Efforts to reconcile Jewish and Ukrainian People


by Olga Kaczmar, 2005


    The Ukrainians don't hate the Jews in particular; they hate everyone who has tried to control and rule over them. They hated the Mongols who destroyed the Kievan Rus empire, the Ottoman Turks, the Poles, the Austrians, the Germans, the Russians. They hated the Jews who sided with the Russians, the Jews who sided with the Poles and the Jews who sided with the Germans. They hated the Jews under the Austria, when Jews were put in between Austrian aristocracy and Rusyn peasants in Galicia.

    Having the richest soil in Europe proved to be an impossible asset to protect, but Ukrainians fought to the death to hold onto it. It was a fight for survival of the fittest. When the US helped USSR and Poland during World War II, it did so at the expense of Ukrainian blood. Centuries of slaughter of Ukrainian people by all usurping nations, left a bottleneck gene pool, which was very hostile to outsiders, distrustful and very nationalistic. Ukraine's 19th century poet and foremost national hero, Taras Shevchenko wrote: "My beautiful country, so rich and resplendent! Who has not tormented you" (Journey Across Russia, The Soviet Union Today by Bart McDowell, pg. 165).

    Many Jewish authors and writers are very anti-Ukrainian, with as much vehemence against Ukrainians as anti-Semitism. Yehuda Bauer, in his book, A History of the Holocaust, goes out of his way to portray Ukrainians as the bad guys. I chastize him for taking isolated instances of violence and stigmatizing the whole Ukrainian population as anti-Semitic. One must look at the whole evolutionary history of these two groups, the development of hatred along with the rise of nationalism, who really controlled Ukraine during this violence, and who controlled the violence against the Jews.

    One example of inaccuracy portrayed, Bauer wrote (page 65), "The nationalist Ukrainian government under Semyon Petlura (after November 1918) failed to prevent outrages against Jews." Once again, this is perpetuating a distortion of Ukrainian / Jewish relationships. The truth was that Petlura had actually issued orders to his army not to be involved in pogroms; and Petlura was assassinated in Paris in 1926 by Sholem Schwartzbart, a Jew who was a Soviet agent according to CIA director Allen Dulles (Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000).

    Throughout his book, Bauer targets the Ukrainians as co-conspirators to the Nazis. In actual numbers, Ukrainians were far greater victims than were the Jews in World War II and before:

      1. Stalin imposed a famine-genocide, which took 10 million lives in 1932-33. However, Bauer glossed over and wrote, "By the mid-thirties, about 160,000 Jews were settled on land [southern Ukraine], 40,000 to 60,00 of them by the JDS." Bauer doesn't tell you that this was to repopulate the lands were the Ukrainian villages were totally wiped out by the artificially-created famine, ethnic cleansing of the Ukrainian population. Occupying the farms of the starved Ukrainians, the Jews were instrumental in hiding the fact that there was a genocide. Stalin brought in families from all over Russia to re-populate the missing, later arranging guided tours of international news reporters to show them that there was NO starvation here! Further, Stalin's infamous henchman Lazar Kaganovich, of Jewish origin, was responsible for collectivization, and engineered the terrible 1933 famine (Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000).

      2. During World War II, Ukrainian population lost another 10 million people. Hitler occupied Ukraine totally, and the well-manicured fields and villages of Ukraine were repeatedly a battleground. Both Stalin and Hitler wanted to erase Ukrainians, both burned out Ukraine upon retreat, leaving uncounted numbers to die from starvation and exposure in the winter. Subsequently, Stalin publicly listed those casualties as Russian casualties, not Ukrainian. In later years, Khrushchev included 16 million civilians. The majority of these victims were non-Russian, mostly Ukrainians (http://infoukes.com/history/ww2/page-01.html, 2004).

