The Revolutions of 1989, which ultimately brought down the Soviet Union, were marked by major symbolic events and minor ones. One of those seemingly minor events was a Holocaust memorial.
In that year, it was announced that the first Holocaust memorial had been permitted in the USSR.
Soviet policy in the past had been to refer to the millions of Jews massacred in the Holocaust as “victims of fascism”. Information about the atrocities circulated through Samizdat and covert channels. The Black Book of Soviet Jewry was censored and would not be published until the fall of the Soviet Union.
Memorials to the Jewish victims were held covertly by political dissidents.
The Soviet ban on the Holocaust was not merely due to anti-Semitism. It followed the same political line as the current progressive historical revisionism which erases the Jewish character of the victims while emphasizing that the atrocities could only be the result of a right-wing, not left-wing, political ideology.
Jewish Communists, like their non-Jewish counterparts, worked to minimize the Jewish element of Holocaust histories. Vasilij Grossman, the co-author of the Black Book of Soviet Jewry, urged replacing “Jews” with “people” and “civilians”. This approach defined the USSR’s approach of memorializing millions of undefined people murdered by the former allies and later political foes of the Communists.
The erasure of the Jews in the Holocaust was not limited to the leftists in the Soviet Union.
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