Rossiyskaya gazeta: Bells of Boundless Memory

Mr. Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress (EJC), President of the World Holocaust Forum foundation, met with Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, President of the Latvian Republic.
During the meeting Mrs. Vike-Freiberga supported the initiative of the Foundation creation and emphasized that such forum is very important for the whole world community. According to both parties, today it is necessary to pay closer attention to the Holocaust history in order to prevent such tragedyin the future.

“Latvia is determined to remember the crimes against humanity committed by the totalitarian regimes on the Latvian land during the 20 th century,” – Mrs. Vike-Freiberga said. And she expressed “deep concernment of Latvia for cooperation with the World Holocaust Forum foundation in the future”.

Let us remind you that the World Holocaust Forum foundation was established this year immediately after the First International Forum “Let My People Live!” was held in Krakow (Poland). This event, which took place at the end of January, was dedicated to the 60 th anniversary of the liberation by Soviet soldiers of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim.

As chief executives of the Foundation say, organization and holding of International Holocaust Forums is one of its most important functions. According to the Foundation programme, these forums provide for direct participation of world leaders “in education and dissemination of the Holocaust knowledge, its commemoration and eradication of manifestations of anti-Semitism and various xenophobias all over the world”. The Foundation was perceived as a memory for future generations, which do not know about the horrors and crimes of the bloodiest war in the history of the humankind. To exterminate “the beast from the abyss”, to eradicate national intolerance, not to forget the history lessons, to pay the tribute to the memory of innocent victims of Nazism all over the world – these are the main objectives of the European Jewish Congress and the World Holocaust Forum foundation.

President of the Latvian Republic agreed with Mr. Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor that the fight against manifestations of xenophobia is one of the main objectives of governments of all countries today.

The President of the World Holocaust Forum foundation insists on a decisive fight against anti-Semitism, which is important for the safety of the whole humankind. Mr. Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor made this statement after an unknown group of people had beaten two students from the Yeshiva Jewish University in the center of Kiev at the end of August. “This is a very alarming fact, which cannot be passed by. It is terrible that Jewish students are afraid to walk in streets, being afraid of anti-Semitic attacks similar to this one”, – Mr. Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor commented the incident.

“We should always remember and know from the dreadful events of our contemporary history that probably they always start with the Jews, but they never end with the Jews”, – the President of the International Foundation said. – A feeling of hatred towards representatives of other nationalities has always been a seed of evil and a reason for gloomy pages of the history of the humankind”. Whether it be the Holocaust of the Jewish population or extermination of the Armenian nation in 1915 or mass extermination of the indigenous Indian population in America.

The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the EJC thinks that the dissemination of the Holocaust knowledge and education of its lessons will help the humankind “to eradicate predatory moods, leading to anti-Semitism and xenophobia”. Mr. Viatcheslav (Moshe) Kantor told the President of the Latvian Republic about the implementation of one more project of the Foundation – “The European Education Program for Teachers on the Holocaust and its Lessons” prepared by the EJC together with the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. According to Mr. Kantor, “large meetings with the participation of heads of states are useful because they demonstrate a political will of the world community leaders “not to allow forgetting”, and permanent laborious work, step by step, should be carried out, first of all, in schools. In particular, the European education program will deal with it”.

During the meeting with Mrs. Vaira Vike-Freiberga the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the EJC discussed the preparation for the Second International Holocaust Forum. It will be held in Ukraine in October next year. The venue was not chosen accidentally – the Holocaust ended in KL Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, and it started with mass murders in 1941 in Babyn Yar in Kiev.

Every nation has wounds caused by “an iron heel” of the Third Reich. In Ukraine September 29 is the national Day of memory and mourning (on this day mass murders started in Babyn Yar), in some European countries (Germany, Poland, Great Britain, Sweden, Italy, Finland) people commemorate the Holocaust victims on January 27 (the day of KL Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation).

In Riga every year victims of the Jewish nation genocide are commemorated. In Latvia they have their own Khatyn – in July 1941 Hitlerites burned alive 2,000 people in a synagogue in Riga. “Here people were killed like fiery victims of the cult of evil and hatred, which started from ideology, which set up some people over others”, – Mrs. Vike-Freiberga once said. And the burnt synagogue, according to her, is evidence of threefold sin: against the humankind, against the Jewish nation and against a temple. As the history teaches that intolerance is born “in kitchens”, lives in politicians’ speeches, nourishes with indifference of the society and dies of good will and cherished memory of the whole humankind.

Rossiyskaya gazeta, №211 (3880)
All-Russian edition
Boris Lunkin