Lev Spivak: “The Baltic states, Ukraine, and Armenia are lauding Nazi collaborators”

Lev Spivak: “The Baltic states, Ukraine, and Armenia are lauding Nazi collaborators”

On November 2nd, The Moscow State University History Faculty hosted the international conference 'Minsk Ghetto: 75 years later'. It was organized by the Russian information and analysis agency Vestnik Kavkaza, the History Faculty Laboratory of Diasporas History, the All-Israel Belarus-born Community, the History Institute of the Belarus National Academy of Science, the Belarus State University History Faculty, and 'Historic Memory' Modern Historic Studies Fund. Vestnik Kavkaza talked to one of speakers at the conference, the Director General of the AzIs International Association of Israel and Azerbaijan, Lev Spivak about importance of Holocaust commemoration.

-          What are key goals of such events?

-          I think the main goal is a commemoration work. The awful tragedy of Holocaust must not be forgotten. We must recall it again and again not only because Holocaust of European Jews during the World War II was a devastating tragedy with an unprecedented number of murdered people. Unfortunately for all normal people, similar events are happening even today, even though to a lesser extent. The massacre in Azerbaijani Khojaly, the tragedy in Odessa three years ago, the awful things committed by Bandera followers in Ukraine were mentioned at our conference. This is not the past, this is our life, the events are happening now. It means this can happen to any of us tomorrow. Who can guarantee that there will be no Holocaust of Azerbaijanis, Belarusians, Russians, and again Jews tomorrow? Nobody can. That’s why we must speak about it again and again.

-          How do people in Israel treat elimination of commemoration of the World War II in Europe?

-          We regard this tendency with horror. By the way, this is one of moments of complete mutual understanding between Israel and Russia: we agree that there must be no history rewriting. We are taught that history is written by winners. However, winners should do it reasonably because their behavior can hurt themselves tomorrow. Unfortunately, the authorities of the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Armenia commit historic inversions and laud Nazi collaborators, turn murderers into a role model for future generations. It must be prevented.

-          What do you think about Russia’s contribution to commemoration of the World War II?

-          I believe Russia is one of countries that do more than others to commemorate the awful tragedy (along with Israel where this is the central topic and where the Holocaust Museum is situated). Moscow has the Holocaust Museum on the Poklonnaya Gora. Russia’s special attention to the topic is proven by today’s conference which is held in a key pillar of the Russian science, the top university, the Moscow State University, the History Faculty.

-          What can you say about Holocaust commemoration work in Azerbaijan?

-          I think Azerbaijan almost doesn’t touch on the topic because the republic wasn’t occupied. Those Jews who live in Azerbaijan and have suffered from Holocaust are either like me whose ancestors moved to Azerbaijan later but preserved ties with relatives in Ukraine, Belarus, and so on. I think there is no European Jew in the whole world, whose relative hadn’t died in the tragedy. However, the Azerbaijani Jews are lucky in this respect.

By the way, there was a concentration camp not far from Azerbaijan, in the North Caucasus. A few people know about it. Until recently, it wasn’t even considered to be a concentration camp. It was recognized a few years ago by Israel. Only Mountain Jews were prisoners of the death camp. And now they are on the dole. Previously, the concentration camp was not revealed.