Ilya Levitas is vice President of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine. He is a journalist, a historian, and a public figure. Born in 1931 in Tashkent, he has been living in Kiev since 1945, where he graduated from the Physical Culture Institute (1959) and the Pedagogical Institute (1961).
Since the age of 15 Levitas has been gathering materials on the history of the Jewish people and participation of Jews in the Second World War. He gathered the best collection of such materials (books, reminiscences, newspapers, pictures, war relics, badges, postcards) in the former USSR.
In 1988, he created the Kiev Jewish Culture Society, in 1989 — the Republican Jewish Culture Society. He is founder of the «Memory of the Babiy Yar» and «Memory of Fascism Victims» foundations. In 1992, he became head of the Jewish Council of Ukraine.
Ilya Levitas organized the first Jewish exhibitions, festivals, lectures and TV programs in Ukraine. He initiated the revival of the Cabinet of Jewish culture, created the Kiev newspaper «Renaissance» («Vozrozhdeniye») (1990), the «Ukraine-Israel» society (1990), the Kiev Jewish library (1989), the first Jewish school, and the Ministry for Nationalities of Ukraine (1992). In 1990, he became head of the Council of National Societies of Ukraine.
Since 1991, Levitas has been editor-in-chief of the «Jewish News» paper. He is author of more than 100 articles on the Jewish history, heroes of the WW II, Stalin repressions, etc.
On Levitas’ initiative, monuments to Sholom-Aleichem and «Menorah» have been erected in Kiev, as well as memorial boards to the underground worker Tanya Markus, poet David Gofstein, composer Igor Shamo, and to Golda Meir.
In 1997, Levitas was elected Vice President of the World Council of Jewish Culture.
Ilya Levitas is Deputy Head of the Council of Representatives of Organizations of National Minorities of Ukraine under the president of Ukraine and of the Organizing Committee on preparations for the 60th anniversary of the tragedy in Babiy Yar under the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.