Misuse Of Memory: Chabad To Decorate Putin With Medal – AT AUSCHWITZ
Russia's Chabad Chief Rabbi and Mr. Putin's favorite Court Jew Berel Lazar announced the most sickening public relations stunt I've ever seen:
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be decorated at Auschwitz with the Salvation medal as a symbol of gratitude to the Soviet people for the liberation of the notorious Nazi death camp, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said Monday at a press-conference.
Aging Soviet liberators of Auschwitz – who should be getting the medal – will instead have the privilege of watching Rabbi Lazar's patron Mr. Putin receive it 'for them.'
Instead of honoring the true liberators – men now in their late 80's – who paid with blood for that liberation, Chabad has instead decided to turn the liberation of Auschwitz – and the Holocaust itself –
into a sickening PR gambit.
Read it all after the jump.
Update: Tzemach Atlas weighs in here.
Putin to Be Decorated With Medal at Auschwitz
Monday, January 24, 2005
MOSCOW, Russia - On January 27 Russian President Vladimir Putin will be decorated at Auschwitz with the Salvation medal as a symbol of gratitude to the Soviet people for the liberation of the notorious Nazi death camp, Russia's Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar said Monday at a press-conference. Rabbi Lazar and the Israeli president Moshe Katzav will present the medal.
"In the future, the medal will be presented to people who saved and hid Jews during the war," Rabbi Lazar said.
"Soviet soldiers played the most important part in liberating the prisoners of Auschwitz. We will always remember how they saved our brothers," Rabbi Lazar stressed.
The 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz liberation on January 27 is not just an important date for Jews, he said. "If we remember what happened, we can prevent the repetition of the merciless elimination of not only Jews, but others as well," Rabbi Lazar said.
Rabbi Lazar also compared the Nazi's with terrorists.
"Terrorists want to conquer the whole world just like the Nazis. They also eliminate anyone who disagrees with them, twisting any ideology to hide their own agendas," Rabbi Lazar said.
Soviet liberators of Auschwitz recall discovering concentration camp horror
Thu Jan 20, 2:24 AM ET
MOSCOW (AFP) - Sixty years on, memories of the horror they stumbled upon are still painfully vivid for the former Soviet soldiers who liberated Auschwitz, Nazi Germany's most infamous concentration camp, where some 1.1 million people, many of them Jews, were exterminated.
"Among the inmates, you could not distinguish the men from the women, the young from the old. They were wide-eyed human beings with translucent skin," recalls Genry Koptev, now almost 80 years old.
"They were laughing and crying all at once, and telling us about their lives in all possible languages," says Koptev, then in charge of an anti-tank cannon in the the Soviet army's 322nd division, which liberated Auschwitz.
For the soldiers, the shock was all the greater since they had not been told in advance of what they were going to find.
"Until the last minute, our commanders did not tell us that we were to enter a concentration camp," says 81-year-old Ivan Martynushkin, then at the head of a gunner unit also belonging to the 322nd division.
It was only when his men actually saw the camp's barbed wires that he received the order "not to use our artillery any longer so as not to kill prisoners," he adds.
Now an old if alert man, Martynushkin is no longer sure whether he saw with his own eyes the infamous "Arbeit macht frei" (work sets one free) inscription over the camp's main gate.
But he perfectly recalls the confusion that settled among his men at the sight of "strangely dressed" people who stood in small groups behind the barbed wires and were watching the Soviet soldiers "with a kind of wariness."
"But we quickly understood that those were not the last of the Nazis, but inmates, and they in turn were reassured at the sight of our short military coats and our shapkas (Russian fur hats)," Martynushkin says.
"Then we exchanged gestures of greetings, although we remained separated by the camp's barrier," since his unit's orders were to reconnoiter the area around the camp, but not to enter it, he says.
"In the vicinity, we found houses which had obviously been abandonned by the camp's commanding officers. In some, the table was laid, in others, everything was in a mess. Nearby, my men found a shed with large stockpiles of clothes," he says.
Martynushkin finally entered the camp on the following day, and there he only saw Soviet soldiers "going about their work, bustling around a medical convoy and registering the inmates.
Koptev, on the other hand, had a radically different experience. He was among the first soldiers to actually enter Auschwitz concentration camp.
"No one had anticipated such horror," he says.
"Near the camp's entrance, we saw thousands of people standing on a large square, singing in various languages. A red rag was fluttering above their heads," Koptev recalls. Nearby, he says, playing cards and wind instruments were lying in the mud.
"Then I saw a whole alley bordered with two-meter high bonfires, from which human bodies were emerging. The alley was leading to the camp's crematorium," he says.
"I also saw a room where human hairs were stockpiled, and another where there were only spectacles. Then I went into the showers room, whose walls were covered in dark blue tiles. But only after the Nuremberg trial did I learn how they were used," as gas chambers, he says.
"I could never understand how a human mind could conceive of this," says Koptev, who, along with other surviving Soviet soldiers who liberated Auschwitz and Russian President Vladimir Putin (news - web sites), will attend the January 27 commemoration of the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz's liberation.