What About Those Jews? Ukranian Neo-Nazism and Culture Offensive

The Ukraine has its own way of dealing with Jewish victims of the Nazis and current writers and scientists who do not think the right way.

Dr. Inna Rogatchi,

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For the first part of Ms. Rogatchi's article on the new Ukraine, click here

To refresh our memory, those fighters  and ‘heroes’ having streets in Ukraine renamed to honor them are responsible for the documented 88,700 (estimated 130,800lives of Poles during the nightmare of the Volyn massacre carried on in 4,144 places in 1943; for thousands of victims of the two horrific Lvov pogroms in July 1941, with, respectively, four and two thousand people murdered in a day; for many unspeakable atrocities during the Second World War. Dry and unemotional military data documented their ‘exploits’ is contained in many leading military and historical archives  - such as in the Imperial War Museum (London, UK), the State Archive of the Military History of the USA, the Australian State Commission on Military Crimes during the Second World War, the archive of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, Yad Vashem, the Federal  Archive of the military history of Germany, the State Institute of Holocaust Studies of Austria, etc. 

Just one quote of very many available ones: “UNA UNSO ( the Bandera and Shuchevich organisation) have been responsible for lives of 850,000 Jews, 220,000 Poles, 500,000 Ukrainian and Belorussians (civil population), 400,000 Soviet prisoners of war."

Back in mid-1990s, Simon Wiesenthal has told to me personally and on the record that from his vast experience, and his documented knowledge, “those Ukrainians who were the Nazi collaborators, were worse that the Nazi themselves in their non-stop bloody crimes, and the pleasure that they were getting from it."

The Bandera organization’s Torture Manual, re-published in Poland in 1989, is an impossible read. It lists 180 kinds of tortures of the most imaginative kind. Many Polish academics were and still are working on the subject. In the publications of the Historic Institute of the Jagellon University, the list of the tortures, – applied to civil populations, including children, the elderly and women  - reaches 362. Highly recommended reading, especially if somebody is perplexed about the definitions of the terms ‘heroes’ or ‘freedom fighters’.

In many Polish cities throughout the country there are numerous, over a dozen, tragic memorials to the victims of the Volyn massacre and the other crimes of the OUN UNA , some of those memorials are made with the chilling images of the photographs of the actual massacre. The day of 11th July is commemorated in Poland as the Day of the Victims of the Volyn Massacre.

For many years, previous Polish governments and the country’s Senate (the Upper House of the Polish parliament) tried to make Ukraine recognize the crimes against humanity carried on by the Bandera and Shuchevich butchers as a genocide on the international legal level, with the latest of these attempts  accepted by the Polish Seim, the parliament, in the Spring of 2013, a few months before the start of the Ukrainian conflict. The Polish leadership is trying to address the issue even now, despite their strong general support of the new Ukraine. And one can be absolutely sure that the Polish people would ever forget the massacre against them committed by the Ukrainian nationalists back in 1940s. There are valid reasons for qualifying the crimes as the crimes against humanity. They have no statute of limitations. 

There is no statute of limitations on yet another crime of the Ukrainian Nationalists – the Khatyn massacre in Byelorussia when an entire village was set ablaze by the 118th Nazi Schutzmannschaft battalion, formed in 1942 in Kiev and consisting of Ukrainian militants, with people burned alive there. The list of the crimes of the new Ukraine ‘heroes’ is precise - and it is a very long one.

Father Patrick Desbois, known to the world as ‘The Priest on the Holocaust Mission’, has found and described methodically the endless crimes against the Jewish population in Ukraine, with the crimes’ perpetrators, the OUN UNA units. He does it today with doubled energy, justly outraged at the Nazism glorification in Ukraine.   

Next year, there will be the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Babi Yar massacre in Ukraine. President Poroshenko has recently signed an order to create all kinds of committees to “prepare their proposals for the commemoration”. According to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Archive in Washington, DC, “among 1500 policemen carrying on the massacre, 300 were German members of the SS, and 1200 members of the Ukrainian OUN UNSO forces (those Bandera ‘heroes’)”. The statistic of Babi Yar is well known: 350 000 people were murdered there from 1941 through 1943,160, 000 of them Jewish, 50 000 of them children. Any further questions on the Bandera fighters’ heroism?

But as it is become known, in a truly inventive approach to history, the Ukrainian authorities and the people devoted to the operation Our Heroes in Ukraine, are preparing to commemorate also the OUN own victims of Baby Yar. It is known that 14 of them had been also killed by their comrades in Baby Yar, following the orders of the Germans who were not quite happy with the faction of the OUN that tried to be not quite subordinated to the Germans.

The ideological father of the new laws in Ukraine reworking all this outrage is the one of the new Ukrainian MPs, Jury Shuchevich, the 82 –year son of Roman Shuchevich, the one of the leaders of the infamous the SS Nachtigail battalion. SS Captain Roman Shuchevich was awarded the Nazi Iron Cross for his ‘exploits’ during the Second World War in Ukraine and was an Abver agent from 1926.  The fact that the son of the political leader of the SS Nachtigail battalion and the bearer of the Nazi Iron Cross is the most respected – according to the Ukrainian authorities – member of their parliament is telling all by itself. He spent many decades in the Soviet Gulag and is clearly motivated against anything Russian – he even added a new Ukrainian name to his existing name of Jury. But it is ridiculous to see how a personal vendetta has driven the policy of a country with a population of 45 million.

