Kiev (AP) – Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is in Ukraine this Wednesday to commemorate the German crimes of World War II. A wreath laying ceremony in Korjukiwka and a speech on the 80th anniversary of the massacre of Jewish citizens in Babyn Yar are planned.
On September 29 and 30, 1941, German intervention groups with soldiers, police and SS shot dead 33,771 Jewish residents of occupied Kiev. Until the liberation of the Ukrainian capital by the Red Army in November 1943, around 100,000 people had been murdered in Babyn Yar (Indian Gorges). The gorge is considered the largest mass grave in Europe.
“Bestial crimes and atrocities”
“It’s a tough road to come to Babyn Yar as Federal President,” Steinmeier said ahead of time. As part of the German war of annihilation in Eastern Europe, “bestial crimes and atrocities” had been committed, for which he found it difficult to find the words. “With inexpressible sadness and shame, I remember the more than 33,000 Jewish children, elders, women and men who were slaughtered in Babyn Yar 80 years ago in two days, and tens of thousands more. who died over the next two years. murdered in that gorge, ”says Steinmeier. Babyn Jar was one of the worst massacres of WWII. For too long, the “Holocaust by Bullets” has not been properly perceived in its incredible magnitude.
As early as June, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the German attack on the Soviet Union, Steinmeier criticized the fact that the victims of the war of the peoples of the former Soviet Union were less engraved in the collective memory than their sufferings. did not require it.
“Just as WWII memorials are visited in the west, I would like young people to visit the forgotten places in the east of our continent,” he said. He named Korjukiwka as one of those places, where in two days about 6,700 men, women and children fell victim to the largest and most brutal punitive action of WWII.
The place is located 180 kilometers northeast of Kiev in the Chernihiv region, about 30 kilometers from the Russian border. After the wreath laying ceremony and the visit to the city museum, the Federal President and his wife Elke Büdenbender wish to meet with students, teachers and civil society in Korjukiwka. In the afternoon, the commemorative event is scheduled at Babyn Yar.
Against anti-Semitism, racism and misanthropy
The place of commemoration of the mass murders in Babyn Yar also belongs to the memory of the crimes of National Socialism, the Federal President said. “At the same time, the following applies: we remember in order to create a better and more peaceful future.” All Germans therefore have a responsibility, together with their partners, to fight anti-Semitism, racism and misanthropy in the world.
Over 80 years ago – on June 22, 1941 – Hitler’s Germany invaded the Soviet Union during World War II. The communist country recorded the highest number of victims in Europe with 27 million deaths.