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2 Jun, 2024 07:27

Germany has broken promise to Nazi blockade survivors – Lavrov

The current leadership in Berlin feels that the country has “settled accounts with everyone,” the Russian foreign minister has said
Germany has broken promise to Nazi blockade survivors – Lavrov

Berlin has failed to honor its promise to build a hospital for survivors of the World War II Nazi blockade and siege of Leningrad, and refused to pay reparations to non-Jewish survivors, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has claimed. 

The World War II blockade of Leningrad, conducted by the Nazi Army Group North and forces of their ally Finland for almost 900 days, killed 1 million people, more than 600,000 by starvation.

In an interview with the ‘No Expiration Date’ education project published on Saturday, Lavrov said that in 2008, Berlin decided to introduce lump-sum payments to survivors of the blockade, the longest and most brutal in modern history, but only those who are Jewish.

“We appealed to them and said that justice must prevail. All [victims of the blockade] suffered the same, froze, died,” Lavrov said. “We were told that Holocaust victims can and should be compensated according to the law, and that everyone else is not a victim of the Holocaust. I don’t even need to explain how cynical this sounded.” 

Berlin instead offered to build a small hospital and organize events for young people to meet the survivors, to which Moscow agreed, Lavrov said. However, no further steps were taken, according to the diplomat.

This meeting house and hospital have still not been completed.

Moscow made lump-sum payments to blockade survivors, following a September 2021 decree by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to Lavrov, German officials were “sending signals” that the issue was “a thing of the past, Germany has settled accounts with everyone, paid reparations, apologized repeatedly.” Moscow does not want modern Germany to constantly repent for the past, Lavrov said, but Berlin’s position “smacked of hubris,” which could lead a nation to arrive at ideas of exceptionalism, he added.

Lavrov described how Nazism has managed to rise again in Ukraine as a warning to Germany. The country is useful for the West as a tool to fight Russia, Lavrov said, so its backers have turned a blind eye to “open actions to introduce Nazi theory and practice.”