UN General Assembly announced January 27, the date when one of the most horrible concentration camps – Auschwitz - was liberated, as International Day of the Holocaust Victims. KJJC commemorated this date for the third time consecutively and traditionally local authorities, embassies; leaders of NGOs, mass-media responded to the invitations and took part in the event.
The highest possible official level of the guests included Mr. Marian Lupu, Speaker of the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, Mr. Valery Kuzmin, Russia Ambassador in Moldova, Mr. Serghey Pirozhkov, Ukraine Ambassador in Moldova, Mr. Filip Teodorescu, Romania Ambassador in Moldova, Mr. Nikolai Iliev, Bulgaria Ambassador in Moldova, Stav Nezhinsky, the 1st secretary of Israeli Embassy in Moldova and Ukraine, reb Zalman Leib Abelsky, chief rabbi in Moldova, Mickey Katsiff, JDC Representative in Moldova, Paula Lam Haim, JAFI representative in Moldova, Alexander Bilinkis, co-chair of the Jewish Community and other important persons.
The program started with inauguration of books and art exhibition dedicated to the tragic history of the Holocaust. Works of the Jewish painters Yakov Tihman, Edward Maidenberg, Reuven Schlenker (USA) as well as local Moldovan masters from national “Brancush” Gallery attracted attention of the public.
Over 300 people presented at the official inauguration of the Memorial Day and the concert of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, Mikhail Muntean, the leading Opera singer of the country, People’s Artist of the USSR, and young talented violinist Dmitry Pochtari, laureate of international competitions.
“We mark today a very sad and tragic date”, said Mr. Marian Lupu, Moldova Parliament Speaker in his speech at the KJJC scene. “Over 6 million of Jews perished. It was an attack at the most valuable things – human life, civilization, humankind. The tragedy of Holocaust became history. But we must remember about this and take lessons from the past to build moral principles of our state based on the peaceful coexistence of various ethnic groups. I can assure you that building multicultural society on the values of esteem to the history and traditions of all the people will be the quintessence of the policy of our state.”
“Such a Memorial Date was established for the young and middle-aged people”, said Shaps Roif, Association of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors of Moldova. “But my peers will never forget those days. Me and my wife often wake up in the night after nightmares and are surprised how we survived and thank G-d for this miracle that we remained alive in the Holocaust massacre".
On the eve of the Day of Holocaust a special program for the pupils of non-Jewish schools was conducted at the KJJC Museum of the Bessarabia Jewry. Over 60 boys and girls met with the Holocaust survivors, got acquainted with unknown for them history of the Jewish people in Moldova, tragic pages of the World War II. A film based on historical documents and discussion on the problems of interethnic tolerance and self-identification aroused emotions.
“My father is Jewish and mother is Russian”, told 14-years Alexei. “I would be happy to take from both sources, from two big cultures. However, sometimes I fill how difficult it is. I think many things depend on the family and school, and, of course, on yourself.”
“We are thankful for the opportunity to visit your Center”, added Vera, one the teachers of the Antiokh Kantemir lyceum. “I am sure it is very useful for our pupils. Even we, adults, do not know a lot about our neighbors, their culture and traditions. We hope our cooperation will continue.” Reports about International Day of the Holocaust Victims memory at the KJJC were published in local newspapers, Moldova Radio 1, NIT, Moldova 1, N4 and other TV channels.
The event was conducted with the support of the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany in the frames of the grant “Learning About Holocaust”.