"We saw above that an entire Ukrainian family was shot by the Nazis for hiding a Jewish woman, but can we find a single instance of an entire Jewish family being shot by the Bolsheviks for hiding a Ukrainian woman? We saw above that the Ukrainian mayor of a town was shot by the Nazis for helping Jews, but can we find a single instance of a Jewish mayor — and there were many Jewish mayors in Ukraine — being shot by the Bolsheviks for helping Ukrainians? We saw above Metropolitan Sheptytsky risking his life and the lives of other Ukrainians by hiding Jews on church property, but can we find a single instance of a rabbi risking his life and the lives of other Jews by hiding Ukrainians on synagogue property?" — Lubomyr Prytulak
(Last updated 03-Jul-1999)
From the beginning of the affair, it could not escape notice that this broadcast was not only an attack upon Ukrainians and upon the nation of Ukraine, but that it was a Jewish attack, this because every last person bearing responsibility for the broadcast, from the very top of the chain of command to the very bottom, was Jewish:
Laurence Tisch, Chairman and CEO of CBS
Eric Ober, President of CBS News
Don Hewitt, Executive Producer of 60 Minutes
Jeffrey Fager, Producer of The Ugly Face of Freedom
Morley Safer, Program Host
Simon Wiesenthal, one of the two featured program witnesses
Yaakov Bleich, the other of the two featured program witnesses
That attacks upon Ukraine come overwhelmingly from Jews has been amply documented on the Ukrainian Archive (UKAR), as for example in the discussion of Jerzy Kosinski, where it is noted that ten out of ten of the leading calumniators of Ukraine are Jews. Possible reasons for this phenomenon have been discussed throughout UKAR, with three of the chief reasons being: (1) the acceleration of the brain drain from Ukraine to Israel with the help of a partly-magnified and partly-incited resentment against Jews, (2) the heightening of Jewish cohesion through the inculcation of fear and hatred of Gentiles, as by the Jewish keeping alive of a distorted memory of the Khmelnytsky rebellion of 1648, and (3) the need to discredit the historical observation thatJews typically victimize Ukrainians by inculcating the opposite image of Ukrainians victimizing Jews.
On 15 Nov 1994, I mailed a letter to then CBS Chairman Laurence A. Tisch which consisted of a lengthy critique of the 60 Minutes broadcast. I simultaneously mailed copies of this letter to the host of the broadcast, Morley Safer, as well as the co-hosts Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Lesley Stahl, and Mike Wallace. I received no reply from any of them. On 17 Dec 1994, I mailed a covering letter to Laurence Tisch together with an expanded version of my critique (the critique was now titled The Ugly Face of 60 Minutes, and was dated 11 Dec 1994), with copies to the same host and co-hosts. I again received no reply.
In an attempt to clarify the accuracy of the 60 Minutes broadcast, other letters were sent, among them letters to Michael Jordan, Chairman of Westinghouse, following the Westinghouse purchase of CBS in 1995, letters to Simon Wiesenthal, star witness on The Ugly Face of Freedom, and letters to Rabbi Yaakov Bleich, supporting witness on the same program. Nor were my letters the only ones sent — in fact, CBS received some 16,000 pieces of mail protesting the 60 Minutesbroadcast. To my knowledge, not a single one of these letters has ever been answered, or even acknowledged, the muteness of CBS and others involved leaving the impression that they are unable to muster any defense for the 60 Minutes broadcast.
At that time, and since, I have circulated copies of my critique widely, and have received many favorable comments. In a small number of instances, I was grateful for helpful suggestions as to minor revisions; however, no one challenged any of my major criticisms or arguments, encouraging me to believe that these were fundamentally correct.
Below you will find the latest version of this same critique, substantially longer and more detailed than the original, but basically offering no more than an elaboration of the material already long in the hands of CBS. I will not again waste postage mailing this critique to CBS — with the advent of the internet, there are less costly ways to disseminate information; if CBS wants to see this latest version, it will have no trouble finding it.
The defects of the 60 Minutes broadcast as so multifarious, that it is difficult to capture them in one brief statement. If one were to attempt to do so, then the statement might mention that 60 Minutes misrepresented the historical record, provided mistranslations of statements originally made in Ukrainian, suppressed pertinent information concerning Ukrainian-Jewish relations during World War II, encouraged retrogressive notions of collective guilt, altered the dates on which events were supposed to have occurred, doctored the sound track, accepted dubious and implausible statements from sources whose credibility had not been established or whose credibility should have been suspect, and generally in numerous instances employed questionable evidence to point to conclusions that were untrue, provocative, and inflammatory. There follows below an outline of the chief defects of this 60 Minutes broadcast.
The impression created in the viewer's mind is that these veterans are unanimously guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, that they were once supporters of and now continue to be admirers of Hitler, that they sympathized with Nazi ambitions during World War II, that they are the remnants of a much larger group of Ukrainians who shared a similar orientation, and that as their reunion was sanctioned by the Lviv City Council and the Ukrainian Catholic Church, similar charges must apply to Ukrainians generally. To all this, however, I must echo Cardinal Lubachivsky's words: "It is not true!"
The Galicia Division was recruited by the Germans only well into the war, in the summer and fall of 1943 when they were beginning to experience setbacks on their Eastern front. That the Galicia Division was considered an "SS" division does not bear the significance given it by 60 Minutes — it was a Waffen SS division, which is quite a different thing: "Like other German volunteer units, the Division Halychyna [Galicia] was included in the 14th Grenadier Division of the SS-Waffen." (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume 2, p. 1088.)
Five qualities of the Galicia Division make it a most atypical component of the stereotype of the SS: (1) it was strictly a combat unit and so played no role in the management of concentration camps or death camps, (2) its Ukrainian members wore a lion rampant instead of an "SS" on their right collars during most of the life of the division, (3) it was accompanied by Ukrainian chaplains who attended to the spiritual needs of the troops, (4) it was kept separate from other German forces, and (5) it was created with the proviso that it never be used against the Western Allies, but only against Soviet forces on the Eastern front. These five qualities alone render the Galicia Division an entity unlike any that was being conjured up in the minds of 60 Minutesviewers.
|Photographs contrasting different insignia of German and Ukrainian members of the Galicia Division|
Of course the members of any military unit will be required to swear oaths of obedience to the Commander-in-Chief. No fighting force can function without such an oath, and the members of the Galicia Division were unable to avoid swearing one. However, compare the differences in the German SS oath and the Ukrainian Waffen-SS oath:
German SS Oath
"I swear to you Adolf Hitler, as Leader and Chancellor of the Reich, loyalty and valor. I vow to you and all those you place over me obedience until death, so help me God."
Ukrainian Waffen-SS Oath
"I swear by God this holy oath, that in the struggle against Bolshevism I will give the Commander-in-Chief of the German Armed Forces, Adolf Hitler, absolute obedience, and if it be his will, as a fearless soldier, I will always be prepared to lay down my life for this oath." (Richard Landwehr, Fighting for Freedom: The Ukrainian Volunteer Division of the Waffen-SS, Bibliophile Legion Books, Silver Spring, Maryland, 1985, p. 45)
Here are three revealing differences between the above oaths: (1) The German SS oath swears to Adolf Hitler who happens to be leader, whereas the Ukrainian Waffen-SS oath swears to the leader who happens to be Adolf Hitler. (2) The German SS oath does not restrict the Germans to any limited role, but the Ukrainian Waffen-SS oath does restrict the Ukrainian role to the "struggle against Bolshevism." (3) In the words "obedience until death," the German SS oath appears to imply obedience for the rest of one's life, whereas the Ukrainian Waffen-SS oath limits the duration of the obedience to the period of service "as a fearless soldier." These are not insignificant differences — they constitute an affirmation that the Ukrainians had their own goals, and that these overlapped with German goals only on the matter of opposing the Soviet re-occupation of Ukraine. For the Ukrainians to have won an even greater variance from the fundamental German SS oath would have been for the Germans to accept into their armed forces members who were openly declaring recalcitrance and insubordination.
The Ukrainian motivation for permitting the formation of the Galicia Division was threefold: (1) the existence of the division would serve to improve German treatment of Ukrainians in the occupied territories, (2) the Division would form the nucleus of a national army which might promote Ukrainian aspirations to statehood, and (3) the Division would be thrown into the fight to oppose the Soviet re-occupation of Ukraine.
Even though both Canada and the U.S. have Nazi-hunting units within their respective Justice Departments, not a single member of the Division has ever been convicted of any war crime and none has ever been charged. The absence of evidence of any wrongdoing not only of the Division as a whole, but also of any member of the Division, during his membership in the Division or before or after, is widely recognized. Judge Jules Deschênes, heading Canada's Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, concluded that:
|The members of the Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes against members of the Galicia Division have never been substantiated, neither in 1950 when they were first preferred, nor in 1984 when they were renewed, nor before this Commission. ... In the absence of evidence of participation in or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution. (Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 12)|
Judge Deschênes cites a 1947 report of a British Screening Commission which was filed just prior to the Galicia Division being moved from Italy to Britain (note that these are the words of the 1947 British Screening Commission, not of Judge Deschênes):
|They probably were not, and certainly do not now seem to be at heart pro-German, and the fact that they did give aid and comfort to the Germans can fairly be considered to have been incidental and not fundamental. (in Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 253)|
|While in Italy these men were screened by Soviet and British missions and neither then nor subsequently has any evidence been brought to light which would suggest that any of them fought against the Western Allies or engaged in crimes against humanity. Their behaviour since they came to this country has been good and they have never indicated in any way that they are infected with any trace of Nazi ideology. ... From the reports of the special mission set up by the War Office to screen these men, it seems clear that they volunteered to fight against the Red Army from nationalistic motives which were given greater impetus by the behaviour of the Soviet authorities during their earlier occupation of the Western Ukraine after the Nazi-Soviet Pact. Although Communist propaganda has constantly attempted to depict these, like so many other refugees, as "quislings" and "war criminals" it is interesting to note that no specific charges of war crimes have been made by the Soviet or any other Government against any members of this group. (in Jules Deschênes,Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 252)|
|It is an acknowledged fact that the members of the Division were volunteers who had enlisted in the spring and summer of 1943, essentially to combat the "Bolsheviks"; indeed, they were never used against Western allies. (Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 255)|
|SAFER: Thousands of Ukrainians joined the SS and marched off to fight for Naziism. In the process, they helped round up Lvov's Jews, helped march more than 140,000 of them to extinction — virtually every Jew in Lvov.|
Talk of the Galicia Division Induces Paralysis of the Comparative Function
The broad topic of "Paralysis of the Comparative Function" is discussed within its own larger section below, but such a paralysis becomes evident in other places throughout this essay, as for example in discussions of the Galicia Division. In such discussions, the comparison — the elementary and obvious comparison — that is not made is that between the Ukrainian contribution to German armed forces of Waffen SS troops and the similar contribution made by other peoples. Below, I reproduce a quote from an interview by Slavko Nowytski of Professor Norman Davies, historian at the University of London, and author of the recent Europe: A History, published by Oxford University Press:
|In discussing the question of collaborating with Germany Prof. Davies noted that, "A large number of the volunteers for the Waffen SS came from Western Europe. The nation which supplied it the largest number of divisions was the Netherlands [four]. There were two Belgian divisions, there was a French Waffen SS. To my mind, it's rather surprising that Ukraine, which is a much larger country [than the Netherlands or Belgium] supplied only one Waffen SS Division.... It's surprising that there were so few Ukrainians [in the German Army]. Many people don't know, for example, that there were far more Russians fighting alongside the Wehrmacht or in the various German armies than there were Ukrainians.... Thanks to Soviet propaganda, the Russian contribution to the Nazi war effort has been forgotten, whereas the Ukrainian contribution has been remembered, I think, too strongly." (Andrew Gregorovich,Forum, No. 95, Spring, 1997, p. 34)|
(1) As the population of The Netherlands is small, and as The Netherlands contributed the largest number of Waffen SS divisions, this gives The Netherlands the largest per capita contribution to the Waffen SS of any country. Would Mr. Safer conclude from this that the people of The Netherlands are the most anti-Semitic in the world? And following the same line of reasoning, would he conclude that the people of Belgium are the next most anti-Semitic? And also that as the population of France is approximately equal to the population of Ukraine, and as each of these contributed one Waffen SS division, that the French are approximately as anti-Semitic as the Ukrainians?
(2) As Mr. Safer attacks the former members of the Galicia Division as war criminals, I wonder why he does not attack former members of The Netherlands, Belgium, and French Waffen SS divisions in the same way? Why does he single out the Galicia Division? How is the Galicia Division different from the other Waffen SS divisions?
(3) If in comparison to several other countries, Ukraine contributed proportionately fewer numbers to the Waffen SS, or to any of the German armed forces, then why didn't Mr. Safer commend Ukrainians for their relatively small contribution to the German war effort?
(4) It would have been instructive of Mr. Safer to inform 60 Minutes viewers whether the Waffen SS divisions of other countries were created under the same proviso — that they not be used against the Western Allies, but only against the Soviets on the Eastern Front? Perhaps Ukrainians are to be commended again for limiting the role that their Waffen SS troops played within the German military.
(5) Finally, given that Canada's Deschênes Commission on War Criminals failed to identify even a single member of the Galicia Division as calling for further investigation; and given that not a single member of the Division has ever been convicted of any crime, or even tried for any crime; and, most importantly, given that nobody has ever specified any crime of which the Galicia Division as a whole, or any member of the Galicia Division, might have been guilty — given all this, it would have been instructive of Mr. Safer to inform 60 Minutes viewers whether the Waffen SS divisions of The Netherlands, Belgium, and France have proven to be as free from blame as has the Ukrainian Galicia Division.
Why Did Himmler Want a Waffen SS?
If the Wehrmacht was the combat arm of the German forces, and Himmler's SS was dedicated to running the concentration camps, then why were there combat units within the SS? Why weren't non-German combat units such as the Galicia Division considered to be part of the Wehrmacht rather than part of the SS? The suspicion in the mind of the impartial observer might readily be that any unit that was considered part of the SS may in fact have performed some duties that were uniquely SS, and thus was more likely to be guilty of war crimes than a Wehrmacht unit.
Israeli historian Leni Yahil provides an answer — the war effort had taken center stage; Himmler wanted to remain on center stage; and it is for that reason that Himmler defined certain combat units as falling within the SS:
|The very fact that Himmler and his executors became the central force directing the implacable war against the Jews accorded them, and primarily Himmler as their leader, a crucial position in the hierarchy of Nazi rule wherever it extended. Hitler's hatred of the Jews and the importance he ascribed to solving the Jewish problem according to his concept were among the factors that ensured Himmler's status as the man who carried out the fuhrer's program.|
It might have been assumed that in wartime, when stress is necessarily laid on the military struggle, the influence of the SS would have declined, since it no longer held the center stage. If Hitler had lost interest in Himmler's activities, the latter's own political career would have come to an end. He forestalled the danger in two ways: one was by associating the SS with the war effort through the establishment of the armed or Waffen SS while being careful to prevent the army's influence over these corps from overriding his own. (Leni Yahil, The Holocaust: The fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945, Oxford, New York, 1990, p. 145)
The Nightingale Unit
60 Minutes also mentioned the Nightingale Unit, otherwise known as the Nachtigall Unit. TheNachtigall Unit was eventually merged with the Ukrainian Roland Unit, some 600 Ukrainian soldiers in all. These two units were formed on German territory prior to the outbreak of World War II by Ukrainians who had either not fallen within the Soviet zone of occupation, or who had escaped from it, and who anticipated German assistance in liberating Ukraine from Soviet rule. These units too, however, fail to support the picture of Ukrainians "marching off to fight for Hitler."
Specifically, shortly after the entry of the Germans into Lviv, Stepan Bandera, "(supported by members of the Nachtigall Unit) decided — without consulting the Germans — to proclaim on 30 June 1941, the establishment of a Ukrainian state in recently conquered Lviv. ... Within days of the proclamation, Bandera and his associates were arrested by the Gestapo and incarcerated" (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, pp. 463-464). Refusing to rescind the proclamation, Bandera spent July 1941 to September 1944 in German prisons and concentration camps. (Stepan Bandera is mentioned at this point because he was supported by the Nachtigall Unit; Bandera was not a member of the Nachtigall Unit.) "Because of their opposition to German policies in Ukraine, the units were recalled from the front and interned. ... Toward the end of 1942, the battalion was disbanded because of the soldiers' refusal to take an oath of loyalty to Hitler" (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume 2, p. 1088). "The battalion was disarmed and demobilized, and its officers were arrested in January 1943. Shukhevych, however, managed to escape and join the UPA" (Encyclopaedia of Ukraine, Volume 4, p. 680). Roman Shukhevych who had been the highest-ranking Ukrainian officer of the Nachtigall unit went on to became commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a partisan group opposing all foreign occupation, and which during the Nazi occupation was directed primarily against the Nazis.
Ukrainians in the Nachtigall and Roland Units, then, were also not Ukrainians marching off to fight for Hitler, but rather they were Ukrainians calculating that an alliance with German forces would promote their national interests, they were Ukrainians whose willingness to fight for Hitler or to promote Nazi interests proved to be close to non-existent, and they were Ukrainians who fell out with their Nazi sponsors in the early stages of the war.
It must be noted also that unlike the Galicia Division, the Nachtigall and Roland Units were not part of the SS, and so that Mr. Safer was in error when he stated that "Roman Shukhevych ... was deputy commander of the SS Division Nightingale."
It is another mark of 60 Minutes' biased coverage that in objecting to streets being named after the above-mentioned Stepan Bandera, it did not mention that he spent most of the war in German captivity, nor that he lost two brothers at Auschwitz; and in objecting to the commemoration of the above-mentioned Roman Shukhevych, it did not mention that he escaped from German captivity and commanded the Ukrainian guerrilla war against the German occupation. These omissions are part of a pattern of distortions and misrepresentations used by60 Minutes to create the false impression of undeviating commitment to Naziism on the part of Ukrainians. Take Ukraine's staunchest opponents of Naziism, let 60 Minutes' makeup crew touch them up for the camera, and somehow they appear on the air with swastikas smeared on their foreheads.
And so 60 Minutes has painted a picture entirely at variance with the historical record. The idea of Ukrainians en masse unselfconsciously celebrating the SS is preposterous and on a par with the image of Jews sacrificing Christian children to drink their blood. These sorts of fantastic and inflammatory charges are leveled by the more hysterical elements within each community, are passed along by the more irresponsible members of the mass media, and are aimed at consumption by the more naive and gullible members of their respective groups. 60 Minutes'allegations have smeared members of the Galicia Division and Ukrainians generally with a reckless disregard of evidence that is readily available to any researcher who is interested in presenting an impartial picture. It is a blatant calumny for 60 Minutes to hold out any of the above-mentioned units as evidence that Ukrainians "marched off to fight for Hitler" and it overlooks also that on the Soviet side fighting the Nazis were about two million Ukrainians which in view of their much larger number, 60 Minutes could have taken as evidence of Ukrainians "marching off to fight against Hitler" and it overlooks as well the large number of Ukrainians fighting against Hitler in the various national armies of the Allied forces.
Morley Safer's Contempt for the Intelligence of his Viewers.
Morley Safer states that "Nowhere, not even in Germany, are the SS so openly celebrated," and while he is saying this, we might rightly expect that the scenes presented will be supportive of his statement. What we do see is elderly veterans of the Galicia Division at a reunion in Lviv. What details of these scenes support Morley Safer's strong conclusion? Let us consider ten possibilities.
(1) Perhaps Mr. Safer counted swastikas, and their large number supported his strong conclusion? But no, that can't be it — for there is not a single swastika to be seen anywhere. Not one! But how is it possible to hold the world's most open celebration of the SS without a single swastika? Mr. Safer's conclusion does not seem to be supported by the scene presented — in fact, his conclusion seems to be contradicted by the scene presented. Well, but perhaps there were other clues?
(2) Surely at the world's most open celebration of the SS, one would find the "SS" insignia in plentiful supply? But no, there is not a single "SS" visible anywhere. The camera scans the veterans, we can see their medals and decorations, but we cannot see a single "SS." So far, then, we have the world's most open celebration of the SS, but without a single swastika and without a single "SS." But let us move ahead more quickly.
(3) The number of portraits of Hitler, commander-in-chief of all the German armed forces, and so commander-in-chief of the SS? Zero!
