Adress: 115035, Russia, Moscow,
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The Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center and the Holocaust Foundation
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Phone/fax: (499) 995-21-82, (495) 953-33-62
E-mail: center@holofond.ru
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Holocaust contest ceremony : Statement of H.E. Ms Eleonora Valentinovna Mitrofanova

07 2010

UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
7 July 2010
Deputy Director-General,
Director of International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre,
Co-President of the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Centre,
Head of Paris Newsweek Bureau,
Mr and Ms Pisar,
Prize-winners,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, the international community marks the 65th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, a war which led to the systematic, full-scale extermination of millions of wholly innocent victims. The preservation of the memory of the Holocaust and the fight against all forms of Holocaust denial, are enshrined forever in resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly. 27 January is proclaimed the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. These are truly historical collective achievements designed to ensure that the events of that time are forever preserved in the collective memory.
Throughout the past 65 years, ever since it was founded, UNESCO has also tirelessly strengthened its educational activities in the name of peace and respect for human rights with the aim of ensuring that genocide and intolerance never occur again. In 2007, the General Conference of UNESCO adopted an important resolution to develop special outreach programmes in this field.

Today, UNESCO once again welcomes the winners of the international Holocaust essay contest. I should like, in my capacity as Chairperson of the Executive Board of UNESCO, to underscore the Organization’s commitment to mobilizing civil society so as to preserve the memory of this unprecedented human disaster.
This educational, critical and analytical function occupies a central place in UNESCO’s endeavours to develop and strengthen the conscience of the younger generations. After all, for them, what matters is gaining knowledge of freedom and of the dangers which can engender hatred, fanaticism, racism and prejudice.
Our children and grandchildren must never become neither victims nor perpetrators nor mere observers of such acts, and to that end they need to know and remember the tragic history of the Holocaust. Paying our respects to the courage and selflessness of people doomed to an unavoidable death, to all the victims and the saviours, means fighting oblivion.

Clearly, countries which have known the hell of war and peoples which have borne incalculable loss cannot fail to react extremely sharply to attempts to revive fascism and anti-Semitism in the world. “Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.” Who could not agree with Solzhenitsyn’s words? By erasing and rewriting humanity’s collective memory, a direct link to the past is broken, and this, unfortunately, does not serve the interests of the present or of the future.
Those who survived the hell of war and the furnaces of the concentration camps are all the more precious and dear to us, as they may still bring home to us the reality of life and death of an age we would like to believe has gone for ever. One of these living legends is the writer Samuel Pisar, whom I should like to thank from the bottom of my heart for being with us here today. Another of those undisputed genuine heroes with similarly extraordinary fate is the renowned social activist Simon Wiesenthal, who bequeathed us his Centre on the Holocaust and the Museum of Tolerance.
UNESCO is extremely proud that in its educational activity to inculcate the ideas of the defence of peace in the minds of people it can depend on the experience and close cooperation of organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and the Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Centre. Our shared determination to ensure universal vigilance compels us to give broad dissemination to education and the study of history. The categories and scale may differ, ranging from schools to the national media, and from municipal museum programmes to historical research by individuals. This particular instance concerns the international Holocaust essay contest, the primary aim of which is to seek paths to tolerance. Both the geographical origins of the prize-winners, and the thematic approaches used in their essays are wide-ranging. But they are all united by the memory of the Holocaust. And that is our collective memory.
“The disaster must never happen again. Anywhere. Ever.”
Finding the point of no return for intolerance is the responsibility of society as a whole and each of us individually.
I congratulate all the prize-winners and extend to them my best wishes for numerous valuable achievements in the future.



The new Review about "Il’ja Al’tmann, Opfer des Hasses: Der Holocaust in der UdSSR 1941–1945.

28 2010

The new Review about "Il’ja Al’tmann, Opfer des Hasses: Der Holocaust in der UdSSR 1941–1945. Mit einem Vorwort von Hans-Heinrich Nolte; aus dem Russischen
von Ellen Greifer; Redaktion: Jens Binner. Gleichen: Muster-Schmidt, 2008, 588 pp."
Feferman, Kiril, “Binding the Unbound: The Shoah in the Soviet Union according to Ilya Altman,”  review of Opfer des Hasses. Der Holocaust in der UdSSR 1941-1945, by Ilya Altman, Yad Vashem Studies 38, 1 (2010): 239-246.
Download


 


