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Putin, Netanyahu visit exhibition at Jewish Museum devoted to Sobibor death camp

Vladimir Putin and Benjamin Netanyahu visited an exhibition "Sobibor: Victorious over Death" in Moscow

MOSCOW, January 29. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday visited an exhibition "Sobibor: Victorious over Death" that opened at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

The exhibition, timed to International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is dedicated to the 1943 uprising at Sobibor, a Nazi extermination camp, and its organizer, Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky.

The Russian and Israeli leaders looked at a plan of the Sobibor camp for Jews and prisoners of war, which had been drawn up upon the description of the former inmates. The exhibition tells visitors in detail about the events of October 1943 and how the uprising helped to rescue 420 people, and also about those who failed to escape.

The other exhibition stands, seen by Putin and Netanyahu, describe Pechersky’s further fate and feature his personal documents, letters, photos and also materials of a Soviet commission, which investigated the events relying on the officer’s evidence. The other stand told the two leaders about how these events were covered by the Soviet mass media. Besides, Putin and Netanyahu saw the notes about these events written by Pechersky.

The two leaders were also shown photos about the town, where the camp used to be located, and also a documentary about Sobibor and an interview with one of the survivors of the uprising.

"This is a very tragic story," Netanyahu said. "But this is a story about the stunning heroism."

The Sobibor concentration camp (in Poland) was in operation from May 1942 to October 1943. According to various estimates, from 150,000 to 250,000 Jews from Poland and other European countries were killed in its gas chambers disguised as shower rooms. The camp ceased to exist after the prisoners’ uprising led by Soviet officer Alexander Pechersky.

Russia was invited to join the project to renovate the Sobibor museum and memorial in 2013. The project had been initiated by Poland, Israel, the Netherlands and Slovakia, whose representatives are part of the organizing committee. Russia accepted the invitation and showed readiness to make a significant financial contribution, but the further consultations with Poland concerning Russia’s participation produced no results. In July 2017, news broke that a decision had been made to carry on with the project without Russia involved. Moscow was puzzled by the change in the position of the Netherlands, Slovakia and Israel.

Later at the meeting with the Russian president, Netanyahu voiced Israel’s support for the Russian participation in the project.