Russia Remembers Auschwitz

“‘Today is a test,'” said Russia’s chief rabbi Berl Lazar. “‘People are trying to test how society will react 60 years later.'” While the rest of the world observes the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, 20 Russian nationalist parliamentarians are trying on the language of early Naziism, calling last week for an investigation of and possible ban on all religious and ethnic Jewish groups as “anti-Christian,” extremists, a threat to the nation, and guilty of monopolizing power worldwide. Since yesterday, when a top Russian rabbi and Russia’s Israeli embassy condemned the letter, it has been withdrawn by all signees and the Russian Foreign Ministry has said it was “especially regrettable” that the letter became public at this time. Haaretz reports that about 450 Russian scholars and public figures also signed the letter.