Museums take stand on war in Ukraine

Apr. 11—The CANDLES Holocaust Museum in Terre Haute is among 17 museums from four countries issuing a joint statement condemning Russian war crimes in Ukraine, according to a news release.

The museums issued the statement in response to reports of mass graves and acts of brutality against Ukrainian citizens by Russian armed forces.

The statement was shared as a full-page ad in The New York Times on Sunday.

The organizations condemn the acts as war crimes and support the International Criminal Court as it investigates charges of genocide by the Russian military against the Ukrainian people.

The statement represents a global network of institutions which educate visitors about previous atrocities in Europe and beyond to work toward a future where "never again" is a reality for everyone, the release states.

The statement reads:

"Museums are bearers of history. By housing the artifacts and documents of the past, we ensure that the truth, both noble and horrific, of what humanity has done remains shared and accessible.

We at Holocaust museums around the world have a particular mission. The stories we tell are ones of destruction and pain, and of the nobility of upstanders who risked their lives to do what was right and help others. We not only aim to educate, to honor our Survivors' wishes that their stories are not forgotten, but to make a better future where the stories we tell are no longer repeated.

"So it is with sorrow that we see yet another atrocity in Ukraine, 80 years after the 'Holocaust by Bullets' in which Jewish men, women, and children were shot and buried in shallow graves. We are angered by today's stories of children with their hands zip tied and buried in shallow graves. We are angered by the horrific reports of rape and wanton destruction of lives by the Russian army. These are war crimes, and if we, as the bearers of history, do not speak out, then we have failed in our mission.

We call upon our governments around the world to do more to stop these atrocities and assist those who have been brutalized. We support the International Criminal Court's investigation of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide."

In addition to CANDLES and executive director, Troy Fears, other signatories are as follows:

—Susan Abrams, Illinois Holocaust Museum

—Daniel Amar, Montreal Holocaust Museum

—Erin Blankenship, The Florida Holocaust Museum

—Marc Cave, The National Holocaust Centre and Museum, UK

—Mary Pat Higgins, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum

—Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA

—Jack Kliger, Museum of Jewish Heritage

—Mary Kluk, Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre

—Nina Krieger, Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre

—Eli Mayerfeld, The Zekelman Holocaust Center

—Tali Nates, Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre

—Dee Simon, Holocaust Center for Humanity

—James Smith, Aegis Trust

—Helen Turner, St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum

—Sarah L. Weiss, Nancy & David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center

—Kelly Zúñiga, Holocaust Museum Houston.