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Ukrainian past and Ukrainian future

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Sept. 20, 2010, 1:06 p.m. | Op-ed — by John-Paul Himka
Askold S. Lozynskyj’s “Rewriting History: An Evidentiary Perspective” (Kyiv Post, Feb. 16) criticizes my historical research, but also raises the important question of how should we deal with the negative aspects of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN-UPA) heritage. Some years back, there was a lively interchange between Polish and Ukrainian historians over the massacres that occurred in Volhynia and Galicia in 1943-44.

Yaroslav Hrytsak characterizes it as the Ukrainian Historikerstreit, referring to an important debate among German historians over the place of the Holocaust in German history. He meant that it was a coming to terms with the dark aspects of the past.

One of the things that emerged clearly from this discussion was that UPA and OUN were responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Poles in western Ukraine. (Another was that, when possible, armed Poles took a ferocious revenge.)

Although the facts as established would seem to me to have meant that one could not make heroes out of OUN, UPA or their leaders, this did not seem so to ex-President Viktor Yushchenko or to many in western Ukraine or to many in the overseas Ukrainian diaspora.
My main evidence is that many Jewish testimonies, taken in different places, in different languages, and over a span of 60 years tell the same basic story: that UPA killed Jews at the same time as they killed Poles.

I was never a participant in the Polish-Ukrainian debate, but a few years ago I began to work on the role of Ukrainian nationalists in the destruction of Ukraine’s Jewish population, i.e., in the Holocaust. This is what Lozynskyj responded to so vehemently in his article.

He misrepresents my research on UPA and the Holocaust in fundamental ways. He says that “without exception” the eyewitness accounts I cite are hearsay on the order of “my friend told me that in the village the UPA murdered Jews, etc.”

It is true that I do include such accounts, because every large historical action leaves waves of evidence in its wake, some closer to the action, some more distant, but all reflecting the action itself.

I also, however, cited a number of more direct cases, such as the ten-year-old boy whose father had been killed by Banderites just two months before he testified to the Jewish Historical Commission.

He also says that my paper on UPA “relies strictly on eyewitness testimony. No documentation is offered.”

This is also untrue. I quote from the book of reports of UPA’s Kolodzinsky division, for example, about how they stumbled upon twelve Hungarian Jews hiding in the forest in Volhynia and “dispatched them to the bosom of Abraham.” I quote a German report about how their own forces could not reach a gang of a hundred Jews near Stryi, but fortunately UPA was on the spot killing them.

The axe and the flail have gone into motion. Whole families are butchered and hanged, and Polish settlements are set on fire. The ‘hatchet men,’ to their shame, butcher and hang defenseless women and children....By such work Ukrainians not only do a favor for the SD [German security service], but also present themselves in the eyes of the world as barbarians.

Taras Bulba-Borovets, original founder of OUN
My main evidence, however, is that many Jewish testimonies, taken in different places, in different languages, and over a span of 60 years tell the same basic story: that UPA killed Jews at the same time as they killed Poles and that in the winter of 1943-44, as the Red Army approached Volhynia, UPA lured survivors out of hiding in the forests, enrolled them in labor camps and then killed them. If all this eyewitness testimony is false, then it is incumbent upon those who claim this to explain how all this false testimony came into being.


Lozynskyj also misrepresents another of my works, an article about the Lviv pogrom in which I tested a piece of oral testimony from 1945 against photographs from 1941.

It was an exploration of the validity and limits of testimony, but Lozynskyj characterizes it as “written for the purpose of showing that...the OUN spearheaded” the Lviv pogrom.


It is an undeniable fact, though, that OUN organized pogroms and mass violence against Jews and others throughout western Ukraine in July 1941. German documentation and Jewish testimony are unanimous that Ukrainians were the pogromists. The pattern of the violence exhibits many features of coordination over the whole territory. For example, in many localities in Galicia during the first few days the pogromists threw their victims into rivers. This was an error, since the stink of decomposing bodies soon became unbearable. How did so many dispersed groups do the same wrong thing at once? Who was coordinating this?

Many of the German documents and Jewish testimonies indicate that OUN militias were behind the violence. OUN leaders in July communicated among themselves and to the Ukrainian public about the need to exterminate the Jews. Postwar Soviet trials of policemen in German service contain a number of eyewitness testimonies from 1944 that identify OUN militias and Sich organizations as perpetrators of the mass violence. What historical circumstances could have produced this particular historical record if OUN was not behind the pogroms?

For political reasons, the Soviets decided in 1959-60 to blame the Lviv pogrom on the nationalist battalion Nachtigall. This deception left a huge paper trail which the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) revealed in early 2008. Why is there no paper trail showing similar falsification of evidence about OUN militias?

Actually, there was a falsification, but not by the KGB. Shortly after SBU disclosed the documentation on Nachtigall, it published part of what it presented to the public as an OUN chronicle of events from July 1941. The document related that the Germans invited OUN leaders to stage a pogrom in Lviv, which they refused. But this document had the dates of the pogrom wrong. Moreover, examining portions sent to me by the Canadian embassy in Canada, I found that it had been written after the war. Marco Carynnyk later found even more evidence that this was a postwar fabrication produced by OUN itself. Why would Yushchenko’s SBU resort to propagating this falsification if it had anything in its archives that truly exculpated OUN from the pogroms?

