Russia excluded from Auschwitz liberation commemorations

Russia excluded from Auschwitz liberation commemorations

Russian officials have not been invited to the commemorations of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau by the Red Army following Russian aggression against Ukraine, the site’s museum said on Wednesday.

“This year, given the aggression against a free and independent Ukraine, the representatives of the Russian Federation were not invited to attend the commemoration of the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz,” which is scheduled to take place this Friday, Piotr told AFP Sawicki, the museum’s spokesman.

So far, Russia has always attended the ceremonies held annually on January 27, with its representative speaking at the main ceremony.

According to the museum’s director, Piotr Cywiński, it was obvious that he “could not sign a letter to the Russian ambassador in the tone of invitation” related to the conflict.

“I hope that will change in the future, but we still have a long way to go. (…) After this conflict, Russia will need an extremely long time and a very deep introspection to return to the living rooms of the civilized world,” he said, quoted by the PAP agency.

On the day Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the museum called the Russian attack an “act of barbarism.”

“This act of barbarism will be judged by history and its authors, it is hoped, by the International Court of Justice,” the museum said on Twitter.

Built in occupied Poland, Auschwitz-Birkenau is the symbol of the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany against six million European Jews, a million of whom died in the camp between 1940 and 1945, along with more than 100,000 non-Jews.

This camp, in which about 80,000 non-Jewish Poles, 25,000 Roma and 20,000 Soviet soldiers also died, was liberated by the Red Army on January 27, 1945.