At the core of the debate in Ukraine about Babi Yar lies the Holocaust. Between 1941 and 1943 1.5 million Jews perished in Ukraine, yet a full understanding of that tragedy has been suppressed consistently by ideologies and interpretations of history that minimize or ignore this tragedy. For Soviet ideologues, admitting to the existence of the Holocaust would have been against the tenet of a “Soviet people” and the aggressive strategy of eliminating national and religious identities. A similar logic of oneness is being applied now in the ideological formation of an independent Ukraine. However, rather than one Soviet people, now there is one Ukrainian people under which numerous historical tragedies are being subsumed, and the unique national tragedies of other peoples on the territory of Ukraine, such as the massive destruction of Jews, is again being suppressed. According to this political idea assiduously advocated most recently during the Yushchenko presidency, the twentieth century in Ukraine was a battle for liberation. Within this new, exclusive history, the Holocaust, again, has found no real place. The author reviews the complicated history regarding the memorialization of the Jewish tragedy in Babi Yar through three broad chronological periods: 1943-1960, 1961-1991, and 1992-2009.
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