Russian Survivors of Nazi Camps Ask Putin to Create Day to Commemorate Genocide of Soviet People

© Sputnik / Knorring / Go to the mediabankWoman weeping on the ruins of her native village burnt by the Nazis in the second world war
Woman weeping on the ruins of her native village burnt by the Nazis in the second world war - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2022
Thursday marks Holocaust Remembrance Day – commemorating the anniversary of the 27 January 1945 liberation of the Auschwitz death camp by the Red Army and the millions of Jews, Roma, political prisoners and others killed by the Nazis. Russian civil society groups have suggested that the Nazis’ Soviet victims should also be remembered.
A Moscow-based organization of former child and youth prisoners of Nazi concentration camps has written President Vladimir Putin a letter calling for the establishment of a ‘Day of the Genocide of the Soviet People’ to preserve the historical memory of crimes committed by the Nazis on the Eastern Front.
“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, a day commemorating the Nazi genocide of the Soviet people was not established in a timely manner, but we, as witnesses of the atrocities of the occupiers, continue to honour the memory of our innocent tortured grandfathers, parents, brothers and children, and believe now is the time to do so. This is important for all the citizens of our country,” the appeal reads.
The petitioners recalled that after unleashing the Second World War, Adolf Hitler and his henchmen across Europe committed massacres against entire nations and peoples on the continent.
“But today few mention that the USSR bore the heaviest losses during the war,” the appeal noted, adding that according to the conclusions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, Nazi plans in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union and Poland included the expulsion and extermination of the civilian populations and their colonization by German settlers.
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“It is absolutely clear that the war which the Axis powers waged against the Soviet Union was a war of total annihilation. If in the occupied Western countries the Nazis maintained a measure of a civilized attitude toward the local populations, they did not stand on ceremony with the ‘subhumans’ in the East,” the letter stressed.
The petitioners lamented that unfortunately, in recent years, “we have been faced with the horrific practice of the rewriting of history, the falsification of the truth and the use of distorted data about the war for political purposes by unscrupulous politicians and public figures. Some countries, whose leadership, to put it frankly, has betrayed the memory of their grandfathers, has used ‘puppet’ historians to impose a ‘new reality’ on the world. The victors and liberators are called villains, while criminals are turned into national heroes.”
A national day to commemorate the genocide of the Soviet peoples may help to correct this state of affairs, the former victims of Nazi camps believe.
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An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens were killed in the Second World War, among them 8.6 million troops killed in fighting, 1.8 million soldiers who died in captivity, and 13.6 million civilians who perished in Nazi extermination campaigns, forced labour camps, from starvation, disease and lack of timely medical care. An estimated 2.7 million of the Jews killed in the Holocaust were also Soviet citizens.
However, while the Holocaust has become engraved in the memory of the Western public, and its victims are commemorated regularly, the Soviet civilian victims of the war are less well-remembered, except in the nations of the former Soviet Union itself.
On Thursday, the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office announced that Minsk would demand compensation for the genocide of the civilian population of Belarus during the war, and raise the issue of the extradition of war criminals who are still alive for trials on Belarusian territory. The Belarusian republic of the USSR lost up to a third of its entire population during the Second World War.
Thursday marks the International Day in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, also known as International Holocaust Remembrance Day – a memorial day commemorating the millions of victims of the Holocaust. On this day 77 years ago, the Red Army liberated Auschwitz – the Third Reich’s most notorious and well-known death camp. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was formally established by the United Nations in 2005.
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