We are dismayed and heartbroken at the war unfolding in Ukraine following Russia’s decision to use its overwhelming military might to invade and impose its will on Ukraine. This is a repetition of previous Russian actions elsewhere.
In the prelude to our conference in 2019, we asked, “80 years later, will history repeat itself?” Sadly, this has now come to pass. The horror of war has once again come to Europe, to Ukraine, that has already endured so much pain and suffering – during the Holodomor, the 2nd World War and the Holocaust. The terrible atrocities now taking place there will no doubt revive the trauma of those events. PCCA’s work on the aftermath of the Holocaust taught us that, accompanying the physical destruction and damage that is readily visible, the internal damage is equally, perhaps more, devastating and long-lasting.
In our view there is something yet to be mourned in relation to the atrocities perpetrated under totalitarian Soviet rule, a failure that is fueling the forces of repetition. Now, a new generation of Russians is being called on to make sacrifices in the name of glorifying that past, repeating the violent repression of the wish to live in freedom.
This situation creates great anxiety. A new Iron Curtain may be unfurling as we watch, answering the question we posed in our 2021 conference theme “walls – open, closed, sliding?”. In these difficult times we extend our compassion and solidarity to Ukrainians, being subjected to the horrors unfolding in their country or having fled their homes. We are also concerned for Russians, either deprived of access to the truth of the atrocities being perpetrated in their name, or else living in fear for standing up and speaking out against them. And we are aware, too, that for many other Europeans painful memories are coming back, coupled with renewed fears of war, destruction, and further escalation.
PCCA is currently working with some of these groups.