Ukrainian teacher allegedly praises Hitler

Public school teacher in Lviv allegedly posted birthday greetings to Nazi leader on Facebook and taught her students the Nazi salute.

Ben Ariel ,

Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler

A public school teacher in Ukraine allegedly posted birthday greetings to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on Facebook and taught her students the Nazi salute, JTA reported on Monday.

Marjana Batjuk, who teaches at a school in Lviv and also is a councilwoman, posted her greeting on April 20, Hitler’s birthday, Eduard Dolinsky, director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, told JTA.

He called the incident a “scandal.”

The teacher, according to the report, also took some of her students to meet far-right activists who over the weekend marched on the city’s streets while wearing the uniform of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, an elite Nazi unite with many ethnic Ukrainians also known as the 1st Galician.

Displaying Nazi imagery is illegal in Ukraine, but Dolinsky said law enforcement authorities allowed the activists to parade on main streets.

Batjuk had the activists explain about their replica weapons, which they paraded ahead of a larger event in honor of the 1st Galician unit planned for next week in Lviv.

The events honoring the 1st Galician SS unit in Lviv are not organized by municipal authorities.

Batjuk, 28, a member of the far-right Svoboda party, called Hitler “a great man” and quoted from his book “Mein Kampf” in her Facebook post, Dolinsky said. She later claimed that her Facebook account was hacked and deleted the post, but the Strana news site found that she had a history of posting Nazi imagery on social networks.

She also posted pictures of children she said were her students performing the Nazi salute with her.

Dolinsky called the veneration of SS soldiers whom some historians say participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles “an outrageous desecration of the memory of the victims.”

Education Ministry officials have started a disciplinary review of her conduct, the KP news site reported.

The incident is the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Ukraine in recent months.

In February, a monument for Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust in Ternopil, east of Lviv, was vandalized by unidentified individuals who painted on it a swastika and the SS Nazi elite unit’s symbol.

The same month, an unidentified person wearing a ski mask hurled a smoke grenade into a Ukraine bookstore during a lecture about the Holocaust.

The Israeli Ministry for Diaspora affairs recently release a report which found that the number of recorded anti-Semitic attacks recorded in Ukraine in 2017 surpassed the tally of all such incidents in the entire former Soviet Union. More than 130 incidents were recorded in Ukraine last year, the Ministry found.