Lozynskyj also tries to discredit my research by stating that my award of a fellowship from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum shows that I am working for the Jews. But it’s not about Jews. There are plenty of Ukrainian Jews who are quite happy with the legend of the heroic and democratic OUN-UPA, friends of the Jews – Moisei Fishbein, Vitalii Nakhmanovych, and Yosyf Zisels, for example.

This debate is not about Jews at all, it is about Ukrainians. It is about who Ukrainians imagine they are, how they evaluate their past, and who they want to be in the future.

There were Ukrainian spokesmen during the war who were deeply concerned about the impact of OUN’s war crimes.

Just as soon as OUN began murdering Poles in Volhynia, the original founder of OUN, Taras Bulba-Borovets wrote: “The axe and the flail have gone into motion. Whole families are butchered and hanged, and Polish settlements are set on fire. The ‘hatchet men,’ to their shame, butcher and hang defenseless women and children....By such work Ukrainians not only do a favor for the SD [German security service], but also present themselves in the eyes of the world as barbarians. We must take into account that England will surely win this war, and it will treat these ‘hatchet men’ and lynchers and incendiaries as agents in the service of Hitlerite cannibalism, not as honest fighters for their freedom, not as state-builders.”

Five months later, after the murder of Poles spread to Galicia, the head of the Greek Catholic church, Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, appealed to the elders of communities to save those in danger of death.

He addressed himself as follows to the nationalist youth: “Do not let yourselves be provoked to commit any iniquitous acts. It is only, after all, in the interests of our enemies to urge our people to take unwise steps that could in the future bring, and even must bring, great damage to our people. Do not let yourselves be deceived by people who present as a necessity acts against God’s law. Remember that you will achieve nothing good through actions that are opposed to God’s law.”

Ukrainians need not adopt the heritage of OUN as the basis of their identity. There are other strands also in the legacy that our ancestors bequeathed to us.

This is also a question of what kind of intellect and morality we want to be characteristic of the nation. Do we want to examine the complexity of the Ukrainian past, or do we want to live the unexamined national life? Do we want to begin the deconstruction of myths that divide us east and west, or would we prefer to continue to battle over events that occurred nearly seventy years ago? Do we want to work out a historical discourse that serves all Ukrainian citizens, regardless of ethnicity, or do we want to hunker down in our nationalism? Do we value sophistication and tolerance, or are we happy with antisemitism and xenophobia?

It is difficult to rethink our history when it has become such a battleground between Orangists and Regionists and when critical thinking has to take place against the background noise of hostile, anti-Ukrainian polemics.

But regional differences and an uncomfortable neighborhood are going to be with Ukraine for a long, long time yet. We cannot let these circumstances stifle our development into the kind of people we deserve and want to be.


John-Paul Himka is the author of “Ukrainians, Jews and the Holocaust: Divergent Memories” (Saskatoon: Heritage Press, 2009).
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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 3:22 p.m.    

Apparently Mr. Himka has joined the ranks of the ever popular movement among prolific writers to enrich themselves by spewing baseless "facts". I am surprised that none of his ilk have not yet proclaimed that all the ills of the world were caused by Ukrainians. That would surely be a best seller among those that need to relieve themselves of collective guilt regardless of whether they are Germans,Russians,or Americans. They all led pogroms. Perception is reality.

So, to those that like to hear themselves talk and otherwise suffer from diarrehea of the mouth I suggest being more creative than our fellow "landsman" John-Paul Himka.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, midnight    

SPEWING BASELESS FACTS...

aka Soviet disinformation.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 4:32 p.m.    

&quot;Methinks thou dost protest too much...&quot; - Shakespeare - Hamlet Act iii, scii.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 5:11 p.m.    

Ah, yes, the diaspora Nazi OUN fascist apologists are now in mad-dog attack mode. Anything that does not fit their neat concept of no guilt for the crimes committed (and in their pea-sized minds, no crimes were ever committed) needs to be excoriated.

Facts are a hard thing for them to handle and reasoned argument is well beyond their very limited abilities.

For types such as these, the Jews, Poles, Americans and especially the Russians are to blame for all their ills. They still remain mired in the offal that their sick ideology has created for them.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 2:29 a.m.    

http://halychyna.ca/Misc/PutinSr.htm

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 6:09 p.m.    

THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE BANDERA ERA WAS AN UNMITIGATED DISASTER FOR UKRAINE BOTH AT THE TIME OF ITS HAPPENING AND FOR POSTERITY. WHAT COUNTRY OR GROUP WOULD GO ON THE OFFENSIVE WITHOUT SUPPORT FROM SOMEONE OTHER THAN &quot;THE ENEMY&quot;. AT THE SAME TIME I BELIEVE THAT BANDERA WAS A UKRAINIAN PATRIOT WHO THOUGHT HE WAS STRIKING A BLOW FOR FREEING UKRAINE FROM THE RUSSIAN TYRANTS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME HE WAS FIGHTING FELLOW UKRAINIANS WHO WERE PERHAPS UNWILLINGLY, IN THE RED ARMY. HE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED AND READ MEIN KAMPF WHERE HITLER STATES VERY CLEARLY THAT HE INTENDS TO SUBJUGATE UKRAINE AND MAKE US INTO SLAVES BECAUSE WE ARE, IN HIS OPINION, UNTERMENSCHEN. THIS IS A CASE OF LEAPING FROM THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE.

AT THE SAME TIME, PROF. HIMKA IS DEFINTELY NOT A UKRAINIAN PATRIOT WHEN HE TRIES TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF DEAD IN THE HOLODOMOR TO 3.5 MILLION. WHY? SO THAT IT IS LESS THAN THE JEWISH HOLOCAUST? HIS REASONING IS NOT SOUND AND THE HEAD OF THE UWC IS TO BE CONGRATULATED ON HIS ARGUMENTS WHICH ARE BASED ON FACTS, SUCH AS THE CENSUSES OF THE SOVIET UNION.

WE WILL BE SETTING UP TRUSTS FOR UKRAINIAN STUDIES IN SEVERAL UNIVERSITIES AND PEOPLE LIKE HIMKA ARE ADVISED NOT TO APPLY FOR FUNDS. THEIR WORK IS OFF-LIMITS AND SUBVERSIVE.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 11:30 p.m.    

From what I've read, based on the scholarship as it exists, the number of deaths in the Holodomor are between 3.5 and 4 million. This number may climb or it may remain fixed. But the important thing is that we approach the truth.

Why is it important to make it many times more? SO THAT IT IS MORE THAN THE JEWISH HOLOCAUST?

I'll take it we'll be able to instantly recognize the trusts &quot;YOU'LL&quot; be setting up &quot;for Ukrainian Studies in Several Universities&quot; by application forms devoid of both a lower case and a higher brow.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:59 a.m.    

the numbers don't really matter its the end result of genocidal attempts that matter: the Jews achieved the Israel homeland within 5 years of their genocide, whereas it took the Ukrainians ten times as long to achieve an Independent Ukraine after their genocide.

Actually the lower the numbers the better! Is this not so? I would rather that the Holodomor killed 3 to 4 million rather than 10 and the Holocaust 1 to 2 million rather than 6! Why would YOU want more? Actually it would be best to have the number ZERO for both!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:27 a.m.    

Cheer up. The Jews were at it since 70 AD.

If we take Kyiv Rus' as the last sustained period of statehood, that's a difference of 1,100 years in the goyim's favour. Perhaps the New Testament is a shortcut, after all.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:46 a.m.    

OK, strange but interesting

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 6:34 p.m.    

HIMKA'S CHALLENGE:

&quot;If all this eyewitness testimony is false, then it is incumbent upon those who claim this to explain how all this false testimony came into being.&quot;

ONE OF MANY ANSWERS TO HIMKA'S CHALLENGE IS GIVEN BY NORMAN FINKELSTEIN:

Because enduring the camps became a crown of martyrdom, many Jews who spent the war elsewhere represent themselves as camp survivors. Another strong motive behind this misrepresentation, however, was material. The postwar German government provided compensation to Jews who had been in ghettos or camps. Many Jews fabricated their pasts to meet this eligibility requirement. &quot;If everyone who claims to be a survivor actually is one,&quot; my mother used to exclaim, &quot;who did Hitler kill?&quot;

Indeed, many scholars have cast doubt on the reliability of survivor testimony. &quot;A great percentage of the mistakes I discovered in my own work,&quot; Hilberg recalls, &quot;could be attributed to testimonies.&quot; Even within the Holocaust industry, Deborah Lipstadt, for example, wryly observes that Holocaust survivors frequently maintain they were personally examined by Josef Mengele at Auschwitz.

Apart from the frailties of memory, some Holocaust survivor testimony may be suspect for additional reasons. Because survivors are now revered as secular saints, one doesn't dare question them. Preposterous statements pass without comment. Elie Wiesel reminisces in his acclaimed memoir that, recently liberated from Buchenwald and only eighteen years old, &quot;I read The Critique of Pure Reason — don't laugh! — in Yiddish.&quot; Leaving aside Wiesel's acknowledgment that at the time &quot;I was wholly ignorant of Yiddish grammar,&quot; The Critique of Pure Reason was never translated into Yiddish. Wiesel also remembers in intricate detail a &quot;mysterious Talmudic scholar&quot; who &quot;mastered Hungarian in two weeks, just to surprise me.&quot; Wiesel tells a Jewish weekly that he &quot;often gets hoarse or loses his voice&quot; as he silently reads his books to himself &quot;aloud, inwardly.&quot; And to a New York Times reporter, he recalls that he was once hit by a taxi in Times Square. &quot;I flew an entire block. I was hit at 45th Street and Broadway, and the ambulance picked me up at 44th.&quot;

[Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Verso, London and New York, 2000, p. 91.]

