The Words of the Erofeeva Family
Chelyabinsk, Russia -- Natalya Urbanskaya, director of the "We Remind You -- Remember!" cultural and educational center joined with UPF-Urals and the Civil and Human Rights Committee in a commemoration of Holocaust victims on the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, in Chelyabinsk.
Leaders of regional and city NGOs in the Urals, representatives of different religions, educators, youths, and social activists heard the stories of former under-age prisoners of concentration camps. A round table "Basics of Peacemaking" took place after the ceremony.
Natalya Urbanskaya opened the ceremony by reading a message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon about the importance of Holocaust remembrance. The Ombudsman of the Civil Council, Sergei Bukhdruker, read the welcoming words of I.A. Altman, co-chair of the non-governmental center "Holocaust." The former under-age prisoners in the audience were deeply touched.
Lightning of candles and offering the Izkor (Hebrew word for remembrance) prayer opened the memorial ceremony. High school girls recited commemorative lyrics. In commemoration of the Holocaust victims, there was music and verses by Ural writers and poets dedicated to the innocent Holocaust victims of blessed memory.
The leader of the Chelyabinsk grassroots organization of former under-age prisoners under fascism, Igor Anatolyevich Tsarkov, and the former Auschwitz prisoner, Igor Nikolayevich Isachenkov, shared about their tragic experiences during their long years in Nazi concentration camps. They called upon the younger generation to always remember the lesson of the Second World War and tell their children about the horrors of the Holocaust that should never be repeated. They proposed organizing an exhibit entitled: "Relay Race: From Children of War to the Children of Peace" as an innovative project for youth.
The round table on "Basics of Peacemaking" was the climax of the ceremony. Participants discussed issues related to the Holocaust that could become bridges for peacemaking. Participants in the round table emphasized that recently some people have been attempting to revise the history of the Second World War, distort historical truth, and even reject the fact of the Holocaust.
Retired colonel, war veteran, and chair of the of War, Law Enforcement, Military Service, and Military Hostilities Veterans' Committee, Alexander Timofeevich Kaimashnikov, chaired the round table. He expressed great interest in developing peacemaking activity and shared his impressions about visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp after the war.
Vladimir Alexandrovich Vizgalin, a war veteran and a fighter pilot who participated in attacking the Nazis, said that in those years there were strong bonds of friendship between the peoples who were resisting fascism; it helped them to withstand and win the brutal war. He urged people to strengthen vows of friendship between nations, because in modern Russia such relations are visibly fading away. Also he emphasized the importance of holding such meetings with children.
The leader of UPF-Urals talked about UPF's goals and objectives. Natalya Erofeeva, an Ambassador for Peace, said that "peace is much more than just the absence of military clashes. Establishing enduring universal peace depends on each of us. The guarantee of success is in energizing social institutions and promoting interaction among them." She expressed appreciation for the work of six participants as she presented them with certificates as Ambassadors for Peace.
The manager of the international photo- and-video exhibition "Psychiatry: Industry of Death," Andrei Cherepkov, spoke about the key role of the German psychiatric association in establishing the racism and hatred that led to the mass homicide of so-called "sub-humans" in Hitler's Germany.
Then participants discussed possible formats of joint future programs. Sergei Buchdruker, ombudsman of the Civil Council for Human Rights; Lyyubov Shevchenko, director of the Chelyabinsk city library; Igor Zinkov, coordinator of the Jewish youth community club "Hava Nagila"; Elena Fedosova, Ambassador for Peace from Perm; Elena Biryukova, representative of the New Life Christian Church emphasized the significance of the meeting.
Fourteen participants expressed their desire to continue cooperation. At the end, they signed a statement to religious and grassroots organizations and power structures.