MOSCOW, September 26. /TASS/. Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar has called upon the present generation to learn from the tragedy of Babi Yar where 34,000 Jews were killed 75 years ago, in a statement issued by the rabbi’s press service said.
"75 years ago, on September 29, 1941, one of the most terrible tragedies in the history of World War II happened, when dozens of thousands of Jews were killed in Babi Yar. This date is forever engraved in millions of hearts and will always remain a part of our people’s historical memory," the rabbi said.
He pointed out that to remember "means that we should learn a lesson from those events, a lesson for the present generation." "To remember means to understand how such a tragedy could happen, how ordinary people could turn into fascists and collaborators, and what do we have to do now so that such a situation would never reappear," Berl Lazar noted.
He also said that "today’s spiritual successors of Hitler sacrilegiously hide behind religious slogans." "Now, the memory and the lesson of Babi Yar are becoming important not only for the Jews but also for all peoples of the world, we pray that the divine law of peace and mutual respect prevails everywhere," the statement says.
Seventy-five years ago, on September 29, 1941, Hitler’s troops occupied Kiev. Eight days later the first shootings of local Jews were carried out in Babi Yar, a ravine in Kiev. In two days, on September 29 and 30, more than 34,000 Jews were killed. Over a two-year period,100,000 to 200,000 people, mostly Jews, were slaughtered in Babi Yar.