BOAZ EVRON GOES FARTHER THAN FINKELSTEIN--HE VIEWS THE LIES TOLD ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST AS BEING THE SECOND-GREATEST TRAGEDY TO BEFALL THE JEWISH PEOPLE DURING THE TWENTIETH CENTURY:

Two terrible things happened to the Jewish people during this century: [First, t]he Holocaust and the lessons drawn from it. [Second, t]he non-historical and easily refutable commentaries on the Holocaust made either deliberately or through simple ignorance and their use for propaganda purposes among non-Jews or Jews both in Israel and the diaspora constitute a cancer for Jews and for the State of Israel.

[Boaz Evron, Holocaust: A Danger for the Jewish People, published in the Hebrew journal Yiton 77, May-June 1980.]

HIMKA HAS BUILT A CAREER CREDITING STORIES THAT EVERY INFORMED PERSON RECOGNIZES TO BE UNRELIABLE. HE HAS BUILT A CAREER PROMOTING THE GROWTH OF WHAT SOME CONSIDER TO BE A &quot;CANCER FOR JEWS AND FOR THE STATE OF ISRAEL&quot;.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 11:20 p.m.    

I agree with the essence of some of what you cite with regard to the Jewish community and context — but then am driven to wonder why it is that we are meant to accept, without criticism, comment, or the use of historical tools at our disposal the testimony of former members of OUN/UPA in evaluating their place and the place of their ideology in our diaspora and in Ukrainian history?

And if I agree that the Holocaust Industry is a &quot;cancer for Jews and for the state of Israel&quot; — why would I ever accept a Ukrainian corollary as something life-giving for our community and for Ukraine?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:52 a.m.    

I see a big difference. For example, Ukrainians never made up a story about some Nathan the Terrible who was supposed to have killed 870,000 Ukrainians in Lviv, but with no bodies to show by way of substantiation, and with the historical record never having mentioned this Nathan the Terrible until a half-dozen Ukrainian witnesses suddenly remembered him for the first time in 1977 or so, and Ukrainians have never put some Nathan Cohen of NYC, say, through decades of persecution for having been that imaginary Nathan the Terrible, and don't have him on trial today, and so on.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 2:03 a.m.    

There's a big difference between making up a story and getting that story published. And a big difference between arguing for the prosecution of criminals and launching a prosecution.

I've heard both stories and arguments from the Ukrainian community — and plenty of complaining that we can't get the villains in our stories the notoriety and kind of justice we'd like.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 11:52 p.m.    

Is John Demjanjuk the Last Nazi?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 12:02 a.m.    

he never was a &quot;Nazi&quot; just an innocent celepko...

do YOU really believe that the Nazis would put ANY Ukrainian in charge of gassing a million Jews in Treblinka or anywhere else...?...despite Himka's million &quot;witnesses&quot;!!!!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 3:20 p.m.    

No, he is not. The OSI publishes a yearly report with a section devoted to a &quot;still looking for&quot; list. Demjanjuk's name was on that list as are other Ukrainians.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 8:10 p.m.    

First of all, Bandera was NEVER a Nazi and NEVWE supported Hitler. As well Ukraine was the FIRST country to fight Hitler via the Carpathian SICH. How is it that Ukraine is called Nazi sympathiser while Slovakia which prospered under Hitler being declared a neutral state in which you could buy anything on the blackmarket. Slovaks lived more prosperously under Hitler's protection than Germans. Then there are the Romanians and Hungarians and Croats who were avid supporters of Hitler. Yet no one speaks of them. Why not? And what is this insidious force which continually tries to blacken Ukraine if not RUSSIA? Yanukovich's best friends. The UWC is quite within its rights in defending Bandera from false allegations. Bandera was not a politician, nor was Melnyk, and for that matter neither was Yuschenko. We are sadly at a disadvantage in all cases. And if we want to speak of Nazi collaborators then you don't have to look too far - it was Stalin who signed a peace agreement with Hitler and shipped Ukrainian wheat to feed the German army. In order to accomplish this Stalin had to dismiss Litvinov (who was a Jew) from signing the declaration, and appoint Molotov instead. And then we have the British Royal family with Edward and Wallace grovelling before Hitler right up until the end of the war. Why aren't they called Nazis?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:24 a.m.    

&quot;NEVER&quot; is a stretch.

Bandera couldn't be an NSDAP member — (the party rolls were closed even to Germans following the Nazi seizure of power to guard against opportunism) — but I think it would be more accurate to say that Bandera supported Hitler as long as he imagined that it was in his interests. That's why both their names appear in OUN(B) proclamations, in newspapers and banners until shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.

How would you describe the political system of Carpatho-Ukraine? What was the model for УНО in Carpatho-Ukraine's single-party system? And if you oppose (as you ought) the threat to an independent judiciary and internment without recourse to due process currently very much in the headlines in Ukraine — what do you make of the fact that these were features of the Carpatho-Ukrainian political landscape instituted by Ukrainian nationalists after 1938?

