Time to remember

“Time to Remember” is an educational and commemorative initiative of NGO “ARCA”, launched in 2018.

⌛️ What do we know about the Roma genocide?

⌛️ Is there a place for Roma in the national space of memory?

⌛️ Who and how should one preserve the memory of the tragic pages of the past?

⌛️ And what other role does the younger generation play in these processes?

⌛️ How and whom should one talk about the Ukrainian historical context in the framework of international educational activities on the Roma genocide?

⌛️ To find answers to these and many other questions, we invited historians, researchers, activists and foreign experts to a dialogue.

Symbolism of Babyn Yar

The first massacre of unarmed civilians was carried out by the military in Nazi-occupied Kyiv on the 29-30th September, 1941. From the 29th of September to 11th of October, 1941, SS forces killed almost all Jews living in the city – more than 50,000 men, women and children. Almost 34,000 people died in the first two days. The shootings in Babyn Yar continued until Kyiv was freed from the occupiers.

In all, more than 100,000 people died in Babyn Yar during World War II, including Jews, Karaites, Soviet prisoners of war, members of the Ukrainian national resistance movement, patients of a psychiatric hospital, and members of other national or social groups. But so far in textbooks, guides and research, the Roma, as the first victims of this place, are still mentioned only briefly or even completely forgotten.

Babyn Yar is not only a place of loss and suffering of the Roma people, but also a symbol of many years of struggle for a place in the commemorative space and the right to memory.

We unite and teach the youth community

We managed to involve Roma youth from different parts of Ukraine as participants during the first event. Many of them already had experience in dealing with the topic of genocide at the local level; some of them were part of our network of graduates of educational trips “Dikh Na Bister.UA”. However, so far they have not had a common space where they could become the main driving force. Together we talked about the place and role of young people in commemorative processes, as well as the experience of our colleagues from foreign Roma organisations.

We form a commemorative space

Debates and memory wars have been raging around Babyn Yar for decades, with several generations of Roma activists fighting for the right to erect a monument to honour those killed during the genocide. But today there is a danger that it will become a silent relic of the past. We sincerely believe that it is young people who must become a bridge between the past and the future, preserve and shape commemorative spaces, and develop ways of remembering and honouring memory.