Israel’s national Holocaust memorial must explain how it allowed several video clips that were widely panned for promoting a revisionist narrative of World War II to be screened at last month’s event marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, several prominent Holocaust scholars and activists told The Times of Israel.
Yad Vashem apologized Monday for “inaccuracies” and “partial” facts presented at the World Holocaust Forum in Jerusalem, after being criticized for overly emphasizing Russia’s role in ending the war and avoiding information Moscow finds unpalatable.
However, the institution is refusing to explain precisely who produced the videos or what procedures were followed to vet their content — information that critics said is crucial to restoring the institution’s reputation.
This is what happens when you use history to achieve political purposes,” said Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt, whose court battle against Holocaust denier David Irving was turned into a major Hollywood film in 2016.
I am absolutely heartbroken that Yad Vashem, which has such a stellar reputation and stayed above the political fray, should have become part of this politicization of history,” she lamented. “The potential damage to Yad Vashem’s reputation is immense and it’s just wrong” that this was allowed to happen.
One would hope that they would be more transparent so something like this will never happen again. The Shoah itself is so significant, the tragedy inherent in it is so immense, the pain of the victims and of the survivors is so great, that to use this as a political weapon is just a desecration of all the Shoah represents.”
“We don’t know exactly what happened behind the scenes, but it is clear that this was a highly political and politicized event.” said Izabella Tabarovsky, a scholar with the Kennan Institute who focuses on the politics of memory and the Holocaust.
“It is unfortunate that in the end it was Yad Vashem’s reputation that got put on the line. I know many scholars at Yad Vashem and the excellent work that they do, so my own faith in Yad Vashem’s credibility is not diminished.”
The videos presented at the ceremony — which was attended by dozens of world leaders, among them Russian President Vladimir Putin — focused almost exclusively on the Soviet Union’s role in defeating the Nazis, while downplaying the role of America, Britain, and other countries.
They also failed to mention Joseph Stalin’s deal with Adolf Hitler in the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact that preceded the war, Russia’s occupation of parts of Poland, and other facts uncomfortable for Moscow. Read More..