Re: Ukrainian American accused of Pidhaitsi war crimes

jerome schatten


I'm sorry, but I must still disagree with you about the 'significance' of this article. 

Just because the article starts recounting the events starting in 1943, that doesn't allow the author to escape prior history -- the history of the Jews in Podhajce who were all but eliminated prior to 1943. Indeed, you can bet that the same swine who were complicit in 1943 were complicit in 1941 and 1942 as well.  Without historical context, this published narrative is simply a story about the Nazi who lives next door.

It would not have take much for the author to have provided some additional context around these events. I find the lack thereof to be purposefully offensive.  To me the article is yet another example of the sanitizing of history; not for what it says, but for what it fails to say.  Specifically, substituting the word 'citizen' for the word 'Jew' regarding the Warsaw 'uprising', seems a throwback to Soviet times.

I am not unfamiliar with the large number of Ukrainians awarded the title of 'Righteous' by Yad Vashem; or by the expressions of sorrow proffered by locals to visitors; or those who had actively put their own lives at risk helping Jews during their darkest days. Indeed I am cautiously optimistic that things are improving, especially as regards the attitudes of the young.

It is not surprising to me that Nazis still live among us and that locals aided them; I would argue that this is not the 'significance' of the article. The significance is in the article's thinly veiled attempt to rewrite history.

With respect,
Jerome Schatten

On 14-10-05 06:55 AM, JK jeffckellner@... [podhajce] wrote:

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!


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