How is it that &quot;Ukraine was the FIRST country to fight Hitler via the Carpathian SICH&quot; when:

a) from October 26, 1938 until March 14, 1939, Subcarpathian Rus'/Carpatho-Ukraine was an autonomous region of Czechoslovakia;

b) Voloshyn's declaration of independence on March 14, 1939 was predicated on the German Reich's acceptance of Carpatho-Ukraine as a German protectorate;

c) a day later, March 15, not having achieved protectorate status and with Hungarian forces advancing to occupy Carpatho-Ukraine, Voloshyn dismissed his hours-old cabinet and fled, living out the war in Nazi-occupied Prague;

d) Yefremov, Kolodzinsky and the others who remained fought against Hungarian forces; Hungary didn't join the Tripartite Pact until November, 1940 (the Germany, Italy, Japan pact was formed September, 1940; Romania and Slovakia joined November 23-24, 1940, Bulgaria March 1, 1941).

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:49 a.m.    

Voloshyn was murdered by the NKVD

get your facts correct before you spout off

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 2:09 a.m.    

Besides innocent people — The NKVD also murdered quite a few communists and more than a few Nazis.

If murder by the NKVD makes a person a hero — and his ideas right — should we be building monuments to Lev Trotsky?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 2:25 a.m.    

You insinuated that Voloshyn was a German puppet and resigned to a life of luxury in Germany after the Carpatho-Ukraine attempt for Independence failed (thanks to Hitler's signal to Hungary to crush it). Your hatred of all who try to raise that pathetic nation to at least be equal with others is well documented by YOU! Your feeble attempt to compare Rev Voloshyn with the mass murderer Trotsky reveals more about you than either of them.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 4:35 a.m.    

What I wrote was that Voloshyn lived out the war in Nazi-occupied Prague.

This is, as far as I am able to determine, a statement of FACT rather than any sort of insinuation. How you got from &quot;Nazi-occupied Prague&quot; to &quot;a life of luxury in Germany&quot; is a more torturous journey than the one Voloshyn undertook to arrive at the Czech capital in the first place.

Your insistence on fitting every piece of valid information that doesn't square exactly with a certain narrow narrative into the category of &quot;feeble hatred&quot; illustrates the fundamental problem of nationalist ideology ca. 1941.

Voloshyn wasn't Trotsky. But the fact that he died in an NKVD prison doesn't make him a demi-god whose life and actions we cannot seek to understand and which must perfectly and unquestionably conform to an ideological narrative.

Colonel Mykhailo Kolodzins'ky (whose General Staff included Roman Shukhevych), for example, denounced the Rev Voloshyn as a traitor, before marching the 2000 men of Карпатська Січ to annihilation on March 17. By March 18, 430 січовики were killed, 400 wounded, 750 taken prisoner. Those who remained were hounded by Hungarian black shirts — and &quot;foreign elements&quot; (OUN members from Halychyna) were rounded up and sent across the border to the waiting arms of Polish security.

If martyrdom for the cause of nationalist ideology bars us from examining and criticizing Voloshyn's ideas and actions, how can we know whether or not the great advocate and theoretician of Ukrainian national imperialism, Kolodzins'ky (killed, 1939) — was right?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:36 a.m.    

You actually ask:&quot;How would you describe the political system of Carpatho-Ukraine?&quot;

Are you kidding? It didn't have ANY political system!!! The Republic of Carpatho-Ukraine didn't exist over 24 hours! See the violently anti-Ukrainian book: &quot;Republic for a Day&quot; which ridicules the whole idea of ANY Ukrainian independence and accurately reflects the then prevailing British views!

Can YOU name ANY country that lasted for ONE day that had a sophisticated judiciary, a banking system,stable political climate with mechanism for holding and tallying results of elections, mechanism for taxing revenue, etc,etc. Because this country wasn't allowed to exist by the usual and unusual enemies, therefore THIS reflects in your opinion the insanity of all those who risked their lives to risk opportunities to fight for freedom and nationhood. Do you feel the same about the Jewish struggle to create Israel? Britain was against that struggle also just as it was against Carpatho Ukraine. And yes there was Zionist-Nazi collaboration to create Israel!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:03 a.m.    

Right. So then, you agree that Ukraine WASN'T &quot;the FIRST country to fight Hitler via the Carpathian SICH.&quot;

I'll rephrase the question: &quot;How would you describe the political system of the autonomous region of Carpatho-Ukraine (1938-39) within the federal republic of Czechoslovakia?&quot;

What I've written reflects my &quot;opinion of the insanity of all those who,&quot; having accepted training, tactical instruction, philosophical direction, and logistical support from a Great Power, failed so completely to understand the implications of that Great Power's strategic interests and actual direction for the &quot;freedom and nationhood&quot; they firmly believed they were fighting for.

No one on the receiving end ever bothered to crack the cover of &quot;Mein Kampf.&quot;

I think your view of who constitutes &quot;the usual&quot; and who constitutes &quot;unusual&quot; enemies may be coloured rather more by how much you may feel both part of the West AND Ukrainian than by how much Ukraine and Ukrainians figure in the West's imagination — and even what role the liberal West played in the imagination of Ukrainian nationalists ca. 1939.

