Re: Ukrainian American accused of Pidhaitsi war crimes
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Jews aren't mentioned because the Ukrainian auxiliaries clearly murdered Ukrainians (and presumably Poles) in the crime mentioned in the article.
By '43 the town's Jews were all dead, hiding, slave laborers* or had fled.
The significance of this article is that the Ukrainians have to once again tend with the historical
fact that their right-wing supporters during the war played an important role in supporting the kind of
Nazi terror that resulted in the death of thousands of their own people.
When I visited Pidhaitsi in 2000 and 2001, I was received warmly by the locals. Many attested to the decent prewar relations experienced
between the towns three minorities. My grandparents recall a similar attitude of acceptance.
A Ukrainian family in Pidhaitsi invited me to their house where they gave me a copy of the Righteous Gentile certificate they received
after appreciative Jewish Pidhaitsers petitioned Vad Yashem to award them the status. The family's elder lost her
mother (a Ms. Sikorski) after it was discovered that the woman had hid the Jewish Kessler boys (a Ukrainian neighbor informed on them).
There was sympathy and regret expressed to me.
It is also important to add that the Ukrainian fascists also murdered and expelled 100,000s of Poles and Czechs from the region, culminating in the crime known as Operation Vistula. That is why, apart from the synagog in Pidhaitsi, a Polish church remains in ruins, a testament to the large Polish community
that once lived in Galicia and Volhynia.
The synagogue of Pidhaitsi was recently cleaned and locked up, an improvement from when I last saw it (in 2000 it was left open, its floor covered in detritus). Someone replaced the roof sometime before 2000, which is promising (the Polish ruin, by comparison, has since lost what was left of its roof, this despite the fact that Poles w/Pidhaitsky roots visit the ruin every year).
I sent money to Meylakh Shekhet in Lviv and he managed to get most of the cemetery enclosed by a fence (to prevent animal grazing). I suspect he or some Chassidic organization re-sanctified the grave of that famous rabbi, figured here in a Ukrainian news piece:
Judging from the interview at the ned with a priest, it appears even the Ukrainian church is beginning to understand the significance of the town's Jewish culture...a promising step, if Ukraine is to join the EU they will have to resolve a couple of bad attitudes.
*Local Pidhajcer, a Dr. Milch wrote about his slave labor experiences in a book.
On Saturday, October 4, 2014 10:37 PM, "romers@... [podhajce]" wrote:
A very interesting post -- even more interesting is that the word 'Jew' or 'Jewish' appeared nowhere in the article that I could find. Even when discussing the Warsaw uprising... only 'civilians' were involved. So... once again, history is sanitized and the Jews have been re-categorised as mmm... 'civilians'.
Magnificent work by the Daily Mail -- Feh!