(4) The number of portraits of Himmler, head of the SS? Zero!
(5) The number of portraits of any member of the Nazi hierarchy, or indeed of any German? Zero!
(6) Any Nazi salutes being made? No, not one!
(7) Any Nazi songs being sung? None!
(8) A single word of German spoken? No, not one!
(9) Perhaps there was literature circulated during the reunion which revealed Nazi sympathies? But no such literature was shown. How about at any time prior to the reunion — even during the entire 50 or so years following the formation of the Division and up until the reunion? 60 Minutesdoes not appear to have discovered any such Nazi literature.
(10) As these veterans have been living for more than 50 years predominantly in Canada, the United States, and Australia, then they can readily be interviewed, and so perhaps 60 Minutesinterviewers managed to elicit pro-Nazi statements from them? No, this golden opportunity too was passed over, not a single question was asked, not a single word spoken, and not a single pro-Nazi statement was to be heard.
What then are we left with? We seem to be left with Morley Safer making a fantastic claim while presenting as evidence images devoid of the slightest detail supporting that claim. We are left, in short, with Morley Safer revealing his contempt for the intelligence of the 60 Minutes viewer.
In one instance, I could make out the Ukrainian word "zhyd." Following conventions of Ukrainian transliteration into English, by the way, the "zh" in "zhyd" is pronounced approximately like the "z" in "azure," and the "y" in "zhyd" is pronounced like the "y" in "myth." Quite true, to continue, that in Russian "zhyd" is derogatory for "Jew" and "yevrei" is neutral. In Ukrainian, the same is true in heavily Russified Eastern Ukraine, and even in Central Ukraine. But in the less Russified Western Ukraine old habits persist, and here — especially among the common people — "zhyd" continues to be as it always has been the neutral term for "Jew," and "yevrei" sounds Russian.
Thus, in non-Russified Ukrainian, the "Jewish Battalion" of the Ukrainian Galician Army formed in 1919 was the "zhydivskyi kurin". "Judaism" is "zhydivstvo." A "learned Jew" is "zhydovyn." "Judophobe" is "zhydofob" and "Jodophile" is "zhydofil." The adjective "zhydivskyi" meaning "Jewish" was used by Ukrainians and Jews alike in naming Jewish orchestras and theater groups and clubs and schools and government departments. The Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971, Volume 11, p. 616) shows the May 18, 1939 masthead and headlines of the Lviv Jewish newspaper which was published in Polish. The Polish language is similar to Ukrainian, but uses the Roman rather than the Cyrillic alphabet. The headline read "Strejk generalny Zydów w Palestynie" which means "General strike of Jews in Palestine." The third word "Zydów" meaning "of Jews" is similar to the Ukrainian word that would have been used in this context, and again serves to illustrate that the Jews of this region did not view the word "zhyd" or its derivatives as derogatory.
We find this same conclusion in the recollections of Nikita Khrushchev (in the following quotation, I have replaced the original translator's "yid" which rendered the passage confusing, with the more accurate "zhyd"):
|I remember that once we invited Ukrainians, Jews, and Poles ... to a meeting at the Lvov opera house. It struck me as very strange to hear the Jewish speakers at the meeting refer to themselves as "zhyds." "We zhyds hereby declare ourselves in favour of such-and-such." Out in the lobby after the meeting I stopped some of these men and demanded, "How dare you use the word "zhyd"? Don't you know it's a very offensive term, an insult to the Jewish nation?" ... "Here in the Western Ukraine it's just the opposite," they explained. "We call ourselves zhyds...." Apparently what they said was true. If you go back to Ukrainian literature ... you'll see that "zhyd" isn't used derisively or insultingly. (Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers, 1971, p. 145)|
Thus, in at least two instances, and possibly in all, the 60 Minutes' translator was translating incorrectly, and in such a manner as to make the Ukrainian speakers appear to be speaking with an unrestrained anti-Semitism, when in fact they were not. On top of that, the translator gratuitously spit out his words and gave them a venomous intonation which was not present in the original Ukrainian. And then too, where the speaker spoke in grammatical Ukrainian, the translator on one occasion at least, offered a translation in ungrammatical English, making the Ukrainian appear uneducated or unintelligent — specifically, the Ukrainian "We Ukrainians do not have to rely on..." was rendered into the English "We Ukrainians not have to rely on...."
Since "zhyd" is currently held to be derogatory in much of Ukraine, any speaker of contemporary Ukrainian who wishes to give no offense may choose to view it as derogatory in all of Ukraine, and switch to "yevrei" in all contexts and in all parts of the country. The fact that a Western Ukrainian old enough to have escaped thorough Russification has not as yet made this switch, however, is not evidence of his anti-Semitism, and his use of "zhyd" cannot rightly be taken to be derogatory. In non-Russified Western Ukrainian, there is only one word for Jew, and that is "zhyd," and there is no word corresponding to the derogatory "kike" or "yid" or "hebe" of English.
A further discussion of the use of "zhyd" vs "yevrei" can be found within the Ukrainian Archive in a discussion of the Sion-Osnova Controversy.
To suggest such a thing is, of course, preposterous. The obvious reality is that Ukrainians do exhibit a normal degree of heterogeneity. Had 60 Minutes wanted to, it could have found plenty of evidence of this: (1) Since the city of Lviv was featured in the 60 Minutes broadcast, 60 Minutes could have mentioned — in fact, it was duty-bound to mention — the heroism of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky's effort on behalf of Jews. (2) Since 60 Minutes was throwing blanket condemnations over Ukrainians collectively not only for being the world's greatest anti-Semites, but for the most extreme war crimes and crimes against humanity, it was incumbent on60 Minutes to notice the vast number of instances that can be found of Ukrainian sacrifices to save Jews. (3) Since the city of Lviv was featured on the 60 Minutes broadcast, as were Ukrainian auxiliary police units, as was Simon Wiesenthal, 60 Minutes should have mentioned that in the city of Lviv, just such a Ukrainian police auxiliary by the name of Bodnar risked his life — possibly sacrificed his life — to save the life of Simon Wiesenthal himself.
Let us consider each of these points in turn.
Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky
|There is little doubt as to the almost saintly role of Ukrainian (Greek) Catholic Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. Sheptytsky, Archbishop of L'viv and head of the church, was widely known as being sympathetic to the Jews. ... The elderly metropolitan wrote directly to SS commander Heinrich Himmler in the winter of 1942 demanding an end to the final solution and, equally important to him, an end to the use of Ukrainian militia and police in anti-Jewish action. His letter elicited a sharp rebuke, but Sheptytsky persisted even though the death penalty was threatened to those who gave comfort to Jews. In November 1942 he issued a pastoral letter to be read in all churches under his authority. It condemned murder. Although Jews were not specifically mentioned, his intent was crystal clear.|
We can never know how many Ukrainians were moved by Sheptytsky's appeal. Certainly the church set an example. With Sheptytsky's tacit approval, his church hid a number of Jews throughout western Ukraine, 150 Jews alone in and around his L'viv headquarters. Perhaps some of his parishioners were among those brave and precious few "righteous gentiles" who risked an automatic death penalty for themselves and their families by harbouring a Jew under their roof.
The towering humanity of Sheptytsky remains an inspiration today. (Harold Troper & Morton Weinfeld, Old Wounds, 1988, pp. 17-18)
|He dispatched a lengthy handwritten letter dated August 29-31, 1942 to the Pope, in which he referred to the government of the German occupants as a regime of terror and corruption, more diabolical than that of the Bolsheviks. (Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders, 1992, p. 267)|
|One of those saved by Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was Lviv's Rabbi Kahane whose son is currently the marshal commander of the Israeli Air Force. (Ukrainian Weekly, June 21, 1992, p. 9)|
|Sheptitsky himself hid fifteen Jews, including Rabbi Kahane, in his own residence in Lvov, a building frequently visited by German officials. (Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p. 410)|
Vast Ukrainian Sacrifices to Save Jews
And Sheptytsky's actions are not unique — Ukrainians risking their lives and giving their lives to save Jews was not a rare occurrence. In the first Jewish Congress of Ukraine held in Kiev in 1992, "48 awards were handed out to Ukrainians and people of other nationalities who had rescued Jews during the second world war" (Ukrainian Weekly, November 8, 1992, p. 2). References to specific cases are not hard to find:
|Prof. Weiss [head of the Israeli Knesset] reminisced about Ukraine, the country of his childhood, and gratefully acknowledged he owed his life to two Ukrainian women who hid him from the Nazis during World War II. (Ukrainian Weekly, December 13, 1992, p. 8)|
|In the Volhynian town of Hoszcza a Ukrainian farmer, Fiodor Kalenczuk, hid a Jewish grain merchant, Pessah Kranzberg, his wife, their ten-year-old daughter and their daughter's young friend, for seventeen months, refusing to deny them refuge even when his wife protested that their presence, in the stable, was endangering a Christian household. (Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p. 403)|
|Sonderkommando 4b reported that it had shot the mayor of Kremenchug, Senitsa Vershovsky, because he had "tried to protect the Jews." (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 308)|
Consulting the original Einsatzgruppe report reveals that a Catholic priest, Protyorey Romansky, was involved in the above plot to save Jews, though Romansky's punishment is not specified:
|The fact that Senitsa, the mayor of Kremenchug, was arrested for sabotaging orders, demonstrates that responsible officials are not always selected with the necessary care and attention. Only after the Einsatzkommandos had interrogated the official could it be established that he had purposely sabotaged the handling of the Jewish problem. He used false data and authorized the chief priest Protyorey Romansky to baptize the Jews whom he himself had selected, giving them Christian or Russian first names. His immediate arrest prevented a larger number of Jews from evading German control. Senitsa was executed. (Einsatzgruppe C, Kiev, Operational Situation Report USSR No. 177, March 6, 1942, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, editors, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections From the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, 1989, p. 304)|
Similarly illustrative of help being given despite severe penalties is the following:
|A German police company in the village of Samary, Volhynia, shot an entire Ukrainian family, including a man, two women, and three children, for harboring a Jewish woman. (Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders, 1992, p. 201)|
|Whoever attempted to help Jews acted alone and exposed himself as well as his family to the possibility of a death sentence from a German Kommando. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 308)|
Given the severity and the imminence of the punishment, it is a wonder that Ukrainians offered any help at all. Jews who had been saved by Ukrainians have subsequently admitted that in view of the extreme danger, had their roles been reversed they would not have extended the same help to the Ukrainians.
Ukrainian help was not limited to a few isolated cases, but rather was widely given:
|"It is unfortunate," declared a German proclamation issued in Lvov on April 11 , "that the rural population continues — nowadays furtively — to assist Jews, thus doing harm to the community, and hence to themselves, by this disloyal attitude." (Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p. 319)|
|[In 1943] tens of thousands of Jews were still in hiding throughout the General Government, the Eastern Territories and the Ukraine. But German searches for them were continuous. (Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 1986, p. 553)|
|Although we succeeded in particular, in smaller towns and also in villages in accomplishing a complete liquidation of the Jewish problem, again and again it is, however, observed in larger cities that, after such an execution, all Jews have indeed disappeared. But, when, after a certain period of time, a Kommando returns again, the number of Jews still found in the city always considerably surpasses the number of the executed Jews. (Erwin Schulz, commander of Einsatzkommando 5 of EinsatzgruppeC, in John Mendelsohn, Editor, The Holocaust, Volume 18, 1982, p. 98)|
|Whenever the Einsatzgruppe had left a town, it returned to find more Jews than had already been killed there. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 342)|
|"At the time we were fully aware of consequences that might expect us. We were aware that our family were doomed to perish together with the people we sheltered if detected. But sometimes people ask 'would you do it again?' And the answer is short. Yes. We tell them point blank that our Christian religion taught us to love your neighbor as yourself, be your brother's keeper," she stated.|
"Sometimes," she continued, "we hear the people asking why so few did what we did. Ladies and gentlemen, I am sure there were many, many people like us risking their lives while hiding Jews, but how many of those rescued had the courage to report the names of their rescuers to Yad Vashem? Somehow being free of danger they have forgotten what risk those people took." (Ukrainian Weekly, June 21, 1992, p. 9, emphasis added)
The Forgotten Bodnar
Yes, how some of them do seem to have forgotten. Take Simon Wiesenthal, for example. The chief focus of discussion between him and Morley Safer seems to have been whether Ukrainians are all genetically programmed to be worse anti-Semites than the Nazis (Mr. Morley's position), or whether it was just Ukrainian police units that deserve this description (Mr. Wiesenthal's position). Now to balance this image of unrelieved Ukrainian anti-Semitism, Mr. Wiesenthal could have mentioned that on numerous occasions Ukrainians risked their lives, perhaps even gave their lives, to save his (Mr. Wiesenthal's) life — and not only civilians, but the very same Ukrainian police auxiliaries whom both Mr. Safer and Mr. Wiesenthal agree were uniformly sub-human brutes. Here, for example, is Mr. Wiesenthal's own story (as told to Peter Michael Lingens) concerning a member of a Ukrainian police auxiliary who is identified by the Ukrainian surname "Bodnar." The story is that Mr. Wiesenthal is about to be executed, but:
|The shooting stopped. Ten yards from Wiesenthal.|
The next thing he remembers was a brilliant cone of light and behind it a Polish voice: "But Mr. Wiesenthal, what are you doing here?" Wiesenthal recognized a foreman he used to know, by the name of Bodnar. He was wearing civilian clothes with the armband of a Ukrainian police auxiliary. "I've got to get you out of here tonight."
Bodnar told the [other] Ukrainians that among the captured Jews he had discovered a Soviet spy and that he was taking him to the district police commissar. In actual fact he took Wiesenthal back to his own flat, on the grounds that it was unlikely to be searched so soon again. This was the first time Wiesenthal survived. (Peter Michael Lingens, in Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 8)
|The German sergeant, already a little drunk, slapped Bodnar's face and said: "Then what are you standing around for? If this is what you people are like, then later we'll all have troubles. Report back to me as soon as you deliver them [Wiesenthal along with a fellow prisoner]." (Alan Levy,The Wiesenthal File, 1993, p. 37)|
And so these three things — the heroic actions of Lviv's Metropolitan Sheptytsky, the self-sacrificing intervention of the Ukrainian police official, Bodnar, in saving Mr. Wiesenthal's own life, and the existence of numerous other instances of Ukrainians saving Jews — these are things that were highly pertinent to the 60 Minutes broadcast, and they are things that would have begun to transform the broadcast from a twisted message of hate to balanced reporting, but they are things that were deliberately omitted. It is difficult to imagine any motive for this omission other than the preservation of the stereotype of uniform Ukrainian brutishness.
Following the writing of the above section on the topic of Ukrainians saving Jews, a flood of similar material — actually more striking than similar — has come to my attention, far too great a volume to integrate into the present paper. Therefore, I merely take this opportunity to present three links to such similar material that has been placed on UKAR: (1) one item is evidence that Ukrainian forester Petro Pyasetsky may hold the record for saving the largest number of Jewish lives during World War II (in all likelihood greatly exceeding individuals like Oscar Schindler or Raoul Wallenberg); (2) another item relates the case of lawyer Volodymyr Bemko who recounts his participation as defense attorney in numerous prosecutions by the Germans of Ukrainians on trial for the crime of aiding Jews; and (3) a briefer item outlining how the Vavrisevich family hid seven Jews during World War II. The first two of these three items are not brief, and so might best be read at a later time if interruption of the reading of the present paper seems undesirable.
Following the trauma of Soviet oppression, following the brutal terror of Communism, the artificial famine of 1932-33 in which some six million Ukrainians perished, following the deportation by the Communists of 400,000 Western Ukrainians and the slaughter of 10,000 Western Ukrainians by retreating Communist forces, the Ukrainian population did indeed welcome the Germans in 1941. However, disillusionment with the German emancipation was immediate:
|The brutality of the German regime became evident everywhere.|
The Germans began the extermination of the population on a mass scale. In the autumn of 1941 the Jewish people who had not escaped to the East were annihilated throughout Ukraine. No less than 850,000 were killed by the SS special commandos. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners of war, especially during the winter of 1941-42, died of hunger in the German camps — a tragedy which had a considerable effect upon the course of the war, for as a consequence Soviet soldiers ceased to surrender to the Germans.
At the end of 1941, the Nazi terror turned against active Ukrainian nationalists, although most of them were not in any way engaged in fighting the Germans as yet. Thus, in the winter of 1941-42, a group of writers including Olena Teliha and Ivan Irliavsky, Ivan Rohach, the chief editor of the daily ... Ukrainian Word, Bahazii, the mayor of Kiev, later Dmytro Myron-Orlyk, and several others were suddenly arrested and shot in Kiev. The majority of a group of Bukovinians who had fled to the east after the Rumanian occupation of Bukovina were shot in Kiev and Mykolayiv in the autumn of 1941. In Dnipropetrovske, at the beginning of 1942, the leaders of the relief work of the Ukrainian National Committee were shot. In Kamianets Podilsky several dozen Ukrainian activists including Kibets, the head of the local administration, were executed. In March, 1943, Perevertun, the director of the All-Ukrainian Consumer Cooperative Society, and his wife were shot. In 1942-43 there were shootings and executions in Kharkiv, Zyhtomyr, Kremenchuk, Lubni, Shepetivka, Rivne, Kremianets, Brest-Litovsk, and many other places.
When, in the second half of 1942, the conduct of the Germans provoked the population to resistance in the form of guerrilla warfare, the Germans began to apply collective responsibility on a large scale. This involved the mass shooting of innocent people and the burning of entire villages, especially in the Chernihiv and northern Kiev areas and in Volhynia. For various — even minor — offenses, people were being hanged publicly in every city and village. The numbers of the victims reached hundreds of thousands. The German rulers began systematically to remove the Ukrainians from the local administration by arrests and executions, replacing them with Russians, Poles, and Volksdeutshe. (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume 1, pp. 881-882)
|Major-General Eberhardt, the German Commandant of Kiev, on November 2, 1941 announced that: "Cases of arson and sabotage are becoming more frequent in Kiev and oblige me to take firm action. For this reason 300 Kiev citizens have been shot today." This seemed to do no good because Eberhardt on November 29, 1941 again announced: "400 men have been executed in the city [of Kiev]. This should serve as a warning to the population."|
The death penalty was applied by the Germans to any Ukrainian who gave aid, or directions, to the UPA [Ukrainian Partisan Army] or Ukrainian guerrillas. If you owned a pigeon the penalty was death. The penalty was death for anyone who did not report or aided a Jew to escape, and many Ukrainians were executed for helping Jews. Death was the penalty for listening to a Soviet radio program or reading anti-German leaflets. For example, on March 28, 1943 three women in Kherson, Maria and Vera Alexandrovska and Klavdia Tselhelnyk were executed because they had "read an anti-German leaflet, said they agreed with its contents and passed it on." (Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine, Forum, No. 92, Spring 1995, p. 21)
The Ukrainian opposition manifested itself primarily in the underground Ukrainian Partisan Army (UPA):
|The spread of the insurgent struggle acquired such strength that at the end of the occupation the Germans were in control nowhere but in the cities of Ukraine and made only daylight raids into the villages. ... They [the Ukrainian guerrillas] espoused the idea of an independent Ukrainian state and the slogan "neither Hitler nor Stalin." (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume 1, p. 884)|
|During the most intensive fighting against the Germans in the fall of 1943 and the spring of 1944, the UPA numbered close to 40,000 men.... Among major losses inflicted upon the enemy by the UPA, the following should be mentioned: Victor Lutze, chief of the SS-Sicherungsabteilung, who was killed in battle in May, 1943.... (Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, Volume 2, pp. 1089-1091)|
|Up to 200 innocent Ukrainians were executed for one German attacked by guerrillas. In spite of this a total of 460,000 German soldiers and officers were killed by partisans in Ukraine during the War. (Andrew Gregorovich,World War II in Ukraine, Forum, No. 92, Spring 1995, p. 21)|
|Photograph of partisans executed by the Nazis.||Photograph of young woman executed by the Nazis, and young man about to be executed, for partisan activities.|
|When the time came to appoint the Nazi ruler of Ukraine, Hitler chose Erich Koch, a notoriously brutal and bigoted administrator known for his personal contempt for Slavs. Koch's attitude toward his assignment was evident in the speech he delivered to his staff upon his arrival in Ukraine in September 1941: "Gentlemen, I am known as a brutal dog. Because of this reason I was appointed as Reichskommissar of Ukraine. Our task is to suck from Ukraine all the goods we can get hold of, without consideration of the feelings or the property of the native population." On another occasion, Koch emphasized his loathing for Ukrainians by remarking: "If I find a Ukrainian who is worthy of sitting at the same table with me, I must have him shot." (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 467)|
|Koch often said that Ukrainian people were inferior to the Germans, that Ukrainians were half-monkeys, and that Ukrainians "must be handled with the whip like the negroes." (Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine, Forum, No. 92, Spring 1995, p. 15)|
|By early 1942, Koch's police had to stage massive manhunts, rounding up young Ukrainians in bazaars or as they emerged from churches or cinemas and shipping them to Germany. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 469)|
|Most of the team members were arrested and executed in Babyn Yar, but they are not forgotten. There is a monument to them in Kiev and their heroism inspired the film Victory starring Sylvester Stallone and Pele. (Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine, Forum, No. 92, Spring 1995, p. 21)|
|Koch drastically limited the flow of foodstuffs into the cities, arguing that Ukrainian urban centers were basically useless. In the long run, the Nazis intended to transform Ukraine into a totally agrarian country and, in the short run, Germany needed the food that Ukrainian urban dwellers consumed. As a result, starvation became commonplace and many urban dwellers were forced to move to the countryside. Kiev, for example, lost about 60% of its population. Kharkiv, which had a population of 700,000 when the Germans arrived, saw 120,000 of its inhabitants shipped to Germany as laborers; 30,000 were executed and about 80,000 starved to death.... (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 469)|
|Co. 4 in which I was employed seized in Kiev the library of the medical research institute. All equipment, scientific staff, documentation and books were shipped out to Germany.|
We appropriated rich trophies in the library of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences which possessed singular manuscripts of Persian, Abyssinian and Chinese writings, Russian and Ukrainian chronicles, incunabula by the first printer Ivan Fedorov, and rare editions of Shevchenko, Mickiewicz, and Ivan Franko.
