The Ukrainian city of Lviv will hold a festival celebrating a Nazi collaborator on the anniversary of a major pogrom against the city’s Jews.
Shukhevychfest, an event named for Roman Shukhevych featuring music and theater shows, will be held Friday.
Eduard Dolinsky, the director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, in a statement called the event “disgraceful.”
On June 30, 1941, Ukrainian troops, including militiamen loyal to Shukhevych’s, began a series of pogroms against Jews, which they perpetrated under the auspices of the German army, according to Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder and other scholars. They murdered approximately 6,000 Jews in those pogroms.
The day of the festival is the 110th birthday of Shukhevych, a leader of the OUN-B nationalist group and later of the UPA insurgency militia, which collaborated with the Nazis against the Soviet Union before it turned against the Nazis.
Shukhevychfest is part of a series of gestures honoring nationalists in Ukraine following the 2014 revolution, in which nationalists played a leading role. They brought down the government of President Viktor Yanukovuch, whose critics said was a corrupt Russian stooge.
In a related debate, the director of Ukraine’s Institute of National Remembrance, Vladimir Vyatrovich, who recently described Shukhevych as an “eminent personality,” last month defended the displaying in public of the symbol of the Galician SS division. Responsible for countless murders of Jews, Nazi Germany’s most elite unit was comprised of Ukrainian volunteers.
Displaying Nazi symbols is illegal in Ukraine but the Galician SS division’s symbol is “in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine,” Vyatrovich said.
I would note that I am aware of my family history, and I am aware that there is some Galitzianer* in my background, (my dad prefers a sweet gefilte fish), so I do tend to not to be dismissive of efforts Nazi apologists from that part of the world, though I am not surprised by such efforts.
Ukrainian history is rather more virulently antisemitic than corresponding Russian history.
*My Grandmother also claimed descent from the Goan of Vilna (Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman) which would make us Litvaks (Lithuanian) Nas well, so I span both major divisions of Eastern European Jews. There is also some Yekke (German/Western European) Jewish background in the family tree, so we’re mutts.†
†Note that the division of Galitzianer, Litvak, and Yekke only vaguely correspond to the current or historical boundaries of these regions.