The Holocaust week launched this Tuesday in Azerbaijan is an extremely important event for preserving the historical memory of this crime and genocide against humanity, as it helps to protect the world from recurrence of such tragedies. The Holocaust genocide is a terrible and unbearable tragedy in the memory of the Jewish people. It is a pain, anguishes, humiliation, offence, brutality, barbarity, extermination of the Jewish people by the brutal and frantic fascist regime. For the first time I learned about the Holocaust from my grandfather who had lost all his family and all his relatives in the territory of Ukraine during this genocide. He survived only because he had been on the front at that time. Defending his homeland and making his way from Kiev to Berlin, he could not defend his loved ones. And probably it hurts so much when you come back victorious, but find your home empty because everyone is killed and there is no one to meet you. Approximately six million of my people were murdered in the Holocaust, the catastrophe of the European Jewry. By the end of the World War II, the Nazis destroyed even traces of death camps. There is plenty of evidence pointing that the Nazis removed or destroyed already buried remains of people before the arrival of the Soviet troops.
Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem, identified 4 million names of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The incompleteness of the database is explained by the fact that the Jewish communities were often completely annihilated, and there were no relatives, close friends or friends who could tell the names of the dead. The war scattered people, and the survivors refused to report their relatives as dead, hoping to meet with them. Why is it necessary to distinguish the Jews among other victims, although in fact Nazism killed many nations?
I want to quote the reminiscences of a Jewish boy about Auschwitz from Eliezer Wiesel's book "Night": “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, that turned my whole life into one long night, seven times sealed. Never shall I forget this smoke... Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky. Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever. Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me of the will to live. Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes. Never shall I forget this, even if I were sentenced to live forever, as God. Never.”
The extermination of Jews was encoded by the German bureaucracy as "the final solution to the Jewish question”. The European Jewry perished in the ghettos, concentration camps, during "death marches" and as a result of mass executions.
And there were little places where Jews could hide, fleeing from this horror, barbarity and cruelty. One of such places was Azerbaijan, where the people always differed in their humane attitude to other peoples. In September of 2016, during the historic visit of the President of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder to Azerbaijan, I was once lucky enough to interview him.
It is a well-known fact that Azerbaijani oil played a crucial role in the victory in the World War II. The Azerbaijani people also made a great contribution to the victory over fascism and the World War II, suffering numerous sacrifices. A lot of refugees and internally displaced persons in this war, most of whom were Jews, found shelter in Azerbaijan, including members of my family, who were saved thanks to humanity and tolerance of the Azerbaijani people.
One of genuine Azerbaijani heroes was Hamza Jumshud oglu Sadygov, the intelligence officer under the codename "Sadigashvili". Hamza Sadygov, as part of the Soviet military intelligence service near Stalingrad, captured the closest associate of Hitler, General Johann von Roddenburg, who personally exterminated the Jews and was very cruel. This beast in the guise of a man was called “the father of the biological bomb" of Hitler, who conducted tests on Jewish children. It was Hamza Sadygov who became the savior of Jewish children. Thanks to his courage, dozens of Jewish families were saved.
Abraham Z. Kogan, a member of the 52nd Special Motorized Rifle Brigade of the former NKVD, wrote about the colonel of the 51st motorized rifle division, Hamza Sadygov: "I was introduced to the Azerbaijani hero by Isaac Aaron Mikhailovich, my fellow (we were both from Jewish families) who was born in Baku. He either was the counterintelligence agent of the 51st Motorized Infantry Division. We made friends with Colonel Sadygov, and one of the reasons was the role he played in saving more 30 Jewish families and a lot of Jewish children who hid in the kindergarten "Red". I sent the list of the liberated children to Moscow. Hamza Sadygov saved the Jewish children, who were kept in the "Palace of Death", and burned this palace to cover up the tracks. My Jewish friends and I used to call Sadygov a "fellow countryman." We sent a letter about his heroism to the synagogue. The letter was signed by eleven officers. We asked Solomon, the head of synagogue, to pray for Sadygov as he prays for us. In regard to him, we had our own plans. We were waiting for the end of the war."
According to the study materials, "Maariv" newspaper published an article headlined "Debt" on October 2, 1949 by the military journalist I. Feldman, who gives a detailed information about Sadygov. He writes: "War is a scene where it becomes clear who is who. It does not forgive anyone and does not make favors for anyone. Azerbaijani Hamza Sadygov saved our children from imminent death in the battles for Stalingrad. 1942 year became one of the main pages of the new history of Israel. We ask our Jewish historians to write about this Azerbaijani Sadygov , a valiant warrior who saved our children from fascist captivity, so that they illuminate his heroism, his unselfish help to our families and children. We should not forget such a story." A copy of the newspaper is kept in the Museum of History of the Russian Federation.
