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Posted by / 02-Apr-2020 09:13

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The quest to build a Ukrainian identity now emphasizes the national struggle for freedom since the 1600s and earlier.Lenin statues in the western parts of the country have been replaced by monuments of Cossack and nationalist leaders.This figure actually represents the largest number of victims in any country other than Poland, where the number of victims is estimated at 3.3 million.3 Holocaust victims included the Jews of Eastern Galicia, which the Soviet Union seized from Poland under the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.They comprised a relatively large minority (in 1931, 639,000, or 9.3 percent), and anti-Semitism was widespread.4 During the postwar period, particularly after 1991, many of the remaining Jews emigrated, primarily to Israel.Not until fifty years after the massacre was a menorah monument erected at the correct place by the ravine, with the participation of Western organizations, in memory of the Jewish victims.18 However, the impact of this monument was diluted, when several other memorials were erected in various locations in the area: to the executed Ukrain-ian nationalists (1992), two Orthodox priests (2000), murdered children (without nationality, text only in Ukrainian) and — with German involvement — a monument in memory of the Ukrainian and concentration camp prisoners in Nazi Germany (2005).19 It may be added that it is difficult to find the monument because the Ukrainian brochures lack maps of the area, no signs are posted, and the local population is unable to answer questions.Although President Kuchma laid the cornerstone for a Jewish memorial and meeting center at Babi Yar in 2001, funded by U. organizations, it was never built, and after long debate, in 2009 the Jewish congregation decided instead to build its own memorial center.20 In the run-up to the 2012 European Football Championships, a plan was launched that included building a new hotel next to the monument, but it was vetoed by Kiev’s mayor in response to intense criticism from Jewish groups around the world.21 In short, the Ukrainian treatment is both depressing and outrageous.The Uniate (Greek Catholic) Metropolitan Sheptytsky was mentioned in particular.12 It is hardly made clear that Ukrainian nationalists helped with the extermination of the Jews.13 Viktor Yushchenko, who as Prime Minister participated at the Holocaust Conference in Stockholm in 2000, declared that the experience of millions of Ukrainians as victims of a Holocaust of their own meant that the Ukrainians well understand the ordeal of the Jews.14 When Yushchenko was elected president in 2004 after the so-called Orange Revolution, he was mainly supported by nationalist and Western-oriented groups in western and central Ukraine.Johan Dietsch concludes that the official image of Ukrainians as both heroes and victims does not allow other people to have suffered more than the Ukrain-ians or that the Ukrainians were accomplices in the extermination of the Jews in Ukraine.

When the Nazi Germany occupation became even worse than the Soviet, Ukrainian partisans began to resist.11 It is rarely noted that Ukrainians could be found on both sides of the front lines.When the Soviet Army approached in 1943, the Nazis tried to cover their tracks by ordering the concentration camp prisoners to dig up the corpses and burn them, after which the prisoners were killed.When the Soviet army arrived in November 1943, a concentration camp was transformed into an internment camp for German prisoners of war until 1946, when it was demolished.The dilemma is clearly reflected in Ukrainian historiography and current politics, though government museums and public memorials in Western Ukraine also bear witness to the vestiges of the Holocaust — or to the lack thereof.These words are partly based on Western historical research about the Holocaust in Ukraine and how it has been treated, and partly — mainly — on research material gathered during two dedicated visits to Kiev and Lviv in 20.2 According to some estimates, over 900,000 Jews died in Soviet Ukraine between 19 as a result of the genocidal policies of Nazi Germany and its Ukrainian henchmen.

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In such a way the Ukrainians circumvent the problem of their participation in the Holocaust on their home turf and present an impression that Ukraine shares European values and fits in with the European community.15 The Ukrainian view of the extermination of the Jews can be illustrated by the case of Babi Yar, considered the single largest massacre in the history of the Holocaust and which became a symbol of its early, non-industrial phase.16 After the Nazi German invasion, an executed over 33,000 Jews in the Babi Yar ravine in two days in late September 1941.