Russian Christians, Jews urge country to establish Holocaust Memorial Day

27 2010

MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti)
Christians and Jews in Russia called on the government on Thursday to establish National Holocaust Memorial Day.
The call was made in the Memorial Synagogue near Moscow's Poklonnaya Gora, where Christian and Jewish organizations gathered for a roundtable to discuss dialogue between the two religions.
"The participants of the roundtable declare that further Jewish-Christian dialogue should be open, trust-based, long-term and be translated into practical activity, which is able to strengthen the tolerance of Russian society," a joint statement said.
The practical activity, the participants said, should be related to commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and include educational programs as well as establishing monuments and memorials in places of mass killings of Jews during WWII.
"We call on the Russian president, the Federation Council and the State Duma [the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament] to introduce National Holocaust Memorial Day to be declared on January 27, the date when [the Soviet] Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp," the statement said.
The UN declared January 27, when the Soviet Red Army liberated the largest Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100527/159183369.html





Russian Christians, Jews urge country to establish Holocaust Memorial Day

27 2010


The call was made in the Memorial Synagogue near Moscow's Poklonnaya Gora, where Christian and Jewish organizations gathered for a roundtable to discuss dialogue between the two religions.
"The participants of the roundtable declare that further Jewish-Christian dialogue should be open, trust-based, long-term and be translated into practical activity, which is able to strengthen the tolerance of Russian society," a joint statement said.
The practical activity, the participants said, should be related to commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and include educational programs as well as establishing monuments and memorials in places of mass killings of Jews during WWII.
"We call on the Russian president, the Federation Council and the State Duma [the upper and lower houses of the Russian parliament] to introduce National Holocaust Memorial Day to be declared on January 27, the date when [the Soviet] Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp," the statement said.
The UN declared January 27, when the Soviet Red Army liberated the largest Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, International Holocaust Memorial Day in 2005.

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20100527/159183369.html



The Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center signed an agreement with the Ruprecht-Kalrs-University Heidelberg about cooperation.

24 2010

24.Mai 2010. The Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center signed an agreement with the Ruprecht-Kalrs-University Heidelberg about cooperation. Among other things there is going to be an international symposium about “Occupation press in the Soviet Union, 1941-1944” in Heidelberg. This is a result of Dr. Altmans visit in Heidelberg last winter and his negotiations with Professor Löwe. The Russian Research and Educational Holocaust Center is looking forward to work with the Ruprecht-Karls-University Heidelberg.  


MEMORY MARATHON

24 2010

On April 24, during a Memory Marathon held at the Holocaust Museum in the Memorial Synagogue on Poklonnaya Gora in Moscow, nearly 300 students, schoolchildren and teachers from 13 educational institutions of Moscow met with Victor Gekht, a former ghetto prisoner, Semyon Dodik, a partisan, and Nikolai Dorozhinsky, a Righteous Among Nations. The Marathon was organized by the Russian Holocaust Center and Foundation with support from the Russian Jewish Congress. Such events have been held regularly since 2005.
Ilya Altman, co-chair of the Holocaust Center, led a tour of the Museum. Alla Gerber, president of the Holocaust Foundation and member of the RF Public Chamber, related the story of the Holocaust.
At the exit from the Museum, each member of the memorial ceremony was offered to complete a questionnaire with questions about his or her awareness about the Holocaust. The questionnaires also include questions about whether nationalism, xenophobia and extremism in Russia’s society should be counteracted. The overwhelming majority of the respondents expressed their admiration of the stories of Holocaust survivals and their impressions of the film and the performance of the chorus.  Many students gave the opinion that the government must take all possible measures to prevent any neo-Nazi or xenophobia manifestations in Russia.
Photo: From left to right: Alla Gerber, Semyon Dodik, Nikolai Dorozhinsky and Victor Gekht

