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Ukraine Marks 75th Anniversary of Babi Yar, WWII’s Worst Civilian Massacre

Left to right: Ukraine's Parliament speaker Andriy Parubiy, German President Joachim Gauck, Hungarian President Janos Ader, Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko and his wife Marina, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and Ukrainian Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman light candles at a monument in Babi Yar ravine where Nazi troops machine-gunned tens of thousands of Jews during WWII, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sept. 29, 2016.

On Thursday, Ukraine marked the 75th anniversary of the worst single massacre of civilians in World War II and one of the bloodiest war crimes in human history — the 1941 slaughter at Babi Yar.

Nazi SS forces and Ukrainian collaborators murdered nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women and children over two days in a Kyiv forest.

Almost all of the victims were killed by automatic weapons and their bodies dumped into a pit. Those who were only wounded were shot again in the ravine or buried alive among the corpses.

Only a handful managed to survive.

“Babi Yar is a tragedy for the whole of mankind, but it took place right here, on Ukrainian land,” Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Thursday in Kyiv after a moment of silence. “That’s why a Ukrainian has no right to forget about it, just like a Jew has no right to forget it because Babi Yar is our common tragedy.”

With the daily deaths of civilians in Syria, European Council President Donald Tusk urged people not to be silent.

“We need to remember that it is our daily duty to cry out at the top of our voice and act always when innocent people are killed, when the strong attack the weak, when children become the target of warplanes and rockets,” he said.