WASHINGTON, May 2. /TASS/. Russia plans to defend truth about the events of World War II and to rebuff the attempts to rewrite history, as it seeks to avert a reemergence of cannibalistic ideas or a replay of the war tragedy, the Russian Ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov said on Tuesday at a show of the movie ‘Sobibor’ at the Russian Embassy in Washington.
"We’ve seen the striving to rewrite history of late, to cast a shadow of doubts over the exploits Russia scored together with allies in the anti-Hitler coalition, which defeated the Hitlerite machine of extermination," Antonov said.
"These attempts [to retailor history] are tantamount in practical terms to justification of the crimes committed by the Nazis and open up the road to a rebirth of hateful ideas," he said.
"Let us remember the drowning of the lessons of the past in oblivion may bring up a repetition of horrible tragedies," Antonov said. "That’s why we have a duty to keep alive the memory of millions of the dead and to carry it on to the young generations, including with the aid of movies."
He thanked in this connection the actor and film director Konstantin Khabensky for the public presentation of the movie in Washington, as well as the Carmel Institute and its President, Susan Carmel, for invaluable support for the premiere of the movie.
Antonov recalled that the Soviet lieutenant Alexander Pechersky, who had been taken prisoner on the frontline and had found himself in the Sobibor camp on the territory of the Nazi-occupied Poland, managed to organize within a mere three weeks an uprising that was destined to become the only successful uprising of inmates in a Nazi camp throughout the history of World War II.
"Of the almost 550 inmates, some 130 didn’t take part in the revolt on October 14, 1943," the ambassador recalled. "Almost 90 inmates died during the attempt to escape. Another 170 escapees were tracked down by the Nazi police and almost immediately executed by shooting."
"About 90 more inmates were given out to the Nazis by the local population or killed by collaborationists between November 1943 and January 1945 when the Red Army liberated Poland, and only 53 participants in the uprising lived through to the end of the war," Antonov said.
He cited Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words who said in January: "These people rose to defeat the enemy practically bare-handed. They defended their right to live. They fought for freedom and human dignity. They were doomed but not broken and they managed to win."
Sobibor existed from May 15, 1942, through October 15, 1943. During the period, the Nazis exterminated almost 250,000 Jews there.
"The tragedy of Holocaust has turned into a token of limitless cruelty and contempt for human life," Antonov said. "According to the findings of the Nuremberg Trials, some six million Jews lost their lives in Europe during Holocaust. They didn’t die in combat actions, they were simply annihilated."
The Russian Embassy invited to the premiere the veterans of World War II, the diplomats accredited in Washington, the Department of State officials, and the staff-members of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum located in Washington.
Film director Khabensky who attended the premiere, too, spoke to the audience.
The Embassy plans organizing a separate show of the movie for American students shortly.