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10 Apr, 2019 11:23

Russia ‘sidelined’ from intl project to build Nazi death camp memorial in Poland (VIDEO)

Russia ‘sidelined’ from intl project to build Nazi death camp memorial in Poland (VIDEO)

Moscow seems to be left out of an international project to build a memorial at a Nazi death camp of Sobibor, Poland, where a Red Army officer led one of the few successful revolts by POWs and Jewish inmates in WWII history.

In Poland, four countries are building a museum to commemorate victims of the Sobibor extermination camp, known as one of the deadliest in the Third Reich. But Russia is nowhere to be found in the list of major contributors, which includes Slovakia, the Netherlands, Israel and the host nation itself.

Moscow believes it was unfairly sidelined from the project as three applications, all filed by non-government entities, were rejected. In 2013, Russia was invited to join the effort, but despite it offering a "significant financial contribution," further discussions on Moscow's participation in the project stalled, the Foreign Ministry stated in 2017. 

“This is a matter for the whole Europe,” says Mikhail Myagkov, head of Russia Military Historical Society. “After all, in the Sobibor camp there were not only Jews, Poles, Russians, Dutch, French, there were lots of people from other countries, and that’s what unites us.”

In turn, Polish Deputy Minister of Culture Jaroslaw Sellin denied that Moscow was intentionally left behind, claiming Moscow “applied too late” and that the commission decided that “all details were set and there was no sense in inviting one more state.”

According to Sellin, Russia should feel free to contribute to other memorial projects at Sobibor, including exhibitions.

But some observers believe the story may be politically motivated. “The Polish-Russian relations are complicated ... so, I think the Poles themselves are taking control of the narrative, they’re afraid of the Russian narrative,” Newsweek columnist Marc Shulman told RT. “Also, they don’t want to give Russia too much credit for liberating Poland,” he offered.

Nevertheless, the situation is sure to raise a few eyebrows given that Sobibor saw one of the two successful uprisings by people imprisoned by the Nazis. Back in 1943, members of the Sobibor underground cell, led by Soviet-Jewish officer Alexander Pechersky, covertly killed 11 SS officers and overpowered the camp guard before making their way out.

Also on rt.com 'Sobibor': Poland's historical blind spot comes under fire at film premiere

Some 300 prisoners escaped, although most of them were caught in the manhunt that followed or were slaughtered by Nazi collaborators. In all, there were only 53 known escapees who survived till the end of the war, with Pechersky being one of them.

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