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Rabbi Lazar Meets PM Putin
On January 26, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar held a meeting with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The event took place on the 65th anniversary of the Soviet Red Army’s liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. The conversation touched on the struggle against revisionism of the history of the Second World War, as well as the construction of the Museum of Jewish History.

President Putin expressed his gratitude to Rabbi Lazar for his consistent opposition to attempts to revise the history of World War II. "I am following very closely what is happening in the world, especially the problems associated with the distortion of history and the denial of the Holocaust. Let me say that, certainly in regard to preserving the memory of the victims of Nazism and in regard to the preservation of information about the genuinely tragic events of World War II, Jewish organizations have always been our staunch ally."

The President further noted that "we have seen an attempt to rewrite history during the removal of the [“Bronze soldier”] monument in Tallinn, and we are seeing this in other regions of the world, where similar attempts have been made to revise the truth about the tragedy of the Second World War.

On this issue, we absolutely agree with you, and I would like to thank you for that."

The Chief Rabbi spoke after the President and commented, "We, the Jews, will never forget what the Red Army did for us during World War II. We need to speak about how things were in reality because, unfortunately, what we have been seeing as of recent in Ukraine is frightening. For us this is really unacceptable… Those who witnessed and lived through the tragedy of the Holocaust certainly cannot deny it.

Nazism is evil, not only because the Nazis murdered, but because they tried to justify their actions."

Rabbi Lazar also spoke to Prime Minister Putin about the construction of the Museum of Jewish History and Tolerance. "Despite the world financial crisis, the project that – with your support - we had planned has been started. We have very reason to believe that the museum will open in two years, as originally scheduled," he stated.

The Museum of Jewish History and Tolerance will be a unique educational and exhibition complex, combining exhibitions galleries, a library, a research center, and conference rooms all under one roof. The multi-functional design of the facility will allow the museum to deal effectively with its main task: to use the prism of the history of Jewish civilization to show the necessity of respect and understanding between peoples from different cultures and religions.



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