Our projects are implemented in Ukraine under the “last mile” approach. Below are two examples of successful projects:
PROJECT: Kremenchuk, last mile
Segue into History.
In the early 19th century, Jews, numbering 30,000, represented the largest group in Kremenchuk. Today, less than 1,000 remain.
Peschanaya Gora (Rus: Песчаная Гора, Eng: Sand Mountain) is an old nickname for an area on the eastern bank of the Dnepr River, located on the outskirts of Kremenchuk. In the fall of 1941 and winter of 1942 Nazis murdered Jews there. The number of victims is estimated to be around 8,000. Today, the area is part of the city, where there are several schools and college and many apartment buildings.
We provided some financing for the creation of a memorial stone, raised awareness about the tragic events in the area of Peshannya Gora and helped to petition the City to create a lasting memorial. Eventually the City agreed to lend support and created a memorial park, which opened in the fall of 2017. The City mayor, Counsel General from Poland, media, students and teachers came on the opening day of the park to commemorate Jewish victims. The mayor planted the metasequoia tree at the opening ceremony.
In conjunction with our efforts to create the memorial park, we traveled to Kremenchuk in 2015, 2016 and 2017 to meet people to help further our work to memorialize the tragic events.
The local technical college joined our effort; and in 2016, we opened the local Holocaust museum at the college. With the opening of the museum we organized ongoing local school trips to the memorial park, which later became a memorial trail. On field trips students also visit the museum. We continue to support various Holocaust education and special events at the museum.
PROJECT: Lubny, last mile
Segue into History
Jews settled in Lubny in the first half of the 17th century. The famous writer Shalom Aleichem served as a rabbi there between 1880 and 1883. By the beginning of 20th century, the population of Lubny was almost 30 percent Jewish, and more than 90 stores in town belonged to Jews.
On October 16th, 1941 Nazis ordered all Jews to come to the square with their belongings for further resettlement. Every one of the 4,000 people who came to the meeting point were marched to the Zasylskiy Ravine on the outskirts of town and killed by the Sonderkommando 4а.
Our work in Lubny started with a large commemoration event in 2015 held at the killing site on the date of the mass killings. The mayor of Lubny, local public officials, media, the Jewish community, and school students came to the memorial to commemorate the victims. Students from several local schools also planted eight metasequoias.
Work on the museum started in the winter of 2016. The museum opened the same year on the 75th anniversary of these tragic events.
It is a very active, successful local museum offering group tours and events. Older Ukrainian school students conduct excursions, telling the local Shoah stories to their peers from other schools.
– The local non-profit “March of Living” and its founder Eugenya Bakk were key contributors to the success of our Kremenchyk project.
– Gennady Khenkin, the Head of the local Jewish Community of Lubny and the school principle, Anatoly Savenkov were the key contributors in Lubny project.