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Ukraine cancels plan to build Babi Yar hotel

A man attended a mourning ceremony near Minora Monument on Babi Yar ravine in Kiev on Sunday. A man attended a mourning ceremony near Minora Monument on Babi Yar ravine in Kiev on Sunday. (Sergei Supinsky/ AFP/ Getty Images)
Associated Press / September 29, 2009

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KIEV - Authorities, facing withering criticism, have reversed a decision to build a hotel on a killing field used by Nazis during the infamous 1941 Babi Yar massacre, officials said yesterday.

Still, Jewish groups worldwide were bitter that a hotel was even suggested for an area where more than 30,000 Jews were murdered.

Rights advocates and scholars praised the decision by Kiev mayor Leonid Chernovetsky to veto the proposal. But they urged Ukrainian authorities to do more to honor the victims of one of the most tragic chapters of the Holocaust. The massacre began 68 years ago today. The plan for the three-star hotel, which would have been called Babi Yar, was approved by the City Council this month.

Jewish groups and human rights groups said the very idea mocked the dead. The hotel would have been built in the middle of the main killing site, said Vitaliy Nakhmanovich, a leading Ukrainian Babi Yar scholar.

More than 33,700 Jews were shot at Babi Yar over 48 hours beginning Sept. 29, 1941. In the ensuing months, the ravine was filled with an estimated 100,000 bodies.