Holocaust Memorial Evening in Moscow

27 2010

  On January 27, a Commemorative Evening - Requiem devoted to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day that marked the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz (Oswiecim) Death Camp by Soviet troops was held at the Grand Hall of the Central House of Writers in Moscow. This event has been organized here each year since 1995 following the initiative of the Holocaust Center and Foundation and with the participation of Moscow City Government, Israeli Embassy in Russia, the World Congress of Russian Speaking Jewry and leading Jewish organizations of Russia.
This evening, which took place in one of the most prestigious auditoriums of Russia’s capital, was attended by prominent public figures, ministers, diplomats, the leadership of the Russian Federation Archive Service and former ghetto prisoners and war veterans.  The diplomatic corps was represented by Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors of Austria, Germany, Israel, Poland and Turkey; Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary of the Netherlands, Austria and Latvia; and diplomats from Hungary, Italy, Lithuania and the USA.  At least one-third of the participants in this event was made up of over 150 schoolchildren and students from 30 Moscow schools and universities and their teachers, who sat near quite a colorful group of young people dressed in the uniforms of the Israel Defense Force. An exhibition devoted to Anne Frank, courtesy of the Dutch Anne Frank Foundation (Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was one of the 258 Jews freed in Auschwitz), was on display in the foyer.
The evening began with a Kadish prayer performed by the Moscow Male Jewish Choir Hasidic Cappella directed by AlexanderTsaluk. This was followed by the appeal to the audience from Alla Gerber, president of the Holocaust Foundation and member of the RF Public Chamber and host of the Commemorative Evening, to hold a one-minute silence to in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and warriors-liberators.
The RF Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeyev, noted that Nazi camps became symbols of “the gravest crimes against humanity committed by the fascists and, at the same time, of the largeness and the will to live of the prisoners”.
According to Mikhail Shvydkoi, Russian President's Special Representative for International Cultural Cooperation, Auschwitz may be compared with a crucifixion that takes place in the people’s souls and hearts.
Sergei Melnikov, deputy head of the Humanitarian Policy and Public Relations Department at the RF President Internal Policy Directorate, read the message of the head of the Presidential Executive Office, Sergei Naryshkin, addressed to the audience.
Israeli Ambassador to Russia Anna Azari spoke about the Germans suffering from the post-traumatic effect of genocide. She also noted: “Although such a trauma does not even entail and post-trauma”.
The Polish and German ambassadors also spoke at the Commemorative Evening.
The only living Jewish survivor of Auschwitz, Anatoly Vanukevich, who lives in Moscow, shared his memories about the death camp and was greeted by a standing ovation. The daughters of Meier Lay, the former Chief Israeli Rabbi and the present chairman of the Yad Vashem Museum’s Council, Julia and Elena, related the story of their father being saved in Bukhenvald by Fyodor Mikhailichenko, a Soviet prisoner from Rostov-on-Don. They were also greeted by an ovation.
The evening was concluded by the prize-awarding ceremony of the Annual International Contest “Lessons of the Holocaust – Path to Tolerance” of works created by teachers, students and schoolchildren. Schoolchildren who became the winners of this contest were invited to the annual Tenth Conference in Brest and the teachers who won it attended a seminar in Yad Vashem. Ilya Altman and Alexander Gorelik, director of the UN Information Center in Russia, informed the students, winners in the contest, that they were invited to UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.  E.Mushtavinskaya,  graduate of Hertsen RGPU, spoke on behalf of the contest participants. This contest and the prize-awarding ceremony became possible thanks to government funding provided in the form of a grant in accordance with RF President Order #160-rp of March 16, 2009.
Unique documentaries about the liberation of ghettos and Nazi camps in the former Soviet Union and Europe in 1941-1945 by Soviet troops were shown at this commemorative event.
At the end of the evening, the Hasidic Cappella sang the famous Victory Day song.
The preparations for the memorial evening and the event itself were covered by over 20 mass media outlets from Russia and other countries, including leading news agencies such as ITAR-TASS, Interfax and RIA-Novosti (including the TV bridge Russia-Israel aired on January 28), Reuters and France Press; TV channels TVC, Culture, Fifth (St.Petersburg), RUSSIA Today (English, Spanish and Arabian Departments) and Zvezda; German Television; the Russian Services of BBC, Radio Svoboda and Radio France; the radio stations Echo of Moscow and the Russian News Service; the newspapers Izvestiya, Moskovsky Komsomolets and Tribuna; the magazines Kommersant-Vlast, Russian Newsweek and many others.





