Dedication of six memorial sites for murdered Roma and Jews in June 2019
In June the first wave of dedication ceremonies took place at three Roma-sites (Ivanopil, Kalynivka und Divoshyn) and two Jewish memorial sites (Kolodianka und Liubar), although the exact location of the mass graves could not be determined at these sites — the information stela were still installed.
On June 18th a press conference was held in the «Romans» Theater in Kyiv on the occasion of the dedication of the memorial sites for the murdered Roma, and to discuss the current situation and status of Roma in Ukraine.
Thereafter the delegation traveled to Ivanopil, where the first information stela to the victims of the German occupation, among them between 40 to 80 Roma, was dedicated and ceremonially handed over to the local community. The final event of the day was a memorial ceremony honoring the Jewish victims at the mass grave site outside of the village.
On June 19th a memorial and information site commemorating 32 Roma who were burned alive in Bazeve (near Kalnyivka) was dedicated with large public attendance. Several generations reflected on the tragic fate of the victims together. Nearly 300 guests, primarily inhabitants of the village and surrounding area, participated in the ceremonial dedication of the memorial site despite the unbearably hot weather.
The site commemorates 80 Roma who were murdered in 1942 by the Germans in Divoschyn, not far from the Belarussian border. The site is comprised of a stone with inscription, an information stela, and 80 birch trees in the shape of a wheel. The theater «Romans» provided the artistic setting and musical score.
On the morning of June 20th the celebratory handing over of the information stela took place in Kolodianka. A highlight of the event was a speech from Zehava Dotan who had traveled from Israel. Her mother was one of the few Jewish survivors from the town. Elementary school students read out the names of the victims, who they had researched as part of an educational exercise done in coordination with the project.
Two additional events in the afternoon concluded the festivities in Liubar: The last Jew living there, Maia Bondarchuk, recounted the murder of her grandparents. Ellen Schindelman-Kowitt came from the United States with her brother, and she gave a captivating talk about the history of their family, who had lived in Liubar for over 200 years and were mostly annihilated in the Holocaust.