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#We Remember: Holocaust Remembrance Day in Ukraine

Koen Carlier - 29 January 2019

Many people are not aware of the horrors which took place during the Holocaust in Ukraine and there is not a lot of information available about it. It is estimated that 1.700.000 people, mainly Ukrainian Jews died. Babies and children were buried alive. It is called ‘Holocaust by bullets’ as there were a lot of stettls (small Jewish towns in Ukraine) where Jews, mostly mother’s, children, babies, elderly and sick people were commanded to come to a place at the edge of the stettl. This was often organised by local Ukrainian police who helped the special German dead commandos by bringing the people to the edge of a pit where they were shot and buried. There are about 2000 Jewish mass graves all over Ukraine. Babi Yar in Kiev is a huge ravine where more than 33.000 Jews were shot during 3 days in the end of September 1941. Each town, village, Jewish stettl in Ukraine has its own Babi Yar.

In the province of Vinnitsa alone there are 360 Jewish mass graves and yesterday a commemoration took place for the 28.000 Jews of Vinnitsa who were shot or buried alive at the edge of Vinnitsa center.

Not every mass grave is marked by a monument. This is why Christians for Israel Ukraine often unveils a Holocaust memorial (read here about a recent unveiling of a Holocaust memorial)

Most people who gathered on the 27th of January are second or third generation Holocaust survivors. We often visit Holocaust survivors and bless them with one or more food parcels.

 

Report from Aliyah fieldworker Alina

‘Yesterday Carmen and I visited Holocaust survivors. We had six people on our list and thought we would be finished by 5 p.m. But it is 9 p.m. and we just made it home, Such incredible stories, so much tragedy and pain, one lady lost 58 members of the family including her father and mother and as a child of 11 years old survived the hell of the Holocaust. She is almost 90, can hardly move, but loves life and every day thanks God for His care and protection. We brought small gifts to each of them. The time we spent with them was priceless!’

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