Expropriated and sent to Berlin were many exhibits from Kiev's Museums of Ukrainian Art, Russian Art, Western and Oriental Art and the Taras Shevchenko Museum.
As soon as the troops seize a big city, there arrive in their wake team leaders with all kinds of specialists to scan museums, art galleries, exhibitions, cultural and art institutions, evaluate their state and expropriate everything of value. (Report by SS-Oberstrumfuehrer Ferster, November 10, 1942, in Kondufor, History Teaches a Lesson, p. 176, in Andrew Gregorovich, World War II in Ukraine, Forum, No. 92, Spring, 1995, p. 23)
|Heinrich Himmler, the chief of the SS, proposed that "the entire Ukrainian intelligentsia should be decimated." Koch believed that three years of grade school was more than enough education for Ukrainians. He even went so far as to curtail medical services in order to undermine "the biological power of the Ukrainians." German-only shops, restaurants, and sections of trolley cars were established to emphasize the superiority of the Germans and the racial inferiority of the Ukrainian Untermenschen. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 469)|
|There must not be a more advanced education for the non-German population of the east than four years of primary school.|
This primary education has the following objective only: doing simple arithmetic up to 500, writing one's name, learning that it was God's command that the Germans must be obeyed, and that one had to be honest, diligent, and obedient. I don't consider reading skills necessary. Except for this school, no other kind of school must be allowed in the east....
The [remaining inferior] population will be at our call as a slave people without leaders, and each year will provide Germany with migrant workers and workers for special projects ... and, while themselves lacking all culture, they will be called upon under the strict, purposeful, and just rule of the German nation to contribute to [Germany's] eternal cultural achievements and monuments.... (Himmler, May 1941, in Hannah Vogt,The Burden of Guilt: A Short History of Germany, 1914-1945, Oxford University Press, New York, 1964, p. 263)
|A graphic indication of the extremes of Nazi brutality experienced in Ukraine was that for one village that was destroyed and its inhabitants executed in France and Czechoslovakia, 250 villages and their inhabitants suffered such a fate in Ukraine. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, pp. 479-480)|
Discovered Under the Floorboards
In reading Simon Wiesenthal's biography, one cannot but be impressed by his exactitude. Take this account of how he was discovered underneath the floorboards:
|In early June 1944, during a drinking bout in a neighbouring house, a chief inspector of the German railways was beaten and robbed by his Polish companions. A house-to-house police search was ordered. Simon reburied himself several times and was in his makeshift coffin on Tuesday, 13 June 1944, when more than eight months of cramped and perilous "freedom" came to an end. As the Gestapo entered the courtyard of the house, the Polish partisans fled, leaving Wiesenthal trapped beneath the earth "in a position where I couldn't even make use of my weapon." (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, pp. 52-53)|
|He is helped by his phenomenal memory: Wiesenthal is able to quote telephone numbers which he may have happened to see on a visiting card two years before. He can list the participants in huge functions, one by one, and he can add what colour suit each wore. Although he writes up to twenty letters a day, and receives more than that number, he can, years later, quote key passages from them and indicate roughly where that letter may be found in a file. ... A man's civilian occupation, his origins in a particular region, his accent mentioned by someone — all these stick in Wiesenthal's memory for years. And, just like a computer, he can call them up at any time.|
This permanent readiness of recall means that the horror is not relegated, as it is with most people (and increasingly also with victims), to a remote recess of the mind, but is always at the forefront, at the painful boundary of consciousness. Wiesenthal possesses what is usually called a photographic memory: he is a man who cannot forget. (Peter Michael Lingens, in Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, pp. 20-21.)
As Mr. Wiesenthal has related the story of his life to more than one biographer, it is not a difficult matter for a reader to compare these stories in order to be further edified by the demonstration of Mr. Wiesenthal's remarkable memory. Take, for example, this other account of the same story of being discovered underneath the floorboards:
|One evening in April 1943 a German soldier was shot dead in the street. The alarm was raised: SS and Polish police officers in civilian clothes searched the nearby houses for hidden weapons. Instead they found Simon Wiesenthal. He was marched off for the third time to, as he believed, his certain execution. (Peter Michael Lingens, in Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 11)|
And so now we are forced to wonder whether this is the same event badly remembered, or whether Mr. Wiesenthal was discovered twice under the floorboards, once in 1943 and again in 1944. The more cynical reader might even go on to wonder whether any such event took place at all.
As the above comparison illustrates, and as a reading of Mr. Wiesenthal proves a hundred times over, Mr. Wiesenthal's salient characteristic is not that he has a photographic memory, but rather that he cannot tell a story twice in the same way. For a second example, take the case of the Rusinek slap.
The Rusinek Slap
|Former inmates took over command. One of them was the future Polish Cabinet Minister Kazimierz Rusinek. Wiesenthal needed to see him at his office to get a pass. The Pole, who was about to lock up, struck him across the face — just as some camp officials had frequently treated Jews. It hurt Wiesenthal more than all the blows received from SS men in three years: "Now the war is over, and the Jews are still being beaten."|
... He sought out the American camp command to make a complaint. (Peter Michael Lingens in Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 12)
|A Polish trusty named Kazimierz Rusinek pounced on Simon for no good reason and knocked him unconscious. When Wiesenthal woke up, friends had carried him to his bunk. "What has he got against you?" one of them asked.|
"I don't know," Simon said. "Maybe he's angry because I'm still alive." (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, p. 69)
Mr. Wiesenthal's stories are cluttered with this sort of self-contradiction. Take, for still another example, the case of the Bodnar rescue: In Justice Not Vengeance, Bodnar saves only Wiesenthal, and takes him to his apartment. In The Wiesenthal File, however, Bodnar saves Wiesenthal together with another prisoner and takes the two to the office of a "commissar" which office they spend the entire night cleaning.
And on top of outright contradiction, there are a mass of details that fail to ring true. For example, although many Ukrainians did risk their lives to save Jews, the number who knowingly gave their lives to save Jews must have been considerably smaller — and yet, as noted above, that is what Wiesenthal seems to be asking us to believe that Bodnar did. And then too, Wiesenthal tells us that in the execution which he had just barely escaped, the prisoners were being shot with each standing beside his own wooden box, and dumped into his own box after he was shot — where we might have expected the executioners to follow the path of least effort, Mr. Wiesenthal's account shows them going to the trouble of providing each victim with a makeshift coffin.
And just how did it come to pass that the executioners stopped before killing Wiesenthal himself? — According to Simon Wiesenthal, they heard church bells, and being devoutly religious, stopped to pray. But what an incongruous juxtaposition — Ukrainians at once deeply Christian and deeply genocidal. If Christianity invited the murder of Jews, then this would make sense, but in fact — in modern times at least — Christianity has stood against such practices, and more emphatically so in Ukraine than perhaps anywhere else, as we have already noted above.
But what has Mr. Wiesenthal's inability to come up with a consistent or credible biography got to do with the quality of his professional denunciations? — The evidence suggests that the two are equally shoddy. Had 60 Minutes looked into Mr. Wiesenthal's professional background, it would quickly have found much to wonder at. It would, for one thing, have quickly come across the case of Frank Walus, The Nazi Who Never Was.
Frank Walus: The Nazi Who Never Was
|In 1976 Simon Wiesenthal, in Vienna, had gone public with charges that a Polish emigre living in Chicago, Frank Walus, had been a collaborator involved in persecuting Polish Jews, including women and children, as part of a Gestapo-led auxiliary police unit. Walus, charged Wiesenthal, "performed his duties with the Gestapo in the ghettos of Czestochowa and Kielce and handed over numerous Jews to the Gestapo." (Charles Ashman & Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi Hunters, 1988, p. 193)|
|ran the trial with an iron hand and an eccentricity that bordered on the bizarre. He allowed government witnesses great latitude, while limiting severely Korenkiewicz's cross-examination of them. When Walus himself testified, Hoffman limited him almost entirely to simple yes and no answers. (Charles Ashman & Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi Hunters, 1988, p. 193)|
|then a formal appeal was filed. The process took almost two years, but in February 1980, the court ruled. It threw out Hoffman's verdict and ordered Walus retried. In making the ruling, the court said that it appeared the government's case against Walus was "weak" but that Hoffman's handling of the trial had been so biased that it could not evaluate the evidence properly. (Charles Ashman & Robert J. Wagman,The Nazi Hunters, 1988, p. 195)|
|Only later was the source of the "evidence" against Walus that had reached Simon Wiesenthal identified. Walus had bought a two-family duplex when he came to Chicago. In the early 1970s, he rented out the second unit to a tenant with whom he eventually had a fight. Walus evicted the tenant, who then started telling one and all how his former landlord used to sit around and reminisce about the atrocities he had committed against Jews in the good old days. Apparently one of the groups to which he told the story was a Jewish refugee agency in Chicago, which passed the information along to Simon Wiesenthal. (Charles Ashman & Robert J. Wagman, The Nazi Hunters, 1988, p. 195)|
For a statement concerning the Walus case made by Frank Walus himself, please read Frank Walus's letter to Germany.
The Deschênes Commission
But is the Walus case a single slipup in Simon Wiesenthal's otherwise blemish-free career? No, other slipups can be found — in one instance a batch of 6,000 others. Simon Wiesenthal kicked the ball into play with the accusation that Canada harbored "several hundred" war criminals (Toronto Star, May 19, 1971). The Jewish Defense League caught the ball, found it soft and inflated it to "maybe 1,000" (Globe and Mail, July 5, 1983) before tossing it to Edward Greenspan. Edward Greenspan mustered enough hot air to inflate it to 2,000 (Globe and Mail, November 21, 1983) before tossing it to Sol Littman whose lung capacity was able to raise it to 3,000 (Toronto Star, November 8, 1984). The ball, distended beyond recognition, was tossed back to Wiesenthal who boldly puffed it up to 6,000 (New York Daily News, May 16, 1986) and then made the mistake of trying to kick it — but poof! The ball burst!
Judge Jules Deschênes writing the report for Canada's Commission on War Criminals first certifies that the ball had indeed reached the record-breaking 6,000 Canadian war criminals:
|The Commission has ascertained from the New York Daily News that this figure is correct and is not the result of a printing error. (Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 247)|
|Between 1971 and 1986, public statements by outside interveners concerning alleged war criminals residing in Canada have spread increasingly large and grossly exaggerated figures as to their estimated number ... [among them] the figure of 6,000 ventured in 1986 by Mr. Simon Wiesenthal.... (p. 249)|
|The high level reached by some of those figures, together with the wide discrepancy between them, contributed to create both revulsion and interrogation. (p. 245)|
|It was obvious that the list of 217 officers of the Galicia Division furnished by Mr. Wiesenthal was nearly totally useless and put the Canadian government, through the RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] and this Commission, to a considerable amount of purposeless work. (p. 258)|
|The Commission has tried repeatedly to obtain the incriminating evidence allegedly in Mr. Wiesenthal's possession, through various oral and written communications with Mr. Wiesenthal himself and with his solicitor, Mr. Martin Mendelsohn of Washington, D.C., but to no avail: telephone calls, letters, even a meeting in New York between Mr. Wiesenthal and Commission Counsel on 1 November 1985 followed up by further direct communications, have succeeded in bringing no positive results, outside of promises. (p. 257)|
|CASE NO. 73. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by Mr. Sol Littman. Mr. Littman made no particular allegation against the subject, but referred to information obtained from a particular individual as the source of the subject's name. Mr. Littman further indicated that the subject resided at an unspecified address in Canada and had been the object of an extradition request by the government of an Eastern European country. No particulars of this alleged extradition request were provided. ... The Commission confirmed that an extradition request had not been received by the Canadian government and that the Berlin Document Center had no record on the subject.|
|CASE NO. 121. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, whose source of information was the Department of the Solicitor General which, in turn, had received the information from a private citizen. It was alleged that this individual may have been a doctor who experimented on concentration camp prisoners. ... The interview established that the complainant was not in a position to place the subject in a Nazi war camp nor was she in possession of names of witnesses able to connect the subject with wartime criminal activities. ... [T]he subject would have been only 15 to 20 years old during the war, hardly an age to have the position suggested above.|
|CASE NO. 122. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by an anonymous note. The only allegation initially made was that the subject was a war criminal and was living at a certain address in Canada. ... [T]he evidence ... indicates the individual has lived all his life in Canada and was drafted into the Canadian army for a short time in 1942.|
|CASE NO. 133. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, whose source of information was Mr. Sol Littman. It was alleged that the subject under investigation had been a member of the SS. ... These investigations revealed that the subject was born in 1933 and would therefore have been between 6 and 12 years of age during the war.|
|CASE NO. 156. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by Mr. Sol Littman. Mr. Littman alleged only that the subject had been a "propagandist for the party." When contacted by the Commission, Mr. Littman indicated that he had no further evidence or information. ... On the basis of the foregoing [itemized investigation], no evidence of participation in or knowledge of specific war crimes is available.|
|CASE NO. 158. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by a private citizen. The only allegation initially made was that the subject was a war criminal because he was so wealthy and of German background. ... They confirmed the subject's rather recent date of birth, but indicated no evidence or reason to suspect that the subject had committed any war crime.|
|CASE NO. 171. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by ... the Jewish Documentation Centre in Vienna. ... According to the year of birth, this person would have been only five or six years old at the end of World War II.|
|CASE NO. 179. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by an anonymous letter. The allegation initially made was that the subject was the owner of a shop who behaved curiously regarding the sources of the store's goods. ... The subject is the spouse of the individual who is reported in Case No. 180. Both were denounced in the same anonymous letter. ... The Commission checked the shop itself and concluded that the complaint is entirely spurious and unfounded.|
|CASE NO. 180. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by an anonymous letter. The only allegation initially made was that the subject was the owner of a shop who behaved curiously regarding the sources of the store's goods. ... The Commission also checked the shop itself and concluded that the complaint is entirely spurious and unfounded.|
|CASE NO. 190. This family's surname was brought to the attention of the Commission by Mr. David Matas [chairman of the Jewish National Legal Committee], whose source of information was an anonymous letter claiming the family came from a foreign country and deserved investigation because they were "recluses." There was no specific allegation of involvement in war crimes made against this family.|
|CASE NO. 202. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the Canadian Jewish Congress, whose source of information was a private citizen. There was no specific allegation of involvement in war crimes made against this individual, and the information received was irrational. ... The Commission contacted the wife of the subject, who stated that she did not know the citizen (who made the allegation) and that her husband never had any business dealings with a person by that name. The Commission also tried to locate the complainant but to no avail.|
|CASE NO. 247. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the Canadian Jewish Congress, whose source of information was a private citizen. There was no specific allegation of involvement in war crimes made against the individual. ... The Commission was advised by the German Military Service Office ... that it had a record of a person with the same name as the subject, which indicated that he was a pilot in the Allied Air Force and had been taken prisoner by the Germans.|
|CASE NO. 269. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the Canadian Jewish Congress, whose source of information was a private citizen. It was alleged that this individual is a physician whose physical description resembles that of the notorious war criminal Dr. Mengele. ... Personal data of the subject taken from various documentation reveal the following in comparison with the information contained in the Commission file with respect to Dr. Mengele:|
In addition, the picture of the subject appearing in the various documents received, does not suggest that he resembles Dr. Mengele. All other search responses were negative.
|CASE NO. 431. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, whose source of information was Mr. Sol Littman. Mr. Littman had forwarded a letter to the RCMP from a private individual. It was alleged in the letter that the subject under investigation had been in charge of an unnamed camp and was believed to have shot civilians. ... The Commission interviewed the individual who submitted the subject's name to Mr. Littman and was advised that this individual had subsequently determined that the subject under investigation had been a prisoner of war and further that the complaint was unfounded.|
|CASE NO. 433. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, whose source of information was an anonymous informant. The only allegation made was that the subject was "a possible German involved in war crimes". No specific allegation or evidence against the subject was provided. ... The Commission reviewed material available from the RCMP and CSIS, which determined that the subject was born in 1933, and for that reason could not have been involved in the commission of war crimes between 1939 and 1945.|
|CASE NO. 526. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the Canadian Jewish Congress, whose source of information was a private individual. It was alleged that the subject under investigation might be Dr. Josef Mengele. ... The Department of External Affairs reported that it had a record in respect of the individual, but that the individual had been born in 1928 in Canada.... ... Furthermore, the subject's name is not one of the aliases used from time to time by Josef Mengele.|
|CASE NO. 561. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, whose source of information was the Canadian Jewish Congress. It was alleged that the subject was responsible for the deaths of "hundreds of Jews." No specific evidence of the alleged war crimes was provided. ... Records of the Department of Employment and Immigration ... indicate that the subject was born in 1941....|
|CASE NO. 588.1. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by the RCMP, who were investigating the suspicions of the Department of Employment and Immigration officials that the individual might be older than he claims and might be hiding a questionable past, which may have involved the Nazi Party. ... It was verified [through various investigations] that the subject is indeed who he claims to be and that he was indeed born in 1929. He was barely 10 years old at the start of the war.|
|CASE NO. 658. This individual was brought to the attention of the Commission by Mr. Sol Littman and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Mr. Littman indicated that he had no specific allegation to evidence that this individual had been involved in war crimes, and the source of his information was the Canadian Jewish Congress. The Canadian Jewish Congress indicated that this individual was alleged by an unnamed source to have been a member of the Gestapo in an Eastern European country. [...] The Commission located the subject in Canada in 1986. [...] The Commission determined that [...] he was a member of the Luftwaffe.|
Sol Littman's Mengele Scare
As another piece of evidence that we are in the midst of a witch hunt — a witch hunt in which Simon Wiesenthal plays the role of chief inquisitor — consider Sol Littman's Mengele Scare. On December 20, 1984, Mr. Littman — Canadian representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center — wrote to the Prime Minister of Canada unequivocally affirming that
|Mengele, employing the alias of Dr. Joseph Menke, applied to the Canadian embassy in Buenos Aires for admission to Canada as a landed immigrant in late May or early June, 1962. (In Jules Deschênes,Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 67)|
|Other records indicate that Mengele applied to the Canadian Embassy in Buenos Aires for a Canadian visa in 1962 under a pseudonym and that the Canadians informed American intelligence officials of this attempt.|
|There is no documentary evidence whatsoever of an attempt by Dr. Joseph Mengele to seek admission to Canada from Buenos Aires in 1962.|
The affirmation has come from Mr. Sol Littman, and from him alone. ...
