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PRESS RELEASES

27.01.2015

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko’s speech on Holocaust Memorial Day, Soviet War Memorial, London, 27 January 2015


Lord Mayor!
Rabbi!
Your Excellencies!
Ladies and Gentlemen!
Dear friends!
On 27 January every year, we came here, to the Soviet War Memorial, to number one of the darkest, most tragic and shameful chapters in the history of Europe – the Holocaust. This year is special, since the entire world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Nazi death camp by Soviet Army.
From 1941 to 1945, approximately two-thirds of the Jews who had resided in Europe before the Holocaust were methodically killed. More than 1.1 million men, women and children were murdered in Auschwitz became of their ethnicity and religion.
Today, we express not only our respect for the survivors who went through that hell and victims of the Holocaust, but also a call to action. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day gives us an opportunity to actively participate in the struggle against racism, Anti-Semitism, xenophobia and extremism.
This is probably the last big anniversary that the world commemorates together with a vast group of Holocaust Survivors. Until now, it has always been them who taught us the dramatic lesson of history. Their voices became the main reminder of peace fragility and a warning against human cruelty and intolerance. However, the reality is that very soon we, the post-war generations, will be the only ones to pass this knowledge to succeeding generations.
It is important to understand that the history of Holocaust does not have the beginning and the end. It tells us a story of the dark side of human nature and society. Although the history of Auschwitz may seem more distant with each year, today we can see worrying signs reappear in various parts of the world, in different forms and contexts. That is why each year the UN General Assembly passes the resolution on "Glorification of Nazism: inadmissibility of certain practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance".
We strongly believe in the need to preserve historical memory and prevent the falsification and distortion of history. Unfortunately, the vaccine against the Nazi virus is losing its potency in some European countries. Russia intends to use the 70th Victory in Europe celebrations to step up the fight against systemic attempts to glorify Nazism and revive intolerance and extremism in any form. This will be one of our key goals in the coming period.
In order to stave off such crime, we must join our efforts and form a “culture of prevention”, promote peaceful coexistence and respect for human rights and human dignity.
The peace relies on mutual understanding between nations and cultures and derives from memory and knowledge of the past generations. The memory of Holocaust victims should accompany us in our aspiration for a future, where such horrible events will never take place.
Thank you.

 




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