Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at the opening of documentary exhibition “The Holocaust: Annihilation, Liberation, Rescue,” New York, January 18, 2018

Thursday, 18 January 2018 16:28

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great honour for me to speak at the UN headquarters at the opening of the historical documentary exhibition “The Holocaust: Annihilation, Liberation, Rescue”, held ahead of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day marked annually on January 27.

First of all I would like to thank the Research and Educational Holocaust Centre and its co-chairman Ilya Altman, and the Russian Jewish Congress for organising this exposition, which contains unique archive documentary evidence of the horrible Holocaust tragedy, photographs of the inmates of the Nazi death camps and the Red Army soldiers who liberated them.

The Holocaust is one of the most hideous crimes against humanity, a manifestation of ruthless cruelty and contempt for human life. The Nazis’ mass extermination of Jews and the representatives of other ethnic groups is the result of the man-hating policy of racial superiority. It is our sacred duty not only to honour the memory of the millions of innocent victims, but to do as much as we can to avoid a repetition of such tragedies in the future.

We cannot but feel alarmed by the recent creeping rehabilitation of Nazism. Some countries, including those that regard themselves as “model democracies”, are pursuing a consistent policy of revising the results of World War II, including the glorification of Nazis and local collaborationists.  A particularly immoral campaign has been unleashed in some European Union countries waging a veritable war on monuments which sees the destruction and desecration of monuments to the Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to rid the world from the horrors of the “brown plague” and made the decisive contribution to ensuring peace and stability on the European continent for many years. Such actions are blasphemous from the universal human point of view. They challenge the post-war security architecture, which is based on the UN Charter, the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal and other immutable international legal documents. We must all counter these extremely dangerous trends.

Russia pays particular attention to these problems. Every year we submit to the UN General Assembly a draft special resolution on combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism and intolerance. The number of states acting as co-authors of the draft is growing steadily year in and year out. We adopted a relevant resolution a month ago, on December 19, 2017 at the Plenary Session of the 72nd UN General Assembly. The document has been approved by an overwhelming majority, although a number of countries did not back it trying to justify their position by citing the need to respect the freedom of expression. I think today’s exhibition is called upon to send yet another unambiguous signal that such attempts to interpret the theme of Nazism are absolutely unacceptable.

The exhibition is to be displayed in a number of other countries in the coming months. I am sure that this will serve to reinforce the historical truth and provide another reminder of the heroic feat of those who defeated Nazism, saved Jews and other peoples from total annihilation.

In conclusion I would like to wish the best of health and well-being to our dear veterans, including those who saved Jews by liberating Auschwitz and those who defeated Nazism in Europe.

Of course, I am very glad to see my good friend Arthur Schneier, who is one of the pillars of New York political life and who is doing very important work to prevent glorification of the people who perpetrated these gruesome crimes. 

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