Recognised in his country as a political heavy-weight, Jury Shuchevich was asked recently by the very pro-governmental Kyiv Post English-language newspaper, “is it not too much glorification of the Ukrainian nationalists, with the historically known record of their activities?” The senior MP of the Ukrainian parliament  responded: “It is a very complicated question which has to be examined in full detail. But what about those Jews? Those ones who were in Judenrats, and who were after their own people in ghettos? I saw it with my own eyes. But Jews do not like to talk about it."

This year the whole world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Were 70 years not enough time to ‘examine’ those ‘complicated’ questions in full detail? And how about this completely shameless, cynical and hateful statement that mocks the memory of victims of his father’s ‘exploits to the core? In today's Ukraine, Shuhevich and the like do this routinely. In Germany and many other countries, he would be behind bars for his racist incitements.  In the current Ukraine, he is a hero, like his criminal father.  This legacy is tarnishing the reputation of Ukraine in global proportions.

The Cultural Offensive

The articles in both the Ukrainian and English version of Wikipedia have been altered drastically since the beginning of 2014, and today, one will find only positive things on the new ‘heroes’ known to the rest of the world as the biggest haters and worst criminals in modern history.

With unprecedented zealotry in implementation of what they believe is their new cultural and ideological identity, Ukrainian authorities did not find a better solution than ‘black lists’. They are enthusiastically blacklisting everything  and everyone now - people, books, films. Those lists are telling, too.

The new Ukrainian authorities have 554 people on their black list of cultural personalities, mostly Russians, but also Steven Segal and Gerard Depardieu, and even the American boxer Roy Joyce Jr. who opted to move to Russia.  Blacklisted writers, artists, actors and singers are officially declared by new Ukraine as ‘imposing a threat to its national security’. The Ukrainian authorities do know how to amuse effortlessly, it seems.  Many of those very dangerous people are in their 60s, 70s and 80s; they had been the most prolific culture figures for millions of viewers and listeners for decades.  

The films with all those enemies of Ukraine, including Segal and Depardieu, are banned too, of course. The French star laughed at the ban and thanked the Ukrainian authorities for what in his view is an honour.

In comparison, the white list of those whom they listed as their friends contains 34 names. Some of them, like the famous Russian actor and poet of Jewish origin Valentin Gaft,  has declared that he had been white listed without his knowledge and  is officially asking the Ukrainian authorities to black-list him, please. Another, the cult Soviet and Russian satirist writer Mikhail Zhvanezki, also of Jewish origin, has stated that "he is stunned by the decision, and does not quite know how to treat it, to cry or to laugh."

The new Ukrainian authorities' attacks on literature and cinema are unprecedented for the beginning of the XXI century. In June 2015, the Ukrainian State Cinema committee proudly reported that "while they banned 161 films in previous months, by now the figure is 384”. The ban has been carried out following the special law passed by the Ukrainian parliament in February 2015, and followed by another special decree of the president in June 2015. The law has banned for good the films produced by Russia from 1991 onward and having anything to do with police, army, special forces, etc. , including practically all films on the Second World War, on the First World War, and many historical ones. The presidential decree has banned all Russian film production from 2014 onward, including cartoons. 

They are banning books and banning writers en masse and they are banning the film versions of their own Gogol – who wrote in Russian and escaped from his place of birth first to St Petersburg and then to Italy, and their own Bulgakov for ‘unfavourable depiction’ of Ukrainians.

The world is stunned. Reporters Without Borders has issued an official statement in this regard: “Banning of any media, films or books cannot be tolerated and shall not be practiced. This is a direct and very serious violation of the freedom of speech. We do regard the introduction of black lists and culture bans by the Ukrainian authorities as completely wrong”. Johann Bier, the director of the Eastern Europe and Middle Asia Department of Reporters Without Borders has also clarified that the only exception which would justify such ban is a propaganda of terror – which had not been the case in the Ukrainian ban.

Mr Bier has also emphasised that "every case of a particular ban is due to be implemented only after an at least three-level international inspection, and strictly on the basis of the international law. It is obvious that the Ukrainian authorities did not conduct their bans in accordance with the international requirements and practice for that."

The new methods of punitive patriotism appear daily. Recently, the authorities in Kiev decided to strip the scientists who in their opinion are disloyal, or not loyal enough, of their scientific credentials - independently of when and in which country those scientists defended their dissertations and received their doctorates. Yet another punitive committee has proudly reported that they "did strip 12 scientists of their doctorates, and we will continue to apply this measure to entire scientific community here vigorously." It is amazing to observe such revival of medieval inquisitional  practices in Ukraine.  

What they are conducting is a cultural offensive. Did anyone in the current Ukrainian leadership ever hear of  Western democratic values? Tolerance, humanity, etc? Most of them were educated in decent universities, after all, albeit Soviet ones, and some of them have had some international experience, too.   Welcome to the new Ukraine.