February 24, 2022
UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM CONDEMNS RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE AND VLADIMIR PUTIN’S EXPLOITATION OF HOLOCAUST HISTORY AS A PRETEXT FOR WAR
WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum strongly condemns Russia’s outrageous attack on Ukraine and is deeply concerned about threats to civilians and loss of life. In justifying this attack, Vladimir Putin has misrepresented and misappropriated Holocaust history by claiming falsely that democratic Ukraine needs to be “denazified.” Equally groundless and egregious are his claims that Ukrainian authorities are committing “genocide” as a justification for the invasion of Ukraine.
“We strongly condemn this unprovoked attack and are greatly concerned about the loss of life. The Museum stands with the Ukrainian people, including the thousands of Holocaust survivors still living in the country,” said Museum chairman, Ambassador Stuart E. Eizenstat. “These survivors are remnants of one of Europe’s largest pre-war Jewish populations that was almost completely decimated by the Germans in World War II. Having suffered terribly as victims of both Nazism and Communism, Ukrainians today are seeking to fulfill their democratic aspirations.”
The Holocaust, the genocide of European Jews, entered a new phase in June 1941 with Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany’s massive military assault in the East. Mobile killing squads began systematically murdering Jewish men, women, and children, including well over one million Ukrainian Jews. In one of the single largest mass shootings during the Holocaust, in September 1941, the Germans and their collaborators murdered more than 33,000 Jews in the ravine at Babyn Yar outside Kyiv. During World War II, many non-Jewish Ukrainians also lost their lives and were subjected to brutal forced labor by the Nazis.
About the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
A nonpartisan, federal educational institution, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is America’s national memorial to the victims of the Holocaust dedicated to ensuring the permanence of Holocaust memory, understanding, and relevance. Through the power of Holocaust history, the Museum challenges leaders and individuals worldwide to think critically about their role in society and to confront antisemitism and other forms of hate, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. For more information, visit ushmm.org.
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