      Ukraine lost more people in WW II than any other European country, estimated at 11 million people by Stephan G. Prociuk (Annals of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences in the US): http://www.cbsnews.com/8601-202_162-4858612.html?assetTypeId=30

        "At the end of the war, Ukraine lay in ruins; the populations had declined by 25 per cent -- that is by approximately 10.5 million people; 6.8 million killed or died of hunger or disease, and the remainder had been evacuated or deported to Soviet Asia as political prisoners or had ended up as slave labor or émigrés in Hitler's Germany..." wrote Ann Lencyk Pawliczko in Ukraine and Ukrainians Throughout the World (University of Toronto Press, 1994, p.62).

      Still others estimate Ukrainian losses at 13.9 million. "The Museum of World War II in the capital Kiev has a simple sign on marble which states: 'In 1940 in Ukraine lived 41.3 million people. In 1945 - 27.4 million people.' About 8 million Ukrainian citizens [not soldiers] (other estimates say 10 million) were killed in World War II" wrote Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000.

      According to the University of Hawaii democide table, Slavs were killed at twice the rate of the Jews. Also, it shows the heaviest democide at over 12 million USSR population (Univ. of Hawaii). Remember, that Ukrainians were listed as citizens of USSR and Poland; and Hitler occupied Ukraine for 3 years before he entered Russia proper (NAZIS.TAB1.1.GIF, 2004).

      Norman Davies, professor and author of God's Playgound: A History of Poland, calculated that approximately five million Jews died in the war, compared with five million ethnic Poles and as many as 11 million Ukrainians.

      3. At first, the Ukrainians were happy when Germany invaded because believing they were going to be liberated from the Satanic Stalin. The Nazi's were promising independence for Ukraine. They later found out that Hitler came to rob Ukraine of everything of value; food, their children, their young men / women to be used as a labor force, and in addition, trainloads of soil were routed to Germany.

      4. The Ukrainian people didn't have independent action against the Jews; since either the Russians or the Germans orchestrated and dominated them. The Ukrainian police under Russia (called Ukrainische Hilfungspolizei / Ukrainian Auxiliary Police) was not Ukrainian by origin, but transplants from Russia and other nationalities. "The Ukrainian police under Nazis 'were also Volksdeutsch, Russians, Poles, Balts, Tartars, Armenians, Hungarians, and Romanians. Particularly notorious were the 'Ukrainian' police in the Warsaw ghetto who were not Ukrainians at all. They were Russians who were members of the Vlasov Russian Liberation Army (former Waffen SS No. 29) and not Ukrainians according to Professor Yaroslav Bilinsky" (Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000).

      5. The Ukrainian Army controlled by the Germans was called Galizien Division. One provision the Galizien Division insisted on was that they fight only the Russians and not the western Allies (http://infoukes.com/galiciadivision/essay, 2004). The Waffen SS Galizien recruited three times as many Dutchmen as Ukrainians (http://infoukes.com/history/ww2/page-01.html, 2004) .

        As far as anti-Semitism charges brought against them, "In its final report, issued March 12, 1987, the Deschenes Commission completely cleared the Galicia Division of all charges of war criminal activity" (Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000).

      6. For the three years Hitler occupied Germany, it ruled Ukraine, dividing it into five administrative districts. There was no Ukrainian government, therefore was not be a collaborator as was Vichy France, Hungary, Romania, or Slovakia (Andrew Gregorovich, 1998-2000).

      7. The real Ukrainian army, a mere 200,000 Ukrainian partisans, was the UPA and they were not anti-Semitic. There were 8 Jewish doctors in the UPA, most valuable assets to the survival of an army.

        "Many Jews could be found in the UPA, as doctors and medical orderlies. Stories of Jewish UPA doctors fighting it out with Nazis or Soviets to the end to protect their patients were not uncommon. At its peak in 1944, the UPA had around 500,000 men and women from various nationalities within its ranks, working as soldiers, medics, informants, saboteurs, etc." (http://members.aol.com/shukhevych/, 2004) - no longer on web.

      UPA actions intensified after WWII when former prisoners of war and slave workers, who were forcefully repatriated from Germany and deported to Siberia and other remote parts of USSR (Compiled by George Skoryk, from information contained in Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004).

