On June 25th, the city of Ufa held an unveiling ceremony for a new monument in the city center. According to official sources; the memorial is intended to commemorate “victims of the Holocaust and warriors that made the ultimate sacrifice during the Great War”. The sculpture was installed on the grounds of the city’s Jewish cultural center, which is where the subsequent opening ceremony was held. News of the event was officially confirmed by the municipal administration.
The Chief Rabbi of Ufa, Rabbi Dan Krichevsky, commented: “We saw this endeavor as a sacred duty, that our entire generation has before the members of the generation that did suffer and lost their lives in the Holocaust.”
The process that culminated in the monument’s erection was by no means an easy one explained Rabbi Krichevsky. Ufa’s relatively small Jewish community took upon itself raising all the necessary funds, as well as the gargantuan task of dealing with the state bureaucracy.
This is officially the only such monument in the entire territory of Bashkortostan, as well as the wider Volga federal region, within which the republic is located.
The new moment in Ufa is 3.5m tall monument is presented in the form of three stone columns, with a shattered menorah on top—stylized as an eternal flame. The design of the memorial is by Alexander Pozin a sculptor and visual artist, currently based in St. Petersburg, but originally hailing from Bashkortostan himself. The ceremony was attended by the head of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Radiy Khabirov.
“This event [the Holocaust] is one of the worst instances of crimes against humanity and such, cannot and will not, ever be forgotten or have a statute of limitations. Here in Bashkortostan, we are particularly proud of the feat of our fellow countryman, a native of the Blagoveshchensk district, Nikolay Kiselev, who safely conducted more than 200 Jewish residents out of a Nazi-occupied Belarusian village—most of them women, children and the elderly. The Jewish community of Bashkortostan helps us to carefully maintain such precious historical memories,” commented Mr. Khabirov at the opening ceremony.
According to further remarks by the head of Bashkortostan’s administration; “Kind deeds are what strengthens peace and harmony within our republic. We will continue to reverently preserve the memory of every single individual, of the millions that perished at the hands of the Nazis, as we see it as the most effective way to preserve the peace and tranquility of this big homeland of ours that we call Bashkortostan.”
The day of the opening ceremony, was a point of pride for the entire community said Rabbi Krichevsky; “In the end, even though it was tough, all the efforts really paid off and we succeeded. It was really wonderful to see all the notables of the region come out and show their support for this endeavor. We had the local head of the Orthodox Church, as well as the Head Mufti of Bashkortostan, join in the commemoration ceremony, it was really wonderful.”