«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
1/20
January 2002
5762 Tevet

MONUMENT TO HOLOCAUST VICTIMS OPENED IN NIKOPOL
OLEG FELDMAN
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Over 60 years separate us from those shameful and tragic days when you could pay with your life and receive a bullet in the back for only being a Jew. That bullet was stuffed with an inexplicable, inhuman hatred. Autumn... The cold October days of the bloody year of 1941... Special SS detachments decide the fate of thousands of innocent inhabitants of the Nikopol district. The majority of them are Jews... There are heard useless pleas for mercy and heart-rending cries of absolutely innocent people. They are undressed, thrown into the ravine and shot in cold blood... They will not survive this slaughter and will not return to their children. Though, their children are here, nearby, they get their bullets too.

60 years have passed. We are in the first year of the new millennium. The skies are sobbing over the souls of the killed... The cold raindrops are falling down in unison with the beating of hearts. Hundreds of the city residents and the guests gathered in the eastern suburb of Nikopol. November 25 they all came to the meeting dedicated to the opening of the Holocaust victims' obelisk placed not far from the monument to the Komsomol members - participants of the underground organization who had taken the same awful death.

- We have gathered here to commemorate eight thousand innocent victims of anti-Semitism, - says the Nikopol Jewish community chairman Alexander Feldman, -who lost their lives for only being Jews. The monument is to be open in several minutes. The tension arises. And here it is - a solemn sad moment.

The ribbon framing the cover is cut. The representatives of two different generations - the war veteran Khariton Grosman and young Dima Taratuta, whose grand-grandfather and -grandmother met their death in one of the ravines from the fascist bullets, - draw down the black tissue.

The people saw an impressive in its picturesque work of the Mother Nature (which itself cut out such eloquent clod) helped by the craftsmen of the Tokov granite mine and of the mobile mechanized enterprise #2. The fire flame embodied in stone is a metaphor of the Nazi hatred that devoured the lives of thousands of people who hadn't matched the pseudo-canons of the adherents to the Aryan race purity - "anthropologists" of the Third Reich.

The meeting didn't end up with the monument opening. The people were talking much about those sad pages of the newest history. The speeches were made by the State Consul of Israel to Ukraine Shimon Naiman, one of the leaders of the Zaporozhye Jewish community and the "Galitski Kontrakty" newspaper correspondent B.Esterkin, the head of the SSU branch in Nikopol O.Milchenko, M.Shleimovich who participated in the liberation the Auschwitz and Maidanek death camps, the journalist O.Strashko who is now working over a book about the Peace Righteous Woman Maria Mizina and many others. The "Bulava" newspaper editor A.Cherkashchenko read the poem specially written for this event.

I would like to end my reporting with the motto of the Holocaust museum Yad Vashem, "Let them live forever and in your house, and in your walls, and in your soul..."

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