April 29, 2010
Designs sought for Jewish Babi Yar memorial
The Jewish community of Ukraine has announced an international architectural contest for a memorial complex in Babi Yar.
After many years of speculation and argument, the community has been granted permission from the Kiev city administration to build a memorial in the ravine outside of Kiev where nearly 34,000 Jews were killed by Nazi gunmen and local collaborators, the majority of them in September 1941.
The land for the memorial was purchased by the Babi Yar Foundation, according to Yosef Akselrud, executive director of the United Jewish Community of Ukraine.
“Before this was done, numerous attempts to grab the land had been taken,” Akselrud told JTA. “We had to go to the court several times. After the last trial was won, we decided to build the memorial as soon as possible to prevent further trouble.”
Applications for participation in the contest will be accepted through late August. Five to seven semifinalists will be chosen to present their detailed projects by the beginning of next year. The winner, who will be awarded $50,000, is to be announced in February.
The first monument in Babi Yar was built in 1976 and dedicated to “Soviet soldiers killed by the German invaders.” In 1991, another monument in the form of a menorah was erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the massacre.