The advice which Littman solicited [in the course of his own research] ... did not support his assumptions, but put him on notice about their fragility.
As stated at the outset, all that Littman could rely on was "speculation, impression, possibility, hypothesis". Yet he chose to transmute them into statements of facts which he publicized....
This is a case where not a shred of evidence has been tendered to support Mr. Littman's statement to the Prime Minister of Canada on 20 December 1984, or Mr. Ralph Blumenthal's article in the New York Times on 23 January 1985. (Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 70)
In view of Sol Littman's irresponsibility in engineering the Mengele Scare, it is not a little ironic to note that it was this very scare which was the prime cause of the Canadian government constituting the Jules Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals. We see this demonstrated when the reasons for the Commission being constituted are laid out, and Sol Littman's Mengele disinformation — at the time accepted as information — appears at the top of the list:
|WHEREAS concern has been expressed about the possibility that Joseph Mengele, an alleged Nazi war criminal, may have entered or attempted to enter Canada.... (Jules Deschênes, Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, 1986, p. 17)|
What we see in Sol Littman, then, is a case somewhat paralleling that of Morley Safer — a single Jew creates a story out of thin air, and gets it disseminated to tens of millions of people through a Jewish-controlled media which conveniently neglects to verify it prior to publication. In Littman's case, he goes well beyond dissemination — he further succeeds in pressuring the Canadian government to waste taxpayer money (always in short supply for education and health care) on a costly inquiry which turns up just about nothing, and whose only appreciable benefit is not to the Canadian people, and not even to Jews collectively, but only to Sol Littman personally — which benefit is the stirring up of Jewish anxiety on the one hand together with anti-Jewish resentment on the other, both of which are necessary to increasing the flow of Jewish contributions into Sol Littman's coffers. Sol Littman, in short, is a parasite upon the Jewish people, preying on the fears of the more gullible of them, essentially playing a role not unlike that of Stephen King in which the bigger a scare he is able to elicit out of his audience by means of the fantastic stories he is able to concoct, the greater is his success. Repeating the same principle in different words, we may say that the more anti-Semitism Sol Littman is able to provoke, the greater is his success.
How does Sol Littman come to be in the vanguard of the fight to suppress hate on the Internet? Consider the information on Sol Littman which can be found on The Ukrainian Archive: (1) Reviewing the sampling higher above of irresponsible denunciations submitted to the Deschênes Commission, we note that four of them were submitted by Sol Littman, suggesting that in the full list of denunciations, his contribution would have been substantial. (2) The Sol Littman Mengele scare immediately above. (3) My 27May98 letter to Demjanjuk persecutor Neal Sher, in which I present data supporting the conclusion that Neal Sher and Sol Littman are members of a subculture who lie not only to those who are not members of their subculture, but to each other as well, thus steeping themselves in untruths. Still more information is available on a web site unconnected to UKAR devoted exclusively to exposing Sol Littman. Given the present UKAR disclosure of Sol Littman's irresponsibility, and given the similar disclosure on other sites on the Internet, as the one cited above, it is little wonder that Sol Littman is today a leading exponent for society bestowing upon him (and others like him) the power to suppress information on the Internet when he decides (or they decide) that it expresses "hate." Perhaps a suspicion that it would be healthy to occasionally entertain is that those who call loudest for the suppression of information may be those with the most to hide.
Salem's Was Not the Last Witch Hunt
Surely the above data convinces us that many of the horrors that we all despise — that even Mr. Safer might profess to despise — are being realized as contemporary actualities. Slanderous and unfounded allegations. Anonymous letters of accusation. Government agencies investigating people for no other reason than that someone has submitted their names. McCarthyism. A witch hunt. Individuals accused of having committed war crimes while they were still in diapers. And instead of standing back from this mass hysteria or exposing it, 60 Minutes has chosen instead to play a contributory role.
The Deschênes Commission cites 31 newspaper accounts between 1971 and 1986 of Nazi war criminals residing in Canada, and points out that this list is not exhaustive. Decades of coverage of such sensational accusations leaves a permanent impression on the minds of the public, while the Deschênes Commission refutation takes place only once, and does not carry the same lurid appeal. The net effect is a propaganda victory for the false accusers. 60 Minutes is making its contribution to this phenomenon — its false accusations in "The Ugly Face of Freedom" were long and sensational and will be remembered by many, its retraction will be short and dull and will be remembered by few. 60 Minutes hands Ukrainophobes another victory.
Letters to Simon Wiesenthal
I have written a number of letters to Simon Wiesenthal asking for his clarification on the issues raised above, and on other issues relating to his credibility and to his calumniation of Ukraine. These letters can be found by clicking the above link. Other material relating to Simon Wiesenthal can be found scattered throughout the UKAR site, and can be located using the Internal Search Engine whose link can be found on the Home Page. One item particularly worth mentioning might be my sixth letter to Michael Jordan, Chairman of Westinghouse. Following examination of any of these materials, clicking BACK on your browser will return you to this location (if your browsing trail has not been too long).
|SAFER: He [Simon Wiesenthal] remembers that even before the Germans arrived, Ukrainian police went on a 3-day killing spree.|
WIESENTHAL: And in this 3 days in Lvov alone between 5 and 6 thousand Jews was killed.
SAFER: But even before the Germans entered Lvov, the Ukrainian militia, the police, killed 3,000 people in 2 days here.
Let us begin our examination of this claim by reviewing the historical context.
Historical Context of the Lviv Massacre
Eight Years Previously. Although Western Ukraine was spared the induced famine of 1932-1933 in which some six million Ukrainians perished, Western Ukrainians were nevertheless aware of the famine in adjacent Soviet Ukraine and aware that it was administered at the top by Lazar Kaganovich, a Jew, and was supported at the bottom by cadres, many said to be Jewish, who moved from village to village confiscating grain and livestock.
During the previous 21 months. Western Ukraine was annexed by Soviet forces in 1939 for a period of 21 months until the Germans arrived in 1941. What was the experience of Western Ukrainians under Russian communism? It was traumatic. On top of suppression of culture and confiscation of property, there was terror:
|The most widespread and feared measure was deportation. Without warning, without trial, even without formal accusation, thousands of alleged "enemies of the people" were arrested, packed into cattle cars, and shipped to Siberia and Kazakhstan to work as slave laborers under horrible conditions. Many of these deportees, including entire families, perished. ... According to Metropolitan Andrei Sheptytsky, the Soviets deported about 400,000 Ukrainians from Galicia alone. ... West Ukrainians found their first exposure to the Soviet system to be a generally negative experience and many concluded that "Bolshevik" rule had to be avoided at all costs. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, pp. 456-457)|
During the preceding few days. As the Soviets retreated, the NKVD — perceived by Ukrainians to be manned disproportionately by Jews — went on a killing spree. Concerning this event, there seems to be widespread agreement. Particularly relevant to our discussion, is that even Simon Wiesenthal can be found adding his voice of assent in the fifth of the series of quotations below:
|While the movement to the East was taking place, the NKVD carried out mass arrests and executions, chiefly of Ukrainians — especially those who tried to avoid evacuation. In the jails most prisoners whose period of imprisonment was more than three years were shot; others were evacuated if possible. In several cities the NKVD burned prisons with prisoners in them. (Volodymyr Kubijovyc, editor, Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1963, Volume I, p. 878, Vsevolod Holubnychy and H. M. wrote this section)|
|The Bolsheviks succeeded in annihilating some 10,000 political prisoners in Western Ukraine before and after the outbreak of hostilities (massacres took place in the prisons in Lviv, Zolochiv, Rivne, Dubno, Lutsk, etc.). (Volodymyr Kubijovyc, editor, Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Volume 1, p. 886)|
|Before fleeing the German advance the Soviet occupational regime murdered thousands of Ukrainian civilians, mainly members of the city's [Lviv's] intelligentsia. (Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume 3, p. 222)|
|The Soviets' hurried retreat had tragic consequences for thousands of political prisoners in the jails of Western Ukraine. Unable to evacuate them in time, the NKVD slaughtered their prisoners en masse during the week of 22-29 June 1941, regardless of whether they were incarcerated for major or minor offenses. Major massacres occurred in Lviv, Sambir, and Stanyslaviv in Galicia, where about 10,000 prisoners died, and in Rivne and Lutsk in Volhynia, where another 5000 perished. Coming on the heels of the mass deportations and growing Soviet terror, these executions added greatly to the West Ukrainians' abhorrence of the Soviets. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 461)|
|When the German attack came on 22 June the Soviets had no time to take with them the people they had locked up. So they simply killed them. Thousands of detainees were shot dead in their cells by the retreating Soviets. (Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 35)|
|Right after the entry we were shown 2,400 dead bodies of Ukrainians liquidated with a shot at the scruff of the neck at the city jail of Lemberg [Lviv] by the Soviets prior to their marching off. (Hans Frank, In the Face of the Gallows, p. 406)|
|In Lvov, several thousand prisoners had been held in three jails. When the Germans arrived on 29 June, the city stank, and the prisons were surrounded by terrified relatives. Unimaginable atrocities had occurred inside. The prisons looked like abattoirs. It had taken the NKVD a week to complete their gruesome task before they fled. (Gwyneth Hughes and Simon Welfare, Red Empire: The Forbidden History of the USSR, 1990, p. 133)|
|We learned that, before the Russian troops had left, a very great number of Lemberg citizens, Ukrainians and Polish inhabitants of other towns and villages had been killed in this prison and in other prisons. Furthermore, there were many corpses of German men and officers, among them many Air Corps officers, and many of them were found mutilated. There was a great bitterness and excitement among the Lemberg population against the Jewish sector of the population. (Erwin Schulz, from May until 26 September, 1941 Commander of Einsatzkommando 5, a subunit of Einsatzgruppe C, in John Mendelsohn, editor, The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes, Garland, New York, 1982, Volume 18, p. 18)|
|On the next day, Dr. RASCH informed us to the effect that the killed people in Lemberg amounted to about 5,000. It has been determined without any doubt that the arrests and killings had taken place under the leadership of Jewish functionaries and with the participation of the Jewish inhabitants of Lemberg. That was the reason why there was such an excitement against the Jewish population on the part of the Lemberg citizens. (Erwin Schulz, from May until 26 September, 1941 Commander of Einsatzkommando 5, a subunit of Einsatzgruppe C, in John Mendelsohn, editor, The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes, Garland, New York, 1982, Volume 18, p. 18)|
|Chief of Einsatzgruppe B reports that Ukrainian insurrection movements were bloodily suppressed by the NKVD on June 25, 1941 in Lvov. About 3,000 were shot by NKVD. Prison burning. Hardly 20% of Ukrainian intelligentsia has remained. (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 10, July 2, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector,The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 2)|
According to reliable information, the Russians, before withdrawing, shot 30,000 inhabitants. The corpses piled up and burned at the GPU prisons are dreadfully mutilated. The population is greatly excited: 1,000 Jews have already been forcefully gathered together. (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 11, July 3, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 4)
|Location: Zviahel (Novograd-Volynski)|
Before leaving, the Bolsheviks, together with the Jews, murdered several Ukrainians; as an excuse, they used the attempted Ukrainian uprising of June 25, 1941, which tried to free their prisoners.
According to reliable information, about 20,000 Ukrainians have disappeared from Lvov, 80% of them belonging to the intelligentsia.
The prisons in Lvov were crammed with the bodies of murdered Ukrainians. According to a moderate estimate, in Lvov alone 3-4,000 persons were either killed or deported.
In Dobromil, 82 dead bodies were found, 4 of them Jews. The latter were former Bolsheviki informers who had been killed because of their complicity in this act. Near Dobromil an obsolete salt mine pit was discovered. It was completely filled with dead bodies. In the immediate neighborhood, there is a 6X15m mass grave. The number of those murdered in the Dobromil area is estimated to be approximately several hundred.
In Sambor on June 26, 1941, about 400 Ukrainians were shot by the Bolsheviks. An additional 120 persons were murdered on June 27, 1941. The remaining 80 prisoners succeeded in overpowering the Soviet guards, and fled. ...
As early as 1939, a larger number of Ukrainians was shot, and 1,500 Ukrainians as well as 500 Poles were deported to the east.
Russians and Jews committed these murders in very cruel ways. Bestial mutilations were daily occurrences. Breasts of women and genitals of men were cut off. Jews have also nailed children to the wall and then murdered them. Killing was carried out by shots in the back of the neck. Hand grenades were frequently used for these murders.
In Dobromil, women and men were killed with blows by a hammer used to stun cattle before slaughter.
In many cases, the prisoners must have been tortured cruelly: bones were broken, etc. In Sambor, the prisoners were gagged and thus prevented from screaming during torture and murder. The Jews, some of whom also held official positions, in addition to their economic supremacy, and who served in the entire Bolshevik police, were always partners in these atrocities.
Finally, it was established that seven [German] pilots who had been captured were murdered. Three of them were found in a Russian military hospital where they had been murdered in bed by shots in the abdomen. ...
... Prior to their withdrawal, the Bolsheviks shot 2,800 out of 4,000 Ukrainians imprisoned in the Lutsk prison. According to the statement of 19 Ukrainians who survived the slaughter with more or less serious injuries, the Jews again played a decisive part in the arrests and shooting. ...
The investigations at Zlochev proved that the Russians, prior to their withdrawal, arrested and murdered indiscriminately a total of 700 Ukrainians, but, nevertheless, included the entire [local] Ukrainian intelligentsia. (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 24, July 16, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 29-33)
|Location: Pleskau [Pskov] ...|
The population is in general convinced that it is mostly the Jews who should be held responsible for the atrocities that are committed everywhere. ...
As it was learned that the Russians before they left have either deported the Ukrainian intelligentsia, or executed them, that is, murdered them, it is assumed that in the last days before the retreat of the Russians, about 100 influential Ukrainians were murdered [in Pleskau]. So far the bodies have not been found — a search has been initiated.
About 100-150 Ukrainians were murdered by the Russians in Kremenets. Some of these Ukrainians are said to have been thrown into cauldrons of boiling water. This has been deduced from the fact that the bodies were found without skin when they were exhumed. ...
... Before leaving Dubno, the Russians, as they had done in Lvov, committed extensive mass-murder.
... Before their flight [from Tarnopol], as in Lvov and Dubno, the Russians went on a rampage there. Disinterments revealed 10 bodies of German soldiers. Almost all of them had their hands tied behind their backs with wire. The bodies revealed traces of extremely cruel mutilations such as gouged eyes, severed tongues and limbs.
The number of Ukrainians who were murdered by the Russians, among them women and children, is set finally at 600. Jews and Poles were spared by the Russians. The Ukrainians estimate the total number of [Tarnopol] victims since the occupation of the Ukraine by the Russians at about 2,000. The planned deportation of the Ukrainians already started in 1939. There is hardly a family in Tarnopol from which one or several members have not disappeared. ... The entire Ukrainian intelligentsia is destroyed. Since the beginning of the war, 160 members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia were either murdered or deported. Inhabitants of the town had observed a column of about 1,000 civilians driven out of town by police and army early in the morning of July 1, 1941.
As in Lvov, torture chambers were discovered in the cellars of the Court of Justice. Apparently, hot and cold showers were also used here (as in Lemberg [Lviv]) for torture, as several bodies were found, totally naked, their skin burst and torn in many places. A grate was found in another room, made of wire and set above the ground about 1m in height, traces of ashes were found underneath. A Ukrainian engineer, who was also to be murdered but saved his life by smearing the blood of a dead victim over his face, reports that one could also hear screams of pain from women and girls. (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 28, July 20, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p.38-40)
When the bolsheviks retreated before the German onslaught in the Second World War they took care in advance not to leave any prisoners behind when the Germans arrived.
The prisoners were driven, en masse, under heavy NKVD guard deep into Russia or Siberia, day and night. Many of them were so tired that they could go no further. These were shot without compunction where they fell. Terrible things happened then. Sometimes, wives recognized their husbands among the evacuees, as the prisoners were being driven through the villages. There was great despair when they saw their loved ones taken under the muzzles of automatic guns, to far, unknown places.
The villagers took care of those who did not die at once from the NKVD bullets, but this was a very dangerous thing to do before all the bolsheviks cleared out.
But the NKVD could not evacuate all the prisoners, there were so many arrests, and jails were replenished constantly. In such a case the NKVD, before making a hasty retreat, would murder the prisoners in their cells.
I recall that when the Germans came, in the fall of 1941, to a little town, Chornobil, on the Prypyat River, 62 miles west of Kiev, 52 corpses of recently murdered people, slightly covered with earth, were found in the prison yeard.
These corpses had their hands tied at the back with wire; some had their backs flayed, others had gouged eyes or nails driven into their heels; still others had their noses, ears, tongues and even genitals cut away. Instruments of torture which the communists used were found in the dungeon of the prison.
Many of the tortured people were identified because they were mostly farmers from the local collectives who had been arrested by the NKVD for some unknown reason.
For instance, one girl (whose name I cannot recall now) from the village of Zallissya, a mile and a quarter from Chornobil, was arrested because one day she failed to go to dig trenches. All were compelled at that time, to dig anti-tank trenches. The girl was sick but there was no doctor to examine her and the NKVD arrested her, never to return.
Two days later, when the Germans arrived, she was found among the fifty-two corpses. (F. Fedorenko, My Testimony, in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, pp. 97-98)
CRIME IN STALINE
In this ciy in the NKVD prison factory the communists executed 180 persons and buried them in two holes dug in the prison yard. The corpses were liberally treated with unslaked lime, especially the faces.
My brother was sentenced to three months in jail for coming late to work. After serving 18 days in the factory prison he was set free, and a month later was drafted to the Red Army because this was in July 1941.
Later, his wife and my mother found him among the corpses, identifying him by the left hand finger, underwear and papers he had on him.
This atrocity came to light when prisoners who remained alive were liberated. They had also a very close call. Six days before the arrival of the German troops they heard muffled shots.
The prison was secretly mined by NKVD agents in preparation for the German invaders. (Andriy Vodopyan, Crime in Staline, in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, p. 121)
In the little town of Zolotnyky in the Ternopil region the bolsheviks murdered a captain of the former Ukrainian Galician Army (UHA) of 1918-1922, Mr. Dankiw, and clerks of the Ukrainian cooperative store, the sisters Magdalene, Sophia and Clementine Husar from the suburb of Vaha. Clementine and Magdalene were tortured in a beastly manner and had their breats cut off.
Other people executed at that time were: Slavko Demyd, Yosyp Vozny, Vasyl Burbela, Zynoviy Kushniryna, Pavlo Kushniryna and a non-commissioned officer of the UHA, Mr. Tsiholsky. (Yuriy Dniprovy,Innocent Victims, in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, p. 122)
THE INFERNAL DEVICE OF THE RUSSIAN COMMUNISTS
(By an eyewitness) In the year 1942, when the Red Army, harassed by the German divisions, retreated from Katerynodar (Krasnodar), the regional NKVD division evacuated all the prisoners and sent them in the direction of Novorossiysk. The railway line between Katerynodar and the station of Krymska was jammed by nearly two hundred freight boxcars filled to capacity with political prisoners.
Suspecting that all these prisoners might fall into German hands the Russian NKVD men, as a precautionary measure, poured gasoline on the cars and let them burn.
Thus a few thousand people perished in inhuman torture merely because they were suspected of anti-communism.
When the Germans entered Katerynodar they found in the regional divisional building of the NKVD in Sinny Bazar, a horrible torture chamber. In the vault of this building there was a dark passage which ended with a wooden platform which dipped down at a sharp angle. Right underneath it there was a machine which resembled a straw chopper. It was a disk equipped with a system of big knives that revolved at great speed. It was powered by a motor.
After questioning, the innocent victims were driven by the NKVD agents towards the wooden platform and rolled under the knives of the hellish meatchopper. The chopped bones and flesh of the victims fell into the sewers and were carried away with a stream of sewage into the river Kuban.
Having discovered this horrible place, the Germans gave permission to all who wished to view this inhuman device. Thousands of people visited the place, among them the author of these lines.
