Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky on Wednesday addressed a message in Hebrew from his Telegram channel to the world’s Jewish communities, asking them to raise their voices against Russian atrocities and reminding them that “Nazism is born in silence.”
Zelenski’s message comes after a night of shelling by Russia against Babi Yar, a ravine located in Kiev where the Nazis executed a massacre against approximately 100,000 Ukrainians during World War II, and which today is a point of historical memory of great sentimental value for Europe.
“The seventh day of this terrible war has begun. A war that we feel in the same way,” reads the beginning of Zelenski’s message. “We were all bombed in Kyiv last night. And we all died again in Babyn Yar – from a missile strike.”
Zelensky: “We all died again in BabynYar”
The Ukrainian leader recalled Babyn Yar as a place of prayers, memorial for thousands and lamented that the historic site is again the target of a merciless war. “You are killing Holocaust victims for a second time,” was one of his strongest phrases. “This is beyond the human.”
For Zelensky, an attack of this magnitude on Babyn Yar is a sign that “or many people in Russia, our Kyiv is completely foreign,” and that Putin’s invaders “order to erase [their] history” without even knowing it.
Zelensky suggested that the war initiated by Putin today directly attacks Jews, their places of prayer and historical memory, so he decided to address a final word to members of his religious community.
“I am now addressing all the Jews of the whole world,” the end of the text reads. “don’t you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world remain silent right now. Nazism is born in silence.”
Below is the full translation of the text:
Long life, my united country! I did not accidentally say – my united one. The seventh day of this terrible war began. A war we all feel the same way. We were all bombed in Kyiv last night. And we all died again in Babyn Yar – from a missile strike. Although the whole world promises, it promises constantly – never again. For any normal person who knows history, Babyn Yar is a special part of Kyiv. A special part of Europe. Place of prayer. A place of remembrance for the hundred thousand people killed by the Nazis. The place of old Kyiv cemeteries. Why did this place become a target for missiles? You are killing Holocaust victims for a second time. During the Soviet era, a TV center was built there on the bones. And a sports complex. They built a park there to erase the true history of Babyn Yar. But why was it bombed?.. This is beyond the human. Such a missile strike shows that for many people in Russia, our Kyiv is completely foreign. They know nothing about our capital. About our history. But they have an order to erase our history. Erase our country. Erase everything. On the first day of the war, they brutally bombed Uman, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of Jews annually. Who come to pray there. Then they targeted Babyn Yar, where hundreds of thousands of Jews were shot. I am now addressing all the Jews of the whole world – don’t you see what is happening? That is why it is very important that millions of Jews around the world remain silent right now. Nazism is born in silence.