On January 29, the first stage of an international project «Path to victory: Soviet Jews during the Second World War» was officially inaugurated in Russian Center of Science and Culture in Paris. Interactive and documentary-based exhibition has commemorated the successful outcome of a long standing research work organized by Blavatnik Archive Foundation (USA).
Devoted to both the 75th anniversary of Great Victory and 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation and International Holocaust Remembrance Day this collaborative project has been completed with a help of Rossotrudnichestvo and American Foundation.
Blavatnik Achive Foundation is a non-profit organization that was founded by Leonid Blavatnik, a British-American philanthropist and industrialist. The work of Foundation is aimed at collecting, preserving and publishing documents and memories related to the Jewish history and history of the 20th century, highlighting one of the most horrific and tragic periods – the Second World War.
For nearly 15 years, these materials have been gathered and prepared in 11 countries, including Russia, Belorussia, Germany, Israel, Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, USA, Ukraine and Estonia. Unique memories of 1200 veterans, many of them are passed away by now, are exposed on interactive screens that could be seen in the Russian Center of Science and Culture. Digitized manuscripts, maps and infographics, photographs, personal diaries and letters are presented on Parisian exhibition till the end of April.
Opening ceremony of the exhibition brought up the Second World War topic and its history, and raised awareness over the great majority of French officials and diplomatic representatives as well as among UNESCO and other veteran communities. F. Riester, the Minister of Culture expressed his support and best wishes for the success on the exhibition, and the Director General of UNESCO O. Azule wished a warm welcome to the entire organization team.
During the opening ceremony, the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo Eleonora Mitrofanova pointed out that 2020 has been declared as «The Year for Remembrance and Honoring of the Second World War. Remembrance and Honoring, as a memory of the war victims, to those who survived this devastating and terrifying war, to those who struggled through the entire war, to those who had to save the future for next generations, and to those who won», she stated.
Eleonora Mitrofanova, the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo also highlighted that the ceremony of honoring the memory of Holocaust in Israel was attended by Russian president and other representatives of 60 countries. She noted that the Second World War is sacral for Russia and Israel, and both countries deeply honor and respect this painful period of the history. The world will never forget that over 6 million people were killed during the Holocaust and 27 million USSR people who died along the wartime. That explains why Rossotrudnichestvo in cooperation with American Blavatnik Archive Foundation have presented this unique exhibition project to pay our respects to those 500 thousand Jewish Red Army soldiers, who organized 70 guerilla units, and 40% of whom did not survive through the most terrible war in history. As it was stated by the Head of Rossotrudnichestvo all the materials constantly prove the falsifications and deliberate misinterpretations of history and documents in order to distort the facts and evidence related to the Second World War, the Soviet Army liberation mission, and repudiates attempts to justify the Nazis and their collaborators.
Furthermore, there were multiple presentations made by official representatives, as Irina Bokova (former Director General of UNESCO), Alexander Kuznetsov (UNESCO Ambassador and permanent representative), Julie Chervinsky (Blavatnik Archive Foundation Director), Edna Ser (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador), priest Georgyi (Sheshko) from Korsun archdiocese of Patriarch exarchate in Western Europe (Troitsky metropolitan cathedral on Branly quay in Paris), Oleg Budnitskii (Higher School of Economics) and Konstantin Mogilevskii (Executive Director of «Istoriya Otechestva» (Nation History) Foundation). Among special guests Rothschild, the Head of Holocaust Memorial, and other representative from Jewish communities attended the event. The opening ceremony also attracted Parisian officials from diplomatic corps, including representatives of CIS, Germany, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and other countries.
Veteran communities also expressed a great interest in having the international exhibition on the Second World War topic. Colonel General Brier from the Normandie Niemen Memorial, President Lepen from the French Veteran Associate, Laurent Attar-Bayrou, President of the International Association of Soldiers for Peace and Castano, Vice President of the French Veteran Associate were sent to attend the event.
Long standing partners from the museum community attended the Russian Center of Science and Culture, such as Rober-Olgusten (Director) and Abrial (Chairman of the Board of Directors) from the National Air and Space Museum of France, Andlau (Director) from the European Centre on Resistance and Deportation, and Brunel, President of the Normandy Association.
The opening ceremony was supported by Russian representatives, including Earl Sheremetyev as the Chairman of the Russian Music Association and Chancellor of the Russian Conservatory in Paris, Duke Shahovskoi as the Chairman of the Russian Noble Association, Georgii Shepelev as the Russian Coordination Council in France, and other active members.
The topic of the exhibition greatly matches recent the World Holocaust Forum that was held for the fifth time in Jerusalem and where Russian and Israelian government and officials from other countries took part. The theme and contents of the exhibition turned out to be consonant with the memorial ceremony held there and the Russian President expressed the conceptual ideas of the vision of the modern world and attitude to defending the historical truth about the war and the liberation mission of the Red Army.
During the exhibition, a diversified and wide program including various excursions, events and meetings is planned. Russian Center of Science and Culture has organized different activities for school and university students, French and Jewish associations, and in general for everyone with the aim of sharing the unique information about that period in history.
On February 12, the concert entitled as «Heroes singing in Yiddish language and the music forgotten during the Second World War» will be held, emphasizing the entire exhibition. Moreover, this unique international project will be also presented with a help of poet Psoi Korolenko and Ann Sternshe, a History Professor at the University of Toronto.
By the end of exposition in Paris, it will be presented on the 9 of May in Israel, honoring the Victory Day, and afterwards brought to the Russian Center of Science and Culture in Berlin as a dedication to 75th anniversary of the Second World War.