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January 27 – International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today, the world community is honoring the victims of the Holocaust.

Why is January 27 a memorable date? It was on this day in 1945 that the Red Army of the First Ukrainian Front released the prisoners of the largest death camp in occupied Auschwitz-Birkenau in Auschwitz, Poland, which became a terrible symbol of the Holocaust and Nazi atrocities in World War II. It is symbolic that the camp was liberated by unit I of the Ukrainian Front under the command of Major Anatolii Shapiro, a Ukrainian Jew born in Kharkiv region.

The Holocaust tragedy is not exclusively Jewish history, it is an integral part of Ukraine’s national history and memory in World War II. It was on Ukrainian soil that the Nazi and their allies killed more than 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews (one in four of the more than 6 million Holocaust victims).

Long before the Nazi used the diabolical technology of killing in Auschwitz’s gas chambers, more than 23,000 people were killed near Kamianets-Podilskyi in August 1941. As early as the end of September, the Nazi killed nearly 34,000 Kyiv Jews in Babyn Yar, and the very name of the previously unknown outskirts of the Ukrainian capital became a terrible symbol of the Holocaust. Botanical Garden in Dnipro, Powdery Warehouses in Odesa, Sosonky near Rivne, Bohdanivka and Domanivka in Mykolayiv Region, Drobytskyi Yar in Kharkiv, salt mines in Bakhmut, Berezovyi Riv in Chernihiv, etc. There is no city in Ukraine that does not have its own “Babyn Yar”. The victims of some of them are still awaiting due respect.

In Chernihiv, one of the places of mass executions of the Jewish population, as well as patients from the psychoneurological hospital, was the Berezovyi Riv tract (then the territory of the village of Koty), as well as Rashevshchyna, 2nd Cold Gorge, a quarry of a brick factory. According to historians, the Nazi killed about 1,500 Chernihiv residents in the Birch Trench, with the largest mass shootings taking place here on November 18, 1941, when 800 Jews were shot. In total, the occupation regime killed more than 4,000 Jews in the Chernihiv region during World War II.

Declaring January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the UN General Assembly called on member states to develop educational programs to help future generations preserve the memory of this tragedy in order to prevent future acts of genocide.

The Holocaust must be a warning to humanity about the dangers of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice…