In honour of the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy, the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine (JCU) will publish a book on Righteous Among the Nations, who saved Jews during the Holocaust in Ukrainian territory, with the support of Yad Vashem. This was announced by JCU President Boris Lozhkin.
Almost 80 years ago on September 29-30, 1941, the Nazis murdered about 33,771 Jews in Babyn Yar ravine in Kiev. Mass extermination in Babyn Yar continued until 1943, where 110000-150000 persons were killed, most of whom were Jews.
The majority of Jews who stayed in Kiev at the time were killed at Babyn Yar. However, some were saved by Kiev’s citizens. After World War II, such heroes were awarded the honorary title of the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
According to the official data of the “Yad Vashem”, at present there are 2,659 Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives and saved Jews in Ukraine during the Holocaust. Boris Lozhkin noticed that the criteria to confer the title of Righteous Among the Nations are very strict.
Besides, since the area of action in establishing the facts for someone to be recognised as Righteous fell on the Soviet period of Ukrainian history, when state antisemitism was especially strong, many stories of salvation were not recorded.
“2659 persons – Righteous Among the Nations – are also 2659 dramatic stories, unique examples of courage and heroism. Our Book will contain many of these stories including photographs of the Righteous and the people they saved”, said Boris Lozhkin about the project.
The title of Righteous Among the Nations takes its beginning from 1953, when the Israeli Knesset issued a Law of establishing “Yad Vashem”. Since 1963 the World Holocaust Remembrance Center “Yad Vashem”, on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people, has awarded this title to non-Jews whose rescue actions could be documented or attested by the saved persons and their relatives.
Some of the Righteous Persons saved Jews in Kyiv during massacres in Babyn Yar. The Babyn Yar Tragedy is a symbol of the beginning of the Holocaust in the Eastern Europe.
The Book will be published in Ukraine before the 80th anniversary of the tragedy of Babyn Yar. It will be dedicated to the Righteous Among the Nations, who saved Jews in Ukraine and around the world.