January 27, the annual candle lightning ceremony dedicated to International Holocaust Remembrance Day was held at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center.
Following the UN General Assembly resolution as of the 1st of November 2005, International Holocaust Remembrance Day is celebrated all over the world on the 27th of January. Israel, Russia, the United States, Canada, Australia and Ukraine initiated the acceptance of this document and they were supported by more than 90 countries.
As part of the annual event held on the 27th of January 2017 official guests, heads of foreign diplomatic missions and representatives of confessions gathered at the Great Patriotic War hall of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center. Borukh Gorin, the CEO of the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center, held the candle lightning ceremony.
Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar performed before the guests, he made it clear the tragic past should not be repeated: “It is not enough to save historic truth. One should draw the moral from the history not to repeat the tragedy of those years nowadays. Those who admit anti-Semitic calls to action cannot be forgiven, and, unfortunately, there are a lot of such people in Europe. Even in Russia one can meet them, although the nations of our country paid probably the biggest and heaviest price when struggling against Nazism.”
Viktor Felixovich Vekselberg, the Director-General of Renova Group of Companies, thanked everyone and pointed out that the Holocaust influenced every Jewish family in the territory of the former USSR including his own. He said: “Today we need more than ever to consolidate efforts internationally to fight extremism, chauvinism, terrorism, all these terrible phenomena beyond any dispute should be stopped.”
The ambassadors of foreign states made their speeches during the ceremony: Gary Koren, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the State of Israel to Russia, John F. Tefft, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Russia, Rudiger von Fritsch, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Russia.
Alexander Boroda, the President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia, said that although this day we celebrate the Auschwitz liberation by the Red Army, that death camp became the Holocaust climax and not its beginning. He said: “The Holocaust started not in the Auschwitz, but long before it when people had started to divide people on ground of their nationality.” The head of the FJCR underlined that nowadays all counties should unite to fight xenophobia and extremism. “The mistakes of the 1930s should not be repeated, then everyone thought about their own geopolitical interests, and that resulted in the tragedy.” Alexander Boroda also supported the idea of giving the Holocaust lessons at schools. He concluded: “Let children learn the lessons of the Holocaust, as this terrible tragedy should never be repeated. The Holocaust is not only the tragedy of the Jews but the whole humanity which let it happen.”
In conclusion the participants lit six memorial candles in remembrance of more than 6 million Jews who died during the Holocaust.
On the 26th of January Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He visited the Museum exposition and made an announcement stressing the importance to nip in the bud any anti-Semitic attitude and nationalist views.