Regarding the Jewish struggle to create Israel: the Jews regained a scrap of land 8,000 square miles in area, 1,878 years after Trajan leveled Jerusalem. In that time, their diaspora has produced its share of monsters and villains — but also many more men and women of culture and learning who have contributed more than their share to humanity at large.

It's taken 1,100 years since we got our letters, 1,000 years since we received the faith for Ukrainians to gain their state, in an area of 233,090 square miles. While in the column under &quot;suffering&quot;, we can hold our own with the most miserable of peoples, in the column under &quot;achievements&quot; we have, by my way of thinking, 778 years to go.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:02 p.m.    

Your statement....&quot;What I've written reflects my &quot;opinion of the insanity of all those who,&quot; having accepted training, tactical instruction, philosophical direction, and logistical support from a Great Power, failed so completely to understand the implications of that Great Power's strategic interests and actual direction for the &quot;freedom and nationhood&quot; they firmly believed they were fighting for&quot;.... is both arrogant and naive...

You presume that the Ukrainian nationalists &quot;did not understand&quot; the nature of the 3rd Reich. It seems far more likely to me that they understood it clearly, saw the inevitability of the German invasion and simply took tactical advantage of it for their own ends. (which explains the immediate Declaration of Independence upon German occupation)... If you could consider the circumstances under which the Ukrainians were operting at the time you would realize that this was not some pale academic exercise, but rather a largely adhoc response to brutally violent outside forces running roughshod over their homes and villages. Although we (in retrospect, and from the comfort of our couches) often lament the axiom that the &quot;enemy of mine enemy is my friend&quot;.. it so often holds true because when your enemy is busy decimating your land and culture, your FIRST priority is to rid yourself of the oppressor.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:32 p.m.    

It's not an assumption. It's based on research and interviews.

I wasn't writing fancifully about those who hadn't cracked the cover of &quot;Mein Kampf&quot; — this is what those on the ground, in the action, in that time and place — have told me.

It's rather like those in the diaspora who defend OUN by averring that OUN's goal was somehow to build something very much like the United States or Canada on the steppes of Ukraine — without having read a single one of OUN's resolutions or any of OUN's theoretical literature.

So, what do you think? When Kolodzinsky wrote about the need for Ukrainian nationalism to be imperialist — and the Ukrainian historical destiny to extend Kyiv's dominion from the Volga to Central Asia, into &quot;not only ethnographically Ukrainian lands&quot; — to put Eastern Europe under the sway of the &quot;strength, governance and sword&quot; of the Greater Ukrainian state...

was he being loony... or merely arrogant and naive?

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 9:44 p.m.    

Thank you, Prof. Himka, for your courage and willingness to look nationalism and bigotry in the face. I am proud of my Ukrainian heritage but recognize that our country cannot join the community of nations unless it faces all aspects of its history, including the more shameful episodes.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 11:40 p.m.    

Russia did.

Oh! you are speaking of Little Russia.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:54 a.m.    

It never took courage to denigrate the aspirations of an enslaved and unrecognized submerged exploited &quot;nation&quot;. It always took courage to do the opposite!

Even today the Russian colonists hate the Ukrainian nation and language! This doesn't reflect ANY courage on their part.

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Anonymous Sept. 20, 2010, 11:22 p.m.    

Hmmm... I don't think there's ever been a lack of attention paid to the so called &quot;shameful episodes&quot; in Ukraine's history, after all our neighbors have had a propaganda bonanza from these events for quite some time. And Ukrainians have endured so much nationalism and bigotry from their neighbors that it's viewed by many as the norm. But Ukrainians are smart and tough enough that they're not bothered by such foolishness. What's MOST interesting today is why its the so called &quot;nationalist&quot; element in Ukrainian politics that is calling for opening up the SBU archives so that historians can indeed face &quot;all aspects&quot; of Ukraine's history... Rather odd behaviour from a group that supposedly has something to hide isn't it?..

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:52 a.m.    

I find it rather peculiar that Prof. Himka is only now responding to a rebuttal that was penned Feb.16th. Why now....so late in the game?

I remember well the heated exchanges from that time. Now that things have settled down, Prof. Himka finds it necessary to resurrect the 'debate' once again. What gives? He knows very well that it is very destructive to the Ukrainian community....and at present serves no purpose but to enflame passions.

I wish Prof Himka would come clean.....there is much more than altruistic motive in his deliberate and well planned assault...especially at a time when Ukraine has much more pressing problems than what happened 70 years ago.

This is a tactic used by provocateurs.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:01 a.m.    

Of course he'se an agent provocateur. What is most embarrassing is that Ukrainian organizations such as CIUS and Taras Shevchenko Foundation had financed him and gave him credibility. The poor slobs here that generously donate to these organizations turn out to be useful idiots that sell the rope that will hang them.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:15 a.m.    