Other nations direct their talents towards the discovery of better medicines, new materials, better means of communication to make living conditions better. The Russian people are using all their talents for the production of machines and new methods of mass murder and torture. (P. K., The infernal device of the Russian Communists (by an eyewitness), in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, pp. 123-124)
I am Michael Kowal, from the town of Kaminka Strumylova in the Lviw Region in Ukraine. During the communist occupation of Western Ukraine I personally witnessed three arrests in my native town on June 22, 1941, those of Bohdan Mulkevich, and Michael Mulkevich who lived on Zamok Street, and Michael Mulkevich's blacksmith apprentice, presumably from the village of Rymaniw in the same Region. They were suspected of disloyalty to the communist regime.
After th communist retreat from Kaminska-Strumylova they were found in the town prison with 33 other victims, murdered in a horribly sadistic manner. All the corpses were tied together with barbed wire and all bore signs of terrible beatings. Some had nails driven into their skulls. None of them had been shot to death. Their bodies, nude and badly mauled, were practically unrecognizable to their relatives.
Bohdan Mulkevish's wife recognized her husband, but, trying to verify her identification by his gold teeth, found them missing. That Same day 19 other bodies were discovered near the village of Todan about 9 or 10 kilometers from Kaminka-Strumylova. They were tied to trees and their chests were pierced with bayonets. These were all identified by relatives and taken away for burial. (M. Kowal, Bolshevik Murders, in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, p. 529)
A RAVINE FILLED WITH THE BODIES OF CHILDREN
I was serving in the Soviet Russian Army. Our artillery unit was retreating before the Germans in the direction of Yeletsk. On September 18, 1941, our unit came to a wide ravine situated about 14 miles from Chartsysk station, and about 60 miles from the city of Staline. The ravine stretched from the station of Chartsysk to the station of Snizhy. When we approached the ravine we were taken aback by a horrible sight. The whole ravine was filled with the bodies of children. They were lying in different positions. Most of them were from 14 to 16 years of age. They were dressed in black, and we recognized them as students of the F.S.U., a well-known trade and craft school. We counted 370 bodies altogether. All of them had been killed by machine gun fire.
This group of children was being evacuated from Staline when the Germans neared the city. The children had marched 60 miles, and, exhausted and unable to continue walking, asked for transportation. The officers in charge promised to send them trucks. Instead of trucks, a detachment of the Russian political police (NKVD) arrived, and shot the children in cold blood with machine guns. This ravine, filled with hundreds of bodies of slain children, moved even the soldiers, accustomed as they were to the sight of death. (Andriy Vodopyan, A Ravine Filled With the Bodies of Children, in S. O. Pidhainy (ed.), The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, p. 529)
|Rev. J. Chyrva was imprisoned in 1941 when the Russian Communist armies were withdrawing from the city of Riwne. He happened to be cast into one of those jails in which the communists, fleeing from advancing German armies, attempted to rid themselves of as many prisoners as possible by throwing hand-grenades into the crowded cells. When the first grenade was thrown into the cell where Rev. J. Chyrva was kept, he was the first to fall — his foot shattered. On him fell many mutilated bodies, covering him, thus saving his life. Later, when people came into the cell, they found all the prisoners dead with the exception of Rev. J. Chyrva. He is alive today, a witness of that horrible manslaughter. (Rev. Lev Buchak, Persecution of Ukrainian Protestants under the Soviet Rule, in S. O. Pidhainy (ed.), The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book, Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, Toronto, 1953, p. 529)|
|The Bolsheviks had arrested thousands of Ukrainian patriots, and prior to their retreat, they killed them savagely. For some reason even highly regarded Jewish authors understate the number of Ukrainian victims of Bolshevik terror. Gerald Reitlinger gives a figure of three to four thousand in Lviv alone. Hilberg speaks of "the Bolsheviks deporting Ukrainians," but he does not furnish any overall figures. But on the basis of a German document (RSHA IV-A-1, Operational Report USSR no. 28, 20 July 1941, No-2943), which I was unable to verify, he recounts one particularly horrible episode:|
In Kremenets 100-150 Ukrainians had been killed by the Soviets. When some of the exhumed corpses were found without skin, rumors circulated that the Ukrainians had been thrown into kettles of boiling water. The Ukrainian population retaliated by seizing 130 Jews and beating them to death with clubs.He also quotes the French collaborator Dr. Frederic as saying that the Bolsheviks killed eighteen thousand Ukrainian political prisoners in Lviv and its outskirts alone.
Basing his remarks on an anonymous article entitled "The Ethnocide of Ukrainians in the USSR," in the dissident journal Ukrainian Herald, Issue 7-8, the Ukrainian-American publicist Lew Shankowsky gives the following number of victims of Bolshevik terror in Galicia and Volhynia: as many asforty thousand killed in the prisons of Lviv, Lutsk, Rivne, Dubno, Ternopil, Stanyslaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk), Stryi, Drohobych, Sambir, Zolochiv and other towns and settlements. The fact of the matter is that, justifiably or not, some Ukrainians felt that some Jews were in the employ of the Stalinist secret police, the NKVD. For instance, it was pointed out to me by a resident of Western Ukraine that a high NKVD official in Lviv, a certain Barvinsky, was Jewish, despite his Ukrainian name. (Yaroslav Bilinsky, Methodological Problems and Philosophical Issues in the Study of Jewish-Ukrainian Relations During the Second World War, pp. 373-394, in Howard Aster and Peter J. Potichnyj (eds.), Ukrainian-Jewish Relations in Historical Perspective, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, 1990, footnotes deleted)
|In their hasty and often panic-stricken retreat, the Soviet authorities were not about to evacuate the thousands of prisoners they had arrested, mostly during their last months of rule in western Ukraine. Their solution, implemented at the end of June and in early July 1941, was to kill all inmates regardless of whether they had committed minor or major crimes or were being held for political reasons. According to estimates, from 15,000 to 40,000 prisoners were killed during the Soviet retreat from eastern Galicia and western Volhynia. (Paul Robert Magocsi, A History of Ukraine, University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1996, p. 624)|
Was the Ukrainian perception of disproportionate Jewish participation in the Soviet secret police accurate? Observations such as the following suggest that perhaps it was: Yoram Sheftel, Ivan Demjanjuk's Israeli defense attorney, reports the following in connection with his visit to the Simferopol, Ukraine, KGB headquarters in 1990:
|On the right-hand wall was a stone memorial plaque engraved with the names of about thirty KGB men from Simferopol who had fallen in the Great Patriotic War, as the Soviets call World War II. I was shocked and angry as I read the names: the first was Polonski and the last Levinstein, and all those between were ones like Zalmonowitz, Geller and Kagan — all Jews. The best of Jewish youth in Russia, the cradle of Zionism, had sold itself and its soul to the Red Devil. (The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial, 1994, p. 301)|
Of course Sheftel's sample of 30 is not necessarily a sample that is representative of the entire NKVD; however the Jewish domination of the entire NKVD is not a rare or dubious hypothesis, but is one, rather, that is upheld from more than one direction:
|As a Jew, I'm interested in another question entirely: Why were there so many Jews among the NKVD-MVD investigators — including many of the most terrible? It's a painful question for me but I cannot evade it. (Yevgenia Albats, The State Within a State: The KGB and its Hold on Russia, Past, Present and Future, 1994, p. 147)|
|Jews abounded [also] at the lower levels of the Party machinery — especially in the Cheka and its successors, the GPU, the OGPU and theNKVD.... It is difficult to suggest a satisfactory reason for the prevalence of Jews in the Cheka. It may be that having suffered at the hand of the former Russian authorities they wanted to seize the reins of real power in the new state for themselves. (Leonard Shapiro, The Role of Jews in the Russian Revolutionary Movement, Slavonic and East European Review, 1961, 40, p. 165)|
Now within this historical context — the Ukrainian Holocaust eight years previously, the 21-month Communist reign of terror, and the recent slaughter of Ukrainians by the retreating Communists — would it be surprising if upon the arrival of the Germans, these Western Ukrainians had felt liberated by the Germans and at the same time vengeful toward the Communists, and would it be surprising if among their first actions was the seeking out and punishment of any perpetrators and collaborators who had not been able to flee with the retreating Communists? No, it would not be surprising — and yet that is not what happened.
Prior to the arrival of the Germans, there was no anti-Jewish or anti-Communist violence. If any impulse for vengeance existed, then it was inhibited — the Ukrainian population had been decimated, deprived of its leadership, throttled into submission. For all they knew, the Communists who had just left might return that very same day and resume the slaughter, starting first with any who had dared to lift a vengeful hand. For all they knew, this was just the calm before a new storm, just a few hours' respite while names were taken for the next round of NKVD executions. And the last person to lift a hand against would be a Jew because the Jew had traditionally occupied the position of authority:
|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 "deflation" 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 "Bolshevist terror." Only the ethnic Germans in the area were busily working for the Einsatzgruppe. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 202)
|The Slavic population stood estranged and even aghast before the unfolding spectacle of the "final solution." 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)|
|The results of diligent Nazi efforts to organize "Ukrainian pogrom mobs" were disappointing.... According to official German documents introduced by the prosecution during the Eichmann trial, the Nazi commander of S.D. Einsatzgruppe "Kommando Lemberg" complained to his superiors that "...to rely on local people to take the law of retribution in their own hands, and themselves carry out final solution measures against Jews, is hopeless. We organized several action groups, but they soon degenerated into ordinary pogrom mobs, more interested in looting and plunder than in energetic and forceful measures against Jews. The number of Jews eliminated by mobs runs less than two thousand in my area of operations, and the damage done by mobs to property, as well as the disruption of order, does not justify this kind of action. I have no choice but to employ my own men." (Leo Heiman, Ukrainians and the Jews, in Walter Dushnyck, Ukrainians and Jews: A Symposium, The Ukrainian Congress Committee of American, New York, 1966, p. 60)|
In reading the above Einsatzgruppe report, many question come to mind. Just how would a pogrom mob be organized? — Might it be staffed entirely by criminals held in custody by the Germans? What weapons would be given the pogromists? Would it be safe to give incarcerated criminals weapons and then to release them on their own recognisance? — Obviously, they would tend to escape and then, being armed, would be particularly dangerous to recapture. Wouldn't armed Germans have to accompany the pogromists in order to steer them to the proper targets, to keep them from getting out of control, and to make sure that weapons were returned? — In which case, how much of the killing would be done by the supervising Germans? What was the ethnic composition of these pogromists? Above I cited Raul Hilberg stating "Only the ethnic Germans in the area were busily working for the Einsatzgruppe," which brings us to the realization that a pogrom within Ukraine is not necessarily a pogrom perpetrated by Ukrainians, and so brings us also to the question of how many of the pogromists were Germans, Russians, Poles, or Jews?
Raul Hilberg discusses two motives for the Nazis to incite pogroms in Ukraine, the second of which will be of particular relevance when we discuss further below the origin of the historical documentary footage broadcast by 60 Minutes:
|Why did the Einsatzgruppen endeavor to start pogroms in the occupied areas? The reasons which prompted the killing units to activate anti-Jewish outbursts were partly administrative, partly psychological. The administrative principle was very simple: every Jew killed in a pogrom was one less burden for the Einsatzgruppen. A pogrom brought them, as they expressed it, that much closer to the "cleanup goal".... The psychological consideration was more interesting. The Einsatzgruppenwanted the population to take a part — and a major part at that — of the responsibility for the killing operations. "It was not less important, for future purposes," wrote Brigadeführer Dr. Stahlecker, "to establish as an unquestionable fact that the liberated population had resorted to the most severe measures against the Bolshevist and Jewish enemy, on its own initiative and without instructions from German authorities." In short, the pogroms were to become the defensive weapon with which to confront an accuser, or an element of blackmail that could be used against the local population. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 203)|
|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)|
|The Galician capital of Lvov was the scene of a mass seizure by local inhabitants. In "reprisal" for the deportation of Ukrainians by the Soviets, 1000 members of the Jewish intelligentsia were driven together and handed over to the Security Police. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 204)|
But to return to 60 Minutes, the reality is that the sort of pogrom described by Simon Wiesenthal — massive in scale and initiated by Ukrainians independently of German instigation — never took place. The most that the Germans could incite a small number of Ukrainians to contribute — and who knows exactly how large a contribution these few Ukrainians really made alongside the Germans in such actions — was closer to the following:
|In Kremenets 100-150 Ukrainians had been killed by the Soviets. When some of the exhumed corpses were found without skin, rumors circulated that the Ukrainians had been thrown into kettles full of boiling water. The Ukrainian population retaliated by seizing 130 Jews and beating them to death with clubs. ... The Ukrainian violence as a whole did not come up to expectations. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 204)|
|The Ukrainian police ... had played a disastrous role in Galicia following the entry of the German troops at the end of June and the beginning of July 1941. (Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 34, emphasis added)|
|Thousands of detainees were shot dead in their cells by the retreating Soviets. This gave rise to one of the craziest accusations of that period: among the strongly anti-Semitic population the rumour was spread by the Ukrainian nationalists that all Jews were Bolsheviks and all Bolsheviks were Jews. Hence it was the Jews who were really to blame for the atrocities committed by the Soviets.|
All the Germans needed to do was to exploit this climate of opinion. It is said that after their arrival they gave the Ukrainians free rein, for three days, to 'deal' with the Jews. (Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 36, emphasis added)
Morley Safer Invents Corroborative Events
Furthermore, in connection with the possibility of a massive, pre-German Lviv Massacre, 60 Minutes insinuated into the pre-German interval three events which gave the viewer the impression that the pre-German pogrom in question was well-documented and incapable of being doubted: (1) the arrest of Mr. Wiesenthal's mother, (2) the shooting of Mr. Wiesenthal's mother-in-law, and (3) the scenes depicted in "remnants of a film":
|SAFER: But even before the Germans entered Lvov, the Ukrainian militia, the police, killed 3,000 people in 2 days here.|
LUBACHIVSKY: It is not true!
SAFER: It's horribly true to Simon Wiesenthal — like thousands of Lvov Jews, his mother was led to her death by the Ukrainian police.
These are remnants of a film the Germans made of Ukrainian brutality. The German high command described the Ukrainian behavior as 'praiseworthy.'
WIESENTHAL: My wife's mother was shot to death because she could not go so fast.
SAFER: She couldn't keep up with the rest of the prisoners.
WIESENTHAL. Yes. She was shot to death by a Ukrainian policeman because she couldn't walk fast.
SAFER: It was the Lvov experience that compelled Wiesenthal to seek out the guilty, to bring justice.
|In August  the SS was loading elderly Jewish women into a goods truck at Lvov station. One of them was Simon Wiesenthal's mother, then sixty-three. ... His wife's mother was shortly afterwards shot dead by a Ukrainian police auxiliary on the steps of her house. (Peter Michael Lingens, in Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 8)|
|"My mother was in August 1942 taken by a Ukrainian policeman," Simon says, lapsing swiftly into the present tense as immediacy takes hold. ... Around the same time, Cyla Wiesenthal [Mr. Wiesenthal's wife] learned that, back in Buczacz, her mother had been shot to death by a Ukrainian policeman as she was being evicted from her home. (Alan Levy, The Wiesenthal File, 1993, p. 41)|
Also attributed to the pre-German interval by 60 Minutes were the events depicted in the "remnants of a film" quoted above, but as we shall see below, these scenes are not scenes of a pogrom and they did not antedate the arrival of the Germans either.
As a final piece of contradictory evidence, Andrew Gregorivich reports being told by a resident of Lviv during those days that there was not a three-day gap between the departure of the Soviets and the arrival of the Germans (Jews & Ukrainians, Forum, No. 91, Fall-Winter 1994, p. 29)
And as a final comment on the possibility of a pre-German Lviv Massacre, one might note that the pogrom claimed by Morley Safer is massive in scale, that Simon Wiesenthal claimed to be right in the middle of it, and that it was this very pogrom which "compelled Wiesenthal to seek out the guilty, to bring justice." One might expect, then, that this particular pogrom would have occupied some of Mr. Wiesenthal's attention as a Nazi hunter, and yet we are faced with the incongruity that he seems not to have brought any of its perpetrators to justice.
We have just seen Mr. Wiesenthal reporting that his mother-in-law was "shot to death by a Ukrainian policeman because she couldn't walk fast." Such a thing might well have happened, of course, but in view of Mr. Wiesenthal's lack of credibility, it behooves us to notice that it is somewhat implausible. In fact, impulsive killing of this sort was forbidden by the German authorities for many reasons.
(1) Any optimistic illusions of those arrested concerning their fate were better preserved until the last possible moment — this to decrease the possibility of emotional outbursts, protests, or resistance.
(2) As arrests were continuous and unending, there would be the need to prevent forewarning those slated for arrest at a later time of the reality that the arrests were malevolently motivated. Optimally, all targeted victims should believe that the arrest was part of a "relocation," an illusion that a gratuitous shooting in the course of the arrest would dispel.
(3) There was the desirability also of keeping all killings as secret as possible so as not to arouse the fear or indignation of the general populace. Raul Hilberg describes how even the roundups themselves were kept as much as possible from view — how much more self-conscious, then, would the Germans feel about a public killing:
|During the stages of concentration, deportations, and killings, the perpetrators tried to isolate the victims from public view. The administrators of destruction did not want untoward publicity about their work. They wanted to avoid criticism of their methods by passers-by. Their psychic balance was jeopardized enough, especially in the field, and any sympathy extended to the victim was bound to result in additional psychological as well as operational complications. ... Any rumors or stories carried from the scene were an irritant and a threat to the perpetrator.|
Precautions were consequently plentiful. In Germany, Jews were sometimes moved out in the early morning hours before there was traffic in the streets. Furniture vans without windows were used to take Jews to trains. Loading might be planned for a siding where human waste was collected. In Poland, the local German administrators would order the Polish population to stay indoors and keep the windows closed with blinds drawn during roundups of Jews, even though such a directive was notice of an impending action. Shooting sites, as in Babi Yar in Kiev, were selected to be at least beyond hearing distance of local residents. (Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders, 1992, p. 215)
(5) In allowing impulsive killing, mistakes would be made, non-Jews or non-Communists killed.
(6) In an arrest, it would hardly be worthwhile to inform the police participants as to the perhaps many purposes of the arrest or the final disposition of those arrested; in some cases, therefore, those arrested, or some among those arrested, might be slated not for extermination but for interrogation: they might have useful information, they might have monetary assets that needed to be ascertained or confiscated, they might have rare skills which could be put into the service of the Nazis — and so permitting the impulsive killing of any of the arrested would interfere with these plans.
(7) Perhaps among those arrested might be informants who would be questioned and released, and so again none of those being arrested should be impulsively killed.
(8) An impulsive execution would create the problem of what to do with the body of someone impulsively executed in the street — to leave the body in the street would be unacceptable, and yet to send a truck to pick it up would consume scarce resources.
(9) An impulsive execution might lead to blood being splattered over the participants, or might lead to a bullet passing through the intended victim and hitting an unintended target.
(10) Anyone so trigger-happy as to shoot a woman for walking too slowly posed a danger to everyone, even to his German superiors, and so would not be tolerated within the German forces.
(11) The Germans viewed the optimal executioner as one who found killing distasteful, but killed dutifully upon command. Anyone who enjoyed killing, within which category must fall anyone who killed on impulse, was a degenerate and had a corrupting influence on those around him, most importantly on Germans who after the war would be expected to return to Germany and resume civilian life. With respect to German personnel, at least, the attitude was as follows:
|The Germans sought to avoid damage to "the soul" ... in the prohibition of unauthorized killings. A sharp line was drawn between killings pursuant to order and killings induced by desire. In the former case a man was thought to have overcome the "weakness" of "Christian morality"; in the latter case he was overcome by his own baseness. That was why in the occupied USSR both the army and the civil administration sought to restrain their personnel from joining the shooting parties at the killing sites. [In the case of the SS,] if selfish, sadistic, or sexual motives [for an unauthorized killing] were found, punishment was to be imposed for murder or for manslaughter, in accordance with the facts. (Raul Hilberg,The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, pp. 1009-1010)|
|The killing of the Jews was regarded as historical necessity. The soldier had to "understand" this. If for any reason he was instructed to help the SS and Police in their task, he was expected to obey orders. However, if he killed a Jew spontaneously, voluntarily, or without instruction, merely because he wanted to kill, then he committed an abnormal act, worthy perhaps of an "Eastern European" (such as a Romanian) but dangerous to the discipline and prestige of the German army. Herein lay the crucial difference between the man who "overcame" himself to kill and one who wantonly committed atrocities. The former was regarded as a good soldier and a true Nazi; the latter was a person without self-control, who would be a danger to his community after his return home. (Raul Hilberg,The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 326)|
|Every unauthorized shooting of local inhabitants, including Jews, by individual soldiers ... is disobedience and therefore to be punished by disciplinary means, or — if necessary — by court martial. (Raul Hilberg,The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 327)|
Although avoiding damage to the Slavic soul would not have had the same high priority to the Nazis as avoiding damage to the German soul, nevertheless, it would have been more difficult to keep Germans from wanton killing if that same wanton killing had been permitted to their Slavic auxiliaries.
