”Never again,” declared Charles Michel, President of the European Council upon arriving on Monday in Kiev, Ukraine for the 23rd summit between the European Union and Ukraine.
His first stop directly from the airport was to Babin Yar, the site of the massacre where 33,771 Jewish people where murdered on 29-30 September 1941 by Nazi soldiers and their collaborators during the Holocaust.
Rabbi Meir Stambler and Rabbi Raphael Rutman, Chairman and Executive Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine respectively, welcomed President Michel who lit a memorial candle by the Menorah, followed by a moment of silence in memory of the victims.
He then joined the rabbis in a recently built unique synagogue at the site where Rabbi Raphael Rutman recited a chapter of Psalms and the Kel Moleh Rachamim memorial prayer.
Upon receiving the traditional Menorah, a gift from the Federation, President Michel said: “Through our silent respect, we commemorate all who perished and vow to never forget.
“We must continue to spread the light of remembrance and hope to the future generations.”
“We have won, they have lost,” said Rabbi Stambler to President Michel. “Thank G-d with over 160 Jewish communities and over 10,000 children enrolled in Jewish Schools throughout Ukraine, Jewish life is striving again.”
The visit was arranged by Rabbi Levi Matusof from Brussels, a liaison for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Ukraine at the European Institutions.