Representatives of the NGO “Memory March” have proposed to rename Dorohozhychi metro station into Babyn Yar. This information was confirmed by the head of the “Memory March” Dmytro Yurynov and by Yevhen Gorodetsky, one of the founders of the “Memory March” project, in the interview with The Journalist. The goal of the “Memory March” organization is to preserve and pass on the tragic story of the Babyn Yar victims to the younger generation.
This idea based on several reasons. For example, the Dorohozhychi metro station is located directly at the Babyn Yar tract territory, and the exit from the metro station is, in fact, the historical entry point to Yar: the executions of innocent people took place exactly there. The name “Dorohozhychi” covers a significantly larger territory – not only the historical Babyn Yar, but also nearby areas. Thus, the change of the station’s name is quite logical – this is, first of all, is a tribute to the memory to all those who died in Babyn Yar.
“Every year we hold the “Memory March” for the Babyn Yar – a walking march, which gather more and more people annually. In preparation for the March, we start to cooperate with the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center charity foundation. This is the same fund with the private sponsors, and they are going to build a memorial center in Babyn Yar. An architectural competition has already been held. This is a very important project, I believe, not only for Kyiv, but also for Europe, for the whole world. There is every chance that this memorial will become one of the main Holocaust museums in the world, and so the question about the metro station renaming arose,” Gorodetsky said.
Another reason is to restore a historical justice. According to the authors, the Soviet government hushed up the tragic events in Babyn Yar and persecuted everyone who tried to tell the truth about the events of the Second World War in Kyiv. The renaming of the metro station will be the first step towards overcoming this criminal Soviet practice, will facilitate the establishment of public dialogue and the dissemination of knowledge about the tragic events of the past. Every year, tens of thousands of Ukrainians and tourists from all over the world visit Babyn Yar, and seek to honor the dead or learn more about the unprecedented historical events happened here.
“The Olena Telihi Street, where the metro station is located, was laid in the post-war period, much later. There were spurs of the Babyn Yar, in which mass executions took place in 1941-1942. Moreover, according to historians, during the construction of the station were found the remains of people killed there. Just there, prisoners of war were working in this territory, who were in the Syretsky prisoners of war camp, these were the people whom the Nazis forced to dig and burn the bodies of those killed in Babyn Yar. In 1943, the Nazis tried to cover up their tracks, because they understood that they were losing the war. Therefore, the Dorohozhychi is a historical name, but no one really knows whether this village was there or not. And Babyn Yar is a landmark story for Kyiv, because there were two tragically events: a tragedy of 1941-1943 with mass executions, and the second one is when Kurenivka district was hooked with toxic waste from plants in the 1960s. Therefore, we believe that this will be a serious perpetuation of the memory of victims. This conditional name is “Babyn Yar”, maybe it will be called “Babyn Yar Memorial Center”, or “Babyn Yar tract”, or “Babyn Yar Nature Reserve”, so that it would be more loyal to people’s hearing. Some people express such a point of view that it can be erased, the severity of the event that happened there may disappear. I do not think so. There are fewer people who are well aware of what was happening there. Our task is to convey the memory of what happened there, to perpetuate it. This area should be so united: the tract itself, all the monuments that are in Babi Yar, the metro station, the museum that will be built there, the reserve. Thus, it will all be included in a single complex, so it seems to me that we need to start from the metro station,” Yevhen Gorodetsky said.
To initiators of the idea, Babyn Yar is a unique, albeit tragic, place of memory of world significance. It tells at the same time about the events of the war, and national and local Kyiv history. The task of Babyn Yar is to serve as a warning to all of humanity. The proper arrangement and designation of such places of memory on the ground is a modern practice of Europe and the entire civilized world, which has proved its effectiveness. Therefore, the renaming of the metro station will start the process of rethinking the area history by citizens of Kyiv and all Ukrainians, as well as release its cultural potential in favor of Kyiv, Ukraine and all of humanity.
The authors of this initiative have already appealed to the Kyiv mayor.
“We filled two applications: one by our NGO “Memory March”, and the second one by the Babyn Yar Charitable Foundation. Both applications were accepted for consideration at the next meeting of the renaming commission, which includes experts, historians, and deputies of the city council. We are now waiting for the date of this meeting. This is a serious process, because there are several commissions followed by the decision of the City Council. This is the last point. We hope that under favorable conditions we will be able to get positive decision by the summer (as early as this spring session of the City Council),” Yevhen Gorodetsky explained.