UK honored the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the heroes of the Leningrad blocade

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The British branch of the All-Russian Public Movement "Volunteers of Victory" and the Russian Culture House in the UK held an online ceremony in memory of the victims of the Holocaust as well as those who died fighting to liberate Leningrad. Those gathered expressed their sincere respect and esteem to the defenders of the city on the Neva and the survivors of the Siege of Leningrad.

Our memory lives on 

"Traditionally we gather every year on 27 January at the Soviet War Memorial in London, but in the current circumstances this is not possible. But our memory is alive, and regardless of the circumstances we remember the feat of our ancestors who fought on the frontlines and the home front during the Great Patriotic War.  We will continue to pass this knowledge to our children and grandchildren," said Lyudmila Gavrilova, UK coordinator of the All-Russian Public Movement "Volunteers of Victory".

A minute of silence was held in memory of all those who fell during the Second World War. 

Our sacred duty is to prevent this crime from happening again 

In his address, the Russian Ambassador to the UK, Andrey Vladimirovich Kelin, said: "We all need to remember the most bitter and tragic chapter in human history. Our sacred duty is to prevent this from happening again. Even decades later, it is impossible to come to terms with this crime. This is why Russia is among the first to oppose the glorification of Nazism and contemporary forms of racial xenophobia and intolerance. We must unite in the name of the millions of victims. Allow me to pay tribute to the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust, to the millions of soldiers of my country and all allied nations who ended the horrors of the Holocaust and the Second World War. We will remember them.  

The British also remember and honour this important date. Philip Matthews, Chairman of the Soviet War Memorial Foundation, sent a message of greetings to guests: "Today, January 27th, marks the 76th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by the Red Army. We must remember and be grateful for this liberation. We must never forget the suffering of the people in the concentration camps and work for world peace. Such atrocities can only happen when good people do nothing!" 

After the victory, the best treat for me was a piece of bread 

The chief guest of the ceremony was Valentina Sergeevna Mazurenko, who was born in Leningrad and survived the blockade and has lived in the UK for the past few years. Valentina shared her memories of the war period - how her father and uncles went to the front, how her mother was stationed at a factory and hardly saw her daughter. Little Valentina first lived with her grandparents, and after their deaths members of the local Komsomol organisation took patronage over her. "Every day the Komsomol members brought me a piece of bread - mere 125 grams. I was too young to go and get my ration. They also brought me some water from the hole in the ice on the Fontanka River to help me survive. After the victory the best treat for me was a piece of bread," the former siege survivor recalled. Valentina told about the air raid that destroyed the top floor of the house she lived in and her unsuccessful attempts to keep warm. The touching story elicited a lively response from the audience. The guests thanked Valentina and asked questions, to which she always answered with a smile and warmth.  

The representative of the All-Russian public movement "Victory Volunteers" from Lebanon Tatyana El Helu told about Irina Uvarova, who met the war as a 10-year-old girl. Irina Uvarova survived blockade and evacuation and after the war she became a doctor and taught at the medical college in her native city of Leningrad. Now Irina lives in Lebanon - she leads an active life and writes fairy tales for children.  

Conveying the meaning of such terrible concepts as the Holocaust and genocide to the young generation 

Irina Matveeva, coordinator of "The Immortal Regiment" and coordinator of the Russian public movement "Victory Volunteers" in Northern Ireland, and founder of the Russian school in Belfast, has raised a very difficult question of how to convey to the younger generation the meaning of such terrible concepts as the Holocaust and genocide. Irina is convinced that schools and teachers should take an active role in educating the young about those aspects of human history. 

The meeting was also attended by regional coordinators of the Victory Volunteers public movement, members of the Coventry International Friendship Association, and representatives of compatriot organisations. 

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