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Lessons from Babyn Yar: History, Memory and Legacy

Event Type: 
Event Category: 
Adults, Young adults
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Online debate featuring scholars from the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC, Kyiv) and the House of European History (HEH, Brussels).

The event “Lessons from Babyn Yar: History, Memory and Legacy” is jointly organised by the House of European History (Brussels) and the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (Kyiv).

The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center (BYHMC) is being developed to fittingly remember the approximately 100,000 Jewish victims shot at the Babyn Yar ravine by the Nazis. This includes those murdered in the largest massacre of WWII in September 1941, and the tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others shot thereafter throughout the occupation of Kyiv. Babyn Yar is the largest mass grave in Europe.

Babyn Yar is often considered symbolic of the “forgotten story” of the Holocaust: around 2.5 million Jews, 1.5 of them Ukrainian Jews, who were not taken to camps and gas chambers, but shot dead and buried in mass graves near their homes across Eastern Europe. Until now, their story has largely evaded the historical record, for many years due to a deliberate policy of the USSR.

The event will feature a keynote speech by Father Patrick Desbois, the world renowned Holocaust researcher, author of “Holocaust By Bullets” and Chair of the Academic Council at BYHMC. This will be followed by a panel discussion of academia leaders, who will expose the Babyn Yar tragedy and the “Holocaust by bullets” story.

English and Ukrainian interpretation will be provided.

Zoom link: (14:45 opening of the zoom account).

Programme order

15:00 - Event opening & speeches by selection of participants below.

15:30-15:50 Keynote speech by Father Patrick Desbois

15:55 Panel discussion with Dr. Vladislav Hrynevich, Dr. Wendy Lower, Dr. Martin Dean.

16:35-16:45 Short virtual trip to Babyn Yar, led by Ruslan Kavatsiuk (live slide show)

16:45-17:00 Q&A


  • Dr. Constanze Itzel, Museum Director, House of European History, Belgium
  • Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the BYHMC Supervisory Board, Political prisoner of the Soviet Union (1977-1986), Human Rights Activist, Мinister and Vice Prime Minister in Israeli Governments (1996-2006), Head of The Jewish agency (2009-2018)
  • Patrick Desbois, Chair of Scientific Council, BYHMC, founder and president of Yahad-In Unum
  • Dr. Vladislav Hrynevich, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
  • Dr. Wendy Lower, Director, Mgrublian Center for Human Rights, Claremont McKenna College, USA
  • Dr. Martin Dean, Adjunct Professor at Kean University, USA
  • Dr. Andrej Umansky, Deputy Head of Scientific Council, BYHMC, Historian and Lawyer
  • Ruslan Kavatsiuk, Deputy CEO for Science and Education, BYHMC
  • Michael Gahler, Member of the European Parliament (Germany, EPP), Cochair of the Working Group "Babyn Yar - Memory for the Future"
  • Marek Rutka, Sejm Member, Chair of the “The Parliamentary Group for the Commemoration of the Holocaust Crime at Babyn Yar - For a Europe free from Genocide and Hatred"

Image: 1941, Ukraine, Kyiv. Soviet prisoners of war under the protection of German soldiers bury the bodies of Jews shot on September 29-30, 1941 in Babyn Yar. Probably October 11

© Archives of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research/Johannes Hähle