Over the past years, the project Protecting Memory has met with a great deal of support from the Ukrainian authorities, the political world, clergy, and the local population. The Orthodox priest Nifon Omelchuk, St. George’s Church spoke during the event in Bakhiv about his efforts to remember the Jews in the neighboring town of Holoby.
Workers build the wall where a plaque bearing an inscription will be mounted. Construction on the memorial site at Bakhiv benefitted from the craftsmanship of the workers led by Stepan Yakovych.
The architects Dmitry Zhuikov and Arina Agieieva created the design for this site, which covers 2,000 square meters. The design integrates triangles that represent splinters and thus refer to the destruction of Kovel’s Jewish community. The contrast between the hard concrete and soft forest floor stands for the abrupt end of Jewish life in Kovel.
To ensure compliance with Halachic law, scholar Joe Shik of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe was present during construction work at the memorial site in Bakhiv. The provisions of Halacha state that a grave must remain unviolated.
In Bakhiv, numerous human bones were found just below the earth’s surface. Such discoveries helped determine the contours of the mass graves. Joe Shik of the Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe assisted in this work, ensuring that Halachic regulations were upheld.
Kovel Mayor Pavlo Viktorovych Bezeka, local project coordinator Serhii Shvardovsky, translator Svetlana Sheremeta, and contractor Volodymyr Motyka discuss the transformation of the killing site into a memorial.
In in the 1960s, survivors and members of the Israeli organization Israeli Organization of the Jews of Kovel and its Surroundings created a small hill in the center of the mass grave site in Bakhiv. Thirty years later, they put up a memorial stone with a Hebrew inscription, which replaced a Ukrainian- and Yiddish-language plaque.