Invitation to the unveiling of the plaque commemorating the killed partisans from Bryansk and to the awarding of a commemorative medal16 2011
16th December 2011. The managing director of the Bryansk regional Jewish Welfare Center "Hesed Tikva" (welfare) I. Chernak invited the co-chairman of the Holocaust Center I.A. Altman and the head of the archive LA Terushkin for the 17th January to Bryansk for the unveiling of a plaque commemorating the 70th anniversary of the death of two partisans, Zima Kritchevskaya and Lena Janek.
At this day, the commemorative medals in honor of the killed partisan will be awarded, among the honored are I.A. Altman and L.A. Terushkin.
Statement of the Russian-Jewish Congress, Center and Fund "Holocaust", the Moscow office of Human Rights concerning the removal of the plaque commemorating the victims of the Holocaust in Rostov-on-Do13 2011
13th December 2011. This year it is 70 years ago since the Holocaust on the territory of the Soviet Union began. On the sites of the executions the victims were commemorated and monuments were erected, Lithuania declared the year 2011 as the Year of the Holocaust and in Kyiv mourning ceremonies took place with the participation of government representatives , and in many Russian cities other Holocaust was commemorated. In Lyubavichi (Smolensk region) on 10th November a memorial was inaugurated with joint efforts of Jewish and Christian organizations The more surprising therefore are the events at the Zmieskaya balka (Snake Canyon) in Rostov-on-Don, the so-called "Russian Babi Yar."
In October 2004 the mayor signed a resolution on the establishment of a memorial plaque with the inscription: "On 11th and 12 thAugust 1942 27 000 Jews were murdered here by the Nazis. This is the biggest holocaust memorial place in Russia. "The memorial plaque was set up with funds from the Jewish community. But on 29th November 2011t- for the first time in modern Russian history - the text was replaced by the standard formulations of the" peaceful Soviet citizens". According to the decision of the municipal administration the new inscription reads: "Here, in the Snake Canyon in August 1942 more than 27 000 peaceful citizens of Rostov and Soviet prisoners of war were murdered by die Nazi occupators. Among the killed were many nationalities. On the territory of the Soviet Union the Snake Canyon represents the biggest site of mass executions of Soviet citizens by the fascist invaders in the Great Patriotic War "
On this place of terror people of different nationalities lost their lives. The first killed were prisoners of war of the Red Army who were forced to dig the huge ditches. A Russian man followed his wife into death: now the Armenian mother is lying with her children and her husband in the same grave. Here, the Rostov partisans and patients of the psychiatric hospital were killed. We bow our heads in memory of all victims of the Nazis and their helpers (about whom the text does not say a word.) But this place of execution of the Nazi Sonderkommando (special units) was explicitly chosen with the aim of exterminating Jews, and Jews were killed only for the reason for being Jews.
It is of symbolic significance that just in the statement of Pravda from February 1943 about the tragedy in Rostov the word "Jew" for the first time was replaced by "peaceful Soviet citizens". This shows how far this tradition can be traced back in the past of the Soviet press.
Outstanding artists and poets, as the poet Evgeny Evtushenko, Anatoly Kuznezov, Viktor Nekrasov, the composer Dmitry Shostakovitch others stood up for the right to mention the nationality of the principal victims of Babi Yar and other places where executions took place
Russia belonged to the founders of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day: the entire civilized world recognizes the fact of the holocaust. The point is not to single out the Jewish victims but to point out the dangerous character of the Nazi ideology and its consequences:any nation can become the victim of genocide.
The decision taken on the eve of the celebrations on occasion of the 70 th anniversary of the tragedy of Rostov seems strange. In August 2012, at the inauguration of the monument in the Snake Canyon several hundred people from all over the world will gather to commemorate the the victims of the holocaust and of all who died here during the Great Patriotic War.
We insist that in the near future, an inscription corresponding to the historical truth will be restored
The president of the RJC Y.I. Kanner,
Russia commemorates the murder of Latvian Jews and the heroes of the Battle of Moscow11 2011
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.
Member of the scientific staff of the Holcaust Center takes part in a scientific conference at Yad Vashem08 2011
From 5th-8th. December an international scientific conference on "Methodological problems of research of the history of Russian Jews during the Holocaust" took place at Yad Vashem. This was the first conference organized by the recently founded Holocaust-Research Center as part of the "International Institute for Holocaust Research," with generous support by the “Genesis Foundation".
