche sul futuro e sul presente dell’ebraismo europeo. Queste le premesse con la quale è stato aperto il simposio, organizzato dall’European Jewish Association, dai partner del Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center e della Federazione delle Comunità Ebraiche dell’Ucraina, in occasione della Giornata della Memoria dedicata al massacro di Babyn Yar avvenuto a Kiev.

Tra il 29 e il 30 settembre del 1941, un reparto speciale Einsatzgruppe tedesco, assistito da due battaglioni del reggimento di polizia sud e polizia ausiliaria Ucraina, senza alcuna resistenza da parte della popolazione locale, uccisero all’interno del burrone Babi Yar, situato nel nord-ovest di Kiev, circa 33 771 ebrei. Il Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center è stato creato dal decreto del presidente ucraino Petro Poroshenko il 20 ottobre 2017. Con questo l’Ucraina proponeva un nuovo approccio alla conservazione della memoria storica di quei tragici eventi. “L’Ucraina è il quarto paese per numero che sono state annoverate tra coloro che furono “Giusti tra le nazioni”. Il parlamento ucraino ha recentemente adottato una legge per combattere e prevenire l’antisemitismo nel paese e per commemorare la Shoah. La memoria è l’unico modo per combattere l’antisemitismo – ha detto nel corso della conferenza il Presidente del parlamento ucraino, Ruslan Stefanchuk- Le atrocità sono avvenute spesso perché la gente è rimasta in silenzio a causa della paura, dell’indifferenza e dell’egoismo. Lo studio della Shoah oggi è di particolare importanza per il popolo ucraino.”

Una delegazione di circa cento ministri, parlamentari, senatori, ambasciatori e giornalisti di tutta Europa riuniti in Ucraina. Due giorni intensi di seminario volti ad analizzare l’emergenza dilagante del nuovo risveglio dell’antisemitismo. Un momento per riunirsi, confrontarsi e discutere, ma soprattutto per tentare di accogliere la sfida di combattere l’antisemitismo in atto in Europa. Non nascondersi, ma affrontare il passato con un rinnovato senso di pragmatismo, trovando strategie per fronteggiare l’odio antiebraico di oggi, in tutte le sue forme.

Babyn Yar: una vergognosa pagina della storia, per anni nascosta. Al termine del seminario la delegazione si è recata nel luogo dove furono trucidati milioni di innocenti per una visita al centro Babyn Yar seguita da una cerimonia.  Il memoriale, in seguito a moltissimi sforzi per commemorare le sue vittime, ha trovato la sua ubicazione, cinque anni fa nello stesso luogo dove avvenne la tragedia.

Ad intervenire, nel corso della serata, anche il Presidente del consiglio del Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center Natan Sharansky. Sharansky, nel suo videomessaggio, ha sottolineato come le autorità sovietiche abbiano tentato insabbiare l’accaduto cancellando ogni ricordo del massacro avvenuto in quel burrone. “Una commemorazione importante non solo per le vittime e per onorare la loro memoria- ha aggiunto Sharansky -ma anche per garantire che le lezioni della storia vengano apprese e ricordate nell’era in cui viviamo oggi”.

“Sono nato pochi anni dopo la Shoah, sono cresciuto in Ucraina tra i campi di sterminio, eppure non ne sapevamo nulla – spiega al pubblico Sharansky – Ecco perché oggi è così importante che il Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center, che ho l’onore di presiedere, stia facendo grandi sforzi per trasformare questa “grande tomba della Shoah” in un grande museo con il suo centro di ricerca e studio.  Stiamo facendo tutto questo collaborando strettamente con il governo ucraino.”

https://www.shalom.it/blog/orizzonte-europa-bc251/il-simposio-a-babyn-yar-a-accettare-le-sfide-del-futuro-senza-dimenticare-la-memoria-del-passatoa-b1109801?fbclid=IwAR1g9_70Nyjy_rku4MgCIqlbM2bCewRz0XU2N9KhGFiZHvwhnQamV45wETY

EJA Meeting with Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion, Ján Figel

On the 28th of June, the European Jewish Association has met with Mr. Ján Figeľ, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the EU. During a very productive and insightful two-hour conversation, the topics discussed have ranged from the freedom of religion and inter-religious dialogue to anti-Semitism and the future of Jews in Europe. Other highly important issues touched upon included persecution of religious minorities worldwide as well as ways of resolving this severely acute problem, which still continues to plague the world even nowadays.

Former EU Commissioner and long-time Slovak politician, Mr. Figeľ has shared with us his experience on promoting the sacred and universal idea of the freedom of religion around the world on behalf of the EU and its inhabitants. Potential possibilities and opportunities for further cooperation between his office and the EJA have also been discussed.
Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Turkey
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
When you click on "Donate" you will be redirected to a secure donation page