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Do Not Stand Idly By While Your Neighbor’s Blood Is Shed

#StandWithUkraine

International March of the Living strongly condemns the recent humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Ukraine.

In specific, we object in the strongest possible terms to the Russian bombing of cities throughout Ukraine.

The unprovoked Russian attack has resulted in the wounding and death of thousands of innocent civilians and the displacement of millions of refugees. The scenes are reminiscent of the events from some 80 years ago – when many of these same cities were bombed by Nazi Germany during WWII.

We condemn President Putin’s usage of the terms “Nazi” and “genocide” in describing the current leadership and actions of Ukraine, including its Jewish President, Volodymyr Zelensky, whose own grandfather fought the Nazis in WWII, and who lost many relatives in the Holocaust.

These gross distortions of reality further serve to trivialize the Holocaust and all other true genocides. They are a deep insult to the memory of millions of our murdered Jewish ancestors lost in the Shoah and so many other innocent victims of genocide.

We note with bitter irony the Russian bombing of the Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial whose purpose is to preserve the memory of the Holocaust. The site is the largest mass grave in the world, where over some 30,000 Jews were executed over a period of two days in September of 1941. Approx. 150000 people – Ukrainians, Roma, Soviets and the disabled – were murdered by Nazi Germany at the same site over a longer time span. (See statement from Babyn Yar Holocaust Memorial Center here.)

On April 28, 2022, Holocaust Remembrance Day, thousands of young people will join the March of the Living, as they march arm in arm with Holocaust survivors from Auschwitz to Birkenau, in memory of all victims of Nazi genocide and against prejudice, intolerance and hate, at the world’s largest annual Holocaust commemoration event.

In another tragic irony, they will be marching in the death camp that the Red Army (the majority of them Russian) heroically liberated 77 years ago, on January 27, 1945, the same year those forces liberated much of Europe from the evil grip of Nazi Germany. We pray Russia returns to that noble role – and that time is now.

We call upon the leadership of Russia to cease distorting the meaning and memory of the Holocaust and to allow the people of Ukraine to live in freedom and dignity which they, as all members of the human family, surely deserve.

We pray for the welfare of all citizens of Ukraine, including its 200,000 Jewish population, some of whom include Holocaust survivors.

We call upon all citizens of the world to stand up for the people of Ukraine, by providing humanitarian, political and moral support during their time of great need.

We must not and dare not stand by while our fellows human beings’ blood is being so brutally spilled (Leviticus 19:16) and truth is being so grievously violated.

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