«Jewish Observer»
July 2002
5762 Av

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June 22, 1941 at 4 in the morning fascist planes bombed Zhytomir. The war began for the inhabitants of Polesje. By late August the entire region had been taken by the enemy. Mass shootings, lootings and killings began in towns and villages, trains packed with people pulled out westwards - to "death camps". One of such trains with 1,200 locals of Zhytomir and Berdichev departed in September to Maidanek. Needless to say the majority of them were Jews. Only one of them survived - Frank Karlovich Bzhezitsky. He later initiated a campaign to bury, following the example of other countries, the ashes of Maidanek victims in Zhytomir. His efforts didn't go in vain. An official delegation of our region departed to Poland where the Lublin authorities helped bring ashes of the executed to Zhytomir.

June 22 past 61 years inhabitants of Zhytomir, villages and towns of its region, former Zhytomir resident from different countries of the world gathered at the Memorial to victims of fascism located in the western suburb of the city. They decided to mark a sorrowful date of the war breaking out by the burial of ashes of their fellows-countrymen executed in Maidanek. Mayor of Zhytomir Gerorgy Buravkov opened a mourning ceremony.

First deputy head of the regional administration Alexey Kuchmar told about the losses the region suffered during the war and about what the authorities undertake to commemorate innocent victims. Frants Bzhezitsky recalled the terrible days spent in the camp, emitting smoke pipes of crematories, people-skeletons dying before one's eyes. The former prisoner also recalled those who helped Nazis in their atrocities, those who now raise their heads praising Bandera, Shukhevich and soldiers of the SS division "Galichina". "If we do not nip fascism in Ukraine in the bud, our ashes are likely to be brought back here. I have every ground to state this so firmly. The monument on the communal grave of Holocaust victims was opened in Zhytomir June 10 and only several days later it was given a wash of paint, red paint as blood of the dead. So, we have what to think over". The monument was created owing to the money of former Zhytomir residents who now live abroad. The entire sum was immediately spent, and the problem emerged - where to take funds to restore the monument?

God bless, there are kind people. A people's deputy of Ukraine Vladimir Satsyuk has rendered a material assistance. And most important - the people's deputy has made a political declaration in which he denounced neo-fascism and called on law-enforcement agencies to find the guilty.

...An urn with ashes is lowered to a mourning melody into the grave where it will be kept forever constantly reminding us: "Dream of mind bears monsters".

Years will pass and pine-trees will rustle over this place, birch-trees will whisper, silence and tranquility will guard the sanctity of this place.

It seems to me the same stillness should reign in Babiy Yar - in this symbol of human suffering and human hatred. Silence is a tribute of respect, nothing should break it but rustling of trees.

We may pray - this means we remember, we may create a museum - this means we shall never forget, we may and should erect monuments - this means we shall never forgive.

We shouldn't allow only one thing - dancing over graves. Babiy Yar, as well as hundreds of other sacred places, is not a place for a club, dancing, park of culture. This is not a place for festivity. This is a place for mourning. It is such and should remain such in future.

...Time will fly but the urn with the ashes of victims of Maidanek will severely remind everybody, "People, be vigilant".


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