Mikhail Fridman and German Khan, Alfa Group Founders, as members of the International Coalition Announced Plan to Create the First Memorial Center for Victims of the Babi Yar Massacre in Ukraine29 September 2016 – Kyiv, Ukraine – On the 75th anniversary of one of the most notorious atrocities of the Second World War, members of a broad international coalition gathered today in Kyiv to announce their commitment to create a new memorial and educational center in Ukraine to commemorate the massacre at Babi Yar.
A ceremony at the Taras Shevchenko National Museum attended by 200 guests included officials, historians, educators, museum professionals, leaders of civil society, and members of the Initiative Group. The group signed a Declaration of Intent to create the Memorial Center.
The members include:
• Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Chief Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine;
• Joschka Fischer, the former Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany;
• Michail Fridman, Co-Founder and Chairman, Alfa-Group Consortium, Co-Founder and Chairman, LetterOne investment holding, and philanthropist, Co-Founder Russian Jewish Congress and Genesis Philanthropy Group;
• Pavel Fuks, Chairman, Babi Yar Memorial Foundation; and corporate leader;
• German Khan, Co-Founder and a Member of the Supervisory Board, Alfa Group Consortium , LetterOne investment holding, Co-Founder Member of the Supervisory Board, the Russian Jewish Congress and Genesis Philanthropy Group;
• Volodymyr Klitschko, former heavyweight boxer world champion, philanthropist and public figure;
• Alexander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland (1995-2005);
• Joe Lieberman, former U.S. senator from Connecticut;
• Victor Pinchuk, Ukrainian businessman and philanthropist, Founder, EastOne and Victor Pinchuk Foundation;
• Natan Sharansky, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI);
• Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, artist, founder of the most successful Ukrainian rock band “Okean Elzy,” civic activist and opinion leader; Yale World Fellows 2015 Alumnae;
The target date for the opening of the Memorial Center is 2021, and will coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre. Members of the Initiative Group will make substantial contributions to the financing the creation of the top level Holocaust Memorial center in Kyiv with a budget of dozens of millions of U.S. dollars, based on similar funds needed for the creation of memorial centers and international institutions in the United States and Europe. The Initiative Group also counts on the support of many contributors from all over the world.
In a film presentation that took place prior to the ceremonial signing, the words of a survivor, Galyna Kozyra, were heard (a quote taken from film shown at the Ceremony): “There are few people like me still alive. It will not be long until we are gone and this will be forgotten once and for all. And in Kyiv, where all of this happened, there is still no Holocaust museum.”
Recognized by historians as one of the first major steps in Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish problem,” the mass murders at the Babi Yar ravine began on 29 September 1941 and continued into 1943. The goal of the Babi Yar Memorial Center is to honor the memory of all those who were killed by the Nazis at Babi Yar, to create awareness for the mass murder of Jews on the territory of Ukraine and the former Soviet Union which is not sufficiently understood worldwide, and to foster tolerance and openness through keeping history alive and teaching the lessons of the past. Despite the efforts of non-governmental organizations and political officials, previous initiatives to develop a Babi Yar memorial in Ukraine have faltered, hampered by the lack of awareness and understanding of the history of the Holocaust in Ukraine and other countries that were previously part of the Soviet Union.
The vision of The Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is to create a unique space that fosters international dialogue and consent, offers a platform for discussion of questions of tolerance, justice and respect, and builds mutual understanding among cultures. The initiative aims at bringing together and supporting all those who work for a memorial and museum at Babi Yar as a crucial missing part of Europe’s memorial landscape. The initiative strives to be completely transparent, open, inclusive and sustainable.
The Initiative Group will now work to establish a non-profit foundation to serve as the overarching organization responsible for building the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Center. Among the first tasks to be accomplished by the Initiative Group will be to create a sustainable structure and plan for the development of the Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial Centre, facilitate financing of the project, and establish partnerships with organizations and governments.
More information, including the movie featuring survivors shown at the Ceremony, video address of Joe Lieberman, b-roll for TV news, and press releases in Ukrainian, Russian, German, French, Hebrew and Polish, as well as photos from the event is available via Google drive: bit.ly/babi-yar-press
For General Information please contact Marek Siwiec, project coordinator: email@example.com
Media Inquiries should be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Official Website of the project: www.babiyar.org
The Official Facebook Page: fb.com/babiyar.memorial
Alfa Group Consortium
Alfa Group Consortium ("Alfa"), founded in 1989, is one of the largest privately owned financial-investment conglomerates in Russia. Alfa Group is a combination of independent businesses, operating mainly in Russia and the CIS, whose main beneficial owners are Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexey Kuzmichev. Besides these three individuals there are other beneficiaries in some of the businesses. Alfa companies’ businesses include commercial and investment banking, asset management, insurance, retail trade, water utilities, as well as special-situation investments. Companies of Alfa typically focus on value-oriented, longer-term opportunities, primarily in Russia and the CIS, but also invest in other markets which form part of their strategic business objectives.