Yad Vashem apologizes for videos downplaying Soviet involvement in World War II

The Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem on Monday apologized for presenting videos that downplayed Soviet involvement in World War II at the World Holocaust Forum last month. Pool Photo by Ronen Zvulun/UPI

Feb. 4 (UPI) — Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Museum on Monday issued an apology for presenting content that downplayed the Soviet Union’s involvement in World War II and the Holocaust at the World Holocaust Forum.

The museum sent a letter to be published in Haaretz newspaper’s Hebrew edition on Tuesday saying it presented videos that did not mention the Soviet Union’s crimes in WWII and also included maps that inaccurately depicted the borders of Poland and its neighboring countries.

“Unfortunately there were some inaccuracies in the videos accompanying the event, especially in one video meant to succinctly present major key points leading to and during World War II and the Holocaust, which presented a partial picture of the historical facts and may have created an imbalanced impression,” Prof. Dan Michman, head of the International Institute for Holocaust Research at Yad Vashem, said.

The videos did not include any reference to the partition of Poland between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany in 1939 or the occupation of western Europe in 1940, contained no reference to Ukraine, and confused concentration camps with death camps.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was a key-speaker and a guest of honor at the event held in Jerusalem, which was sponsored by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

“We apologize for the very regrettable mishap that occurred … these videos do not represent the perspective of Yad Vashem’s research on these issues,” the letter said. “As an institution, our obligation to Israel and the Jewish people … is — and will continue to be — to stick to historical fact as far as it may be ascertained and to investigate in order to oppose attempts to blur and distort the political discourse in various countries.”


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