Arkady Suharenko, Chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities of Latvia, took part on October 6 in official events marking the opening of a new site at the Babyn Yar memorial complex in Kiev – the Crystal Wailing Wall.

The memorial is dedicated to one of the most famous in the world tragic events of Holocaust – the mass shooting of Jews in Kiev on September 29-30, 1941, when about 34,000 people were killed. Along with Auschwitz, Babyn Yar is a sad symbol of the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Europe and a reminder of what xenophobic and hateful ideas can lead to.

The opening ceremony of the Crystal Wailing Wall was attended by Israeli President Isaac Herzog, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and numerous guests from all over the world. In the synagogue in the compound, a requiem prayer was recited in memory of the victims. A symphony orchestra from Germany performed Shostakovich’s symphony “Babyn Yar”.

“The Crystal Wailing Wall is one of the largest memorial sites erected in Europe in the last decade. It is 40 metres long and 3 metres high. The author of the new monument is Marina Abramovic, a world-renowned contemporary artist, and its unveiling is timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Babyn Yar tragedy.

“The memorial site is very impressive. It evokes strong vivid emotions, draws us to memory, to reflection on the tragic events of the past. And all this is created in the language and means of modern art, which, in my opinion, is very important. After all, the events of the Holocaust are receding from us, the last eyewitnesses who survived them are passing away. Therefore, the task of us living today is to pass on this memory to future generations. We must do this the right way, we must be able to reach the hearts and minds of those who will come after us,” said Arkady Suharenko after unveiling the memorial.

The leader of the Jewish community of Latvia, being at events in Kiev, has held a number of conversations and meetings with other participants and heads of delegations.

Photo: A. Suharenko and Israeli President I. Herzog.