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Moscow slams Poland for open Russophobia for barring it from renovating Nazi camp memorial

The Russian Foreign Ministry comments on Poland’s decision to bar Russia from participation in the international project for the memorial complex at the Sobibor death camp
Russian Foreign Ministry  Gennadiy Khamelyanin/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry
© Gennadiy Khamelyanin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 31. /TASS. Warsaw is openly demonstrating its Russophobic attitudes and is seeking to impose its vision of history, the Russian foreign ministry said on Monday, commenting on Poland’s decision to bar Russia from participation in the international project for the memorial complex at the Sobibor death camp.

"Poland’s denial participation in the project to Russia is part of Russophobic attitudes Warsaw has been demonstrating in the recent time and reveals Poland’s desire to impose its vision of history and downgrade the role of the former Soviet Union and the Red Army in World War II," the ministry stressed.

"The Russian side was invited to join the Museum of the Former Sobibor Nazi Death Camp project in 2013," the ministry noted. "The project initiated by Poland, Israel, the Netherlands and Slovakia provides for the construction of a new memorial site, establishment of a museum and the corresponding infrastructure."

"Russia was positive about this invitation and expressed readiness to take an active part in immortalizing the memory of the extermination camp inmates, including those who took part in the heroic uprising of 1943 organized by Soviet prisoners of war led by Alexander Pechersky," the ministry said. "More to it, Moscow expressed readiness to make a considerable financial contribution to the project."

But, according to the ministry, further talks on the project with the Polish side have come to a standstill. "Warsaw used various pretexts to delay the final decision, seeking to make Russia’s participation in the project dependent on various conditions that have never been referred to the Russian side," the ministry said. "And ultimately, an official message came from Warsaw this July notifying that that the June 12-13, 2017 meeting of the Sobibor steering committee took a decision to continue the project with its initial participants."

"We think this decision is immoral from the point of view of historical truth," the ministry stressed. "It cannot be denied that Russia’s participation in the Sobibor Museum project is absolutely justified. Ignoring historical facts is beyond reasonable understanding and must not come unnoticed by the world community."

Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp located near the railway station of Sobibor in Poland. It operated from May 1942 to October 1943. Jews from Poland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union were transported to Sobibor by rail. Most were suffocated in gas chambers disguised as shower enclosures. From 150,000 to 250,000 people were murdered at Sobibor. The camp was closed shorty after the uprising of October 14, 1943 led by Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky, when about 600 prisoners attempted to escape. The Germans bulldozed the earth and planted pine trees over the camp’s territory to conceal its location.