After Israel’s president brought up Ukrainians’ complicity in the Holocaust, some Ukrainian politcians decided to accuse Jews of crimes as well
Originally appeared at Live Journal. Translated by Julia Rakhmetova
A recent speech of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin at the Verkhovna Rada, where he said that Banderites were implicated in the Holocaust, resonated with their descendants.
Ukrainian media cited Reuven Rivlin’s speech extensively but selectively. Here are some examples of what was ommitted.
“About 1.5 million Jews were killed in the territory of modern Ukraine during the Second World War, at Babi Yar and in many other places. They were shot in the woods, near gullies and ditches, then shoved into mass graves. Many collaborators of these crimes were Ukrainians, including OUN (Banderite) fighters, who mocked Jews, killed them or in many cases, gave them to the Germans, were particularly distinguished among them.
It’s also true that there were more than 2,500 Righteous Among the Nations – a few sparks that burned brightly in the dark twilight of humanity. But most were silent. Relations between the Ukrainian and Jewish people today look to the future, but we can’t let history, with both its terrible and good events be forgotten.”
A member of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, Pavel Podobed, suggested on his Facebook page, that Petro Poroshenko pronounce a similar speech at the Knesset:
“Over 3 million Ukrainians were killed in the territory of Ukraine in 1920-1930. Many collaborators of the crimes were Jews. Intelligence officers were particularly distinguished among them, mocking Jews, killing Ukrainian captive Cossacks and officers of the Ukrainian People’s Army, participants of the liberation movement. Jews killed Ukrainian soldiers, and in many cases even tortured women and youth who supported the Ukrainian regular army.
“It’s also true that there was a captain in the Ukrainian People’s Army, Sema Yakerson, a Jewish member of the Ukrainian Galician Army, Jewish medical workers – a few sparks that burned brightly in the dark twilight of humanity. However, most Jews were silent. I brought declassified documents of the State Political Directorate of the USSR that count the deaths. These documents suggest that as of 1922, 103 Jews worked in the State Political Directorate of the USSR, with only 39 Ukrainians among them.
“Relations between the Ukrainian and Jewish peoples today are looking to the future, but we can’t let history, with both its terrible and good events be forgotten.”
Oleg Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party in the Verkhovna Rada also took offense at the speech of the Israeli president, posting on Facebook:
“Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, at a session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine devoted to the Babi Yar tragedy, where Ukrainians, Jews, and Gypsies were killed, said that there were many Ukrainians among the collaborators of Nazi crimes. Unfortunately, the audience including the President, deputies, ministers remained silent.
“Rivlin’s speech humiliates Ukrainians. That is why I urge the Israeli President to apologize to our state and our nation. The Israeli Knesset should finally accept that the Holodomor (extermination by hunger) was a genocide of the Ukrainian people, the same as the Verkhovna Rada in 2008 accepted that the Holocaust was a genocide of Jews.”
An astonishing situation exists in Ukraine. One would think that Banderites would consider the revolution the Maidan a long-awaited victory. But it turned out that not only Russia is unhappy, but Poland, and now Israel as well.
Ukrainians are rewriting history, proclaiming Bandera and Shuhevich to be fighters for freedom, Heroes of Ukraine. They call on Poles and Jews for impartiality – in vain. Descendants of Banderite victims do not trust the Banderites’ descendants.
On March 26, 1993, a Deputy of the Rovensky City Council, Shkuratyuk said in an interview with the newspaper Kievsky Vestnik: “I’m proud of the fact that there were 1,200 policemen from the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (Banderites) and only 300 Germans among the 1,500 member hit squad.” You can watch a 2004 video in which Oleg Tyagnibok, head of nationalist Svoboda party and one of the Euro Maidan leaders remembers nostalgically the fight of the ancestors of modern Galicians against “Moscals (Russians) and Jews”.
As they say: “A word dropped from a song makes it all wrong”. The generation that should replace Banderites are adults now.