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Ukraine says a memorial to Jews murdered during the Holocaust was damaged by Russian shelling

(JTA) — A memorial to Jews murdered during the Holocaust was damaged by Russian shelling Saturday, according to Ukraine’s government. The memorial is located in Drobitsky Yar near Kharkiv and marks the spot at which about 15,000 to 20,000 Jews were killed by the Nazis in December 1941.

Photos from the site showed branches of the memorial’s nine foot tall menorah that were damaged.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke about the damage to the memorial in his Facebook live address Saturday night.

“During World War II, the Nazis executed about 20,000 people there,” Zelenskyy said, according to The New York Times. “Eighty years later, they are killed a second time. And Russia is doing it.”

Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, posted a picture of the damaged menorah to Twitter Saturday. “Why Russia keeps attacking Holocaust Memorials in Ukraine? I expect Israel to strongly condemn this barbarism,” he wrote.

The memorial at Drobitsky Yar was erected in 2002 after members of the Jewish community in Kharkiv raised $700,00 to build the memorial complex. Memorials for the victims of the Holocaust built during the Soviet era typically did not mention Jews and Jewish communities were often barred from putting up specifically Jewish memorials until after the fall of the Soviet Union.

“The idea for a memorial originated with the Jewish community and we helped raise money for it,” Irina Chemerovska, executive director of the Jewish House cultural center in Kharkov, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in 2002. “But it took years before everything came together and we were granted permission to build on the site.”

Zelenskyy has repeatedly invoked the Holocaust in describing the Russian attack on Ukraine. Earlier this month, Russian shells landed near Babyn Yar, another mass killing site where 33,000 Jews were killed in September 1941 in one of the single largest massacres of Jews during the Holocaust. While Zelensky initially claimed that a bomb hit the site of Babyn Yar, the site of the memorial was not damaged.


The post Ukraine says a memorial to Jews murdered during the Holocaust was damaged by Russian shelling appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

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