History of the Foundation

The Foundation was established in June 1992 as a scientific and educational Holocaust study center. It is the first organization in the post-Soviet era aimed at preserving the memory of Holocaust victims, creating museums and documentary exhibitions, including the subject in the curricula of schools and institutions of higher education, organizing commemorative events, erecting monuments, and gathering of evidence and memoirs. It was named the Interregional Holocaust Foundation in 1997.
The first President of the Foundation was Mikhail Gefter (1918-1995), Russia's outstanding historian and philosopher. The Foundation brings together professional scientists, journalists, public figures, teachers and students from different countries. There are branches of the Foundation in St. Petersburg, Blagoveschensk, Birobidjan, Voronezh, Vladimir, Rostov, Smolensk, Taganrog and Brest. The Foundation is a member of the Association of Holocaust Organizations.

Alla Gerber in the presentation of annual award "The men of the year"
Alla Gerber, writer and journalist, Deputy of the 5th State Duma, is President of the Foundation.
Dr Ilya Altman, historian and archivist, is vice president and Leonid Nevzlin, politician, public figure and businessman, and rector of the Russian State University for Humanities, is the Chairman of its Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees includes well-known business leaders, scientists, cultural figures and politicians.

Foundation Activities

Ellie Wiesel and Dr. Ilya Altman at the 34th Annual Conference "Holocaust and the Churches" in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA. March 7, 2004
The Foundation occupies office space in the center of Moscow that was set aside for it by order of the Russian Federation Government. The offices were renovated and equipped with the financial support of JOINT and the Open Society Institute. The Foundation has a specialized library, video collection and archive for the preservation of personal funds and collections of the former ghetto prisoners and participants in the Great Patriotic War and the Resistance. It also has lecture and exhibition halls with a permanent documentary exhibit and mobile exhibitions.
Meetings of the "Unknown Holocaust" discussion group, the Youth Center and the Association of the Righteous Among the Nations are held at the Foundation on a monthly basis. Leading world experts regularly give lectures and make presentations. They include Professor Michael Berenbaum, one of the founders of the Memorial Holocaust Museum in the United States, the former director of the Yad Vashem Museum Doctor Izhak Arad, Paul Levin and Stephane Bruhfeld(Sweden), the authors of the book Tell Your Children About It, and Dr Shimon Samuels, director of the European Bureau of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Every year, the Foundation holds evening ceremonies commemorating the victims of the Holocaust and the heroes of the Resistance. Government leaders participate in these events, which evoke a strong response from society and the media.

Commemorating ceremony in "Poklonaya Gora"
Other activities include: international scientific conferences and symposia; educational seminars from Brest to Vladivostok, and from Archangelsk to Kaliningrad; international courses for teachers; competitions for research on the Holocaust; and international conferences for schoolchildren. A special series of books is published under the title The Russian Holocaust Library and a scientific and information bulletin entitled Holocaust. The Foundation also participated in the creation of such documentaries as The Ghetto of Brest (winner of the Grand-Prix at the Montenegro film festival in 1995) and Process (2002). The Foundation maintains close partner relationships with all the leading museums and scientific centers in Europe, Israel, North America, Japan, CIS countries and the Baltic States.

The Foundation's Programs

Museum Program

The main objective of the Foundation is to create the state Genocide - Holocaust - Tolerance Museum in the capital of Russia. In December 2002, the Russian Government commissioned the Ministry of Culture and other interested agencies to examine the concept for the future museum and educational complex. The Foundation has collected personal belongings and documents from citizens of Russia, the United States, Israel and Germany that are included in ten personal and seven documentary collections (including the History of Jews in Russia/the USSR, Jewish Participants in the Great Patriotic War, and the History of the Holocaust and Resistance). Questionnaires are completed by former ghetto prisoners who are Russian citizens and by their family members, and their personal documents are collected. The first exhibition of the Holocaust Museum on the Poklonnaya Gora was prepared on this basis and opened in 1998.

Memorial Program

Representatives of the Russian public, national communities and youth gather in prestigious locations in Moscow each year at evening ceremonies to commemorate the Jews who were victims of Nazism. The Foundation has initiated evening and memorial ceremonies in observance of the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Soviet Army, the execution of the leaders of the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee, and the "Physicians' Affair". In 2002, the ceremony was held in Smolensk to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the execution of the prisoners of the largest ghetto in Russia. The Youth Center of the Foundation, together with German students, established a memorial plaque at the site of the execution of the Jews in Lubavichi.

Program on Righteous Among the Nations.

Memders of Youth Club Foundation with Righteous
The discovery and commemoration of the role of Russian citizens who saved Jews from the Nazis, assistance in granting them the title of Righteous Among the Nations, safe-keeping of documentary evidence, and publication of articles describing the feat of the Righteous Among the Nations. The Association of the Righteous Among the Nations (chairman N. Dorozhinsky) functions under the auspices of the Foundation and brings together the citizens of Moscow and the Moscow Region who have been awarded this title. The association is actively involved in educational work among young people. A textbook for schoolchildren is being prepared.

International Cooperation

The Foundation cooperates actively with the Yad Vashem Museum (Israel), Anne Frank Foundation (the Netherlands), and Gothenburg University (Sweden). Experts from the Foundation participate in the largest international conferences on the Holocaust, including the Stockholm Forum (2000). They are members of the organizing committee of the annual Holocaust and Churches Conference (United States), the editorial board of the magazine Holocaust/Genocide (United States), the Shoa Commission on the Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture, and the Committee of Claims Conference advisors.

Scientific Program

From 1994 to 2002, the Foundation held four international scientific conferences: Lessons of the Holocaust and Contemporary Russia (with funding from the Council of Europe, the Russian Federation Ministry of Education, Yad Vashem and the Solomon Mihoels Center. A group of authors was selected and preparation began on a two-volume comprehensive Encyclopedia of the Holocaust in the USSR. Anti-Semitic publications in 300 newspapers that were published in the languages of the peoples of the USSR during the Nazi occupation were discovered. A database was created including 7000 of these articles.

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