Jewish Center in Ukraine Apparently Duped into Honoring a Nazi Collaborationist Organization

According to a report received today from a publication in Ukraine (reproduced in full below), the launch of the new Menorah complex in the city of Dnipropetrovsk, billed as the city’s largest building, includes a new museum containing an exhibit that naively whitewashes the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), an infamous pro-Hitler fascist organization responsible for many Jewish deaths during the Holocaust. The exhibit is quoted in the report as including information on Jews “saved” by the OUN, with no mention of its large-scale record of murder.

According to the report, the opening festivities were attended by the chief rabbis of Israel and Russia, the Israeli Minister for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, the Israeli ambassador to Ukraine and representatives of a number of Western embassies.

Related articles in the Ukraine Section

For much of World War II, the OUN worked closely with Nazi Germany. Many OUN members served in the auxiliary police, which was deeply involved in the implementation of the Holocaust in Ukraine. In addition to the deaths of tens of thousands of Poles and fellow Ukrainians, emerging research shows that the UPA killed thousands of Jews on their own initiative. A number of recent studies corroborate this, including those by John-Paul Himka on the UPA and the Holocaust and on the OUN’s role in the Lviv massacres, and Per Anders Rudling’s study on the OUN, the UPA and the Holocaust, which deals inter alia with the obfuscationist narrative and includes material on the recent sensationalist attempts to associate Jews with the UPA.

The tiny handful of “saved Jews” likely survived because their Jewish identities were not known, or, because as doctors and nurses their skills were of critical importance to the OUN or UPA. The UPA systematically killed the Jews they got hold of after cynically issuing appeals after Stalingrad claiming that they were no longer racist. They killed them as the Red Army drew closer.

The incident will go down as yet another instance of ultranationalist elites effectively entrapping naive Jewish and Western personalities and organizations into unwittingly joining the whitewash campaign for the local Holocaust collaborators and perpetrators in Eastern Europe, a development that undermines the history and memory of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and globally.

Paste-in from

Dnipropetrovsk residents get “Menorah” as a present

The world’s greatest Jewish center opens the museum “The Memory of Jewish People and Holocaust in Ukraine,” where a part of the exposition is dedicated to Jews’ service in the ranks of Ukrainian Insurgent Army

by Vadym Ryzhkov, The Day, Dnipropetrovsk

An opening ceremony of the world’s largest Jewish center “Menorah,” which has been created for almost a decade by the local Hasidic community, has taken place in Dnipropetrovsk. The launch of the center was attended by hundreds of important guests. Those included Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Israeli Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein, Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine Reuven Din El, Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, President of the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS Levi Levaiev, as well as the representatives of the diplomatic corps of Israel, the US, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, spiritual leaders, and honorable guests from many cities and countries of the world.

Already in the evening at the main entrance of the “Menorah” a red ribbon was cut and a memorial plaque unveiled with a mention that the Jewish center has been built thanks to its sponsors Ihor Kolomoisky and Hennadii Boholiubov, entrepreneurs who are among Ukraine’s wealthiest people. Not all creators of the Jewish center have lived till its opening. One more memorial plaque has been unveiled in Menorah’s building, to commemorate the author of the idea to build it, entrepreneur Hennadii Akselrod, who was murdered last spring.

The law enforcement agencies have been looking for the killer and those who ordered this resonant crime, to no avail.

The Jewish center “Menorah” is huge in size – it has become the largest building of Dnipropetrovsk, having overshadowed the building of the former Ministry of Ferrous Metallurgy of the UkrSSR, located on the central square of the city. “Menorah” is located in the same complex as the central synagogue of Dnipropetrovsk “Golden Rose,” restored in the time of Kuchma’s presidency. Here, in historical Jewish block of the city the four-storeyed community center and mikvah “Haya Rivka” are located. The new center consists of seven towers symbolizing the seven-branch lampstand. “Menorah” is a kind of a small town in the city, where one can go shopping, lodge a hotel room and celebrate a wedding, visit a modern concert hall. Festivities dedicated to the launch of “Menorah” will last in Donetsk for about a week.

A special place of the three storeys of “Menorah” is occupied by the Museum “The Memory of Jewish People and Holocaust in Ukraine.” At the presentation the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ukraine Christof Weil delivered a speech, dedicated to historical memory. According to director of “Tkuma” All-Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies Ihor Shchupak, this is the largest in the post-Soviet space memorial complex, dedicated to Holocaust. The total area of the exposition located in the four main halls is about 3,000 square meters.

The first hall is dedicated to the traditions of Judaism, as well as peculiarities of Jews’ life in cities and towns. The largest hall relates about the Holocaust events. It is followed by “The Hall of Memory – the Hall of Names.” Near the museum exit the visitors can see the installation “Breaking of the World,” which reminds of the catastrophe of civilization after Nazis came to power.

Interestingly, a part of the exposition is dedicated to the attitude to the Jewish question of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, as well as Jews’ service in the ranks of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. The information that one of OUN leaders in Dnipropetrovsk region Fedir Vovk helped to save Jews during the Nazi occupation and that after the war the Yad Vashem Center recognized him as the Righteous Among the Nations aroused great interest among the people present at the launch. “My life is connected with the Holocaust, too,” an employee of the organization “Joint” Aron Weis, currently residing in Israel. “My parents had lived before the war in Boryslav, where I was born. We survived only thanks to Ukrainian and Polish families, who saved us. They were hiding us for two years, from August 1942 till September 1944. We still call our neighbor Yulia Matchysh ‘our Yulia.’ It is hard for me to speak about those events, but namely then there were people who were ready to rescue others, imperiling their own lives. Therefore the so-called ‘Righteous Among the Nations’ is a special topic. We should remember those people, because they were actually saving the conscience of humankind.”

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