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Mikhail Kaluzhsky: Humanism is out of fashion [OpenDemocracy]

posted 8 Dec 2017, 13:49 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 8 Dec 2017, 13:55 ]
5 December 2017

Mikhail Kaluzhsky is lead Russian-Language Editor at oDR. He is the author of Music Repressed (2007) and many documentary theatre projects. In 2012-2014 he curated the theatre programme at Moscow's Andrei Sakharov Center. He can be found on Twitter via @kaluzhsky. 

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In today’s Russia, why is anti-militaristic speech perceived as a call for historical revisionism?

Early last Tuesday morning I travelled to Bergen-Belsen with a group of Berlin schoolchildren, to visit the memorial centre on the site of the former concentration camp. We were there to meet Jovan Reisz, a Jew from northern Serbia who spent several months in the “Hungarian camp” [the camp was split into a number of sections for different national groups – ed.] between autumn 1944 and April 1945, when the camp was liberated by British forces. He was 11 years old, and most of his family had perished in Bergen-Belsen and other concentration camps.

Bergen-Belson was not an extermination camp. Initially it held French and Belgian, and later Soviet and Italian prisoners of war, and later Jews from the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and citizens of neutral countries. But its death rate, especially towards the end of the war, was horrendous, mostly a result of starvation or a typhoid epidemic: Anne Frank was a typhoid victim. When the British troops liberated the camp, they demolished it to avoid any further spread of the epidemic. The memorial centre consists of clearings in the forest where foundations of the camp barracks have been preserved, with information panels on its history. [Read more]