On January 27, 2023, on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust, at the Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the 16th round table “Ukrainian society and the memory of the Holocaust: the experience of the modern war against Ukraine” was held. The scientific round table was co-organized by the Ukrainian Center for the Study of the History of the Holocaust, the Goethe-Institut in Ukraine with the support of the “Learning to Remember” project of the Jewish community of Dusseldorf.
In 2005, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution No. 60/7, declaring January 27 the International Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust. The resolution emphasizes the importance of education and awareness-raising in order to learn the lessons of the Holocaust and prevent future manifestations of hatred, bigotry, racism and prejudice. At the state level, Ukraine joined the commemoration of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2011. In accordance with the resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dated 07/05/2011 No. 3560-VI “On the 70th anniversary of the Babyny Yar tragedy”, Ukraine annually celebrates Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.
The participants of the round table observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the victims of the modern war against Ukraine
Non-governmental scientific and educational institutions of Ukraine joined the celebration of this day immediately after the adoption of the UN Resolution.
This year’s round table “Ukrainian society and memory of the Holocaust” took place in the conditions of a full-scale war, unleashed against our state by the Russian aggressor. That is why the accents of all reports and discussions were dictated by the age and objective circumstances. The focus, as always, was on modern research and educational methods in this area, the issue of commemorating the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, combating discrimination, anti-Semitism, Gypsies phobia, and any manifestations of genocide. Leading scientists, educators, public figures and officials representing different regions of the country: Kharkiv, Odesa, Rivne, Zhytomyr, Cherkasy, Poltava, the capital of Ukraine, were invited to participate in the work of the round table.
Oleksandr Mayboroda is speaking
The round table was opened by the Deputy Director for scientific work of our Institute, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine Oleksandr Mayboroda. In his speech, he emphasized that the Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine has always supported studies on Jewish history and culture, in particular research on the history of the Holocaust, preservation of the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in modern Ukraine, ethno-political aspects of this issue. We have special challenges in this area now, during the Russian attack on our country, emphasized Professor O. Mayboroda.
One of the speakers of the round table was the Leading Researcher of the Department of Political Culture and Ideology of the Institute, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor Yuriy Nikolaiets. He gave a speech “Historical memory of the Second World War: manipulation in the conditions of Russian aggression.” The focus of this speech was the analysis of modern falsifications of the history of the Second World War by the aggressor country. The distorted history of that war is one of the cornerstones of the enemy’s anti-Ukrainian propaganda, which was actively exploited by him throughout the war.
Yuriy Nikolaiets is speaking
One of the central reports of the round table was the speech of Oksana Dovgopolova, Doctor of Philosophy, Professor of the Department of Philosophy of the Odesa I. I. Mechnykov National University located in Odesa, curator of the memory culture platform “Past / Future / Art”. The speaker presented the topic “Mutual reflections of “final decisions”: memory of the Holocaust in the light of the Russian-Ukrainian war.” It was about current challenges for Ukrainian academic humanities and historical education regarding responsible and professional comparisons of the crimes of National Socialism, Communism and modern Russian ideology and practice.
During the work of the round table
The round table was moderated by a leading researcher of the Department of Ethnopolitics of the Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Candidate of Historical Sciences Anatoliy Podolskiy. During the closing of the round table, the moderator emphasized that the memory of the past, the responsibility to remember it now – during the war – is also a weapon. The ability, under the current conditions, when the Russian aggressor destroys our lives every day, to remember the victims of the Second World War, especially the victims of the Holocaust, is a testament to the strength of our spirit. We live on our land, honoring the past and choosing right now our right to live in a free country, where human life, freedom, human rights, and dignity are indisputable values.
All presentations of the round table “Ukrainian society and memory of the Holocaust: the experience of the modern war against Ukraine” have video recordings (each report is recorded separately) and will soon be available for viewing on the YouTube platform.