Kuzma Kozak: "No manifestation of Nazism, including neo-Nazism, can be justified"
The international panel session titled "Minsk ghetto: 75 years later" was recently organized at the History Faculty of Lomonosov Moscow State University by the Russian information and analysis agency Vestnik Kavkaza, the Diaspora History Laboratory of the History Faculty, the All-Israel Association of People from Belarus, the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the history department of Belarusian State University and the 'Historical Memory' Foundation for the Promotion of Actual Historical Research. On the sidelines of the event, Vestnik Kavaza spoke with Associate Professor of the Source Study Department of the Faculty of history at Belarusian State University (BSU) Kuzma Kozak.
- What do you think cause attempts to glorify Nazi collaborators in some countries of Europe and the post-Soviet space?
- Now states pursue a policy that aims to change their past, to glorify their past, to find new heroes in new conceptual conditions. We often see that murderers play the role of righteous men or angels. But there should be no forgiveness for the murderers; there should be no change in the attitude towards them either.
- Three million people were killed on the territory of Belarus. A rich Jewish tradition and culture was destroyed. About 800 thousand Jews were killed. We have about 1000 settlements, former Jewish towns without a single Jew living there. Architecture, synagogues, monuments, places of murder remain somewhere... Now there are voices that those who killed people should be justified!
- How can one resist it?
- In the European context, if we talk about near and far neighbors, Belarus remains, perhaps, the only republic which gives a quite clear signal - the memory lives in our families, in our hearts. Our history does not turn into a war of memory. Nazism, which has various manifestations, including neo-Nazism, cannot be justified. Everyone should know and remember what is behind the activities of those who burned people alive, killed in gas chambers, did not give any chance of survival even to young children. It was done consciously, it was done publicly. This tragedy sobers so many people in Belarus. People from other countries come to us to find out what it was, how it was. We must all e united to condemn the activities of the Nazi criminals by any means possible.