Wrzesnewskyj Commemorates the Babyn Yar Massacre – Announces the Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Memorialization of the Sambir Holocaust Site

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From the office of Borys Wrzesnewskyj, Member of Parliament, Etobicoke Centre

 

 

For Immediate Release

Ottawa – Yesterday in the House of Commons, Etobicoke Centre MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar Massacre. Wrzesnewskyj’s House of Commons statement read:

Babyn Yar Massacre

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 75th anniversary of the Babyn Yar Massacre. On this date in 1941 in Kyiv, 34,000 Jewish men, women, children and infants were rounded up, stripped of their possessions, shot and dumped into the Babyn Yar Ravine by the Nazis. So began the “Holocaust by Bullets in Eastern Europe.”

This week a series of commemorative events are being held on this horrific anniversary.

The Babyn Yar memorial project was spearheaded by the Ukrainian Jewish Encounter, a ground-breaking group founded and funded by Ukrainian Canadian businessman and visionary James Temerty.

Thousands of forgotten “Holocaust by Bullets” sites are deserving of remembrance. One such site is at the ancient Jewish cemetery of Sambir where, on the first day of Passover in 1943, 2,000 Jews were massacred.

After seven years of patient and meticulous work, my friend Mark Freiman and I signed a memorandum of understanding with the Mayor of Sambir, Yurij Hamar, this September 8th to memorialize this site.

“May their souls be bound in the bonds of eternal life.”

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Ukrainian, Jewish and Canadian religious, diplomatic and political leaders sign the memorandum of understanding for the Holocaust Memorial project, Sambir, Ukraine. Standing left to right: Very Rev. Fr. Peter Galadza, Anatoli Schengait, Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Washchuk, MP Borys Wrzesnewskyj, and Honourary Consul of Canada Oksana Wynnyckyj. Seated, left to right: Sambir Mayor Yurij Hamar and Mark Freiman.

Wrzesnewskyj’s House of Commons statement follows on the heels of his 9th trip to Sambir, Ukraine. Canada’s Ambassador to Ukraine Roman Washcuk, Mark Freiman, Sambir Mayor Yurij Hamar, and MP Wrzesnewskyj signed a formal memorandum of understanding during a special ceremony on September 8, 2016.

The memorandum of understanding envisions a process through which the three crosses that were erected in the ancient Jewish cemetery, including one on the “Holocaust by Bullets” mass grave, will be removed. In their place a landscaped and permanent memorial will be constructed in memory of the 2,000 Jews of Sambir who were massacred by the Nazis at this site beginning on Passover of 1943.

I wish to thank His Beatitude Patriarch Sviatoslav of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Archbishop Yakiw of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church ‒ Kyiv Patriarchate, Bishop Pryriz of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, Very Rev. Dr. Peter Galadza, Rabbi Dr. Reuven Bulka, Archaeologist Dr. Timothy Power, the late Historian Dr. Orest Subtelny, former Deputy Yurij Leskiw, and all of those who have over the past seven years worked with such respect, patience and understanding to arrive at this resolution. Having finally achieved a solution to what many said was an impossible task was for Mark Freiman and myself a particularly poignant moment. In this context, our last visit to the killing and burial grounds of the family of my friend Mark was especially emotional,” stated Wrzesnewskyj.

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For further information contact:  Borys Wrzesnewskyj, M.P. (613) 947-5000


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