A Simon Wiesenthal Center official in an open letter to the president of Belarus decried the sale of anti-Semitic literature near a World War II memorial in Minsk.
Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, in his Aug. 13 letter to Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko wrote that following a tour of the Minsk Museum of the Great Patriotic War, which “vividly describes the mass murder of Jews and Belorussians by the Nazis and their collaborators,” he expressed “horror” at discovering not far from the museum a distribution center “for the most offensive anti-Semitic books.”
Samuels said that alongside church objects, books such as “The Mystery of the Zion Protocols: A Conspiracy Against Russia” and “Myths and Truths about Pogroms” were being sold at a shop called Pravoslavnaya Kniga, or the Orthodox Initiative, blocks from the memorial.
Samuels called on Lukashenko “to officially condemn anti-Semitism and these publications in particular, while also ensuring that the Orthodox Initiative be disciplined and withdraw all such materials definitively.”
In 2004, at the urging of a Jewish rights organization, Belarus launched an official investigation of the Orthodox Initiative. It was found not guilty of disseminating hate materials.