The Lack of Russian Dignitaries at the Ceremonies Commemorating the Liberation of Auschwitz was to Spit on the Russian People's Sacrifices in WW2

Mick Hall asks some questions of the global political elites who did not invite Russia's rulers to Auschwitz commemorative events. Mick Hall is a veteran Marxist activist and trade unionist who blogs at Organized Rage.

Auschwitz concentration camp, arrival of Hunga...
Auschwitz concentration camp, arrival of Hungarian Jews, Summer 1944 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I felt extremely uncomfortable about the ceremonies commemorating 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz, but I could not put my finger on why. Over recent years the western neoliberal political and media elites have used not dissimilar historic anniversaries to enhance their own reputations, and in the case of their commemoration of World War One have used it to  attempt to rewrite history by portraying their 
forefathers decisions in a more favourable light.

Those who lived through these events were either given a bit part or if they were no longer alive were represented by distant relations while members of the elite took centre stage. 

Sadly despite moving testimonies from people who were imprisoned in Auschwitz, the 70 years since the liberation of the camp commemoration was no different, indeed in many ways it was much worse. 

After attending my local Holocaust memorial service on Tuesday I asked a group of youngster who were there if they knew who liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau. One said the US Army, another the British, a third asked was it the Free Polish Army, thankfully the fourth new the correct answer. It did make me question why would they have been so unsure about one of the most horrendous events in history? 

It was the men and women of the Red Army who finally liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau in January 1945. Having caused panic and fear amongst the Nazi's in the previous year as the Soviet army approached the gates of Lublin, Himmler ordered the SS guards to 'evacuate' Majanek Concentration Camp. However in their haste the murdering thugs had only succeeded in partially destroying the crematoria before Soviet troops arrived on July 24, 1944. Leaving Majdanek the best-preserved camp of the Holocaust and the first major concentration camp to be liberated. Treblinka and a number of other Nazi death camps were also dismantled ahead of the Red Army soldiers who were fighting their way to Berlin.

Yet when I looked at my TV screen for the representatives of the Red Army amongst the dignitaries assembled to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz not a single one did I see. Not only that: amongst the presidents, prime ministers, senior government ministers, and members of the various Ruritanian royal families that freeload across Europe, there was not a single representative of Russia, whose peoples had sacrificed so much in the struggle to liberate Europe from German Fascism

It turned out President Putin and his colleagues had not even been invited. Professor Benny Pollack summed up their absence succinctly in a letter published in the Guardian.
The top Russian leaders, including President Putin, were the most significant absentees during the ceremonies commemorating 70 years since the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army. The organisers chose not to invite them, and yet no country made more sacrifices in the fight against nazism than the Soviet Union, with an estimated 20 million to 30 million dead among the civilian population and the military. 
One of the cruellest paradoxes of this mean behaviour is the fact that, while the liberators of the most horrific of all the concentration camps during the second world war did not have high-ranking representatives, countries which perpetrated, or collaborated enthusiastically with, the “final solution” were there, no doubt showing remorse and regret, feeling all cosy next to their now American and British allies. 
The decision not to invite Putin because of the current dispute over Ukraine (a conflict which may legitimately prompt conflicting interpretations) was at best disingenuous and mean, and simply indefensible from a historical perspective, given the immense contribution of the Soviet Union to the demise of Nazi Germany and its allies, and the heroic sacrifice of its people to achieve that end.


  1. It always struck me as curious that we had such time to commerate three million killed by the Germans in various concentration camps, I have been to Dachu, while making no effort to commerate the thirty six million Russians killed by these same Germans.
    This itself explains the present trouble in eastern europe as the same Russians attempt to create a buffer to protect them from modern german aggression.

  2. maybe they thought bono was going.

  3. The yanks and the Brits were doing the jitterbug and fornicating shamelessly while the Reds fought the war against Hitler....they only crossed the channel to stop the Reds taking over all of Europe. The may do it yet.