      8. Ukraine was the only country that fought a 3-front war during WW II: against Poland, against Germany and against Russia. Hitler retaliated by killing 20 (later boosted up to 100) innocent Ukrainian citizens for every soldier he lost and then he ordered them to be strung up from balconies to rot, a reminder to those who would want to help the partisans.

      9. Ukraine was the only country that continued to fight WW II until 1956 (General Roman Shukhevych, Commander of UPA, kept the guerrilla war going against USSR, five years after World War II, until he was killed in action in 1950.) Something as unique as that, did not make it into the history of WW II? During WWII, Ukrainians had little to loose. They had lost their lands, their farm animals, tools and implements as well as families to the Stalin regime. Later the Germans came in and took their youth, the last of their food and burned out their shelter. So dying for Ukrainian freedom was the only honorable thing to do. Dying for Ukraine is an ongoing theme passed down through poetry. Young men took to the woods and kept killing Soviet soldiers. "Then many partisans, fully armed, crossed through Czechoslovakia to Austria and Germany and surrendered to Western occupational authorities" (Compiled by George Skoryk, from information contained in Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004).

      "Most probably, Shukhevych could not use his grenade in the cramped house and attempted to make a break for it. If he had not wanted to do this, he would have shot or blown himself up with the grenade without any hesitation. Because of the uncoordinated actions of the operational group that Shukhevych had caught by surprise, the UPA commander sustained a fatal wound, rolled down the stairs and, in order not to be captured alive, shot himself through the temple with his Walther pistol." http://www.ukemonde.com/murderbymoscow/mystery.html

      10. According to Ukrainian estimates about 3,000,000 Ukrainians were sent to Germany and Austria to work in factories as zwangsarbeiter (forced labor) and the Ostarbeiter (east workers, i.e. Ukrainian slaves). Thousands died on the factory floor of exhaustion and starvation. Others died in the Allied bombings. My mother, from Galicia, went willingly for job opportunities but then was converted to slave labor. My Ukrainian friend's mother stayed alive on one slice of bread and one cup of watery soup every day.

      11. Evidence to annihilate: "No documentary evidence exists of Hitler's order to eliminate all Jews in Europe but we know this is true. Likewise, we have no Hitler order to annihilate the Ukrainians. But we do have the evidence (http://infoukes.com/history/ww2/):

        • Millions of civilian victims perished which could not be accidental.
        • Documentary evidence of the wholesale executions of Ukrainians.
        • The order to execute up to 100 innocent Ukrainians for one German soldier shot by the partisans and 460,000 German soldiers were killed by partisans and guerillas.
        • German documents attest that the The Ostarbeiter Ukrainian slaves were to be worked to death in Germany. Armaments minister Alber Speer wrote that his work force was dwindling, that he needed a fresh supply of 40,000 every month, a rate of 10,000 a day. (http://infoukes.com/history/ww2/page-13.html)
        • Millions of prisoners of war were intentionally starved to death in concentration camps.
        • Ukrainian cities were starved to death according to plan.
        • Nazi leaders said that Ukraine, as the Lebensraum (new living space) of Nazi Germany, would be colonized by German population and some Ukrainians would be used as slave labor.
        • Ukrainians disproportionate civilian losses compared to military also indicate a special Nazi German campaign.
        • Reichmarshal Goeing, second to Hitler in power, said: "This year between twenty and thirty million persons will die [in Ukraine and] Russia of hunger. Perhaps it is well that it should be so, for certain nations must be decimated." Nov. 24-27, 1941 (Dallin p.123)
        • Like Bormann and Goering, SS leader Heinrich Himler said that "the entire Ukrainian intelligentsia must be decimated." (Dallin, p. 127)

      12. Many Ukrainians were involved in the rescue of Jews during the Nazi occupation. On 8 November 1992, The Ukrainian Weekly reported that during the first Jewish Congress of Ukraine, held in Kiev, "48 awards were handed out to Ukrainians and people of other nationalities who had rescued Jews during the Second World War."

