In Memory of Yevtushenko

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Babi Yar – Kiev, Ukraine 2004 

 

Yevgeny Yevtushenko died on April 1, 2017 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Historically he was a Soviet era poet who transcended his time and place with powerful words. In 2004 I was on assignment in the Ukraine, and upon arriving in Kiev my first planned stop was to visit Babi Yar, a ravine located in the outskirts of the city where in September, 1941 was the site of massacres of over 33,000 Jews that took place over a two day period. It was now a tranquil forest surrounded by urban sprawl where memories of evil and sorrow lingered amongst the beautiful trees.

Excerpt from the 1961 poem Babi Yar:

There are no monuments over Babi Yar.

But the sheer cliff is like a rough tombstone.                                        

It horrifies me.                                                 

Today, I am as old As the Jewish people.                         

It seems to me now,                                                                  

That I, too, am a Jew.

Click here to read the entire poem

© David Katzenstein