Memory of Babyn Yar and the Holocaust: Commemorating the 80th anniversary of the start of murders in Babyn Yar

insidethegatesAs the first real-life conference after a long period of online events, on 23-24 September 2021 the seminary about the memory of Babyn Yar and the Holocaust took place in Taras Shevchenko University Kyiv.

During two days international scientists discussed scientific, social and political dimensions of the topic. Tetiana Pastushenko from the Institute of History of Ukraine at NASU in Kyiv held the first presentation on the concept for the complex memorialization of Babyn Yar. Different approaches and challenges were addressed within this first session. The following session broached the issue of the Holocaust and its impact on the modern world and Ukraine. As a German representative Dr. Kai Struve, professor at the German Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, discussed with Semion Goldin from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel about different forms of Holocaust perception. Maxim Gon from Rivne State University of the Humanities moderated the first day’s last session on the origins of genocide and the history of Ukraine in the twentieth century. Speaker Vitalii Nakhmanovich from Kyiv History Museum explained traditional European antisemitism as well as functionalism and intentionalism. Norman Naimark from US-American Stanford University pointed out the strong economic reasons for genocide next to co-speaker Andrii Kozytsky comment from Ivan Franko Lviv National University.

The following day started with a session on forms of memorialization of significant places of memory. Volodymyr Simperovych from Kyiv’s National Museum of the History of the Second World War in Ukraine appeared as the moderator of the discussion with participants from from Kyiv and Lviv as well as Jie-Hyun Lim from Sogang University of South Korea. For the finishing two sessions, objects and subjects of memory were picked out as a central theme. Mykhailo Tyaglyi from UCHS and his co-speakers Ola Hnatiuk from Warszaw and Igor Shchupak from Dnipro debated on the different victim communities and their descendants in the fifth session while the final session focused on the objects of memory. The transcripts of presentations will be published in “Ukrainian History Journal”.

The event was organized by the Institute of History of Ukraine at NASU, the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University and the Ukrainian Centre for Holocaust Studies. (The organizers thank all participants for the interesting discussions.)

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