Leonid Terushkin: "We never get tired of telling what certain Nazi collaborators have done"
The international panel session titled "Minsk ghetto: 75 years later" was 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 head of the archival department of the Research and Educational Holocaust Center Leonid Terushkin.
- How important is the discussion of events in the Minsk ghetto after 75 years?
- This is an extremely important event. Practically for the first time such a significant scientific institution as Moscow State University holds a major international forum, bringing together historians who study the history of the Holocaust, in particular the Minsk ghetto. Here they can discuss everything and even argue, as I've already seen. The history of the Minsk ghetto only seems to be well studied, but there are still a lot of unknown aspects. I mean the fate of specific people, resistance, collaborationism. Now all these issues have surfaced and escalated. Russia and Belarus can and must cooperate in this aspect. Who else can be involved in studying history of the Minsk ghetto if not Russian and Belarusian historians. We often missed this topic, our colleagues from Israel, the U.S. and Germany were ahead of us. They really tried and hurried, and we lagged behind, although the most interesting materials is here - in Russia and Belarus. Therefore, I consider this a very important event.
- What do you think cause attempts to glorify Nazi collaborators in some countries of Europe and the post-Soviet space?
- The legalization of former Nazis, the legalization of those who participated in the implementation of Nazi crimes, these are purely political events. If it is beneficial to someone, such solutions will be implemented. This is due, on the one hand, to the fact that Nazism, although it was defeated in the armed struggle, but, unfortunately, is not eradicated. On the other hand, some European countries are in a situation when the so-called fighters against communism are also Nazi criminals. There are a lot of people living in this discord, both the public and the ruling circles of a number of states. We cannot be neutral about this, we never get tired of telling what certain Nazi collaborators have done.
More recently, we received previously unknown documents from Russia's FSB archives with several other names. Of course, for those who survived the Holocaust, as well as for their descendants in Russia, Belarus, Israel and the whole world, any legalization of former Nazi criminals is out of question. It's impossible. The Nuremberg Trial's decisions have not been canceled. And I hope it stays that way.