Jewish community in Kyrgyzstan honors citizens who welcomed Jewish refugees during Holocaust

The Jewish community in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan this week unveiled a monument in honor of the citizens of the region who welcomed the Jewish refugees forced to flee the Nazi-occupied western regions of the Soviet Union during World War II

An estimated 45,000 Ashkenazi Jews found refuge in Kyrgyzstan during the Holocaust, according to the Jewish community in Bishkek. These refugees were able to settle into their temporary homes with relative ease and in most cases lived in peace and harmony with their neighbors. 

World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer’s mother was among these refugees, spending the war years in the Kyrgyzstan village of Sretenka. Singer traveled to Kyrgyzstan last year to meet the community; during his visit, Singer encouraged the community to honor the citizens of the region for their hospitality during the war years, and expressed his support for the creation of a memorial monument.

The monument reads in Russian: “With deep gratitude to Kyrgyz people who during the Great Patriotic War sheltered Jewish refugees from the European regions of the USSR, and lived with them together in friendship and mutual assistance.” Below in Kyrgyz and Hebrew: “Thank you, friends”.

Read Singer’s op-ed in Times of Israel on the subject, Always remember and never be indifferent – this is the only way to prevent another Holocaust, here.



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Lesley Israel

Sat, 07 Oct 2017

I am always awed by those who have the courage and the humanity to risk their own lives to save the lives of others. I look forward to spending a moment of silence at the memorial when I am in Bishkek, in honor of both those who were so generous and those who live now because their families were saved.


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