For these many reasons, then, and in view of Mr. Wiesenthal's overall lack of credibility, one may well wonder whether his mother-in-law really met her end in the manner indicated.
The truth is that when the Germans entered Lviv, they made a propaganda film — they gathered up a handful of street thugs and staged scenes in which mistresses of the recently-fled NKVD were stripped and "wallowed in the gutter" and collaborators of the recently-fled Communist regime, some of whom were probably Jewish, were humiliated and roughed up in the street. That several of the victims are shown naked or half-naked suggests that this was just such a humiliation, and not an arrest. Certainly, as German cameramen were present, the action must have taken place after the arrival of the Germans, and as German soldiers are seen to be in attendance, the action cannot be viewed as having been initiated by Ukrainians. And neither can the action be interpreted as a pogrom, as the civilians are unarmed and no wounding or killing is recorded; in fact, in footage 60 Minutes chose not to show, the women can be seen dressing themselves and leaving the scene:
|Several women suspected for collaborating with the NKVD were rounded up by street gangs organized by the Nazis, stripped naked, then thrown into the gutters in front of the prison. The event lasted for a few hours.|
"While the public humiliation of any female is deplorable, the other photos in the series show that these women left the scene intact" ... says Katelynksy.
"Moreover," he adds, "this staged outburst of revenge was mild compared with the "bloody reprisals of the liberated French."
"In 1944 and 1945, countless women were publicly humiliated and over 15,000 of their compatriots were tortured, hanged, or shot for Nazi collaboration in France. Yet the photographs of these bloody events are, for reasons of sensitivity, not published by the Western press and the events are rarely mentioned by historians." (Ukrainian News, Edmonton, March 1993, No. 3)
What must be kept in mind is that the Nazis had their reasons for making this film: (1) they were trying to convince Germans back home that Nazi attitudes toward Bolsheviks and Jews were not uniquely German, but rather were universal; (2) they were demonstrating to the intimidated Ukrainian population that Bolsheviks and Jews need no longer be feared and that they could be attacked with impunity; and (3) they were taking a first step toward dragging a handful of Ukrainians into complicitous guilt.
Bodies on the Ground
One photograph inserted into the middle of these "remnants of a film" was of bodies lying in rows on the ground. Of course Morley Safer does not identify the photograph — he does not attribute it to a source, he mentions no date or place. As the photograph is being shown, Mr. Safer is saying that Simon Wiesenthal "remembers that even before the Germans arrived, Ukrainian police went on a three-day killing spree." The impression left in the viewer's mind, therefore, is that these must be some of the 5,000 to 6,000 victims of that killing spree.
Three details of this photograph, however, suggest otherwise: (1) The bodies are shown lying in snow, whereas the killing spree was supposed to have taken place in the three days before the German occupation of Lviv on June 30, 1941. (2) The legs of one of the bodies are visible, and these legs are skeletally thin, which suggests a famine victim and not the victim of a pogrom, or else suggests that this is an exhumed corpse. If these are in reality famine victims, then they are more likely to be Ukrainians than Jews. (3) Most of the shapes on the ground resemble small heaps rather than bodies, which suggests that the photograph is one of exhumed remains from some old mass grave — and we may reflect that in June 1941 (if that was when this photograph was taken), the inhabitants of Ukraine's many mass graves were predominantly Ukrainians and not Jews. Thus, there is a very real possibility that Morley Safer is using a photograph of Ukrainians killed by Jews as evidence of Jews killed by Ukrainians.
The Wallowing Photograph
The last scene of this Nazi propaganda footage that was presented by Morley Safer has a notorious history of being presented in various publications with wildly different interpretations — of which Time Magazine's "Wallowing Photograph" fiasco of 22Feb93 is but one instance. In fact, this photograph is taken from the wallowing-in-the-gutter German propaganda film that we have been discussing above. Whereas Time magazine editors did not go so far as to concede this, they were able to muster enough integrity to express ignorance and confusion, and also to retract and to apologize:
|Despite our best efforts, we have not been able to pin down exactly what situation the photograph portrays. But there is enough confusion about it for us to regret that our caption, in addition to misdating the picture, may well have conveyed a false impression. (Time, April 19, 1993)|
It is a curious incongruity that while professing to oppose Naziism, Morley Safer nevertheless broadcasts a Nazi propaganda film and invites 60 Minutes' viewers to take it at face value. The propaganda of one era is, half a century later, dredged up to become the propaganda of another era, but with a switch from approval to disapproval — the Germans used the film to portray Ukrainians as good anti-Semites, and so why shouldn't Mr. Safer use the same film to portray Ukrainians as bad anti-Semites?
|Rate of Criminal Collaboration||Number of Criminal Collaborators|
Could there have been 3,600 criminal collaborators? I doubt it, and I challenge anyone to come up with a credible list this long. Note that I do not challenge someone to pull a number out of the air equal to or exceeding 3,600 — likely there is more than one researcher at 60 Minutes who would find such a task not difficult — but rather, I challenge someone to come up with a documented list of names of Ukrainians who criminally participated in Nazi war crimes, where the list includes a description of the crimes, their locations, their dates, and credible supportive evidence. I repeat — this has not been done and cannot be done. And yet 3,600 certified criminal collaborators would make for only one criminal collaborator out of every 10,000 Ukrainians.
And what about 36,000 criminal collaborators? The notion is preposterous. No documentation exists to support such a fantastic claim. And yet 36,000 criminal collaborators would make for only one criminal collaborator out of every 1,000 Ukrainians.
The middle figure — one criminal collaborator for every 10,000 Ukrainians — is possibly a wild exaggeration, and would give us 3,600 criminal collaborators — more than enough to account for all the stories of Ukrainian savagery, brutality, and sadism, even the ones that aren't true.
Such speculations as the above happen to coincide approximately with published estimates. For example Professor Stefan Possony reports that "The records of Israel's War Crimes Investigations Office indicate that throughout occupied Europe some 95,000 nazis and nazi collaborators were directly connected with anti-Jewish measures, massacres, and deportations...." (The Ukrainian-Jewish Problem, Plural Societies, Winter 1974). The middle column below contains the rate of anti-Semitic war criminality 1939-1945 per 10,000 population, and the right-hand column contains the estimated number of such war criminals. Possony points out that these figures fail to cover Croats, Serbs, and Jews themselves who also "were forced to participate in the extermination" (p. 92). It must be kept in mind that Possony did not himself conduct any research, but is merely passing on Israeli estimates without any scrutiny of his own; neither is it explained how the incidence per 10,000 is calculated — we may wonder when Russians together with Byelorussians contribute 9,000 war criminals and Ukrainians contributed 11,000, and when we know that the number of Russians together with Byelorussians is much greater than the number of Ukrainians, how it can be that the Russian rate of 8/10,000 can be higher than the Ukrainian rate of 3/10,000. Perhaps the calculation used as a denominator the number of Russian, Byelorussians, and Ukrainians actually under German occupation, and so who had the opportunity to offer their criminal collaboration so that even though the number of Russian collaborators is low, the Russian collaboration rate is high because only a comparatively small number of Russians found themselves under German occupation.
Russians and Byelorussians
The figure of 11,000 for Ukrainians being some three times higher than my speculative figure of 3,600 can be explained by the Israeli researchers using a more inclusive definition of what constituted collaboration (where I was specifying criminal collaboration) and might be explained too by the Israeli researchers requiring weaker evidence than would be required to commence criminal prosecution (where I was demanding evidence which would launch a criminal prosecution). In any case, whether it's one criminal collaborator per 10,000 Ukrainians or three makes no difference to the fundamental argument which I propose below.
And that argument is that Mr. Safer is condemning all Ukrainians for crimes committed by something in the order of one Ukrainian out of every ten thousand — or at the very most, three Ukrainians out of every ten thousand — and this leads to the most serious charge that can be brought against the quality of his reasoning — which is the charge that he is engaging in this primitive, retrogressive, atavistic, anti-intellectual notion of collective guilt. One individual out of ten thousand in a group commits a crime, from which, according to Mr. Safer, it follows that the entire group deserves to be condemned. How bracingly Medieval! How refreshingly deviant from modern notions of culpability! How Nazi! And for how many generations, we might ask Mr. Safer, must this collective guilt be carried? — The answer is, of course, for all eternity. And why? — Why simply because the notion of collective guilt is no more than a club by means of which one group bludgeons another, and as that club is eternally useful, it is never shelved.
Mr. Safer does not stop to reflect that collective guilt — and more particularly eternal collective guilt — is a two-edged sword, and that this sword has been used to cut the Jewish people themselves. Eternal collective guilt permits the conclusion that an American Jew today bears the guilt for Lazar Kaganovich administering the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933, or — why stop there? — that a Jewish child who will be born in the next century will still be a Christ-killer. This is the quality of discourse which Morley Safer sanctioned in "The Ugly Face of Freedom."
Another thought that occurs is that if all it takes is no more than one Nazi per ten thousand people in a group to condemn the whole group as Nazi, then what group is safe? Take the Jews: they had their kapos (Jewish Nazi police), their Judenrat (Council of Elders administering Nazi policies), their Jewish collaborators and informers. Mr. Safer made much of Ukrainian auxiliary police helping the Germans, but did not seem to be aware that under threat of immediate death, collaboration was forthcoming from more than one direction:
|The Jüdische Ordnungsdienst, as the Jewish police in the ghettos were called, furnished thousands of men for seizure operations. In the Warsaw ghetto alone the Jewish police numbered approximately 2500; in Lodz they were about 1200 men strong; the Lvov ghetto had anOrdnungsdienst of 500 men; and so on. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 310)|
But to point out that Jews also provided manpower for Nazi police actions may be to understate the case. In fact, it is possible to entertain the notion that wherever feasible, anti-Jewish police actions fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Jewish kapos:
|The Satanic plan of the Nazis assured that the personal fate of each Jew — whether for life or death — be exclusively left up to the decisions of the "councils of elders" [Judenrat]. The Nazis, from time to time, decided upon a general quota for the work of the camps and for extermination, but the individual selection was left up to the "council of elders", with the enforcement of kidnappings and arrests also placed in the hands of the Jewish police (kapos). By this shrewd method, the Nazis were highly successful in accomplishing mass murder and poisoning the atmosphere of the ghetto through moral degeneration and corruption. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, pp. 119-120, emphasis added)|
In his moving letter to the editor below, Israel Shahak underlines that almost all the administrative tasks and policing required by the Nazis was placed in Jewish hands, that Jewish collaborators were ubiquitous, and that it was Jewish collaborators who rendered the Jewish Holocaust feasible and who stood as obstacles in the path of Jewish resistance:
|Falsification of the Holocaust|
Letter to the editor by Prof. Israel Shahak, published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha'ir, Jerusalem.
Available online at:
I disagree with the opinion of Haim Baram that the Israeli education system has managed to instil a 'Holocaust awareness' in its pupils (Kol Ha'Ir 12.5.89). It's not an awareness of the Holocaust but rather the myth of the Holocaust or even a falsification of the Holocaust (in the sense that 'a half-truth is worse than a lie') which has been instilled here.
As one who himself lived through the Holocaust, first in Warsaw then in Bergen-Belsen, I will give an immediate example of the total ignorance of daily life during the Holocaust. In the Warsaw ghetto, even during the period of the first massive extermination (June to October 1943), one saw almost no German soldiers. Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators. Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the planning of which only started after the extermination of the majority of Jews in Warsaw), the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find. If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started. The majority of the population of the Ghetto hated the collaborators far more than the German Nazis. Every Jewish child was taught, and this saved the lives of some them "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew".
One of my own strongest memories is that, when the Jewish underground killed a despicable collaborator close to my home at the end of February 1943, I danced and sang around the still bleeding corpse together with the other children. I still do not regret this, quite the contrary.
It is clear that such events were not exclusive to the Jews, the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators, who did most of the dirty work for them. But does anybody now know about this? This, and not what is 'instilled' was the reality. Of the Yad Vashem (official state Holocaust museum in Jerusalem - Ed.) theatre, I do not wish to speak at all. It, and its vile exploiting, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis are truly beneath contempt.
Therefore, if we knew a little of the truth about the Holocaust, we would at least understand (with or without agreeing) why the Palestinians are now eliminating their collaborators. That is the only means they have if they wish to continue to struggle against our limb-breaking regime.
To bring closer to home and closer to the present day the inadvisability of attributing collective guilt, we may note that more than one out of every hundred Americans is presently sitting in jail, and yet we do not from this condemn Americans as a nation of criminals. And so if we extract from this the conclusion that a participation rate as high as one out of every hundred is insufficient to depict the entire population as participants, then Ukrainians should be allowed a total of 360,000 criminal collaborators — a number never yet broached — without Ukrainians being collectively condemned as Nazis.
The plea to avoid ascribing collective guilt is not new to Ukrainian-Jewish relations, and has been put forward by both sides. It is time that the plea was heeded:
|Even as we Jews justly disclaim responsibility for the acts of the Jewish Bolshevist commissars and for the disgraceful actions of those Jews who participated in the work of the Bolshevist chekas (Secret Police), the Ukrainian people has a full right to disclaim any responsibility for those who have besmirched themselves by pogrom activities. (Arnold Margolin,The Jews of Eastern Europe, 1926, p. 124, in Andrew Gregorovich, Jews and Ukrainians, Forum No. 91, Fall-Winter, 1994, p. 30)|
Additional material on Jewish collaboration with the Nazis can be found in my discussion of the Jewish Ghetto Police in my Letter 17 to Anne McLellan, Canada's Minister of Justice.
Comparison 1: Ukrainians Helping Jews Compared to Jews Helping Jews
We have seen above that countless Ukrainians risked their lives and gave their lives to save Jews. And what, let us now ask, were those who today level accusations of genetic anti-Semitism against Ukrainians doing at the same time? What, for example, were American Jews doing? The generous view is that they were doing little:
|No American Jew appeared to have altered his life style once news of the Holocaust was revealed. Even at the time, some observers were repelled by the often festive atmosphere of Jewish social life in a period of wartime prosperity. (Howard M. Sachar, A History of the Jews in America, 1992, p. 550)|
|Over the centuries the dispersion of the Jews had a functional utility: whenever some part of the Jewish community was under attack, it depended on help from the other Jews. In the period of the Nazi regime, this help did not come. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1052)|
|This question has haunted me ever since the war: Why did the Jews of the free world act as they did? Hadn't our people survived persecution and exile throughout the centuries because of its spirit of solidarity? ... When one community suffered, the others supported it, throughout the Diaspora. Why was it different this time? (Elie Wiesel, Memoirs: All Rivers Run to the Sea, 1995, p. 63)|
|In his book, "In Days of Holocaust and Destruction," Yitzchak Greenbaum writes, "when they asked me, couldn't you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said, 'NO!' and I say again, 'NO!' ... one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance."|
In January, 1943, the leadership of the absorption and enlisting fund decided to bar all appeals on behalf of rescuing Jews. It is explicitly stated in the "Sefer Hamagbis" (Book of Appeals) that the reasons for this prohibition were because of other obligations in Eretz Yisroel.
In the beginning of February, 1943, Yitzchak Greenbaum addressed a meeting in Tel Aviv on the subject, "the Diaspora and the Redemption," in which he stated:
"For the rescue of the Jews in the Diaspora, we should consolidate our excess strength and the surplus of powers that we have. When they come to us with two plans — the rescue of the masses of Jews in Europe or the redemption of the land [in Palestine] — I vote, without a second thought, for the redemption of the land. The more said about the slaughter of our people, the greater the minimization of our efforts to strengthen and promote the Hebraization of the land. If there would be a possibility today of buying packages of food [for Jews in Nazi captivity] with the money of the "Keren Hayesod" (United Jewish Appeal) to send it through Lisbon, would we do such a thing? No! And once again No!" (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 26, emphasis added)
|Mr. Schwalb expressed the complete Zionist ideology and stated clearly and openly the politics of the Zionist leaders in the area of rescue: the shedding of Jewish blood in the Diaspora is necessary in order for us to demand the establishment of a "Jewish" state before a peace commission. Money will be sent to save a group of "chalutzim" (pioneers), while the remainder of Czech Jewry must resign itself to annihilation in the Auschwitz crematoria. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 28, emphasis added)|
|We have previously quoted the words of Yitzchak Greenbaum, chairman of the "rescue committee" of the Jewish Agency in Eretz Yosroel, who refused to allocate even one dollar of United Jewish Appeal funds for food to those who were fighting off the pangs of hunger. This approach was totally in consonance with his famous slogan, to the effect that, "one goat in Eretz Yisroel is more important than an entire community in the Diaspora." How could he thus withhold a package of straw from a Holy Land goat in order to send food to a starving infant? But if that is not enough, the Zionists acted like the fiend who declared that he not only would not give, but he also would not let others give (whom our Sages called a "rosho" — a wicked person). The Zionist leaders weren't satisfied merely with the crime of sitting idly by and doing nothing. They labored with all their might to forcefully prevent others from helping the sufferers in the ghetto. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, pp. 44-45)|
|One cow in Palestine is worth more than all the Jews in Poland. (Yitzchak Greenbaum in Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 116)|
The Antonescu Offer. Reb Moshe Shonfeld's book documents several instances of offers being made, sometimes by the Nazis, to release Jews for a fixed price, and of the offers being declined by Zionist leaders. The Romanian government, for example, offered 70,000 Jews at $50 apiece. These Jews could have been transported to Palestine via Turkey — a few days' ride by truck. The Romanian offer was confirmed by the U.S. State Department. The offer would become void once Romania was occupied by the Germans — an occupation that was imminent. Ben Hecht in his book Perfidy relates placing the following ad in New York newspapers:
GUARANTEED HUMAN BEINGS
Zionist leaders, however, denied the existence of such an offer and sabotaged fund-raising efforts. As a result, the 70,000 Romanian Jews perished. Ben Hecht's indignation is unrestrained:
|But in 1943, we, who called out the plight of the Romanian Jews to the world, were discredited by the Zionist unions, the established Zionist leadership and their associated philanthropies, as scandalmongers. Our attempt to get the Jews out of Romania before the Germans came was scotched.|
The 70,000 Jews who might have been saved were herded into barns by the Germanized Romanians under General Antonescu, hosed with gasoline, ignited, and shot down when they came blazing and screaming out of their cauldrons.
Was it for this the conspirators of Silence had been holding their high-level meetings, fraternizing with presidents and prime ministers and keeping intact Weizmann's ... policy of an 'exclusive' ... Palestine? This Silence, this wretched business of Jewish leaders lying about the slaughter of Europe's Jewry — trying to hide it, soft-pedal it — for what?
