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International Day of Commemoration
in memory of the victims of the Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial Ceremony
Trusteeship Council Chamber

27 January 2009
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


Leonid Rozenberg
Veteran of World War II

War survivors can tell many stories that would make your blood freeze. It was a cruel war and a cruel time. There was the Holocaust! The Good was battling the Evil. And because the Good overcame the Evil, I am here with you today. Against the background of that cruelty we value even more the noble deeds that in ordinary life are nothing more than a norm of civilized human behaviour.

During the past war, when my comrades and I defended our Motherland with all our strength and liberated our country as well as other lands from the German-Fascist monsters, almost all my family and my loved ones perished in the fire of the Catastrophe.

The memory of the victims of the fascists, killed during the World War II is sacred. I would like to remind that it was the Soviet Army that liberated Oswecim concentration camp on 27 January 1945, and that particular date is observed today as the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust.

In Russia, the memory of the Holocaust victims and of the warriors-liberators who saved the world from the brown plague of the XX century is cherished and honoured. Just think about the numbers: the USSR lost 27 million people in that war! Out of the 6 million Jews perished in the Nazi concentration camps, 3 million came from the Soviet Union!

Today, on the occasion of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, I would like to remind to those present here that, regretfully, the evil deeds were done not without assistance of the local population. But we remember that there were those who risked the lives of their families and the loved ones and saved us, the Jews, from inevitable execution. These people will be remembered forever by the humankind as the HOLY MEN OF PEACE.

Dear friends! Just a little more than 60 years divide us from the end of that cruel war, but sometimes it feels as if the human race has not learned any lesson from it. Innocent blood is spilled again. New Hitlers again threaten the world.

There is nothing more valuable than historic memory. And one of the main lessons of the Holocaust is the need to preserve for the future generations the memory of the Nazi atrocities, to expose those who committed evil deeds and to show the grave consequences of those deeds for the humanity.

It is especially important to preserve the history in the light of two memorable anniversaries of this year: 70th anniversary of the beginning of the World War II and the 65th anniversary of the opening of the Second Front.

As a person who served in the military, I believe that the international public should join efforts against terrorism and the Evil, in order to prevent the second Catastrophe. We are grateful to the organizers of this important forum for reminding to the whole world of the past Catastrophe and calling for vigilance to prevent a new one in the future!

In conclusion, I would like to observe that from my perspective, America clearly represents the Good, because it is a stronghold of democracy and a guarantor of peace.  It gave refuge to many destitute and oppressed people.

Today I am grateful to this country, which gave shelter to us too. I hope that the Good will continue to defeat the Evil! THANK YOU!


The views expressed by private individuals do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations.