The World Holocaust Forum will be organized in Kiev in 2006 on the initiative of President Viktor Yushchenko.
“We intend to hold the 2nd World Holocaust Forum in Kiev on September 27, 2006 in tribute to the 65 th anniversary of the tragedy in Babyn Yar,” informed Vyacheslav Kantor, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress and President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, on Tuesday at the press-conference at the Interfax headquarters.
He accented that organizing the event European Jews “wanted to send a hidden message that the events which had taken place in Babyn Yar weren’t less tragic than the ones in Auschwitz”. “Babyn Yar is the symbol of the hidden, undeclared Holocaust. We want to attract attention of the world public to this problem – the problem of improperly buried victims,” said V.Kantor.
The Foundation President expressed his hope that the Forum organizers “would manage to enlist the world leaders’ participation in it – Presidents of Russia, the USA and biggest European countries”. “Thus we will be able to guarantee the public interest to this event as great as it was expressed to the 60 th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,” pointed V.Kantor.
According to his words, the organizers have already found the symbolic motto for the forthcoming World Holocaust Forum – “Babyn Yar – Watch Day (Remembrance Day – IF)”.
V.Kantor also informed that during the Forum there would be adopted the declaration and the proclamation to the world public which would be followed by “the official appeal to all international claims organizations to introduce the representatives of the Jewish organizations of Eastern Europe – Russia, Belarus, the Baltic countries into these structures”.
NO SATE ANTI-SEMITISM IN RUSSIA BUT PETTY ANTI-SEMITISM GROWING – KANTOR
There is no state anti-Semitism in Russia, said Vyacheslav Kantor, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress and President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.
“There is no state anti-Semitism, not in the least degree, what we call from head to toe. We see no sign of it today. State anti-Semitism was strongly felt in 1991. The Soviet Government was the champion in this regard,” said V.Kantor on Tuesday at the press-conference at the Interfax headquarters in Moscow.
At the same time he notes that petty anti-Semitism is growing. “In the meantime I find it difficult to explain it because the economy and economic indicators are on the rise”, noted V.Kantor.
To prove that in general the life of Jews in Russia had considerably improved recently, V.Kantor drew attention to the emigration process of Russian Jews to Israel.
“Comparing to the two waves of emigration this wave is weaker and partly there is even a reverse process”, – said V.Kantor.
It appears to him that “the wave of the return emigration to Russia is a positive trend for Russia”.
“The people who come back from Israel don’t lose the Israeli citizenship but they find Russia to be more integrated into the world economy and the world culture than before and thus Russia is quite a decent place to live for them”, – said V.Kantor.
Along with that he pointed that there is still the problem of keeping up the Israeli ethnos in Russia. He thinks, however, that it is connected with the fact that all Jews are alike all the other citizens of the countries where they live.
“It always appeared to me that Russian Jews are the most Jewish in the world”, – noted V.Kantor.
In addition he added that in Russia there have been opened more than 100 new spiritual centers within the past decade.
He gave the following example of Russian Jews’ spirituality as the brightest one. “I know some people who got circumcised at the age of 57. Not because they might somehow benefit from this – nothing but the spiritual benefit”, – pointed V.Kantor.
Answering the question about the quantity of Jews in Russia, he said that according to the official figures of the World Jewish Congress there are 280.000 in Russia.
“But I think there are more than 1 million Jews in Russia, at least those who are one-quarter Jews”, – summarized V.Kantor.
KANTOR FINDS INADMISSIBLE INDULGENT ATTITUDE TOWARDS XENOPHOBIA
In connection with the murder of a Peruvian student in Voronezh, President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation Vyacheslav Kantor urged the authorities to pay particular attention to the fight against xenophobia and, first of all, against anti-Semitism.
“In our home country they thrash the guests who came here with our consent. It is inadmissible and, first of all, inadmissible is the authorities’ indulgent attitude”, – said V.Kantor on Tuesday at the press-conference at the Interfax headquarters in Moscow.
In addition he noted that “the attitude towards Jews is the most sophisticated device to measure the public health because in every society Jews are to blame for everything”.
Thus, added V.Kantor, “it’s necessary to keep Jews safe – then all other people will feel safe too”. V.Kantor urged the authorities to pay particular attention to the fight against xenophobia and, first of all, against anti-Semitism.
GROUP OF RUSSIAN TEACHERS TO TAKE HOLOCAUST COURSE IN ISRAEL
The first group of Russian teachers is soon to set off for the Israeli Institute “Yad Vashem” (Remembrance and Name) where they will be trained to teach the history of The Holocaust, said Vyacheslav Kantor, Chairman of the Board of Governors of the European Jewish Congress and President of the World Holocaust Forum Foundation.
Speaking on Tuesday at the press-conference at the Interfax headquarters in Moscow, he reminded that this January during the 60 th anniversary celebration of the liberation of Auschwitz it was decided to create an all-European educational Holocaust program which would be adapted for every country.
Speaking about this, the Foundation President reminded that during World War II Russia lost half of its Jews. “The Holocaust and its lessons are still an important tool of acting upon the public conscience”, – emphasized V.Kantor.
According to his words, “The Holocaust after all was the price to pay for the creation of the State of Israel, for the rethink of the national policy in the Soviet Union and is still the tool for the regulation of national relations”, as in Eastern Europe there is no family without a victim of The Holocaust.
Answering the question about his possible chairing the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC) V.Kantor said that his answer to this question might be more definite after November 10.
“Such ideas have appeared in the Bureau of the RJC but the consultations have only just begun”, – noted V.Kantor.