Sergei Bobok/AFP via Getty Images
More than a dozen Holocaust museums from four countries have come together to condemn Russian acts of brutality in Ukraine and support an international investigation into alleged war crimes and genocide.
In a joint statement released on Monday, signatories from 17 museums in the US, UK, Canada and South Africa said they were speaking out in response to reports of mass graves and acts of brutality against Ukrainian citizens by the Russian armed forces.
Participating US institutions are based in states such as Illinois, Florida, Texas, Indiana, Washington, Ohio, California and Missouri. Others are located in England, as well as Canadian cities like Vancouver and Montreal, and the South African cities of Durban and Johannesburg.
They all said they were driven by their shared mission to honor survivors’ wishes to educate people about the horrors of the past, as well as to work for a future in which such stories are not repeated.
“It is therefore with sadness that we witness yet another atrocity in Ukraine, 80 years after the “Holocaust by bullets” in which Jewish men, women and children were shot and buried in shallow graves. “, they wrote. “We are angered by today’s stories of children with their hands tied and buried in shallow graves. We are angered by the horrific reports of rape and wanton destruction of life by the Russian military. These are war crimes, and if we as the bearers of history do not speak out, then we have failed in our mission.”
The signatories went on to express their support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into whether Russia has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. They also urged their governments to “do more to stop these atrocities and help those who have been brutalized”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin invoked World War II when he announced his decision to invade Ukraine in late February and repeatedly described ‘denazification’ as one of the goals of the offensive – a claim that , according to scholars, distorts both history and reality. Notably, Russian attacks damaged the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial site in Kyiv and killed a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor in Kharkiv.
This story originally appeared in the morning edition live blog.