      While the Roman Catholic Church kept silent about deportation of Jews, "Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky distributed a pastoral letter against the persecution of Jews in Ukraine titled 'Thou Shalt Not Kill', and the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, particularly Metropolitan Sheptytsky, hid hundreds of Jews in monasteries and convents" (http://www.infoukes.com/religion/sheptytsky/, 2004).

      "During the Nazi occupation of Ukraine, Metropolitan Sheptytsky enlisted the services of 500 monks and nuns to help save Jews from death," said Mr. Vesselovsky (http://www.ukrweekly.com/Archive/1996/439621.shtml, 2004).

      13. After WWII, the Polish were awarded their partition of Ukraine, another Ukrainian massacre followed, called Operation Vistula. All battlefronts were quiet when another confidential bloodbath began. In 1946-47, Poland began a campaign to rid itself of the disgusting Ukrainian peasants (my forefather's homestead from the 1700s) off their new lands. The Polish government is still claiming that it was a voluntary deportation. Figures & statistics vary depending on whose presentation. It is estimated that 65,000 to 70,000 people were deported according to Poland: A Country Study which justifies it in this manner:

        "In the late 1940s, the main roles of the military were resettlement of Poland's newly acquired western territory, helping in economic reconstruction, and waging a three-year civil war against Home Army supporters, Ukrainian nationalist and various outlaw bands* in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Some 70,000 people were arrested by internal security and military authorities in the repression of civil uprising between 1945 and 1948" (page 238).

        *The emphasis is mine. With a straight face, they can tag 70,000 people as outlaw bands -- that was a substantial portion of the population of the mountainside.

      14. As early as 1944, a Soviet decree signed by Zhukov and Beria (later murdered also) recommend that all Ukrainian be resettled in Siberia. "From 1944 to the late 1950's, the Berianist Soviet government repressed the Ukrainians. A total of three million Ukrainians (out of a 1950 population of 53 million) were eventually deported to Siberian labour camps, while another million Ukrainians died as a direct result of political terror" (http://www.ahtg.net/TpA/ukr2001.html, 2004).

      Others claim 178,000 were dispersed and 60,000 remain in Poland. Unfortunates, without a roof over their heads, elderly or ill, and nothing to eat, decided to die on their native soil, rather than go to the Soviet Union. In order to save bullets, the Polish soldiers bayoneted & bludgeoned old women who refused to leave on a wide-scale basis. (This is documented by Committee Against Mass Expulsion, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, NY 1948, 7-32 reprinted in volume 2/1975 of Annals of the World Lemko Federation.) Isn't it nice to know that commemorative crosses mark the spots where Polish soldiers perished in the voluntary transfer of these bandits but nothing for the Galician peasants who were massacred?

      15. Ukrainian Congress Committee of America statistics (of Operation Vistula) say 750,000 were killed outright or relocated to Siberia in cattle cars without food, suitable clothing or sanitary provisions for the winter trip. Many thousands died along the way and their bodies were thrown out of the trains to be buried in the dead snows until the spring thaw.

      16. "There are no official figures but experts in Gulag matters estimate the number of those who perished at Sanok (my mother's city in Poland) at 20 to 25 thousand. No water, food once a day, at night. The camp kapos were German prisoners. They carried huge rods and beat everyone. Here too, orders came unexpectedly. At the double, fall in, two thousand in each column, that's how many each train took. You had to climb in after running between specially trained guards. Armed young soldiers, one to four or five prisoners. A hundred into each truck, packed in like sardines, and off they went on a journey lasting weeks, into the interior of the Ukraine, and from there on towards the Caucasus and Siberia" (by Miklós Zelei, Hungarian Quarterly, VOLUME XXXVIII, No. 146, Summer 1997 - Some Highlights).

      Up to 30 million people are estimated by Western historians to have died between 1918 and 1956 in Stalinist repression, civil war, famine and collectivization, although the true figure may never be known.

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    e-mail: Olga Kaczmar / USA