A pop-up book style synagogue to commemorate Babyn Yar massacre victims
On Friday, Ukraine unveiled a synagogue built of wood and designed to unfold like a pop-up book at a site commemorating the victims of one of the single biggest massacres of Jews during the Nazi Holocaust.
The Babyn Yar massacre, marked the start of the Holocaust in occupied Soviet Ukraine. Pre-war Jewish population of about 1.5 million was virtually wiped out in this holocaust.
An estimated 34,000 Jewish people, including women and children were shot dead by Nazi German forces on September 29 and 30, 1941, in a large ravine known as Babyn Yar, at the edge of the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.
Example of humanity and self-sacrifice
"Their feat is an example of humanity and self-sacrifice," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Twitter.
On Friday, Ukraine also marked its first Day of Remembrance for Ukrainians who saved Jews during World War Two. The opening of the synagogue coincided with this day of remembrance.
Etched with history
Only old oak was used to build the synagogue. The wood was collected from all regions of Ukraine, told Ilya Khrzhanovsky, artistic director of the Babyn Yar complex.
"It should be a tree that remembers the world before the Holocaust," Khrzhanovsky said in an earlier interview.
Prayers and blessings
A hand winch can be used to collapse the structure of this Swiss-designed synagogue. When fully expanded, the synagogue has a retractable roof, balcony and benches, and walls that are decorated with prayers and blessings.
A world of magic
The creators behind this artwork wanted to remind visitors of a prayer book, a Bible, or the magic of a pop-up book where "new worlds unfold, that we could not imagine before.
"In a sense, the pop-up book can act as a metaphor for the Synagogue," they said in a statement on their website.