Prof Ilya Altman, at the internship at the Yad Vashem International Institute for Holocaust Research, delivered a lecture on the problems of historiography and historical sources, particular those of memorialization of the Holocaust in contemporary Russia and aroused huge interest among the members of the Institute. Introducing the speaker, Prof. Dan Michman, head of the Institute paid homage to Altman’s work, in particular mentioning the Encyclopedia, "The Holocaust on the Territory the Soviet Union."
Altman dealt with the role of the Soviet authorities in the transit of Jewish refugees from Poland through the RSFSR to Japan presenting new information about the Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara, based on the newly discovered archival documents.
Then, Altman focused on the approaches and source basis from Russian and foreign historiography concerning the number of the ghetto and Holocaust victims on the territory of the Russian Federation. In particular, he addressed the significance of recently accessible documents of the Main Political Directorate of the Red Army, which collected and published information about the Nazi crimes. This was illustrated by the example of letters written by a Ternopol ghetto prisoner Salomon Oks, he wrote before his death. The letters were found by Soviet soldiers, published in a special edition and then sent to Tel Aviv.
The third aspect of the lecture involved the memorialization of the Holocaust in Russia, in particular, the history of erecting the monument to Holocaust victims in Kaliningrad and in Lubavitch, within the framework of “To Return dignity”, a common project by the Russian Jewish Congress and the Holocaust Center. The speaker emphasized the importance of cooperation not only with Jewish but also with Christians, mostly Protestant organizations in Russia.