In memory of I.M.Levitas.
The staff of the National Historical and Memorial Preserve "Babyn Yar" expresses deep condolences to the family, relatives, friends, colleagues and staff of the President of the Council of National Communities of Ukraine and the Jewish Council of Ukraine, Chairman of the Foundation "Remembrance of Babyn Yar" Levitas Ilya Mikhailovich. Passed away a prominent public figure, a wonderful person, deeply respected in Jewish community and all Ukrainian society for honesty and morality.
All his life Ilya Mikhailovich dedicated to serving people. He was a great hard-working, talented teacher and leader, sensitive man, full of creative plans and life aspirations and left on the ground good footprint and grateful memory of himself in the hearts of those , whom he supported and resistanced. He stood firm on his positions and never departed from his own beliefs under the influence of external conditions. He was a public figure, a strong personality. He was sincerely believed,people were going after him. Ilya Mikhailovich was always himself, showed by own example how to love your life, people and land.
We are sad because time is running constantly and, unfortunately, go into eternity its best sons and daughters. Today it hurts all of us, but the memory about a faithful son of the Jewish nation and patriot of Ukraine will live forever in our hearts. Amount together with all who knew I.M. Levitas. Since the age of 15 I.M. Levitas engaged in gathering evidence and documents on the history and culture of the Jewish nation. On this subject he picked one of the best collections in the former Soviet Union - books, photographs, military relics, badges, cards, front letters, memoirs. The collection became the basis for the creation of a number of regular and commemorative exhibitions.
Personal belongings of those , who were killed in Babyn Yar , were collected in spring in 1946 by 7th grade pupil I.M. Levitas - - are the only ones in the world, unique exhibits for the memorial museum of the victims of Babyn Yar. Collection, which was collected by Ilya Mikhailovich became the basis for the establishment of permanent, ongoing exhibition "Babyn Yar," which has 60 booths and exhibits. This exhibition is on display in museums of Kyiv, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. I.M. Levitas was the author and compiler of 34 books of Jewish nation history - the heroic and tragic pages of it, including - twelve books about the tragedy of Babyn Yar. He was the author of more than 220 articles.
Ilya Mikhailovich is the founder and chairman of the Foundation "Remembrance of the victims of fascism." At the initiative of Ilya Mikhailovich in 1990 has started to publish Jewish newspaper "Renaissance", and from 1991 - the newspaper "Jewish News" - supplement to the newspaper of Supreme Rada of Ukraine "Voice of Ukraine". It is the world's only Jewish state parliamentary newspaper. Ilya Levitas was appointed its editor –in- chief.
After becoming chief editor of the Republican newspaper "Jewish News” he payed several pages in each issue to the theme of heroic participation of soldiers Jews In World War II. He wrote dozens of interesting articles about military commander and ordinary, the Heroes of the Soviet Union, the little-known exploits of Jews, who fought against the Nazi occupiers. These publications formed the basis for his book "Heroes and victims."
In 1989 I.M. Levitas founded the Council of National Communities of Ukraine, which now connects more than 300 local organizations of 42 nationalities.He was the organizer of regional councils of national societies in 13 regions of Ukraine and the annual national festival "We are all your children, Ukraine!" (1990). He initiated the establishment of national societies: Roma, Kurdish, Estonian, Assyrian, Kazakh. He represented Ukraine at various international forums, conferences, congresses and meetings. He was the member of the Council on Language Policy under the President of Ukraine. In 2001-2003 he was a chairman of the Council of national minorities of Ukraine under the President of Ukraine.
On the initiative and direct participation of the Jewish Council of Ukraine and its president were created a Company "Ukraine-Israel" , office of Jewish culture including as a part of the Institute of international research and policy NAS of Ukraine, International Solomon University , Organization "B'nai - B'rith", National Council of Jewish Students, National sports association "Maccabi". Ilya Mikhailovich was an initiator of the Jewish groups in the State Pedagogical Institute named after Dragomanov (1990) and the State Institute of Theatrical Arts named after Karpenko-Kary (1992).
I.M.Levitas was the initiator of the monument of Sholom Aleichem, Children shot in Babyn Yar, Kyivan crypto Tatiana Marcus and memorial plaques to the Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meyer, who was born in Kyiv, to writers Sholom Aleichem and D. Hofshteynu, musicians N. Rahlynu and I.Shamo, doctor B. Syhalovu, restoring the title Hero of the Soviet Union to Mikhail Grabs'kiy and M. Felzenshteyn, I.M.Levitas was the initiator of giving the title Hero of Ukraine to Kyivan famous crypto T. Marcus and commander of unit of the Soviet Army that liberated concentration camp "Auschwitz"—captain A. Shapiro
October 22, 1988, on the initiative and under the direct supervision of I.M Levitas was created the Foundation "Remembrance of Babyn Yar." Since its inception the Foundation has done a great job of preserving in the memory of people the tragedy that occurred in the ravine Babyn Yar in Kyiv during the occupation of the Nazis.
The Foundation "Remembrance of the victims of fascism in Ukraine" and "Memory of Babyn Yar" awarded the title of Righteous to over 4 000 people of 13 nationalities, who saved Jews from extermination during the war.
Thanks to the efforts I.M.Levitas were established names of more than 600 brave people who saved Jews from the shootings at Babyn Yar, who were awarded the title "Righteous of Babyn Yar" and were decorated with high public awards, the Third Class Order of Merit.
During his public activities Ilya Mikhailovich was awarded with the the Third, Second, First Class Order of Merit , Honorary Cross of Kyiv and Moscow Patriarchate, the Russian Order of Peter the Great, ten medals of Ukraine, Russia, Israel, USA, International Order of Honor, Gold Medal of Fund named after Zeev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky .
I.M. Levitas was awarded with the honorary title "Honored Worker of Culture of Ukraine," he also was awarded with the diploma of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and the diploma of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Ukraine. I.M. was elected as professor of the Academy of Security, Defense and Law Enforcement of Russia.
His credo Ilya Mikhailovich clearly expressed in the interview: "In the first place for me are human values; secondly, I am a citizen of Ukraine and, thirdly, I am a Jew. In the national question we must always remain people. All people are equal, all have got the same rights, everyone is entitled to their genius and their villains— the Jews, too. "
In his activity as a president of the Council of National Communities of Ukraine I.M. Levitas took a firm stand against attempts to split the understanding and harmony among ethnic minorities. In a statement on this occasion he wrote: "We have got one Motherland - the only independent, united Ukraine, to share it into separate national principalities - a crime against the state. We all form a single Ukrainian nation, all of us are children of Ukraine. Our activities aimed at its development, the preservation of peace, harmony and tranquility. "
His heart always responded to the pain of others, he did everything possible to extend secure helping hand to support those who needed help.
His concern, the ability to bother others Illja Mihailovich Levitas earned deep respect and esteem among colleagues, friends and ordinary citizens.
It is difficult to find words that could reduce the pain of those who lost their near and dear person. At this sad time we share with all our heart to you the depth of irreparable loss.
May the memory of Illja Mihailovich Levitas live forever