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Holocaust museums in four countries condemn Russian war crimes

Associated Press/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A group of Holocaust museums spanning four countries is condemning the alleged war crimes committed by Russia during its invasion of Ukraine.

Seventeen Holocaust museums from the U.S., Canada, South Africa and the United Kingdom released a joint statement on Monday expressing support for the International Criminal Court’s investigation into alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

The statement was featured in The New York Times as a full-page advertisement on Sunday.

The museums said they are angered by stories of children being buried in graves and reports of rape by members of the Russian army.

“It is with sorrow that we see yet another atrocity in Ukraine, 80 years after the ‘Holocaust by Bullets’ in which Jewish men, women, and children were shot and buried in shallow graves,” the museums said in a statement.

“We are angered by today’s stories of children with their hands zip tied and buried in shallow graves. We are angered by the horrific reports of rape and wanton destruction of lives by the Russian army,” they added.

The groups said it is their responsibility to speak out against reports of war crimes as part of their mission to “make a better future where the stories we tell are no longer repeated.”

“We at Holocaust museums around the world have a particular mission. The stories we tell are ones of destruction and pain, and of the nobility of upstanders who risked their lives to do what was right and help others,” the museums wrote.

“We not only aim to educate, to honor our Survivors’ wishes that their stories are not forgotten, but to make a better future where the stories we tell are no longer repeated,” they added.

The statement said the atrocities being committed in Ukraine are war crimes, adding, “If we, as the bearers of history, do not speak out, then we have failed in our mission.”

“We call upon our governments around the world to do more to stop these atrocities and assist those who have been brutalized,” they added.

Russia has been accused of committing a number of war crimes during its invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24 and has been ongoing since. The list of alleged war crimes include targeted killings of thousands of civilians, targeted destruction of civilian buildings, rape, kidnappings to Russia, blocking humanitarian aid to Ukrainians and targeting and killing journalists.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, however, has taken matters a step further, accusing Russia of genocide.

In an interview with CBS News last week, the president said “indeed, this is genocide.”

A prosecutor from the International Criminal Court has launched an investigation into any claims of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed in Ukraine by any individuals.

Signatories of the statement included representatives from Illinois Holocaust Museum, Montreal Holocaust Museum, The Florida Holocaust Museum, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum, UK, CANDLES Holocaust Museum, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Holocaust Museum LA, Museum of Jewish Heritage, Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre, The Zekelman Holocaust Center, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Holocaust Center for Humanity, Aegis Trust, St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum, Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Centerand the Holocaust Museum Houston.

Tags Volodymyr Zelensky

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