Ukrainian Police and the Holocaust

“The last Jew in Vinnitsa” source :

When you talk or read about the Holocaust nowadays, there is a despicable tendency, among many people, including historians, of putting the blame solely on the back of the Nazis. As if they had accomplished their evil business alone. But the truth is different, for they had willing collaborators and executioners.

An article written by historian Yuri Radchenko and published in the most recent issue of Yad Vashem Studies provides a sad but revealing example of that situation, detailing the collaboration of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police with the Nazi hordes. After detailing the various aspects of this deadly collaboration, the author concludes:

“[…] the involvement of the Ukrainian police in the Holocaust was not limited to the purely “technical” roles of escorting and guarding the Jews, as had been claimed by several modern Ukrainian historians. The Ukrainian police proved its effectiveness in the task of exterminating Jews, both under German control and on their own. Obviously, the German military and security bodies bear the primary responsibility for killing the Jews. However, without the cooperation of the Ukrainian policemen, who were familiar with the lay of the land, knew the local language and dialect, and had frequently lived in close proximity to Jews in the prewar years, the Nazis would have been unable to carry out their genocidal project on such a vast scale.”

Very revealing, notably in light of the revisionist currents who seek to downplay or deny the role of various local populations in the execution of the Holocaust.

Remembering Jewish Soldiers of the Red Army

parade-031209According to a very interesting story published in the Jerusalem Post today, almost half of the Israelis polled are in favor of making May 9th, which is the day when Soviet Victory over Nazism is commemorated in Russia, a national holiday in Israel, too. Even more interesting is the fact that Yad Vashem (the Memorial and Museum to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust in Jerusalem) evaluates that no less than 1,5 million Jews took arms and fought barbarism during World War II. Here’s the eloquent example reported by the JPost:

“Anatoli Shapiro, for example, a Red Army officer who commanded the division that liberated Auschwitz, was the first man to open the gates and inform its prisoners ‘the Red army has come to liberate you.’ His story reflects most of all the essence of the Jewish fighters, fighters who didn’t just ask to bring freedom to Europe, but fighters who fought to save their brothers and sisters.”

There is ample academic research (you could fill a few bookshelves of books about that subject) supporting the fact that, without the USSR, it is doubtful that the Allies would have crushed Hitler’s hordes. It is no less significant to recognize the service of Jewish soldiers who were part of the Red army. On May 9th, we not only salute the Soviet (Russians, Ukrainians and others) men and women who made tremendous sacrifices, the ultimate one in the case of several millions, but also these Jewish and Israeli people who also carry that involvement as a badge of honor. A national holiday is not an exaggerated way to say: Thank you!

Poland vs. Russia

Photo credit: Polish Ministry of Defence
Photo credit: Polish Ministry of Defence

In the current geopolitical context, Poland is on the first line of any potential extended military confrontation with Russia. And you can feel, when you speak with people, a sense of nervousness. After all, Poles are historically very close to Ukraine (a significant part of the territory of Ukraine was once part of Poland – but that’s for another discussion).

It therefore comes as great news that the Polish government has decided to increase its military budget.

And this decision seems to have gained legitimate support across partisan party lines:

 ““A condition for Poland’s independence is her own strength. It is worrying that it is considered a success that Poland increased its defence spending by a mere 0.05pp, whereas a success would be to up it by 1pp to 3% of GDP,” left-leaning commentator Jerzy Rolicki wrote in Gazeta Wyborcza on April 14, in an article that well depicts the mood in Poland, where even the traditionally less hawkish left is now demanding more money for the armed forces.”

In front of the military might of Russia, Poland comes across as David having to potentially confront Goliath.

As the Romans said, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum. With contemporary history as a witness, who could blame the Polish people for taking no chance?