The commemoration of World War II and the Babyn Yar massacre was politicized in the Soviet Union from the beginning. During World War II, Soviet propaganda used the Babyn Yar massacre to demonstrate Nazi crimes against civilians to horrify the world and get more support for the Soviet Union from the Western allies. The attitude toward the Babyn Yar massacre changed drastically in the Soviet Union and the West in the postwar years. While the Soviet authorities tried to erase the memory of Babyn Yar as a Holocaust site, Western countries, Jews, and liberal intelligentsia acknowledged Babyn Yar as the symbol of the Holocaust in the Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine recognized the Holocaust as a part of its national history. But commemorating the Babyn Yar massacre often provokes heated debates in Ukrainian society.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Jewish Studies at Harvard University.
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