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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The Royal Academy of Sciences endorsed the notion of penning the appellation “Holocaust” with an uppercase letter.

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) agreed that the word “Holocaust” should be capitalized. This is stated in the response of the Chairman of the Spelling Committee of the Russian Academy of Sciences, corresponding member Alexei Shmelev to the appeal of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC). The answer itself published on the CER website.

As Shmelev notes, the word “Holocaust” entered the Russian language relatively recently.

“As is often the case with new language units, some of the standards associated with its operation (particularly spelling) are not fully established. However, you can see that in official documents this word is written almost exclusively with a capital letter.

It seems that this practice should be taken into account in academic reference publications and in the responses of reference services, including the Reference Service of the Institute of Russian Language of the Russian Academy of Sciences,” writes Shmelev.

He added that “regularities in the use of capital letters in the designation of historical events change over time”. “Not to mention the fact that there are languages ​​in which there are no capital letters at all (for example, Hebrew), and this does not interfere with normal written communication in these languages,” concluded the head of the spelling committee.

The RJC calls Shmelev’s response an “important step” on the way to correcting the spelling of the word “Holocaust” with a capital letter in the Russian literary language.

In early March, the congress appealed to the Spelling Commission of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Russian Language Institute named after VV Vinogradov with an appeal “to correct the spelling of the word” Holocaust “with a capital letter in the Russian language as the only acceptable spelling standard.

The RJC states that some sources recommend that the word be capitalized if referring to a specific historical event, and small if used as a synonym for the word “genocide”. According to the organization, such a blurring of the concept of “Holocaust” “insults the memory of 6 million dead Jews”, and also belittles the achievement of the Righteous Among the Nations and the soldiers of the Red Army.

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