17:44 GMT15 August 2020
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    A memorial evening dedicated to the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp was held at a Moscow theater on Thursday, with a premiere of an opera by Polish and Soviet composer Mieczyslaw Weinberg.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Weinberg's "The Passenger" opera tells the story of a meeting of a concentration camp survivor and a prison guard 15 years after the Second World War. The opera was banned in the USSR.

    "It is painful for me as the president of the Conference of European Rabbis to see the political forces in Europe that forget what happened more than 70 years ago… We have to guard ourselves against all the absolute evil, Nazism, if we do not want it to happen again, as any evil can return," Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt said at the premiere.

    Israeli Minister of Immigrant Absorption Sofa Landver said that Israel appreciated Russia's efforts to honor the memory of the Holocaust victims and expressed concern over the growth of antisemitism and terrorism in the 21st century.

    Weinberg's daughter, who was at the event, said that the composer dedicated all his works to the victims of the Holocaust.

    More than 500 politicians, activists, cultural figures, diplomats, war veterans, former camp and ghetto prisoners, students and schoolchildren attended the memorial evening.

    A Memorial Week began in Moscow on January 20 and will last until Friday, celebrated as the day of Auschwitz-Birkenau liberation by the Soviet troops. On January 27, special lessons will take place in Russian schools. Candles will be lit and memorial prayers will be said in the country's synagogues.

    The term Holocaust is used to denote actions taken by Nazi Germany, its allies and accomplices, in the persecution and extermination of up to six million Jews between 1933 and 1945. Around 1.1 million Jews are estimated to have been killed in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest extermination camp network.


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