June 13th, 2013
The Round table, dedicated to remembrance of the Holocaust, took place yesterday at the RJC Memorial synagogue. The organizers were the Public Chamber commission on Interethnic Relations and Freedom of Conscience, the Serbian Embassy, along with the Russian Jewish Congress, the Russian Holocaust Center and Fund “Holocaust”. The RJC President Yury Kanner opened the meeting. The chairman of the Public Chamber commission on Interethnic Relations and Freedom of Conscience, Nikolai Svanidze, led the meeting.Slobodan Terzic, the Serbian ambassador also attended the meeting. In his speech he noted that nowadays it is really important to deal with recently observed spirit of historical revisionism; nations should not forget such tragedies as genocide and the Holocaust. Slobodan Terzic expressed his support to the activities of the Russian Jewish Congress and the Russian Holocaust Center and Fund “Holocaust”, as well as his willingness to participate in the events, dedicated to the remembrance of the Holocaust.
The main hero of the meeting was Father Jovan Culibrk, Vicar Bishop of the Lipljan the Serbian Orthodox Church, a person with a very interesting life story. Father Jovan is a well-known public figure; he has been working on the establishment of the interfaith dialogue between the Serbian Orthodox Church and Judaism as well as between Jews and Serbians. Father Jovan studied theology at the Orthodox theological facilities, took an MA in Jewish Culture at Yad Vashem and Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He also received the Golda Meir Award, defended his thesis on the study of the Holocaust.
His book “Historiography of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia” deals with terrible massacre of Jews, Serbs, and Gypsies on the territory of Yugoslavia, concentration camps in Croatia, and about how not only the German Army, but also the local people destroyed the nations that lived nearby for centuries. Father Jovan’s work evoked great interest among Russian historians and public figures. Nikolai Svanidze expressed his concern that it is necessary for our country to invest into serious historical research projects on the tragedy of the Holocaust, such as Father Jovan’s historiography, because “the Holocaust was implemented on the Soviet territory in a horrible way and on a massive scale”. Unfortunately, today’s absence of such work is a very big problem. According to him, such scientific work “could have been a great interest for the Russian Orthodox Church, because the latter professes humanistic principles and reaches out to its audience, regardless of its ethnical affiliation”. All participants of the meeting supported the opinion that the Church should express a greater interest in this problem.
Co-chairman of the Russian Holocaust Center I. Altman expressed his hope that Father Jovan Culibrk’s work would be translated into Russian and become a part of publications of the Russian Holocaust Library.
Photo by N. Anisina