Posted by: U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John F. Tefft
On September 8th,I attended the opening of the exhibit “Shoah by Bullets: Mass shootings of Jews in Ukraine 1941–1944” at the Ukrainian House in central Kyiv. Although the Shoah by Bullets exhibit has been shown in Paris, Brussels, New York and other cities, this is the first time it has appeared in Ukraine. Establishing the exhibit in Kyiv was truly an international effort. The Victor Pinchuk Foundation provided key support, in partnership with the Memorial de la Shoah, Yahad – In Unum and the Embassies of Israel, France, Germany and the United States. Other contributors included the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies, University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, and the Center of Studies of History and Culture of Eastern-European Jews.
This year the international community will join Ukraine in commemorating the 70th year since the massacre at Babi Yar. The opening of the Shoah by Bullets exhibit in Kyiv provides a rare space for Ukrainians to learn and reflect upon a difficult and searing moment in their nation’s history that received short shrift or was outright censored in the Soviet era. That Ukraine experienced staggering human losses during World War II is well documented, but the impact of the Holocaust, and particularly the mass murder of Jews and other victims by Nazi soldiers in Ukraine, is still a relatively new subject for history books and an uncomfortable moment in history for many. It is really only through events such as the Shoah by Bullets exhibit that public awareness and understanding of the Holocaust can be introduced to younger generations. (more…)