A remembrance ceremony was held on January 27 at the Jewish Museum and the Tolerance Center in Moscow to remember the victims of the Holocaust.
The Day of Remembering Victims ceremony at the Jewish Museum and the Tolerance Center was attended by the ambassadors of Israel, the Netherlands, and other countries, as well as Orthodox, Catholic and Muslim religious leaders. “It is a Jewish tradition to remember the dead by lighting up candles on the day they died," said Borukh Gorin of the Federation of Jewish Communities. "On this day, we light up candles in memory of the victims we did not know personally. Only 7,000 of the Auschwitz prisoners survived, and we are also remembering the 300,000 soldiers who died on the battlegrounds before Auschwitz was liberated." He said those gathered also honored the memory of the thousands who died during the Leningrad Blockade; the 70th anniversary of the lifting of that blockade is also marked on January 27th.
The topic of the Holocaust is directly related to the topic of tolerance and overcoming bigotry, which is high on the agenda all over the world, including Russia. This was the gist of the remarks by Aleksandr Boroda, president of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia and director of the Jewish Museum. “Jewish experience, as an example of an entire nation becoming a target of hatred, should never be forgotten,” Boroda said. He also explained that whereas the Jewish Museum was devoted to the history of the Jewish people, the Tolerance Center was waging a struggle not only against xenophobia but other examples of intolerance as well. “Tolerance has many facets,” he said. “It includes race, ethnicity and religion, but also tolerance within families, or tolerance with regard to people with disabilities… There is also even tolerance with regard to other motorists on the road. In other words, we need to nurture the principle of mutual respect."
As part of an agreement between the Museum and the Moscow department of education, school students from the Russian capital regularly visit the museum, which has developed special education programs for them. The Center has also developed a set of guidelines for tolerance lessons at schools. The Museum plans to deliver the first such lessons in the near future. President Putin has praised these efforts and instructed the government to provide assistance in setting up 11 Tolerance Centers in other parts of Russia, modeled on the one in Moscow.