These organizations, these philanthropists, these timorous Jewish lodge members in Zion, in London and America — these Zionist leaders who let their six million kinsmen burn, choke, hang, without protest, with indifference, and even with a glint of anti-Semitic cunning in their political plannings — I sum up against them. These factotums, these policy-makers, the custodians of the Jewish future in Palestine ... these Zionist men and women — I haul into the prisoner's dock of this book. (Ben Hecht, Perfidy, in Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 102)
The Eichmann Offer. The war afforded more than one opportunity to save Jews. Here is another significant opportunity, the offer this time coming directly from Adolph Eichmann:
|So I am ready to sell you — a million Jews. ... What do you want to save? Virile men? Grown women? Old people? Children? Sit down — and talk. ... Now I am going to prove to you that I trust you more than you trust me. When you ... tell me that the offer has been accepted, I will [as an initial demonstration of good faith, even before you make any payment] dissolve Auschwitz and move 10 percent of the promised million to the border. You take over the 100,000 Jews and deliver for them afterwards one thousand trucks. And then the deal will proceed step by step. (Adolph Eichmann, quoted in Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1133-1134)|
|Eichmann's initiative, according to his testimony in Jerusalem, had been influenced largely by the propensity of rival SS factions to negotiate with the Jews. He was going to confine the offer to freeing 100,000 Jews, but then thought that only a major gesture, involving a million, was going to have any impact. When Himmler approved the scheme, Eichmann was actually surprised. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1134)|
|Do you know what you are doing? That is simply murder! That is mass murder. ... [O]ur best people will be slaughtered! My wife! My mother! My children will be first! (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1137)|
|"But Mr. Brand," the British host exclaimed, "what shall I do with those million Jews? Where shall I put them?" (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, P. 1140)|
|The plain fact was that there was no place on earth that would have been ready to accept the Jews, not even this one million. (Adolph Eichmann in Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1140)|
|The British Foreign Office ... was concerned with the "difficulties of disposing of any considerable number of Jews" in the event of their release from Axis Europe. ... [W]ithin the Foreign Office there was fear of large-scale success.... (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, P. 1140)|
|Hull raised the question of the 60 or 70 thousand Jews that are in Bulgaria and are threatened with extermination unless we could get them out and, very urgently, pressed Eden for an answer to the problem. Eden replied that the whole problem of the Jews in Europe is very difficult and that we should move very cautiously about offering to take all Jews out of a country like Bulgaria. If we do that, then the Jews of the world will be wanting us to make similar efforts in Poland and Germany. Hitler might well take us up on any such offer and there simply are not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them. (Harry Hopkins in Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, P. 1122)|
|There is considerable difference of opinion among the Jewish people as to the policies which should be pursued in rescuing and assisting these unfortunate people, and no one course of action would be agreeable to all persons interested in this problem. (American Secretary of State Hull in Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1985, p. 1125)|
The Rudolph Vrba Accusation. The reports above of American Jews and world Jews doing little to save their coreligionists under Nazi occupation, or of even obstructing efforts to save them, or reports of the Antonescu Offer, or of the Eichmann offer — these do not exhaust the accounts leading to the conclusion that the Jewish role in saving Jewish lives during World War II fell short of heroic, and perhaps was typically complicitous or collaborative, and sometimes even becoming criminally so. Rather, other such accounts can be found, among them the one offered by Dr. Rudolph Vrba in the Oshawa Times account below. Vrba's accusation standing by itself falls short of totally convincing, and would need to be bolstered by substantive detail before it was given full credit. Nevertheless, Vrba's accusation is reproduced below to demonstrate that the accusations of Jewish non-assistance focus on many events in many parts of the world, and because it heightens the probability that further investigation would credit some of these accusations:
|Jewish Council Blamed For Deaths of 400,000|
FRANKFURT (AP) — A Canadian professor contends that 400,000 jews killed by the Nazis at the Auschwitz extermination camp could have been saved had the Budapest Jewish Council warned them in time instead of co-operating with the Nazis.
Dr. Rudolph Vrba, 43, associate professor of pharmacology at the University of British Columbia, in an interview gave an account of his escape from Auschwitz and his efforts to warn the world of the fate threatening more than 1,000,000 Hungarian Jews.
Vrba testified last Friday at the trial here of two former SS (Elite Corps) colonels charged with the mass murder of Hungarian jews during the war.
Vrba, a native of Czechoslovakia and a Jew by birth, said he was deported to Maidanek concentration camp near Lublin, Poland, in June, 1942, and two weeks later transferred to Auschwitz.
In the spring of 1944, he heard that 1,000,000 Hungarian Jews were to die at the notorious camp and decided to flee and tell the world about the crime that was going to be committed.
Together with another prisoner, he hid in early April, 1944, underneath a pile of construction wood within the outer security zone of the camp which usually was not closely guarded.
After spending three days in their hideout with hardly any food the two family [sic] made their getaway and eventually crossed the Slovak border.
In Cadca, Slovakia, he informed the Jewish Council which in turn passed on the information to the Bratislava and Budapest Jewish councils, Vrba said.
But, he said "The Budapest Jewish Council were co-operating with the Nazi authorities who promised them that they would allow some 2,000 select Jews to travel to Switzerland if they hid from the Jewish community the truth about what was in store for them at Auschwitz."
Thus, he added, Hungarian Jews did not put up any resistance when they were taken to the Auschwitz death camp, believing that they were merely being "resettled."
Vrba continued that only after Swiss newspapers June 22, 1944, published his story about the Hungarian Jews and copies of his report were sent to U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Pope, protests from several governments, including the U.S., British and Swedish governments, forced the Hungarian head of government, Admiral Horthy, to stop the deporting of more Jews from the country.
Vrba was born Walter Rosenberg but changed his name after escaping from Auschwitz. (Oshawa Times, December 30, 1968)
Jewish help compared to Ukrainian help. And so here we are faced with the following incongruity. Ukrainians were dying at the hands of the Nazis, were dying fighting the Nazis, were dying saving Jews — and yet Morley Safer now brands Ukrainians as Nazis. In contrast, American Jews were not allowing the Jewish Holocaust to interfere with their lifestyles, were vetoing proposals to assist and rescue European Jews, and yet they are now privileged to accuse Ukrainians of being Nazis. People who did next to nothing to save the European Jews, people who obstructed the rescue of European Jews, people who acted while not under threat of death now turn around and judge those who while under threat of death did not live up to impossibly high moral standards.
Appropriately did Reb Moshe Shonfeld place on the title page of his book The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals the quotations "Our enemies will subjugate you" (Vayikra) — "Those enemies will be from within" (Chazal). Reading Reb Shonfeld's book invites the conclusion that Morley Safer's searching for Nazi collaborators in Ukraine was misplaced — perhaps it is the case that the largest repository of unprosecuted Nazi collaborators today is to be found in the state of Israel; and invites consideration of the further conclusion that Morley Safer's searching for enemies of Judaism in Ukraine is similarly misplaced — he might instead have looked for the truly dangerous enemies within — for Jews like Simon Wiesenthal, Rabbi Yaakov Dov Bleich, Elie Wiesel, Jerzy Kosinski, and — yes — Morley Safer himself. Their misstatements lower Jewish credibility; their hatred incites a reactionary anti-Semitism.
In fact, Morley Safer's accusation of Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazis is not a cry for justice nor an advancement of historical truth, but is, rather, a weapon sometimes brandished under political motivation even when the facts do not justify its use, and at other times sheathed, also for political reasons, even when the facts cry out for its use. Thus, a Ukrainian may be prosecuted even though the evidence against him is patently fraudulent, as was the case in the trial of Ivan Demjanjuk (Yoram Sheftel, The Demjanjuk Affair: The Rise and Fall of a Show-Trial, 1994). A Jewish Zionist, in contrast, may go unprosecuted for very real collaboration with the Nazis, though he may be unable to avoid final justice imposed through individual action:
|Moldetsky, a leader of the Zionist Workers Party (Poalei Zion), who was appointed head of the council of elders in Bedzin, and who, over the course of years, chose thousands of Jews for forced labor and extermination, succeeded in remaining alive. For the mass deportations, Moldetsky published a decree which was completely fraudulent and deceiving, in which he said: "Jews, dress up in your holiday clothes and march joyfully to the gathering places mentioned above. No one is to remain at home. ..." The Jews, in their innocence, obeyed him. The result was that people with large families — as well as the elderly — a total of 8,000, were sent to Auschwitz. The babies were pushed into sacks by the Nazis.|
After the war, Moldetsky — by merit of Zionist activities — was understandably one of the first to receive an immigration certificate to Palestine. His collaboration in the murder of tens of thousands of Jews did not make him unfit in the eyes of the officials of the Jewish Agency, who were distributing the certificates. He went to Eretz Yisroel where, it has been reported, the revengeful hand of the Jews of Bedzin killed him while he was taking a trip in the mountains. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, pp. 122-123)
A related demonstration of how the accusation of Nazi collaboration is not levelled impartially, but is used as a political weapon can be found in the case of Dr. Israel Kastner.
Comparison 2: Ukrainian Cruelty on Behalf of the Nazis Compared to Jewish Cruelty on Behalf of the Nazis
Morley Safer states, addressing himself to Simon Wiesenthal: "I get the impression from people that the actions of the Ukrainians, if anything, were worse than the Germans." What can Mr. Safer possibly mean by such a statement? Does he mean that he knows of a Ukrainian whose actions are worse than Hitler's, and another Ukrainian whose actions are worse than Himmler's, and another whose actions are worse than Eichmann's, and so on down the line? Surely, this is an impossibility, as Ukraine has never been accused either of starting the Second World War or of engineering the Final Solution. Surely all that Mr. Safer means is that some Ukrainians can be found who were worse than the average German, or the average Nazi, or even the average member of the SS. Agreed — undoubtedly such Ukrainians exist, but what of it? Similar deviants exist in all groups. Relevant here is that every faithful account of the Jewish Holocaust is peppered with statements such as the following:
|Question survivors of the ghettoes and camps. They all certify that the beatings they received at the hands of the Jewish 'golden youth' were filled with scorn. They fulfilled their tasks with a zeal and cruelty to a greater extent than that required by the German commanders. (Y. Efroiken, Sanctity and Valor of the Jews, in Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 21)|
|He [K. Tzetnik] depicts the figure of Eliezer Greenbaum, son of Yitzchak Greenbaum, who, thanks to his tactics of acting as informant and displaying cruelty — to an extent which amazed even the Germans — was elevated to the rank of the bloc commander. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 21)|
|Practically all of the kapo officers were academicians — persons with degrees — who behaved like wild beasts and at times were more cruel than the Nazis. (Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, p. 121)|
Comparison 3: Ukrainians Saving Jews Compared to Jews Saving Ukrainians
Jews have had many opportunities to save Ukrainians. For example, Jews could have saved Ukrainians during the induced famine of 1932-33, during which Jews fared better than Ukrainians for several reasons: (1) Jews tended to be urban whereas the famine tended to be rural; (2) Jews were more affluent, and money buys food even during a famine; (3) Jews received support from other Jews in the West; (4) Jews occupied positions of authority, and in fact can be said to have administered the famine. Thus, Jews had ample opportunity to save Ukrainians simply by giving them food or by sabotaging the food-confiscation process. Or, in the mass deportations and executions, during which Jews again occupied positions of authority, there was again ample opportunity for Jews to subvert the process and hide or save Ukrainians.
We have already seen above innumerable cases of Ukrainians saving Jews, but can we now locate a single case of a Jew saving a Ukrainian? Simon Wiesenthal, for example, had his life saved by the Ukrainian Bodnar, but did Simon Wiesenthal ever in his long life reciprocate by saving a Ukrainian? We saw above that an entire Ukrainian family was shot by the Nazis for hiding a Jewish woman, but can we find a single instance of an entire Jewish family being shot by the Bolsheviks for hiding a Ukrainian woman? We saw above that the Ukrainian mayor of a town was shot by the Nazis for helping Jews, but can we find a single instance of a Jewish mayor — and there were many Jewish mayors in Ukraine — being shot by the Bolsheviks for helping Ukrainians? We saw above Metropolitan Sheptytsky risking his life and the lives of other Ukrainians by hiding Jews on church property, but can we find a single instance of a rabbi risking his life and the lives of other Jews by hiding Ukrainians on synagogue property? We saw above Metropolitan Sheptytsky writing to Himmler protesting the shooting of Jews, but can we find any similar case of a rabbi writing to Lazar Kaganovich protesting the starvation of Ukrainians?
One would like to see a statement from Morley Safer as to the justification for this double standard. When the most rudimentary and obvious comparisons indicate that Ukrainians have been disposed to Jews much more favorably than Jews have been disposed to Ukrainians, how can Morley Safer justify concluding the opposite?
(1) Doctoring the sound track to bring out the evil of torchlight parades. The torchlight marchers are not a clear indication of anything, and without some enhancement, the scene would have fallen flat, and so 60 Minutes overlaid an exaggerated, rhythmic tramping sound which added an ominous militaristic flavor to the scene. In fact, given that it is dark and there is no band and the marchers are not singing, it is impossible for any but local groups of them to keep in step, and simple leather-soled or rubber-soled shoes could not have made such a sound — it would have taken cleated boots. The rhythmic tramping superimposed by 60 Minutes continues to be heard even when the paraders can be seen to be walking more than marching. One can see that the added sound effects are only imperfectly coordinated with the movements of the feet.
(2) "Adolph Hitler Square". "The place they're marching in was once called Adolph Hitler Square," Mr. Safer tells us, but does not add that it was so called by the Germans and that it was not called that either before the Germans came or after they left.
(3) Gratuitous accusation of mimicking. Mr. Safer informs us of the marchers that "Their chants and banners mimic another more fearsome time."
But this is absolutely gratuitous — neither the chants nor the banners are mimicking anything. The marchers are not wearing swastika armbands and their banners do not contain Nazi symbols. They are not chanting "Death to the Jews!" but only "Slava natsiyi!" which means "Glory to the nation!" and is about as ominous in Ukrainian as "Vive la patrie!" is in French.
Mr. Safer's syllogism here seems to be: The Nazis sometimes held torchlight parades. These Ukrainians are holding a torchlight parade. Therefore, all Ukrainians are Nazis.
(4) If it sounds like "Nazi," then it must be "Nazi." 60 Minutes broadcast the above-mentioned "Slava natsiyi!" several times, but never provided a translation. But as "natsiyi" sounds like "Nazi," this invites the listener who does not know any Slavic languages to think that something is being said about Naziism, and the context supplied by Morley Safer suggests that this something is complimentary.
(5) The menace of boy scouts and girl guides. Desperate for any images that to a gullible60 Minutes audience might be suggestive of undying Naziism within Ukraine, Morley Safer presents film clips of Ukrainian boy scouts and girl guides.
(6) Censorship through muted translation. When a Ukrainian in Lviv says "A Russian shot my brother!" 60 Minutes mutes the English translation to the point that it is almost inaudible. The critical viewer is left wondering whether the operating principle might not be that when a Ukrainian says something that might win sympathy for Ukrainians, omit it; in the case where the image has some overriding appeal (that was a pretty craggy Ukrainian, he was pretty excited, and the lighting was wonderful), then mute the translation to the point of inaudibility. Furthermore, in the 60 Minutes transcript of The Ugly Face of Freedom, the statement "A Russian shot my brother!" is entirely omitted, one might imagine following this same principle of avoiding attracting sympathy to Ukrainians.
(7) Who welcomed the Germans? Mr. Safer says that "The same square greeted Hitler's troops fifty years ago as liberators," making this seem like another symptom of a Ukrainian addiction to Naziism.
Of course we understand that it was not the square which greeted Hitler's troops at all, but rather people in the square, and it was smart on Mr. Safer's part not to draw attention to the people, because there might follow the natural question of "What people?" and the honest answer would have to be "All people — Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews." Jews welcomed Hitler's troops? — Yes, so it would appear:
|The prevailing conviction [was] that bad things came from Russia and good things from Germany. The Jews were historically oriented away from Russia and toward Germany; not Russia but Germany had been their traditional place of refuge. During October and November, 1939, that conviction, among other things, drove thousands of Jews from Russian-occupied Poland to German-occupied Poland. The stream was not stopped until the Germans closed the border. Similarly, one year later, at the time of Soviet mass deportations in the newly occupied territories, [there was] widespread unrest among Ukrainians, Poles, and Jews alike. Almost everyone was waiting for the arrival of the German army. When the army finally arrived, in the summer of 1941, old Jews in particular remembered that in the First World War the Germans had come as quasi-liberators. These Jews did not expect that now the Germans would come as persecutors and killers. (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 206)|
(8) Chief Rabbi of Ukraine. Although Rabbi Bleich is introduced by 60 Minutes as the "Chief Rabbi for the Ukraine," he is in fact an American from Brooklyn, New York, perhaps unqualified to hold such an exulted title for several reasons: (1) Rabbi Bleich is a Hasidic Jew, and so perhaps not authorized to speak for other Jewish sects. (2) Rabbi Bleich is newly-arrived in Ukraine carrying his full load of American-engendered prejudices, and seemingly unaware of the history of Ukraine, or even of the contemporary situation of Jews in Ukraine. (3) Rabbi Bleich, as of the date of the 60 Minutes broadcast, spoke some Russian, but negligible Ukrainian. Some Ukrainians might think that one prerequisite for the post of "Chief Rabbi of Ukraine" would be fluency in Ukrainian.
The title of "Chief Rabbi of Ukraine," then, may be viewed as being self-proclaimed and presumptuous, and as carrying no standing within Ukraine or anywhere else. In crediting the title, Morley Safer was just blowing up Rabbi Bleich's credentials to give his words more weight.
(9) An observation or a hypothetical case? Rabbi Bleich is shown saying, "Obviously, if someone — you know? — screams 'Let's drown the Russians in Jewish blood!' there isn't too much love lost there."
Yes, if anyone did scream such a thing, we might safely infer that the screamer was motivated by a hatred of both Russians and Jews (even though we wouldn't be able to conclude much about anybody other than the screamer). But in fact Rabbi Bleich does not claim that anybody ever did scream such a thing. The 60 Minutes viewer is left with the impression that Rabbi Bleich was reporting something that he witnessed, but his wording commits him to nothing more than contemplating a hypothetical case.
(10) Lenin's Jewish ancestors. After interviewing the editor of Lviv's daily For a Free Ukraine, 60 Minutes cuts to Rabbi Bleich saying "There's an article that came out just two weeks ago where they tried to prove that Lenin was really Jewish...." The impression created is that this article was published in For a Free Ukraine, and that For a Free Ukraine is a major newspaper in Western Ukraine's major city.
In fact, however, "there's an article that came out" does not precisely inform us where the article was published. Perhaps it was published in Ukraine's equivalent of a supermarket tabloid. Perhaps it wasn't published at all, but only circulated in pamphlets. Perhaps it's just a rumor and nobody can produce such an article. But even if published in For a Free Ukraine — so what?
A higher standard of journalism than that exhibited by 60 Minutes would have reported who was the author of this article, what position he holds in Ukrainian society, how good were his data and his arguments, where was the article published, about how many people may have read it, does anyone believe it, does it alter anybody's attitudes toward contemporary Jews even if they do believe it? — But of course such questions weren't answered, and we are left able to conclude no more than that Rabbi Bleich wishes us to believe in the existence of a virulent Ukrainian anti-Semitism.
The Bleich statement is representative of a large number of statements in which events are referred to obliquely, indirectly, vaguely — and on this basis, the viewer is invited to jump to some strong conclusion. "I get the impression from people...." says Mr. Safer. Now there's a lazy substitute for investigative reporting! What people? Why can't we see these people for ourselves? Perhaps they are just a couple of cronies of Mr. Safer's whose company he prizes because they are as bigoted as himself. And what do we care what one or two of Mr. Safer's friends think? 60 Minutes should show its viewers the data on which these people are basing their conclusions and let the viewers draw their own conclusions. But this is not what 60 Minutesdid — its broadcast was short on data and long on instructions on how to feel.
(11) Morley Safer, genetic theorist. Mr. Safer tells us that "The Church and Government of Ukraine have tried to ease people's fears, suggesting that ... Ukrainians, despite the allegations, are not genetically anti-Semitic."
Here we see a new escalation in the level of irrationality with Mr. Safer now divulging to us the existence of the allegation that Ukrainians are genetically anti-Semitic. For an anti-Semitism which Mr. Safer failed to document, he now suggests a cause from the fairyland of pseudoscience, and suggests furthermore that the Church and Government of Ukraine have dignified this charge by denying it. That Ukrainians are pronouncedly anti-Semitic, Mr. Safer takes as a given requiring no corroborative evidence, and so he shifts attention to speculating as to how they could have gotten that way.
Perhaps Morley Safer will appreciate how bizarre and inflammatory his statement is when its direction is reversed: "The World Jewish Congress has tried to ease the growth of anti-Semitism, suggesting that Jews, despite the allegations, are not genetically predisposed to usury." Now if Mr. Safer had heard that on Ukrainian television, he could have brought it back as very good evidence not only of Ukrainian anti-Semitism, but of Ukrainian irrationality as well — but he didn't hear any such thing during his visit to Ukraine, and he brought back nothing. To encounterthat degree of hatred and that level of irrationality, you have to leave Ukraine for the United States and tune in to 60 Minutes.
