On 11th December in the synagogue on the “Poklonnaja hill” a memorial service took place for the victims of the liquidation of the Riga ghetto . This was the fourth and final event organized by the Russian Jewish Congress (REK) and the Holocaust Center in cooperation with the embassies of former Soviet republics in which these tragedies happened. memorizing the beginning of the Holocaust 70 years ago in Lithuania, the Ukraine, Belarus and Latvia .
Yury Kanner,President of the Russian Jewish Congress opened the meeting by stressing the necessity to maintain the memory particularly in the countries in which the holocaust occurred, and trying, to initiate education projects and programs leading to more mutual understanding and tolerance.
After a minute of silence Rabbi Zinovy Kogan, spoke the Kaddish.
The extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassador of Latvia, Edgars Skuja draw attention to the brave deeds of Jannis Lipke, the Latvian Righteous among the Nations and the education - and commemorative programs in Latvia
Ilya Altman, who led through the event, reported about the rescue of two women who survived miraculously the shooting of Latvian Jews in Rumbula forest near Riga. In a mass action in early December 1941 almost all inhabitants of the Riga ghetto - about 30 000 people - were killed. The memories of these women Frida Michelson and Ella Medalje were presented during the evening.
Traditional guests of honour were the director of the” Eben-Ezer-Fund” Boris Vasyukov and the chairman of the museum’s advisory board , Prof.Yury Dombrovsky, whose fate is connected in a miraculous way with Frida Michelson: her son Yury and he were fellow students.
The first part of the evening ended with the presentation of materials about the heroes of the Soviet Union Isaj Illasarov, a mountain Jews, who started his military career in the battle of Moscow, and was buried in the Latvian town Bauska in 1944.
The topic of tolerance and participation of various peoples of the Soviet Union in the Battle of Moscow, was continued at a round table. Leonid Terushkin, director of the archives reported about the Latvian unit fighting near Moscow.
The participants of the commemoration evening were the first to see the new exhibition, which was organized by the archive of the Holocaust Center with items from the war correspondent D.A. Minsker’s personal archive. Besides his personal belongings and photographs, there was presented the legendary Leika with a specific device for the operation with the left hand after being wounded. His daughter Galina Davidovna Minsker told about her father’s military merits.
Then the staff member of the museum, Alexander Angel, reported about the heroic Jewish soldier Lazar Papernik who as the last surviving fighter of his unit blow himself up with his last grenade. Already in Soviet times a Moscow street was named after him, and since December 2012 a Moscow school carries his name. The evening closed with a lecture by A.S. Engels about the development and application of anti-tank mines in the Battle of Moscow.