Holocaust researcher I. Altman: For many veterans, the lack of shooting on that day -- January 27, 1945 -- in the midst of the fiercest weeks of fighting, remains one of most powerful impressions

25 2010

  MOSCOW, Jan 25, 2010 (AFP) - Until the last, Ivan Martynushkin knew nothing of the horrors his unit would uncover when the Soviet army fought its way to the barbed wire fences of Auschwitz -- Nazi Germany's most infamous death camp.
  But 65 years on, he is still haunted by what he saw -- memories that have only grown more terrible as he learned the camp's story.
   Some 1.1 million people died at the camp between 1940 and 1945 -- one million of them Jews from across Nazi-occupied Europe. Some died from overwork and starvation, but most were murdered in the gas chambers.
   "I will remember those things until the end of my days," the 86-year-old veteran, who headed a gunner unit of the Red Army's 322nd rifle division that liberated Auschwitz, said in interview with AFP at his home in Moscow.
   The sprightly, grey-haired veteran sat in his neat apartment surrounded by books and photographs, including one of him with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A jacket pinned with war medals hung on the wall.
   Martynushkin said it was only when he saw the camp's barbed wires and his commander ordered the troops to hold their fire that he "guessed that this was some special military zone, that this was something else."
   For many veterans, the lack of shooting on that day -- January 27, 1945 -- in the midst of the fiercest weeks of fighting, remains one of their most powerful impressions, Holocaust researcher Ilya Altman told AFP.
   Martynushkin recalled the ghostly quiet and acrid "ash- and smoke-filled" air at Auschwitz.
   He had seen other Nazi prisoner camps but as his unit moved along the perimeter of Auschwitz he was staggered. "It was huge. It went on and on for kilometres," he remembered.
   "We started to see groups of people when we reached the fence. They came up to us dressed in prison stripes, some had other clothes on top," he said.
   "After being in such a hell, constantly threatened by death, they were worn, depleted people. The only thing to them were those eyes that reflected a kind of joy -- of being freed, the joy that hell had ended and they remained alive."
   As the Soviet troops closed in, some 60,000 prisoners had been driven back behind the Nazi lines in a forced "death march" that would be remembered by the survivors as worse than all that had come earlier at the camp.
   The few thousands left behind were thought too weak to march but by some luck escaped being shot in the chaos of the rushed exodus.
   Martynushkin turned 21 just days before arriving at Auschwitz, but by that time he had already spent three years at the front.
   Desensitized by the scale of suffering he witnessed over the war, he did not realize the full horror of the death camp, he said.
   It was only later, when the Nuremberg trials began, that he came to understand what had previously seemed unimaginable.
   "Back then when we saw the ovens, our first thought was: 'Oh well, so they are crematoriums. So people died and they didn't bury them all,'" he said.
   "We didn't know then that those ovens were specially built for the killing of people, to burn those who had been gassed, that kind of systematic killing."
   Auschwitz operated from 1940, a year after the German invasion of Poland. Its victims also included 85,000 non-Jewish Poles, 20,000 gypsies, 12,000 non-Jewish other European nationals and around 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
   "It was unlike any other war. It was a war over the existence of entire peoples," Martynushkin said. "We were able to see this plan at Auschwitz. Everyone was there, representatives of all the European nations."
   He was planning to travel to Poland with a handful of other surviving Soviet soldiers for the 65th anniversary of the day they liberated Auschwitz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHvwD3TwWHg


 

Book documents Holocaust in FSU

01 2009


   October 1, 2009.  KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) - A new encyclopedia documents the history of the Holocaust in the former Soviet Union.
The book is a project of the Russian Holocaust Center and Rosspen publishing house.

Ilya Altman, leader of the project and co-chair of the Russian Holocaust Center of Moscow; Alla Gerber, president of the Moscow Holocaust Foundation; and Anatoly Podolsky, director of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies, presented the encyclopedia Thursday at a seminar on the Holocaust.

Leaders of the project, scientists, formers prisoners of ghettos and concentration camps, and educators particpated in the seminar at the Institution of Political, Ethnic and National Studies of the Ukraine’s National Academy of Sciences in Kiev.

The “Encyclopedia of Holocaust on the territory of the USSR” features newly discovered and mostly unpublished photos, facts and recollections. The book also contains documents that shed new light on Jewish life during the occupation and Holocaust.

The encyclopedia includes articles by nearly 100 authors from 12 countries, including biographical articles and those devoted to the key issues of the Holocaust.
The authors used materials from more than 70 archives and museums in the Russian Federation and former Soviet countries, as well as Israel, Germany, Poland, the United States and France.

Some of the articles were written by former concentration camp and ghetto prisoners, as well as survivors.

One thousand copies of the book, in Russian, were printed.
The text

The new Review about "The Unknown Black Book"

29 2009

The 29-th July. The new Review in USHMM journal, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 23:2 (Fall 2009), pp. 288-289. 
Full text: here



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