Babi Yar Memorial and Museum
WASHINGTON, DC, May 12, 2020 

TO: NCSEJ Leadership

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO

Lesley Weiss, Deputy Director

In the New York Times article, May 12, Victim or Executioner? Let the Computer Decide, the writers describe a proposal by filmmaker and Artistic Director Ilya Khrzhanovsky on the design of the planned Babi Yar Holocaust Memorial and Museum in Kyiv. The proposal is a computer program that includes role-playing to help the visitor understand the Babi Yar experience.  This idea has been roundly criticized.

In conversations with Ukrainian Chief Rabbi Yaacov Bleich, a member of the well regarded Babi Yar Supervisory Council, which includes Natan Sharansky, Ronald Lauder, Joseph Lieberman, and experts in Holocaust education, Bleich explained that the proposal by Khrzhanovsky was part of a number of proposals presented to the Council, none of which have as of yet been accepted.  The Supervisory Council is looking to move away from the standard Soviet-style museum and is looking at "out-of-the-box" ideas.  This does not include role-playing or anything that will change the historical narrative of Babi Yar.

Attached is a statement from the Babi Yar Supervisory Council.  We have been involved with the issues surrounding the development of the Babi Yar memorial and museum for many years and will continue to stay engaged in this issue.

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Founded in 1971, NCSEJ represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.