Sure it's embarrassing. It is also incomprehensible. I can't get my mind around the likely mechanics of this. How could an outfit like Taras Shevchenko Foundation, or CIUS for that matter, be taken in by this unsavoury character and on a seemingly permanent basis, too? There is no end to it. What is worse, in Ukraine some folks will undoubtedly reckon: oh well, this guy must be OK, since he's vouchsafed for in the diaspora by the above-cited who must surely have their heads screwed on right. WTF?

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:30 a.m.    

In Ukraine, the response will undoubtedly be: the Whoozit says Whaaazit about Whooyall???

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 4:48 p.m.    

One way to undermine a community is to demoralize it. A daisy-chain of Himka-like episodes will in their cumulative effect move a number of our people, otherwise full of goodwill, to walk away, figuratively speaking. (I confess I still find it hard to shake off the images of the parliamentary brawl earlier this year. Now, that was demoralizing!)

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:17 p.m.    

My point being: if he's an agent provocateur, then he has a lot of ostensibly &quot;good people&quot;: upstanding people, pillars of the Ukrainian community who command the respect of their entourage in the diaspora, helping him in his destructive work. NONE of his pairs denounce him. He couldn't accomplish this without steadfast complicity of a kind where the collaborators know and see exactly what is happening and prod him on. At the same time, the collaborators' passive outward attitude reassures the &quot;poor slobs&quot; who sincerely want to be helpful to the Ukrainian cause by more than word, and give money. But unfortunately they do not see how that money is spent: to deconstruct those values, that history, that they themselves hold dear

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:47 p.m.    

&quot;But unfortunately they do not see how that money is spent: to deconstruct those values, that history, that they themselves hold dear&quot;

...sort of like Ukrainian nationalism did to the Ukrainian humanist tradition, you mean?

Good point.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 2:15 a.m.    

his handlers had to direct him...thats why it took so long

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Anonymous Sept. 22, 2010, 5:44 p.m.    

He's not.

&quot;Ukrainian Past and Ukrainian Future&quot; — an &quot;Unpublished letter to Kyiv Post&quot; can be found in the Ukraine List #442, compiled March 15, 2010 by Dominique Arel, Chair of Ukrainian Studies, U of Ottawa.

You can find it here: www.ukrainianstudies.uottawa.ca/pdf/UKL442.pdf

Why it's being published seven months after it was written is the more interesting question.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:45 a.m.    

Where can one get the mentioned above: “Ukrainians, Jews and the Holocaust: Divergent Memories” (Saskatoon: Heritage Press, 2009)by John-Paul Himka??? I looked at Amazon.com &amp; they do NOT list it although they do list other books by him.

One would think that such a book would be heavily promoted by the crowd that financed this. Instead -seems to be obscure for now.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 8:24 a.m.    

A few months ago John-Paul Himka wrote an article in the Edmonton Ukrainian news in which he lamented that only a half dozen students signed up for one of his classes on the Holodomor. And this Holodomor-denier was surprised??? His views are increasingly treated in the Ukrainian community with the same contempt that Holocaust deniers receive in the Jewish community.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 10:34 a.m.    

There is no basis to state that Himka is a Holodomor-denier.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 11:07 a.m.    

He used to be a Holodomor-denier. Now that he can't deny it, he can only downplay it.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 8:32 a.m.    

Dear Himka,

I saved the following comment by somebody else. I believe that it is appropriate here.

There were no &quot;OUN guerrillas&quot; in 1941, so your claim that they &quot;slaughtered thousands of Jews in Pogroms in 1941&quot; is simply nonsense. Who are these OUN guerrillas you mention who were slaughtering Jews in 1941 ? Where did they come from. Had you done your homework, you would have learned that the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) was not formed until 1943 (ie: two years after 1941). By 1944 the UPA's medical, communications, arms manufacturing, and other units were well supported and staffed by many Jews. Many Jews were not Communists or Nazis and sympathized with the local Ukrainian population. I would suggest that you read the &quot;Litopys UPA&quot; which 20 volumes clearly states that every battalion of the UPA was supported by Jews. However,there were also many Communist Jews who fought the UPA. The progeny of these Jewish Communists both here in the USA and in Ukraine are 5th column of the Kremlin. For decades the Soviet Union claimed that the Ukrainian nationalists had collaborated with the Nazis in the extermination of the Jews and they simply repeated these lies. President Yushchenko ended these lies when he opened the Ukrainian state archives to historians and scholars, including those from Israel. There has been absolutely NO evidence of any Ukrainian Nationalist involvement in the extermination of Jews, and in fact very often the exact opposite is true - they saved many Jews. Yet, people like you continue to print Soviet turned Russian propaganda. Get over it. Your bigotry is worse than the worst anti-semitism.

Sincerely,

LES

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 10:25 p.m.    

Dear LES —

The phrase Himka uses is &quot;OUN militias&quot; not &quot;OUN guerillas.&quot;

But if &quot;there were no OUN guerillas/militias in 1941,&quot; does this mean that for two years after German troops entered Ukrainian territory, the self-anointed defenders of the Ukrainian nation &quot;from both Hitler and Stalin&quot; sat at home and did nothing? That they only emerged in fighting trim after Stalingrad, Kursk and the American entry into the war showed the writing to be on the wall?

