Wiesenthal Center slams Babi Yar hotel

Wiesenthal Center slams

babi yar 248 88 (photo credit: AP [archive])
babi yar 248 88
(photo credit: AP [archive])
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center of Jerusalem, expressed his outrage Thursday over plans to erect a hotel on the memorial site of the Babi Yar Massacre in Ukraine. "The plan to build a hotel on the site of the one of the worst Holocaust massacres is an example of utter insensitivity to the terrible crimes committed by the Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators during World War II," he declared. With the 68th anniversary of the massacre just under a week away, the Kiev City Council has approved plans to build a hotel on the site. "Perhaps it is not surprising that such a decision was made in a country in which there was extensive participation of locals in the mass murder of the Jews," Zuroff went on. "Since their independence, [Ukraine] has not investigated a single case of a local Nazi war criminal, let alone brought any such murderers to justice." He urged the Ukrainian authorities "to take all necessary measures to prevent the building of such an obviously inappropriate edifice at Babi Yar." On September 29 and 30, 1941, German police and troops savagely killed and buried 33,771 Ukrainian Jews in Kiev's Babi Yar ravine. In addition, it is estimated that more than 100,000 Soviet and Roma prisoners of war were murdered and interred by the Germans at the site between 1941 and 1943. Currently a memorial park, Babi Yar is one of dozens of sites and green zones being considered for the building of 28 hotels in Kiev to manage the massive influx of visitors - some one million - expected in Ukraine for the Euro 2012 football tournament. With three years before kickoff, the Kiev City Council has launched a plan to attract investment to build the hotels in and around the city center.