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MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. President Vladimir Putin is expected to mark the 70th anniversary since liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by Soviet troops in 1945 by visiting the Jewish Museum and the Center of Tolerance in Moscow, where he will join the functions in remembrance of victims of the Holocaust, the Kremlin press service said.
“He will have a tour of the exhibition titled ‘Man and Shoah’, which is dedicated to one of the most tragic pages of 20th century history - the mass extermination of inmates of Nazi death camps,” the press service said.
On the eve of the mournful anniversary, Putin called for defending truth about the events of World War II, since the attempts to rewrite history undertaken in a number of East-European countries are tantamount to a de facto justification of Nazi crimes.
“Drowning of the lessons of history in oblivion may bring about a repetition of the horrible tragedies and that is why we are obliged to defend truth about the events of World War II, to defend heroic exploits, dignity, and good name of those who died and those who survived,” Putin said in an address to participants in a requiem party on the occasion of the date.
He called Holocaust one of the most tragic and shameful pages in the history of humankind. Nazim victimized millions of innocent people, who were executed by shooting, tortured to death, or died of famine and diseases, he said.
“It was the Soviet Red Army that put an end to these atrocities and barbarianism and saved the Jews and other peoples of Europe and the world from extermination,” Putin said.
“We should understand clearly that any strivings to rewrite history or to revise this country’s contribution to the Great Victory mean a de facto justification of Nazi crimes and open up the road to a rebirth of the murderous Nazi ideology,” he said.
Putin has said on many occasions that the reemerging ideas of Nazism caused real alarm. As he spoke at a meeting with representatives of international and religious organizations on July 9, 2014, he thanked the Jewish communities and other associations that “are actively and courageously fighting with any manifestations of Nazi ideology.”
He singled out the suffering of the Jewish people during World War II, recalling the six million Jews who had perished on the territory of the Soviet Union or in European countries.
Putin also stressed then the courage that the Jewish people had shown while fighting against fascism and their contribution to Victory.
“The tragedy of the Jewish people occupies a special place among the crimes committed by Nazi Germany during the war and we in Russia feel this pain more acutely than most others, since more than 20 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during World War II,” Putin said.
He said definitively that the Russians would remember the tragedy, keep the memories of the dead caringly and do everything in their power to prevent a repetition of those horrors in the future.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which the UN General Assembly established on November 1, 2005, was observed for the first time in 2006.
January 27 was chosen as the date for marking it because it was on precisely this day in 1945 that Soviet troops opened the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and set its remaining prisoners free.