Слава героям!

For the record, Bul'ba Borovets' УПА was organized in 1940, and began operations with the invasion of 1941. The date you chose may be sometime after the OUN(B) SBU liquidated Borovets' organization and adopted the name УПА.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 10:18 a.m.    

&quot;Moreover, examining portions sent to me by the Canadian embassy in Canada, I found that it had been written after the war...&quot; Have another drink John Paul!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 12:16 p.m.    

Dear Himka,

I saved the following comment by somebody else. I believe that it is appropriate here.

Lubomyr Prytulak,

Regarding Andrij Semotiuk's recommendation that Ukrainians should express &quot;sorrow for the innocent Jews killed in the Lviv pogrom and elsewhere shortly thereafter,&quot; we should keep in mind that there was no &quot;Lviv Pogrom&quot;. Below are three quotations from preeminent Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg to this effect. Following the 60 Minutes broadcast &quot;Ugly Face of Freedom&quot; which alleged a &quot;Lviv Pogrom,&quot; I wrote Hilberg to ask what he knew about it, and his listing of incidents that did not include mention of the Lviv pogrom in question indicated that he didn't know of any Lviv pogrom. This should not be surprising, as John Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to death for crimes committed by Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka when in fact there was no Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka: http://www.xoxol.org/dem/blurb.html

BEGIN HILBERG QUOTE 1

From the Ukraine Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C reported as follows:

Almost nowhere can the population be persuaded to take active steps against the Jews. This may be explained by the fear of many people that the Red Army may return. Again and again this anxiety has been pointed out to us. Older people have remarked that they had already experienced in 1918 the sudden retreat of the Germans. In order to meet the fear psychosis, and in order to destroy the myth ... which, in the eyes of many Ukrainians, places the Jew in the position of the wielder of political power, Einsatzkommando 6 on several occasions marched Jews before their execution through the city. Also, care was taken to have Ukrainian militiamen watch the shooting of Jews.

This &quot;deflation&quot; of the Jews in the public eye did not have the desired effect. After a few weeks, Einsatzgruppe C complained once more that the inhabitants did not betray the movements of hidden Jews. The Ukrainians were passive, benumbed by the &quot;Bolshevist terror.&quot; Only the ethnic Germans in the area were busily working for the Einsatzgruppe. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 202)

END HILBERG QUOTE 1

BEGIN HILBERG QUOTE 2

The Slavic population stood estranged and even aghast before the unfolding spectacle of the &quot;final solution.&quot; There was on the whole no impelling desire to cooperate in a process of such utter ruthlessness. The fact that the Soviet regime, fighting off the Germans a few hundred miles to the east, was still threatening to return, undoubtedly acted as a powerful restraint upon many a potential collaborator. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 308)

END HILBERG QUOTE 2

BEGIN HILBERG QUOTE 3

First, truly spontaneous pogroms, free from Einsatzgruppen influence, did not take place; all outbreaks were either organized or inspired by the Einsatzgruppen. Second, all pogroms were implemented within a short time after the arrival of the killing units. They were not self-perpetuating, nor could new ones be started after things had settled down. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 312)

END HILBERG QUOTE 3

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 1:43 p.m.    

Great article, it presents the truth that is denied by UPA/Bandera supporters today. Great respect to Mr. Himka!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 5:20 p.m.    

Actually the &quot;truth&quot; is that we NEED &quot;UPA/Bandera supporters today&quot; to clean out the scum choking the Ukrainian nation today.

Fight fire with fire, terror with terror!

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 6:29 p.m.    

The above recommendation is what Putin wants. He is better at killing than Ukrainians are, and if it comes to a shooting match, he will win.

Where we've got Putin beat is in the information contest. We are much better at discrediting him than he is at discrediting us.

Let's fight the fight that we can win, but let's start fighting it with a hundred times the vigor that we are fighting it now.

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 7:56 p.m.    

banal, corrupt, unimaginative leadership with...uhh... banal, corrupt, unimaginative leadership...

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Anonymous Sept. 21, 2010, 8:38 p.m.    

&quot;Just as soon as OUN began murdering Poles in Volhynia, the original founder of OUN, Taras Bulba-Borovets wrote:&quot;

I think this should read &quot;the founder of the original УПА, Taras Bulba-Borovets&quot;

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Anonymous Oct. 24, 2010, 11:02 a.m.    

I was in Drohobych and saw a picture of Bandera in the streets. I ask myself, why do Ukrainians so harshly seek something historical to see it as the start of what they have now? I think the real start was the Orange Revolution, it was the attempt to establish a free and tolerant and democratic state. You need no parallel in the past. All actors in the war have blood on their hands, so we better examine what they have done without argueing about it and then leave them as what they are. Ukrainians, do not heroise or instrumentalize the past organizations, that was a completely different time! Create something new! What the author does is the work that should be done by Ukrainians themselves, but I see more of the work on history sems to be done abroad. Why so? Whatever the answer may be, the main thing ist that it is done! A state built on lies will have no grounding.

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