Poland’s Parliament establishes caucus to commemorate Babyn Yar massacre

Caucus established by Polish MPs to commemorate and educate on the tragedy

KYIV 2020: Babyn Yar today (photo credit: VALERIY MILOSERDOV / BYHMC)
KYIV 2020: Babyn Yar today
(photo credit: VALERIY MILOSERDOV / BYHMC)
Poland’s Parliament announced today that a parliamentary caucus has been established to promote commemoration of the Babyn Yar massacre. The caucus has been founded by seven members of Poland’s parliament. It aims to commemorate the tragedy, pay tribute to its victims and to educate on the consequences of totalitarianism, especially as 2021 marks the eightieth anniversary of the Babyn Yar massacre. 
33,771 Jewish victims were shot at the Babyn Yar ravine by the Nazis during just two days, 29 and 30 September 1941. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians, Roma, mentally ill and others were shot thereafter at Babyn Yar throughout the Nazi occupation of Kyiv.  
The caucus has been registered by the Speaker of Poland’s Parliament, under the official title “The Parliamentary Group for the Commemoration of the Holocaust Crime at Babyn Yar - For a Europe free from Genocide and Hatred.” It has been established by the following members of Poland’s parliament - Monika Falej, Maciej Kopiec, Anita Kucharska-Dziedzic, Barbara Nowacka, Marek Rutka, Andrzej Szejna, Katarzyna Ueberhan.  
The founding regulations of the caucus state that its aim is “to promote the issue of the crime of genocide, to pay tribute to the victims, and to convey to future generations the message of what totalitarian regimes, carrying out ethnic and racial cleansing, are capable of.” 
The caucus noted that 2021 will mark the eightieth anniversary of the tragedy at Babyn Yar. As such, it provides an ideal opportunity for the international community to commemorate the tragedy, to remember the 1.5 million Jews shot by the Nazis throughout Eastern Europe and to educate on the lessons of this period. 
Chairman of the caucus, parliamentary member Marek Rutka said, “For several decades after the Second World War it was forbidden to mention the murdered of Babyn Yar in the Soviet Union, and Europe remained silent about 1.5 million Jews, the first victims of the Holocaust. A free and democratic Ukraine wants to change that. We Poles, have a unique responsibility to support our neighbors in this work. Our history has frequently crossed paths, often tragic and bloody. We need the truth about these events. If we don’t take upon ourselves to communicate this part of the European history to the public, others will do it and there is no guarantee that it will be an honest and accurate account. However, there are common challenges facing our countries. We have European dreams. The Babyn Yar Foundation project will be their fulfillment.” 
Poland’s former President Aleksander KwasniewskiPoland’s former President Aleksander Kwasniewski
Poland’s former President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a member of the Supervisory Board at the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center commented, “The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is a European project. It needs European assistance and cooperation with Ukraine. I am proud to know that the first parliamentary group of support has been established by the Polish Parliament. We Poles have enormous experience in speaking about the difficult history of our country. That’s what we want to share with friends.” 
The Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center is being constructed to respectfully commemorate the victims of the tragedy and promote the humanization of mankind through preserving memory and study of the history of the Holocaust. The Center already operates 12 research and educational projects to this end.