War memorials are heartbreaking places. Genocide memorials are scary. But the most frightening are the ones residing on the places of atrocities, like the Drobitsky Yar memorial.
Construction History Timeline
For many decades the Drobitsky Yar tragedy was concealed from the public. A small sign, dating back to 1956, was the lone identifier of the Yar. The sign read: “Here lay victims of fascist terror” (“Здесь покоятся жертвы фашистского террора”). It did not mention mass killings of Jews. Some sources name Alexander Kagan, a man brave enough to petition authorities for the construction of a small obelisk in 1974.
In 1988, after years of silence, there was another push to recognize victims. An article by a journalist Victoria Lebedeva about Drobitsky Yar was published in Kharkov city newspaper (Вечерний Харьков). Later that year, under the leadership of activists Evgeniy Lisenko and Victor Bojko, a group of volunteers began gathering pictures, letters, and names of victims.