On Defender of the Fatherland Day, the Russia multimedia centre in Veliky Novgorod held a premiere screening of the documentary The Executioners and the Righteous, which recounts how the Holocaust came to Veliky Novgorod during the Nazi occupation. The film was produced with the support of the Novgorod regional government, Acron, and the regional culture ministry. The premiere was accompanied by a meet-the-artist session with the film’s creators.
The Executioners and the Righteous will also reach a wider audience: it will be screened in all digital cinemas and ten virtual concert halls in the region and included in educational programmes for high school students and young people.
The film was written by Viktor Smirnov and directed by Alla Osipova, both documentary filmmakers at the Sofia television studio in Veliky Novgorod. It chronicles cases of euthanasia performed on patients at the Kolmovo psychiatric hospital and investigates massacres of civilians on the outskirts of Zhestyanaya Gorka village, where the World War II Victims Memorial Complex was opened in 2020. For the first time in history, these mass executions were legally recognised as genocide by a ruling of Novgorod region’s court. The documentary also tells the story of Veliky Novgorod citizens who risked their lives to save Jews from Nazi executioners, including Yekaterina Korolkova, a nurse at the Veliky Novgorod psychiatric hospital who rescued a Jewish girl named Frida Rabinovitch and was awarded the honorific title of Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre.