29 November 2021
by Nikolai Svanidze, chairperson of the Human Rights Council’s standing commission on political rights
The statement by the commission of the President’s Human Rights Council (HRC) on political rights about the removal of International Holocaust Remembrance Day from the school curriculum
In 2021, the Russian Ministry of Education removed the date testifying to the crimes of fascism against peace, safety and humanity – International Holocaust Remembrance Day – from the list of events used to teach Russian schoolchildren about the tragedies of the Second World War. The data is historically observed on 27 January 1945, the day when the soldiers of the Soviet Army liberated the prisoners of the Auschwitz death camp.
In many countries around the world, erasure of the historical memory of the Holocaust is regarded as a direct or indirect justification of the atrocities of fascism, contributing to the formation of extremist attitudes among teenagers and young people. Therefore, it is no coincidence that at the Moscow International Conference on Combating Xenophobia, Antisemitism, and Racism [‘Protecting the Future’] in November this year, serious concern was expressed about the Ministry of Education’s policy regarding the memory of more than six million victims of the Holocaust.
We hope that the strange omission in the school curriculum of such a tragic symbol of dehumanisation and genocide as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an accident.
We believe it is necessary that this apparent misunderstanding be rectified as soon as possible and that International Holocaust Remembrance Day be immediately reinstated in the school curriculum and educational institutions.
Translated by Mercedes Malcomson