The printed volume you are now holding in your hands is dedicated to two horrible tragedies of WWII, the Siege of Leningrad and the mass murder of Jews known as the Holocaust. The Siege of Leningrad actually ended on January 27, the day which is now celebrated as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. However, the two tragic dates have been separately remembered so far, each of them by a separate national community. Moreover, the fact that the end of the Siege and the liberation of Ausschwitz-Birkenau coincide, unfortunately, leads to a, sort of, competition between victims. “Why remember killing of Jews when the Blockade is a much bigger tragedy?” some may say. Others declare that “the Holocaust is the main Nazi crime, incomparable with the Siege.”
Both kinds of approaches are absolutely counter-productive. Remembering Leningrad victims of hunger is in no conflict with remembering the eliminated Jewish population, but are the two sides of one common tremendous tragedy, which started on the day Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, and to which the Red Army put an end.
We are not trying to neither involve victims of war crimes in competition nor equate the two Nazi crimes. We think that each of the crimes was a certain step in a unified Nazi politics of misanthropy. We hope that this publication encourages building inclusive concepts of the Leningrad Siege and the Holocaust as tragedies that should remain memorable for all Russian citizens. We are convinced that school lessons should lay the basis for this kind of approach,since it is teenage years that are most crucial for personality development. A school student is fully included in adult life, forming his or her identity and mastering different social roles. His or her view of life will depend on his or her attitude to the world, as well as to his or her own self and other people. That is why we decided to include teaching guidelines on the Blockade and the Holocaust remembrance in this edition.
The following organizations contributed to this edition:
– Historical Memory Foundation
– The Holocaust Center and Foundation
The common tragedy. The Siege of Leningrad. The Holocaust. Collected papers and teaching material / Ed. by A.R. Dyukov. Moscow, 2020. (On Russian)