Young scientists from CIS countries also participated in the conference. Leonid Rein’s (Israel) contributions concerning methodological problems of research about collaboration on the territory of the USSR attracted much attention, as well as Aleksei Chewardin’s (Ekaterinburg) about Soviet and Polish citiziens’ anti-semitism in the Urals during WW II. Great interest aroused the literature section, especially the contribution made by the postgraduate student from the University "Paris 8", Xenia Kovrigina with her thorough analysis of Soviet fiction on the Holocaust. The Russian Holocaust Center was represented by Dr. Kiril Feferman, lecturing on the evalution of Soviet eyewitnesses’ reports done still during the war.
The conference aroused great interest among the scientific community, and demonstrated the importance to make the post-Soviet and in particular Russian Holocaust Research accessible to international researchers
Books of the Holocaust Center at the 13 International Fair of Non-fiction Books02 2011
2th December 2011. The Holocaust Center presented its publications at the 13th “International Fair of Non-fiction Books”, which took place from 30th November to 4th December 2011 in the Central House of Artists in Moscow at the publisher Text and Novyi Xronograf
On 15th December among others, Alla Gerber, president of the Holocaust Foundation participated in the presentation of Primo Levi’s autobiographical report “If this is a man” about the eleven months he spent in Auschwitz.
Russian Federation Council discusses national memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust02 2011
On 2th December the spokeswoman of the Russian Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, met with the president of the Holocaust Foundation and member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Alla Gerber.They discussed the question of establishing a national memorial day for victims of the Holocaust and the commemoration of 70th Anniversary of the "Russian Babi Yar," the murder of the Jews of Rostow Ms Matvienko who represented the Russian Federation at the International Holocaust Conference in Stockholm in 2000, stressed the need to keep awake the memory of the victims of the Shoah by memorial and educational measures.
Round Table "The Nuremberg Trial and the new world order" in Kiev 25th November 2011 On the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the proclamation of the Nuremberg sentences, the co-chairman of the 25 2011
25th November 2011. On the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of the proclamation of the Nuremberg sentences, the co-chairman of the Holocaust Center, Ilya Altman was included in a ten-member Russian delegation for the round table "The Nuremberg Trial and the new world order" in the Diplomatic Academy in Kiev, which attracted great public interest.
Russia was represented among others by the minister of justice Konovalov, the Duma deputy Medinsky and the journalists Kudryashov, Archangelsky and Venediktov.
Today it is possible to build up a constructive dialogue under the aspect of the priority of human rights and the emergence of national identities on the basis of the Nuremberg principles, which became fundamental for the codification of international law and international criminal jurisdiction in the postwar period,
The discussion about the Nuremberg Trial may constitute an important step on the way to a common historical memory of the CIS countries and Europe about the second World War.
Such an event is of particular importance for Ukraine, because for this counrty the judgements of Nuremberg are connected with painful memories
Holocaust Memorial Erected in Lubavitch16 2011
A Holocaust memorial commemorating the 483 local Jews who were murdered in November 1941 was dedicated in the Russian city of Lubavitch.
Erected at the behest of the Russian Holocaust Center and the Russian Jewish Congress’ Restore Dignity Project, the memorial marks the spot where Nazi forces gathered residents in a small ravine by the city’s slaughterhouse before massacring the lot. The monument, which was unveiled last Thursday, includes the names of 74 people whose names could be confirmed by Yad Vashem, Israel’s national Holocaust museum and research institute.
At the unveiling ceremony, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Yitzchak Kogan, director of Moscow’s Bronnaya Synagogue, and Smolensk regional Chief Rabbi Levi Mondshine led attendees in a traditional memorial prayer. The town of Lubavitch served as the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement until the Fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Shalom Dovber Schneersohn, moved to Rostov in the early 20th century.
The ceremony was attended by Smolensk deputy Gov. Sergei Goryunov and other local officials, Russian Jewish Congress President Yuri Kaner, Israeli diplomats and Jewish community members.
By Tamar Runyan
The letter to Ilya Altman
"Dear Ilya Alexandrovich,
Thanks a lot for your warm words said at the ceremony at Lubavichi and directed to Russia’s Evangelical Christians. I am glad that such an important event took place. We did not know how people would respond to our call in churches, but thank God, everything went fine.
