International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Speech of Russian OSCE representative

From the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the OSCE in Vienna

Speech of Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation A.K. Lukashevich at a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council – January 27, 2022

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

Dear Mr Chairman,

We welcome the Secretary General of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, dear Catherine Meyer.

On January 27, 1944, the blockade of Leningrad was completely lifted, which can only be called one of the largest crimes against humanity in history. There is no and cannot be justification for the Nazis, who, as during the Holocaust, purposefully exterminated civilians en masse.

Exactly one year later, on January 27, 1945, the Red Army liberated the largest concentration camp – Auschwitz-Birkenau (Auschwitz). In this “death factory” up to 4 million people were killed, including about a million Jews. In 2005, the UN General Assembly proclaimed January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It claimed the lives of 6 million Jews, 40% of whom were citizens of the Soviet Union. In the war with Nazi Germany, the Soviet people lost more than 26 million of their fellow citizens. Preserving the historical memory of those terrible events is a task, without exaggeration, of a global scale.

In our country, from January 17 to February 4, the “Week of Memory” is being held for the eighth time at the federal level, which is traditionally organized by the Russian Jewish Congress, the Moscow Government, the Holocaust Center and the Federal Agency for Nationalities. As part of the cycle of memorial and educational events, scientific and practical conferences, webinars, film and performance screenings, promotions in social networks and much more are held. Since 2009, more than eight dozen monuments and memorial plaques to the victims of the Holocaust have been erected as part of the Reclaim Dignity program.

In November 2021, the Third International Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, Racism and Xenophobia “Let’s Protect the Future” was held in Moscow. Its organizers are the World and Russian Jewish Congresses, the Federal Agency for Nationalities and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Our country is actively working to preserve the memory of the Holocaust and other crimes of Nazism at various international platforms. On January 20 of this year, the UN General Assembly, with the support of Moscow, adopted a resolution condemning attempts to deny the Holocaust. This document recalls that 80 years ago, on January 20, 1942, representatives of the Nazi Party and other high-ranking officials of Nazi Germany gathered at a conference in Wannsee to discuss their inhuman designs.

In addition, Russia and a number of other countries, including the OSCE participating States, annually initiate the adoption by the UN General Assembly of a resolution against the glorification of Nazism. The number of its co-authors is steadily growing. Only two countries from year to year, under far-fetched pretexts, vote against a document that condemns those who exterminated Jews and other peoples. In this regard, we would like to recall the words of the UN Secretary General Anatoly Guterres: “The Holocaust defined the United Nations. … Our very name was coined to denote an alliance fighting the Nazi regime and its allies .

Dear Mr Chairman,

The situation “on the ground” in the region of responsibility of our Organization is shocking. According to a report by a number of reputable Jewish associations, 2021 has become the “most anti-Semitic” in the last 10 years Most of the incidents occurred in Europe, followed by the OSCE participating States across the ocean. By the way, other well-known non-governmental organizations, such as the Anti-Defamation League, also noted negative trends in North America According to her, for example, in less than January, about 30 anti-Semitic incidents were committed in the United States, a significant part of which had a pronounced Nazi overtones.

There is something to work on and neighboring Canada with America. In a recent article in The Hill Times newspaper, experts and leadership of Jewish organizations unequivocally pointed out the lack of proper response from official Ottawa to attempts to distort the Holocaust and cases of glorifying Nazi accomplices. B’nai B’rith Canada President Michael Mostyn emphasized the need for a “loud and clear” government response to these facts, both inside and outside the country.

In the European “part” of the OSCE, the situation continues to worsen. In some countries, “rallies” and torchlight processions are held annually in honor of those who actively collaborated with the Nazis and were accomplices in their crimes. These are by no means “commemorative events,” as the respected Estonian ambassador said at a meeting of the Permanent Council on January 20, but blatant examples of the glorification of Nazism and attempts to distort history.

New memorials are being opened to those who fought on the side of Nazi Germany or collaborated with it, committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. Streets, schools and even stops are renamed in their honor. Ultra-nationalists openly threaten anti-fascists. A real “war” has been declared on the monuments to the soldiers-liberators. It is also deeply disturbing that those who fought against the anti-Hitler coalition or collaborated with the Nazis are increasingly being elevated to the rank of national heroes and heroes of national liberation movements. And this is happening in countries that survived the Nazi occupation during the Second World War and whose heroic peoples made a significant contribution to the defeat of Nazism.

The above confirms that attempts to deny the Holocaust, the spread of racism, Nazism, neo-Nazism and racial intolerance threaten international peace and security. We welcome the decision of the Polish OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office to dedicate the first event in the humanitarian dimension to the fight against anti-Semitism. However, this is clearly not enough. It is necessary to finally start discussing the sources of the phenomenon itself, to which the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office on Combating Anti-Semitism, Rabbi Andrew Baker, among other things, attributed movements associated with neo-Nazis. In this regard, we would like to emphasize the imperativeness of taking this issue into account, including when agreeing on the “package” and agendas for humanitarian activities, primarily the annual Review Meeting.

Our Organization – for Security and Cooperation – cannot continue to turn a blind eye to these phenomena. As stated in his recent speech on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, UN Secretary-General A. Guterres: “Silence in the face of hatred is complicity . “

Thank you for attention

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