Last week marked the 75th anniversary of the first Nazi massacre at Babyn Yar.
The series of hills and valleys on the outskirts of Kyiv saw 37,771 Jews shot dead in less than two days in 1941. In the following months, a further 150,000 ethnic Ukrainians, Roma, and Jews were killed in the area, making it one of the bloodiest mass-shootings in history.
It was only one of many atrocities during the Nazi Occupation of Soviet Ukraine wherein 90 percent of its Jewish population and one-third of its ethnic Ukrainian population was killed.
The Holocaust in the Soviet Union is a chapter of history that, until recently, has been politicized and revised by Soviet historians and politicians.
But a series of events in Kyiv last week aimed to re-examine some narratives of the Holocaust, genocide, and historical memory in Ukraine and the rest of the former Soviet Union.
The events were hosted by the Canada-based Ukrainian-Jewish Encounter, the President of Ukraine, and the World Jewish Congress and featured participants from North America, Western Europe, Russia, and Israel.
Among them was Julian Hayda, Worldview’s Production Assistant, who just returned from a commemorative conference about the Babyn Yar (or Babi Yar) tragedy. He’s an MA Candidate in International Studies at DePaul University where he is researching Ukrainian identity politics, and joins us to share what he learned and discuss the place of the Holocaust in a post-Soviet world.