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Forum in Kyiv honours the victims of Babi Yar

26.09.2006 | www.bbc.co.uk

The ceremonies will be attended by the Presidents of Ukraine, Israel, Croatia and Montenegro, as well as official delegations from more than forty countries. 

Kyiv’s Mayor Leonid Chernovetsky will meet with the “Righteous of Babi Yar”, people who saved the lives of Jews and prisoners of war from the Nazis.

As part of the International Forum “Let my people go”, the President of Israel Moshe Katsav will also meet with the Jewish community of Ukraine.

In those days in 1941 30 thousand Jews were shot in Babi Yar in Kyiv.

By the end of the War between one hundred and one hundred and fifty thousand people of different nationalities had been killed in this place.

The participants in the Forum will be formulating a message to the world community, calling for steps to be taken in the fight against xenophobia and racial intolerance.

The Forum in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust which is taking place at the initiative of President Yushchenko will focus on the depth of the tragedy of Babi Yar which the organizers believe was to be the beginning of thousands of such atrocities in Europe throughout the Second World War. In such places the Nazis murdered millions of Jews and civilians of other nationalities. In Ukraine alone, more than one and a half million Jews were murdered.

An important feature of this Forum is that it is intended not only to honour the memory of the victims of Nazism, but also to call on the world community to stamp out present manifestations of xenophobia and anti-Semitism taking place in many countries where people are fed an ideology of racial and religious intolerance using the latest technology.

Ukrainian leaders say that over the last years the authorities have stepped up measures to combat expressions of xenophobia, however they acknowledge that such behaviour has not been fully eradicated.

The present forum is the second following the Krakow Forum where the leaders of many countries last year honoured the memory of the victims of the Nazi Concentration Camp at Oświęcim  [Auschwitz].

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