I do not like wars. I do not think it is fair geopolitics for one country to invade another for no reason but to conquer it and occupy, or annex, it to its own territory. This is evil at its worst. Now there is Russia War on Ukraine.
In a war innocent people bear the bloody brunt of the mayhem and bloodshed.
If there was no Adolf Hitler, there would have not been The Holocaust. It was Hitler who orchestrated and caused the Holocaust.
Russia War on Ukraine
If there was not maniacal, evil and arrogant Vladimir Putin, there would be no invasion of Russia into Ukraine.
Case in point is February 2022 Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people suffered a great deal under the Russians.
The Holodomor, also known as the Terror-Famine, or the Great Famine, was a famine in Soviet Ukraine, part of the wider Soviet famine, from 1932 to 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. The term Holodomor emphasizes the man-made and allegedly intentional famine that entailed rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restriction of population movement which affected the major grain-producing areas of the Ukraine. Millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in Ukraine’s history. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.
What Did the Ukrainians Do to the Jews?
In February 1905, a pogrom took place in Odessa, Ukraine, the worst anti-Jewish pogrom in Odessa’s history, in which the Ukrainian people slaughtered 300 Jews and injured thousands more. Another pogrom occurred in Ekaterinoslav, during which Ukrainian’s finest sons murdered 120 Jews.
Pogroms occurred in 64 cities, among them were Odessa, Ekaterinoslav, Kiev, Simferopol, Romny, Kremenchug, Nikolaev, Chernigov, Kamenets-Podolsky and Elisavetgrad as well as 626 villages. The pogroms lasted several days.
The Ukrainian murderers who slaughtered Jews were proud train workers, traders in local shops, artisans and industrialists.
During the Russian Civil War, between 1917-1922, Ukraine’s proudest sons continued to murder Jews. A total of 1,236 violent incidents against Jews occurred in 524 towns in Ukraine. The estimates of the number of killed range between 30,000 and 60,000. Of the recorded 1,236 pogroms, 493 were carried out by Ukrainian People’s Republic soldiers under command of Symon Petliura* (*Symon Vasylyovych Petliura was a Ukrainian politician and journalist. He became the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Army and the President of the Ukrainian People’s Republic during Ukraine’s short-lived sovereignty in 1918-1921); 307 by independent Ukrainian warlords, and 213 by Anton Denikin’s* army. (*Anton Ivanovich Denikin was a Russian Lieutenant General in the Imperial Russian Army , later served as the Deputy Supreme Ruler of Russia during the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. He was also a military leader of South Russia, as commander in chief).
The Ukrainian people were delighted to “help” the Nazi German people murder Jews during the Second World War-Shoah=Holocaust.
In 1941, Operation Barbarossa* (*Operation Barbarossa was the code name for the Nazi-Germany and some of its Axis allies’ invasion of the Soviet Union, which started on Sunday, 22 June 1941, during World War II. The operation was named after Frederick Barbarossa, a 12th-century Holy Roman emperor and German king) destroyed the Jewish population of the Ukraine, and reduced it from 870,000 to 17,000.
The Nazi-German massacres could not have been accomplished without the aid of the local Ukrainian population, because the Germans lacked the manpower to reach all of the communities that were annihilated, especially in the remote villages.
The radical nationalist OUN*-B-Stepan Bandera (*Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) was an anti-Semite and Nazi collaborator; his faction of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army openly advocated violence against Jews. In August 1941, at OUN Second Congress in Kraków, Poland, OUN-B embraced anti-Semitism. Twenty so-called ‘foreign’ nationalities were listed as enemies of Ukraine. Jews were listed first. The Congress’s resolution stated: “OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime.”
On September 1, 1941, Ukrainian language newspaper Volhyn wrote: “The element that settled in our cities (Jews)… must disappear completely from our cities. The Jewish problem is already in the process of being solved.”
Between 1943 and 1945, members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army massacred thousands of Poles throughout Volhynia, a region that was in Nazi-occupied Poland and is part of present-day Ukraine. Polish historians say the death toll could be as high as 100,000, while Ukrainians say it’s only between 20,000 to 30,000! In 2016, Poland’s Parliament recognized the killings as genocide, a term that Ukraine rejects.
The city of Lviv (In Russian L’vov) pogroms were two Akzias (massacres) of Jews that took place from June 30 to July 2, and from July 25-29, 1941. According to Yad Vashem, six thousand Jews were killed primarily by rioting Ukrainian nationalists and the newly formed Ukrainian militia.
Ukrainian nationalists assisted German Security Police and the Einsatzgruppen* (*Einsatzgruppen were Schutzstaffel* [*Schutzstaffel or SS; was a major paramilitary organization under Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II]) paramilitary death squads of Nazi Germany that were responsible for mass-murder, primarily by shooting, during World War II in German-occupied Europe.
Ukrainian Militsiya in formerly Polish cities with sizeable Polish-Jewish presence compiled lists of targets for the branch offices of the KdS and assisted with the roundups, as in Stanisławów, Włodzimierz Wołyński, Łuck (Lutsk), as well as in Zhytomyr, Rivne and Kiev among other locations.
In Korosten, the Militsiya rounded up 238 Jews described as “a source of continuous unrest” and carried out the killings by themselves. In Sokal, on 30 June 1941 they arrested and executed 183 Jews dubbed “the commissars.” Other locations followed.
By 7 August 1941 the stations of Ukrainian People’s Militsiya were established in most areas conquered by the Wehrmacht.
The first reference to Jews living in Korosten (Iskorosten then) dates to 1765. In 1939 the Jewish population of Korosten was 10,991, about 36 percent of its total population. Korosten was occupied by German troops on August 7, 1941. The Jewish population of Korosten and nearby villages was annihilated in a number of murder operations during August and September 1941. The Ukranian people of Korosten carried out the murder of Jews by themselves, not once even with the Nazi-Germans’ presence.
Today’s Ukraine’s Jewry
The Ukrainian Jewry makeup and culture is rather difficult to comprehend considering its sorrow filled and painful history.
Despite centuries of antisemitism, pogroms and relentless persecution that before the Holocaust condensed the Jewish populations into pockets of Eastern Europe, such as the Pale of Settlement* (*The Pale of Settlement was a western region of the Russian Empire with varying borders that existed from 1791 to 1917 in which Jews were permitted permanent residency and beyond it Jewish residency, permanent or temporary, was mostly forbidden), which included a large portion of modern Ukraine, known for its shtetls* (*A shtetl or shtetel was a small town where a large Ashkenazi Jewish population resided, mostly located in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust), that was the lively setting for a film such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” today Ukraine is a home to one of the world’s largest Jewish communities.
It is estimated that on the eve of World War II – the Holocaust- over 1.5 million Jews lived in what is now Ukraine.
Considering that approximately 1 million Ukrainian Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, strangely enough, a 1989 census indicated that some half a million Jews lived in Ukraine before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Under Soviet rule, to which Vladimir Putin gave a lavish hand to, Jews were persecuted and also were denied the right to emigrate, forced to hide much of their religious practice in a society rife with antisemitism.
What do the Ukraine people think?
Do the Ukrainians think that their past oppression, cruelty, and murders of the Jews is forgotten? I hope that Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the current President of Ukraine, who is a Jew, remembers.
My mother, a Holocaust survivor, told me that the Ukrainians who guarded her while she was a forced labor slave to the Nazis were more cruel than the Nazi guards.
During this Russia war on Ukraine, I am praying for the safety of the Ukrainian Jews stranded in Ukraine. I am also praying for the Ukrainian people having to fight a war initiated by the madman Putin and that this war will not escalate into a Third World War.
May God show us His might.