Peres Salutes Red Army

President Peres is saluting the Red Army on its victory over the Nazis 65 years ago in the war that cost the lives of 200,000 Jewish soldiers.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu, | updated: 09:57

Peres and Chancellor Merkel in Moscow
Peres and Chancellor Merkel in Moscow
Israel news photo: Office of the President

President Shimon Peres was in Moscow Sunday morning to salute the Red Army on its victory over Nazi Germany 65 years ago in the war that cost the lives of 200,000 Jewish soldiers. He said that he "feels a moral obligation to remind the whole world of the horrors suffered by the Jewish people in the Holocaust."

"These horrors would not have come to an end had the Red Army and allies not stopped the Nazi devil," he explained.

Peres joined nearly 30 other world leaders, who laid wreaths at the graves of unknown soldiers. The President also is to receive an honorary doctorate and will address Jewish leaders during his three-day visit.

He observed a parade of approximately 10,000 Russian soldiers Sunday morning at Red Square, where the presidents of China and France and the chancellor of Germany also were present, but the financial crisis in Europe forced several other leaders to cancel their plans to participate.

U.S. President Barack Obama did not attend, and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was not invited because he is not the head of state. The UK was not represented.

President Peres’ spokesperson said he will use his visit “to widen strategic and diplomatic ties with Russia and to thank it on behalf of Israel and the Jewish People for its principal part in the victory over Nazi Germany.”

The war cost the lives of approximately 200,000 Soviet Jews, and Education Minister Gideon Saar said the school system’s curriculum will include a chapter on the Jewish contribution to the war against the "Final Solution.”

Hundreds of thousands of other Soviet Jews, many of them now living in Israel, suffered injuries during the battles that ended with the liberation of Holocaust survivors from Nazi death and work camps.

The second day of President Peres’ visit will feature a tour of Moscow and a speech to Euro-Asian Jewish leaders. On Tuesday, he is to receive an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, which previously has honored Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah.




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