Ukraine to build synagogue on site of Babyn Yar massacre

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FILE PHOTO: A Jewish man reacts during the opening ceremony of an installation commemorating the victims of Babyn Yar in Kyiv
FILE PHOTO: A Jewish man reacts during the opening ceremony of an installation commemorating the victims of Babyn Yar in Kyiv

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine will build a synagogue at the memorial site commemorating the victims of Babyn Yar, one of the biggest single massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, the head of the memorial site Max Yakover told Reuters on Friday.

"This should be a significant thing with a very deep meaning," he said.

The synagogue is expected to open next year to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the killings, and would be Kyiv's first new synagogue built since Ukraine's independence in 1991.

The Babyn Yar massacre marked the start of Ukraine's Holocaust in which a pre-war Jewish population of about 1.5 million was virtually wiped out to fulfil Adolf Hitler's goal of a Europe with no Jews.

Mass shootings, mainly by automatic gunfire, on the edge of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv killed nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women and children on Sept. 29-30, 1941.

A memorial project for the victims is being financed in part by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman, Ukrainian tycoon Victor Pinchuk and former world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko.

(Reporting by Ilya Zhegulev; editing by Matthias Williams and Jonathan Oatis)