When I contacted Jewish public organization in Belgorod I noted that people were not so eager to do something for the alive, let alone the dead. Therefore, it was pleasure to see that not only Jews responded to this call but also bishops, pastors, and simple laymen belonging to Russia’s Evangelical churches.
At the ceremony, Yuri Kanner asked “Why?” To this question we need to answer ourselves and people. Why are we doing it? We are not politicians, we do not need political gains. We even lose something by getting involved in such projects. Yet, we get much much more. This is our gratitude to the Lord, our atonement, our stretched hands of peace and love, our hearts. We are doing it because 2,000 years ago one young Jew brought to heathen a light of Torah, 10 commandments, the highest moral law. For us this is not a secular event, this is an important spiritual action. I believe that today we change the face of Russia and church. Russia is not only about pogroms and church is not only about crusades and curses against Jews. It is also us, millions of Russian Evangelical Christians whose heart contains a candid love of and openness to Jewish people who gave Savior to this world.
God save Russia and have mercy on us.
Boris Kohan, pastor"
Record participation in 10th Holocaust Competition 201116 2011
The 16th November was the deadline for this year’s competition "Lessons from the Holocaust - ways to tolerance”. In comparison with last year the number of entries has doubled to about 1500, most of them were sent in the very last days. Contributions which will arrive after 16th November will automatically take part in the next competition.
The results will be published on our website in January. All participants will receive a certificate and the winners - valuable prizes.
Holocaust Memorial at Lubavichi to be inaugurated on November 10, 201108 2011
On November 10, 2011, at 2 pm a monument will be inaugurated in the locality of Lubavichi (Rudnya county, Smolensk district, Russia). It is dedicated to the memory of 483 Jews executed by the Germans and their accomplices in November 1941.
This project is the first successful example of cooperation between the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC), the Russian Holocaust Center, and Russia’s Evangelical Christian communities. It is symbolic that the monument will open in the course of the International Week of Tolerance.
Lubavichi was one of the most famous centers of Judaism hosting religious schools whose students came to lead Jewish communities in Europe and USA. Therefore, the Germans destroyed local Jews with particular cruelty. The execution took place in a small ravine on the territory of slaughterhouse. Jews were shot in the head or beaten to death with sticks. Little children were dug alive.
Jewish settlement in Lubavichi existed for three centuries. Its entire population was wiped out in one day…
For many years, on the execution site there was only a symbolic rectangle with a five-pointed star but bearing no inscription. In 2002, Russian and German students erected there a memorial sign.
The memorial will be inaugurated within the framework of the “To Return Dignity” project launched by the RJC President Yuri Kanner. Creation of the memorial was handled by a working group headed by the Co-chairman of the Russian Holocaust Center, scientific supervisor of the Holocaust Museum at the RJC Memorial synagogue on Poklonnaya Gora Ilya Altman and the director of “Even Ezer” Foundation Boris Vasyukov. Jewish national-cultural autonomy in the Smolensk district under Dmitri Levant who also heads the RJC regional branch also took part in the creation of the monument.
The memorial complex (sculptor Alexey Zamlely, architect Vladislav Kondrat’yev) includes an original monument featuring Jewish motives. Thousands of Evangelical Christians all over Russia contributed their personal means to offset the costs of the planning and construction of the memorial. They left an inscription “Forgive us” on a granite plaque. The text in Russian, English and Hebrew provides the date and details of the execution. Names of 74 murdered Jews were ascertained with the help of the Yad Vashem Project on documenting the names of Jews perished during the Holocaust in the USSR. Their names are carved in separate plaques.
The inauguration of the memorial will be attended by the heads of the Smolensk district, Russian Jewish, religious, youth and public organizations, and representatives of the diplomatic corps. Anastasia Polyakova, eyewitness and inhabitant of Lubavichi will recall how the execution took place. Mourning prayer (Kaddish) will be recited by the rabbi of the Moscow’s synagogue on Bolshaya Bronnaya St. Isaac Kogan.
Journalists are requested to send their requests for media coverage of the event at: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Tel.:. 8-916-9064998.
The assembly point for the participants of the ceremony at Lubavichi: November 10, 6.30 am near “Park Pobedy” metro station (exit to Kutuzovsky prospect towards Moscow district; near the bus stop heading for Odintsovo).
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