February 19th, the opening ceremony of the exhibition «Diplomats-Righteous Among the Nations» unfolded at MGIMO University. The event was dedicated to the memory of those civil servants and diplomats from different countries, who showed heroism and exceptional courage in saving the lives of Jews during World War II.
The opening ceremony was attended by diplomats from many different countries: the ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions of the Vatican, Hungary, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Chile and diplomats from the embassies of Australia, Bulgaria, Germany, Canada, China, Luxembourg, Slovakia, France, Switzerland, Sweden, as well as from international organizations.
In his welcome words, MGIMO Rector Anatoly Torkunov noted that those diplomats who saved Jews were not just representatives of countries belonging to the anti-Hitler coalition; they were anti-fascists in their own right.
Israeli Ambassador, Harry Koren, gave a talk about the history of the exhibition, explained how it fits into the program of events dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, and noted how appropriate it is that the exposition be displayed at MGIMO, the main diplomatic university in Russia. In turn, Russian and Israeli diplomats spoke about the efforts made by their countries to preserve the memory of the Second World War, its victims and heroes.
The President of the Russian Jewish Congress Yuri Kanner expressed his gratitude to all those involved in the organization of the exposition and underlined what a terrible challenge blow the Holocaust was for the Soviet Union and Russia. The Ambassador of the Netherlands, Renee Jones-Bos, emphasized the fact that human conscience and human life should always be considered the priority when making decisions and that these heroes celebrated by the exposition understood this and therefore are indeed «righteous».
The guests at the event lit candles in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the ambassadors who passed away during the Second World War. The exhibition was created by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the Israeli Embassy in Russia and the Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem. The Russian Foreign Ministry and the Holocaust Foundation also contributed some items to the exhibition.