For many years, the name of Azerbaijani hero Sadygov was consigned to oblivion. It was not mentioned in history books, it was rarely mentioned in memoir literature, and practically nobody knew about it. Today, when many archives were opened and the half-forgotten names became public, Hamza Sadygov is near us again. On the front, he was better known under the codename "Sadygashvili." The main event in his military biography was the Battle of Stalingrad. He was nominated for the "Golden Star" Hero of the Soviet Union for courage and heroism. There are a lot of documents about him and his valor. Hamza Sadygov returned to Azerbaijan, his native Aghdam region, as a hero. Today his grave is located in Azerbaijan’s territories, occupied by Armenia and it is painful to realize that the hero, who had saved the Jewish children from the fascists, now lies under the feet of the Armenian fascists, who exterminated children both in the Azerbaijani city of Khojaly and in other occupied and nearby regions of Azerbaijan like German fascists.
As for the grave of Hamza Sadygov, it was reportedly destroyed by Armenian vandals. The relatives, including his son and grandchildren want to visit his grave in Agdam, however they cannot. Because there was a case when in the summer of 2014 three Azerbaijanis - Dilgam Asgarov, Shahbaz Guliyev and Hasan Hasanov - were taken captives in the Kalbajar region of Azerbaijan, occupied by Armenia, when they wanted to visit the graves of their relatives. Hasan Hasanov was killed.
With his heroism, Azerbaijani colonel Sadygov erected a monument of courage and immortality in the hearts of his grateful generations. And there are a lot of such heroes in Azerbaijan. But the Azerbaijani people are mainly modest, so the name of hero Sadygov, who fought against fascism and saved Jewish families, is very little known in the world as opposed to Armenia, where fascist generals and butchers like Dro and Nzhdeh had been glorified to the level of heroes.
We do not interfere in the sovereign rights of peoples to interpret their history, historical past and perpetuate the memory of their national heroes. But we must not remain silent when people who are involved in the monstrous crimes of the Holocaust are made national heroes. And now, when fascism raises its head in Armenia, in Ukraine or somewhere else, the Israelis cannot and should not be silent behind this, since the popularization of Nazism, terrorism and fascism must be stopped earlier than a fire, it can spread faster than fire, then it may be too late.
Why did the massacre and murder of thousands of people at the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century become the cornerstone of all the collisions - spiritual, moral, political ones - involving all other problems? The Holocaust is a tragedy of my people, a tragedy that has long been a taboo subject. That is why, the bloody and barbaric act of genocide in the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly is my personal pain, my personal tragedy.
This barbaric brutality against innocent children, women and old people cannot be explained. The world should know that this crime is directed not only against the Azerbaijani people, but against all mankind. Many of the organizers and ideologists of Khojaly genocide, who even today occupy high positions in Armenia, including Armenian former defense minister Seyran Ohanyan, current President Serzh Sargsyan, former President Robert Kocharyan and others, must be brought to the International Court of Justice. The crime should not go unpunished, as impunity generates a new crime.
Today it is no longer a secret that the ideology of fascism, racial discrimination is propagated in Armenia at the state level.
In May 2016, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan participated in the opening ceremony of a monument to the fascist and anti-Semite Gen. Garagin Nzhdeh. The most terrible and outrageous fact is that the fascist ideology called "Nzhdehism" is included in the program of educational institutions in Armenia, and the younger generation is brought up on these "values".
How should we react to the erection of the monument to the accomplice of the Nazis, fascist and anti-Semite Garegin Nzhdeh in Yerevan? Can a country glorify a fascist criminal accused of a crime against humanity? The perpetuation of the memory of the Armenian fascist and anti-Semite General Garegin Nzhdeh is a shame that violates the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
A few days ago Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “We can't but be concerned that recently we have seen a creeping rehabilitation of Nazism in a number of countries, including those classifying themselves as models of democracy, a systematic line is being drawn to review the outcome of the WWII, including the glorification of Nazis and local collaborators' activities". Lavrov also dwelled on the "war against monuments " in some EU countries.
It's very strange that the Russian foreign minister did not say anything about Armenia, but official Yerevan can bravely consider itself as one of the reasons behind Moscow's concern over the glorification of Nazism.
Today in the International Holocaust Remembrance Day I consider it important to emphasize the fact Armenia is one of the states trampling the norms of universal morality and trying to spiritualize and ennoble their own criminals of the past. Current Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan gradually fulfills the ideas of the terrorist party "Dashnaktsutyun" and such "heroes" as Nzhdeh, Dro who turned Armenia into a mono-ethnic state, which was one of the main goals of fascism.
All this gives grounds to argue that Armenia is a country that supports terrorism at the state level. This country will become a threat to the whole world , if the world community continues to keep silent about the propaganda of fascism and terrorism there.