The initiative to build the monument came from Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu during his visit to Moscow in February 2010, and received the Russian leadership’s support. The monument was designed by Russian architects and sculptors and was built in Netanya’s central district, alongside an existing monument to the fallen in the Israeli-Arab wars.
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Speech at a ceremony of unveiling a monument marking the Red Army’s victory over Nazi Germany
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Everything I just seen and heard here makes a strong emotional impact on me and strengthens my deep respect for the Jewish people, for Israel’s people, and my sense of gratitude for everything you are doing to immortalise the memory of those who died in World War II.
We are here to unveil a monument that I think will become one of the most symbolic in the country. I have seen various monuments in Israel, all of them works of talent that make a truly deep impression. But this monument commemorates the immortal heroism and strength of spirit of the entire wartime generation, their countless sacrifices and irreplaceable losses, and the victory in 1945 that has given the whole of humanity an undying legacy.
Russia holds sacred the memory of this terrible war. We greatly appreciate that our sincere feelings are shared here in Israel, where millions of people in their hearts, just like in Russia, keep a special place for dates such as September 1, 1939, June 22, 1941, and May 9, 1945.
As we unveil this monument today, we grieve together for those who fell on the battlefields, died from wounds and hunger, or suffered the death camps’ tortures. The Holocaust was one of the blackest, most shameful and tragic pages in all of human history. Even today, our hearts still refuse to accept this monstrous cruelty that the Nazis committed. It was the Soviet Army that put an end to this madness and saved from destruction not just the Jewish people but many other peoples too. And now, this wonderful monument has been raised in its honour here in this holy land.
This monument appeals to our memory, but also reminds us of just how fragile peace is. We must do everything we possibly can to ensure that the criminal Nazi doctrines never rise again under any form or guise, and that the Nuremberg Tribunal’s verdicts remain unquestioned.
It is our duty to defend and preserve the truth about the war and prevent any attempts to justify the Nazis’ helpers. We cannot and will never allow the executioners and their victims to be placed together, and will not accept the truth to be distorted and replaced by all manner of falsifications and fabrications. To rewrite history in this way would be a crime before the memory of those millions of people who gave their lives for victory, and a crime before the future generations, who must know the true heroes of World War II and be able to distinguish the truth from insolent and cynical lies. This is why the monument we are unveiling today is so important.
Once more, I want to thank sincerely for this initiative Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and express my profound gratitude too, to President of Israel Shimon Peres and all of our Israeli friends for their all-round effort to preserve history’s memory. Of course, I also want to thank the monument’s creators – the team of Russian sculptors and architects – Salavat Shcherbakov, Vasily Perfilyev, and Mikhail Naroditsky.
The white dove soaring skywards, the dove’s wings, symbolise the victory of goodness and peace. May these eternal values always remain the solid foundation of the friendship between our countries and their peoples.