The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic does not want to see Russian President Vladimir Putin among the guests at the international forum marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz (Oswiecim). In a press release issued Friday, December 19, the Federation states that in light of the current political situation, the Federation of the Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic “considers a visit by President Putin for commemorations on the occasion of the Day of Remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust inappropriate.” The commemorations will be held in Prague and Terezin on January 26-27, 2015, reports Espreso TV, citing Radio Liberty.
The Federation of Jewish Communities explains that the reason for this step is “the fact that the regime established and supported by Vladimir Putin is not complying with international agreements, is aggressive, and is occupying the territories of a neighboring state by force.”
The press release states that the decision was reached on December 17, 2014, by the “vast majority” of the community. The Federation of Jewish Communities wanted to convey to the public that “it has nothing to do with the invitation of the Russian president to Prague.”
As reported by Czech media, President Vladimir Putin was invited to the Czech Republic for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Czech President Miloš Zeman. That information was confirmed on November 18 by the president’s spokesman Irzhi Ovchachek. Miloš Zeman also invited the presidents of UK, USA and France to the commemoration. The forum marking the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is organized by the European Jewish Congress in cooperation with the World Jewish Congress. In the Czech Republic, preparations for the forum are managed directly by the Federation of Jewish Communities.
The presidents and heads of parliament of many countries are expected in Prague for the commemoration, including the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, who has already confirmed his participation.
The Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp is located in Poland, 60 kilometers west of Krakow. It was liberated on January 27, 1945, by the army of the 107th division under the command of Lieutenant General Vasily Petrenko. During the years 1941-1945 more than 1.4 million people were killed in the Auschwitz concentration camp, the majority of them Jews.
Since 1947 Auschwitz has been turned into a museum and included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.