(12) Church of Ukraine. But even while rebutting Mr. Safer's main point, I have been carelessly adopting his slovenly terminology. "Church of Ukraine"? What "Church of Ukraine"? There is no "Church of Ukraine" any more than there is a "Church of Canada" or a "Church of the United States." Ukraine has more than one variety of Orthodox church, more than one variety of Catholic church, more than one variety of Protestant church; and Ukraine has as well a full slate of non-Christian religions. It even has agnostics and atheists — just like a real country.
Thus it is not only in his big lies, but also in his small misstatements that Mr. Safer reveals to us that his perception of Ukraine is uninformed, indeed wholly stereotypical. To him, perhaps all Ukrainians conform to some archetypal image — wielding a saber, hard-drinking, pogrom-prone, and Christian (to the question "What kind of Christian?" we almost expect Mr. Safer to ask "You mean Ukraine has more than one kind?"). And so when Mr. Safer speaks, he does not report what he has recently observed in Ukraine, but rather reads off from his internal image. He goes to Ukraine not to study it, not to report on its reality, but merely to provide a backdrop for the proclamation of his own preconceptions, of his own prejudices so deeply rooted that confirmation scarcely seems necessary, of his own stereotypes so apparently unchallengeable that the anticipation that they might be in error does not enter consciousness.
(13) Peasants with nuclear weapons. Mr. Safer states: "Uneducated peasants, deeply superstitious, in possession of this bizarre anomaly: nuclear weapons capable of mass destruction thousands of miles away!"
This is one piece of information that I did find both newsworthy and disquieting. Although it requires us to lay aside data indicating that American education is inferior to Ukrainian, we cannot but be persuaded that the farmers shown in the broadcast were indeed both uneducated and deeply superstitious — one look at their weatherbeaten faces and deep wrinkles and I was convinced.
The information is so alarming and the threat to world stability so great that I expect Mr. Safer must have immediately telegraphed President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine to inform him that the uneducated and deeply superstitious peasants had seized control of Ukraine's nuclear weapons, and to urge him to recapture the weapons and place them back under the control of the educated and less-deeply-superstitious peasants.
Who can argue with Mr. Safer's syllogism here? — Old and wrinkled people are uneducated and deeply superstitious. Here is an old and wrinkled person who may or may not be Ukrainian. Therefore, it is dangerous for Ukraine to have nuclear weapons. Out of respect for Mr. Safer's personal vulnerability, I will refrain from demonstrating the retargetability of this syllogism.
But to be fair to Mr. Safer, he did not really say that the peasants were in possession of the nuclear weapons — what he actually said was that they were in possession of an anomaly. This is an unfamiliar concept, and I cannot get my mind around it — what does it mean to say that someone is in possession of an anomaly? Perhaps what it means in this case is simply this — that Mr. Safer sensed that even the uncritical 60 Minutes viewer at whom he was aiming his story wasn't going to believe that the Ukrainian peasants had gotten control of the nuclear weapons, and so the thing to do was to speak gobbledygook — to suggest that they did but without actually saying it.
(14) Why leave Ukraine? Mr. Safer suggests that the explanation of Jewish emigration from Ukraine is anti-Semitism: "The [anti-Semitic] message is clear to Lvov's Jews. They're leaving as quickly as they can get exit permits."
I can think of an alternative interpretation. It is that given the catastrophic and deteriorating economic situation in Ukraine, practically everybody in the country wants to leave, but it is disproportionately Jews who can afford to and who are allowed to. Anybody who is emigrating from Ukraine today is, in comparison to the average Ukrainian, both wealthy and influential. Iosef Zissels, co-president of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine as well as co-president of Va'ad (Confederation of Jewish Communities of the Former Soviet Union) has stated that: "Many Jews are emigrating from Ukraine, not because of anti-Semitism, but because of the unstable situation in Ukraine. They see instability in Ukraine, as well as in all the former republics of the Soviet Union, as lasting a long time" (Ukrainian Weekly, January 26, 1992).
(15) Symon Petliura. Mr. Safer tells us that "Street names have been changed. There is now a Petliura Street. To Ukrainians, Symon Petliura was a great General, but to Jews, he's the man who slaughtered 60,000 Jews in 1919."
But that is not what happened and it is irresponsible to broadcast such an accusation.
Of course here as elsewhere, the 60 Minutes numbers may be somewhat inflated — Orest Subtelny gives us a more moderate range of 35,000 to 50,000 Jewish fatalities (Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 363), though even the lower bound of 35,000 is still a horrendous number. The main point, though, is that in 1919, Ukraine was in a state of civil war. Two Russian armies — the Bolshevik Red Army and the anti-Bolshevik White army — were rampaging through the country, and both were killing Jews. The White Army, in particular, had an official policy of killing Jews, proceeded to do so in an organized and methodical manner, and can be credited with the majority of the victims:
|The Ukrainian pogroms differed from those of the Whites in two ways: in contrast to the premeditated, systematic undertakings of the Russians, they were spontaneous outbursts of demoralized and often drunken irregulars, and they were committed against the express orders of the high command. Unlike the White Russian generals such as Anton Denikin, the Ukrainian socialists, especially the Social Democratic party to which Petliura belonged, had a long tradition of friendly relations with Jewish political activists. Therefore, the Directory renewed Jewish personal-cultural autonomy, attracted prominent Jews such as Arnold Margolin and Solomon Goldelman into its government, appropriated large amounts of money for pogrom victims, and even negotiated with the famous Zionist leader Vladimir Zhabotinsky about the inclusion of Jewish police units into its army.|
But while Petliura's attitudes towards the Jews might have been well-intentioned, he was unable to control the otamany (the court-martial and subsequent execution of Semesenko and other partisan leaders did not improve the situation), and their dreadful deeds were associated with his government. And because many Jews considered themselves to be Russians, they found it easier to lay all the blame for the pogroms on Petliura and the Ukrainians rather than on Denikin and his Russian generals. (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, pp. 363-364).
(16) Blessing the SS. Mr. Safer informs us that "for this reunion [of Galicia Division veterans in Lviv recently], Cardinal Lubachivsky, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, gave his blessing, just as a predecessor did to the SS more than 50 years ago." The blessing of this predecessor was likely the blessing of Bishop Kotsylovskyi and was a blessing of the Galicia Division, which as we have seen above was not quite the same thing as the German SS.
(17) The immaturity of blaming others. Mr. Safer tells us that "Western Ukraine also has a long, dark history of blaming its poverty, its troubles, on others." Of course, no evidence of any unusual tendency to blame others is provided — but then the sharing of hatred such as Mr. Safer's is not an evidentiary matter, but is rather the warm feeling you get when you pass along a stereotype and your partners in hatred accept the stereotype without asking for evidence.
But we may ask Mr. Safer just what it was that he might have had in mind. Perhaps it was the Ukrainian Holocaust that Ukraine should accept as its own fault and stop blaming others for? Perhaps it was the devastation wrought during the Second World War that Ukraine should start accepting as its own fault? Or maybe it was the eight decades of Moscow's strangulation of Ukraine's economy that Ukraine has really no one to blame for but itself? Ukraine has so many such calamities to choose from that it is impossible to guess — perhaps Mr. Safer would be kind enough to simply tell us precisely which of them he thinks it is that Ukraine should be mature enough to accept responsibility for having brought upon itself.
(18) Dividing Ukraine. 60 Minutes gave the impression that its story focussed solely on Western Ukraine, when in fact a portion of it came from Central Ukraine. Rabbi Bleich's full title, for example, is not "Chief Rabbi for the Ukraine," but rather "Rabbi of Kiev and Ukraine," (where Kiev is in central Ukraine) and although 60 Minutes gave the impression that he was interviewed in Lviv, he was in reality interviewed in Kiev. Similarly, while Mr. Safer was in the middle of interviewing representatives of the Ukrainian Catholic church in Lviv and was saying "The Cardinal's deputy, Monsignor Dacko, denies traditional anti-Semitism in the Ukraine....", the viewer was being shown St. Volodymyr's cathedral which unlike Monsignor Dacko was in Kiev and which unlike Monsignor Dacko is Orthodox rather than Catholic. I suppose that 60 Minutescommitted itself to the scene-setting introduction "... and the West, where we go tonight ...", and then suppressed the Kiev origin of some of its material so as to give the story the appearance of having a consistent locale; and perhaps as well 60 Minutes wished to restrict its smearing to Western Ukrainians so as to promote divisions within the country.
(19) Freedom from slavery is too much freedom (for Ukrainians, anyway). The title of the 60 Minutes broadcast, "The Ugly Face of Freedom" is puzzling. The freedom being referred to must be the freedom from Russian rule, and so the title suggests that Ukraine would be better off back within the Russian empire.
But Morley Safer's suggestion is inappropriate for three reasons. First, anti-Semitism is strong in Russia and weak in Ukraine (Ukraine has no counterpart of either Pamyat or Zhirinovksy), and so it is unclear how falling back under Russian rule would assist Ukraine in avoiding anti-Semitism. Second, Ukraine's current problems are more rationally seen as being the result not of too much freedom, but of too little — specifically, Ukraine's problems are the result of continuing to be ruled by the old Communist nomenklatura that had originally been appointed from Moscow and that presently is robbing the country blind while obstructing economic reform. A weak economy, in turn, affects Ukrainian-Jewish relations by inviting scapegoating from each group against the other and by promoting Jewish emigration out of Ukraine. Thus, it is not too much freedom, but rather the absence of freedom from rule by Moscow's appointees that most stands in the way of good Ukrainian-Jewish relations. Third, it is surprising to hear an American objecting to freedom from slavery. Some 60 Minutes viewers will notice that Mr. Safer objects to it on behalf of other people and not on behalf of Americans. I expect that if anyone were to argue that American anti-Semitism or America's low quality of education or America's high crime rate is the result of America having broken away from England, Mr. Safer would not agree. I expect also that if England had been guilty of the horrific crimes against America that Russia has been guilty of against Ukraine, Mr. Safer would find the suggestion odious. In fact, Mr. Safer's suggestion is as odious to Ukrainians as would be the suggestion that Israel would be better off under German rule would be odious to Jews. No, Mr. Safer's suggestion is more odious — this because Berlin today is not ruled by former Nazis, whereas Moscow today is ruled by people who just a few years ago were ardent Communists and who today continue to be ardent imperialists.
The American Jewish Committee did a better job — it sponsored a survey in 1992 about attitudes toward Jews in the republics of the former Soviet Union, and its findings do not support 60 Minutes' allegations:
|Based on the total of anti-Jewish responses to items appearing in the questionnaire, the rank order of the states from most hostile to least hostile toward Jews in 1992 is as follows: Uzbekistan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Moldova and Estonia. (Ukrainian Weekly, June 21, 1992, p. 6)|
And, if 60 Minutes had wanted personal testimony concerning Ukrainian attitudes toward Jews to bolster the dry facts coming from the opinion poll, then it could have consulted any number of Ukrainian Jews who would have been happy to correct 60 Minutes' biases. The above-mentioned Iosep Zissels, for example, would have offered observations such as that "There was a time when the leaders of Pamiat [or "Pamyat" — the Russian anti-Semitic organization] would travel from Russia to recruit supporters in Ukraine. They didn't find any. We are well aware of this fact" (Ukrainian Weekly, January 26, 1992, p. 4)
One thing missing from the above discussion of Ukrainian anti-Semitism, then, is any mention of the reciprocal attitude of Jewish Ukrainophobia (or more generally of Jewish phobic responses toward Gentiles or peoples of any other creed). But perhaps we would be able to evaluate statistics on the rate of Ukrainian anti-Semitism more intelligently if we were able to put them side by side with statistics on Jewish Ukrainophobia. If Ukrainian anti-Semitism shows a declining trend over some interval, would this fact not be enriched by a comparison with the trend of Jewish Ukrainophobia over the same interval? In a discussion of Ukrainian-Jewish relations, how is it conceivable that the attitudes of Ukrainians toward Jews is deemed relevant and susceptible to quantification, but the attitudes of Jews toward Ukrainians is not? Here, as in several other instances above, we see a curious paralysis of the comparative function, a puzzling Ukrainian passivity in allowing the Jewish side to set the agenda for discussion and to limit its parameters. Ukrainian motes are put under the microscope and measured and analyzed, but Jewish beams are not.
Of what possible relevance is it that — as 60 Minutes reports a letter as saying — a fraction of Ukrainians refuses to admit that they collaborated with the Nazis? Possibly, some minuscule fraction does irrationally refuse to admit this (60 Minutes offered no data, of course) — but so what? The same might be true of every other group. Possibly some minuscule fraction of Jews irrationally refuses to admit that Jews collaborated with the Nazis (I don't have any data either), and yet 60 Minutes does not seem to find the existence of this group noteworthy enough to broadcast.
The following Sunday, November 6, 1994, 60 Minutes continued to focus on the Ukrainian reaction to the original broadcast, but without correction, without retraction, without apology. 60 Minutes is willing to go as far as admitting that Ukrainians are upset, but not as far as divulging that the cause of that upset is irresponsible and negligent reporting.
As of November 21, 1997, 60 Minutes has not broadcast any correction or retraction or apology.
The Jewish claim to a share of the newly-created nation of Ukraine is as tenable as that of the ethnic Ukrainians and of the ethnic Russians and others who reside there. At present, all three of these groups are beginning to mine that claim in relative peace. Differences are being overlooked, cooperation is the norm, a bright future is possible.
Into this scene burst immature and undiplomatic people like Morley Safer needing a sensational story, Simon Wiesenthal desperate to retain his relevance in the modern world by having it believed that 1941 is repeating itself, and Yaakov Bleich disoriented by having been plucked from the United States to fill this exotic role of rabbi of Ukraine — and these three show no grasp of the political situation, no comprehension of the complex world that they are simplifying into their stereotypes, no sympathy for impulses toward reconciliation that are manifest on all sides, certainly no sense of responsibility for nurturing these impulses. This gang of three has no stake in Ukraine — Mr. Safer leaves for home immediately after reading his lines into the camera, Mr. Wiesenthal lives in Vienna (where needing to get along with Germans but not Ukrainians, he expediently concludes that Germans weren't as bad as Ukrainians), and Yaakov Bleich — unhappy in his discovery that in slinging mud he has become muddied, every day more deeply convinced that he has been miscast in this role of rabbi of Ukraine — we may expect will shortly be catching a plane for home. What do any of them care if they are stirring up a hornet's nest in Ukraine?
The Jews who are left behind in Ukraine, who have a stake in Ukraine, who need to get along — to these 60 Minutes does not give air time. It's the irresponsible ones with nothing to lose who are able to offer the more sensational testimonials.
And not only does 60 Minutes' trio of provocateurs have nothing to lose from chaos erupting in Ukraine, they have this to gain — that if chaos does erupt, they will be able to play the role of prophets who foretold its coming, and they will do this quite overlooking that they helped it come.
Acknowledging that Ukrainians are upset or that they are protesting is not a correction, it is not a retraction, and it is not an apology. Directing attention to Ukrainian feelings is 60 Minutes' way of deflecting attention away from its own negligence.
60 Minutes has valiantly investigated and exposed hundreds of corrupt, or merely erring, people and institutions — the time has come to turn the focus inwards and to investigate and expose itself. Of course this can only be done objectively by an external investigator relying on his or her own independent staff. Inviting such an external investigator to do a 60 Minutes story is the right thing to do; it will be appreciated and admired; it will raise 60 Minutes' integrity from its currently lowered position to a new pinnacle. Damage control won't work. If 60 Minutes really wants respect, it should broadcast a story on itself and call it "The Ugly Face of 60 Minutes."
As the misinformation that was planted in the original twelve-minute segment will take longer than twelve minutes to uproot, 60 Minutes should devote an entire nominal sixty minutes to its correction, retraction, and apology — only such a substantial allocation of time can begin to undo the damage. At the other extreme, a correction, retraction, and apology confined to Mailbag will be next to worthless.
(2) 60 Minutes should upgrade its research library by acquiring at least the two-volume Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, the five-volume Encyclopaedia of Ukraine, Orest Subtelny's Ukraine: A History, and Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews. This seems a modest investment to plug a huge and dangerous gap in awareness.
(3) But books are nothing if they are sitting on the shelves of biased researchers. Find out who contributed to the travesty of "The Ugly Face of Freedom" and get rid of them. And don't worry about their careers — with their special talents, they will be able to get good jobs with supermarket tabloids writing about sightings of Elvis Presley and UFO landings.
(4) 60 Minutes should examine with a more skeptical eye materials concerning Ukrainians, and concerning Eastern Europeans generally, that come from biased sources. As a minimal step, 60 Minutes could adopt the rule of thumb that anyone who considers Eastern Europeans to be sub-human might better be assigned to some other topic.
(5) 60 Minutes should not be afraid to consult sources capable of balancing a biased story. There are a large number of historians and other academics (some of whom are Ukrainian or East European, some of whom are Jewish, some of whom are both, some of whom are neither) that could have told 60 Minutes at a glance that "The Ugly Face of Freedom" was bunkum.
(6) 60 Minutes should rethink its heavy-handed reliance on the gimmick of interviewing by ambush by means of which the side favored by 60 Minutes is apprised in advance of the nature of the interview, has a chance to organize his thoughts, and comes out looking good whereas the side ambushed is misled into believing that the interview will be supportive, but then is hit with questions that are hostile and for which he is unprepared. The ambushed interviewee is discomposed, flustered, fumbles in trying to collect his thoughts, the camera zooms in on his confusion, and he appears duplicitous. It may be a tried-and-true formula, but it doesn't fool every viewer and constitutes poor journalism in the case where the interviewee is innocent, where he would have granted the interview even if he hadn't been misled as to its intent, and where nothing more damning is extracted from him other than his consternation at having been betrayed.
(7) In order to permit the viewer to verify the accuracy of a 60-Minutes translation, the original statement should remain audible and not be muted to the point of unintelligibility, and transcripts provided by 60 Minutes should include the original of any statements that had been broadcast in translation.
(8) 60 Minutes should rely on professional translators with accredited competence in the original language who might be counted on to provide an undistorted translation. Particularly, 60 Minutesshould expect that if it relies on a Russian who merely claims that he understands Ukrainian, it is inviting the sort of biased mistranslation that it did in fact get in its broadcast.
(9) 60 Minutes should not tackle a complex, multi-faceted story unless it is willing to invest sufficient resources to get it right. In a typical 60 Minutes story — say the exposing of a single corrupt individual — the number of issues involved, and the amount of data that is relevant, is small, can be gathered with a modest research outlay, and can readily be contained within a 12-minute segment. "The Ugly Face of Freedom," in contrast, presented conclusions on a dozen topics any one of which would require the full resources of a single typical 60 Minutes story to present fairly — and so, little wonder that most of these conclusions turned out to be wrong.
(10) 60 Minutes should heighten its awareness of the distinction between raw data and tenth-hand rumor. A hospital administrator examining a document and explaining how he knows that it is a forgery is raw data from which 60 Minutes might be justified in extracting some conclusion; that Symon Petliura slaughtered 60,000 Jews is a tenth-hand rumor which 60 Minutes is incompetent to evaluate and which might constitute disinformation placed by a special-interest group intent on hijacking a story and forcing it to travel in an unwanted direction.
(11) 60 Minutes should ask Mr. Safer to resign. Mr. Safer's conduct was unprofessional, irresponsible, vituperative. Mr. Safer has demonstrated an inability to distinguish impartial reporting from rabid hatemongering and as a result has no place in mainstream journalism. He has lost his credibility.
Mr. Safer, too, will be welcomed by the supermarket tabloids where he will find the heavy burden of logic and consistency considerably lightened, and the constraints of having to make his words correspond to the facts mercifully relaxed.
(12) 60 Minutes should do a story on Simon Wiesenthal and assign it to a reporter and to researchers who have the courage to consider objectively such politically-incorrect but arguable conclusions as that Mr. Wiesenthal's stories are self-contradictory and fantastic, that his denunciations have sometimes proven to be irresponsible, and that he spent the war years as aGestapo agent.
A discussion relevant to the above critique concerns third-party attempts to incite Ukrainian-Jewish animosity and can be found within the Ukrainian Archive at Ukrainian Anti-Semitism: Genuine and Spontaneous or Only Apparent and Engineered? The relevance lies in the fact thatThe Ugly Face of 60 Minutes which you have just read above has been the target of a crude attempt at anti-Semitization, and at the discreditation of the author, myself, as is documented particularly at Lubomyr Prytulak: Enemies of Ukraine anti-Semitize The Ugly Face of 60 Minutes.