MOSCOW (Jun. 24)
A monument to the Russian victims of Nazi genocide reopened this week on the 56th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.
The monument, which bears a Hebrew inscription, is located at Poklonnaya Gora, the state complex in Moscow that honors Russia’s sacrifices in World War II.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov presided over Sunday’s ceremony.
The monument, the Tragedy of the Peoples, by the Georgian-born sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, was reported to have been originally commissioned by Israel under the name the Tragedy of the Jewish People.
The sculptor abandoned the original idea and the monument was unveiled last year at the entrance to the park dedicated to the remembrance of what Russians call the Great Patriotic War.
The monument was later moved to a more secluded place inside the park because many Muscovites, including the mayor, found it too depressing.
The monument depicts people falling into a mass grave. It is encircled by small tombstone-shaped obelisks that bear memorial inscriptions in the languages of various Soviet nationalities, including Jews.
An estimated 27 million Soviet soldiers and civilians, including 2 million Soviet Jews, were killed during World War II.
A new synagogue at Poklonnaya Gora is expected to be completed in September to honor Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
The memorial complex already includes a Russian Orthodox Church and construction of a mosque is underway.