The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights

Von
Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have been campaigning against the plans of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg to mount a permanent Holocaust gallery. The UCCLA has mailed out a postcard across Canada that reproduces the cover of an edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and implies that supporters of a Holocaust gallery are pigs. For its part, the UCC, which, in contrast to the UCCLA, is an elected body that represents major Ukrainian Canadian organizations, has complained that the planned Holocaust exhibit is “unacceptable” and has asked the Museum to provide the Holodomor, or Ukrainian famine of 1932-33, “no less coverage… than the Holocaust.”

We, the signatories to this letter, have all studied various aspects of genocide, fascism, anti-Semitism, Stalinism, war criminality, the Holodomor, and the Holocaust. We unequivocally recognize that the violence and oppression that Ukraine has experienced during its multi-totalitarian past ought to be remembered and commemorated in a Canadian museum devoted to the history and abuse of human rights. What we object to is the dishonest manner in which the UCCLA and UCC have distorted historical accounts of the Holodomor while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the Ukrainian nationalist movement’s role in the Holocaust.

The Ukrainian famine, which constitutes one of Stalin’s great crimes and one of Europe’s most devastating tragedies, deserves a place in any venue dedicated to commemorating and understanding the violation of human rights. Yet the way the UCC treats the Holodomor is problematic. All demographic studies place the number of famine deaths in Soviet Ukraine in the range of 2.6 to 3.9 million. This is, in itself, a grievous toll. Nonetheless, the UCC has, at times, inflated the number of victims to seven or even ten million. The implication is obvious: seven or ten million is more than six million; the Holodomor deserves more attention than the Holocaust. Such a manipulative attempt to exploit human suffering is reprehensible and should not be acceptable to the Canadian public.

We are also troubled by the UCCLA and UCC’s attitude toward the OUN, the UPA, and the 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ (1st Ukrainian). OUN stands for the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. UPA is the Ukrainian abbreviation for the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the armed branch of the OUN. The Galicia Division, a military unit that was primarily involved in counterinsurgency activities, was established by the Germans in 1943. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians who belonged to these formations perished while resisting the ruthless imposition of Soviet power at the end of the war. Today many Ukrainians revere the members of these organizations as the champions of an oppressed people. In February 2010, the UCC called on the Canadian government “to make changes to Canada’s War Veterans Allowance Act by expanding eligibility to include designated resistance groups such as OUN-UPA.” Last Remembrance Day, the UCC asked Ukrainian Canadians to honour veterans who belonged to OUN, UPA, and the Galicia Division.

In their calls to honour the members of these organizations as veterans, what the UCCLA and the UCC do not fully acknowledge is that all three groups have been implicated in violence against civilians on a massive scale. Significant historical research indicates the political responsibility of the OUN in anti-Jewish violence in the summer of 1941. Emerging research also demonstrates that many former policemen who aided the Nazis in genocidal operations subsequently joined the UPA, created in early 1943. Moreover, it is incontrovertible that the UPA murdered tens of thousands of civilian Poles in the western province of Volhynia to undercut the ability of postwar Poland to make claims on the area. The Galicia Division was also involved in anti-civilian military actions, although mainly outside of Ukraine.

By pointing out the historical record of the OUN, UPA, and the Galicia Division, we do not mean to suggest some sort of collective responsibility for genocide on the part of all the men and women who served in them, and certainly not on the part of all Ukrainians. Nevertheless, in an age when the mass murder of civilians is regarded as a crime against humanity, the mixed record of these organizations has to be openly debated, particularly when the significance of the Holocaust is being questioned in a public campaign pertaining to a fair representation of the history of human rights.

We therefore assert that since the UCCLA and UCC have not understood that confronting the historical record openly and honestly is preferable to manipulative falsehood, have engaged in a competition of suffering, and have failed to acknowledge both the vices and the virtues of the nationalist movement, they ought to stay out of a debate about the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.

The signatories:

Tarik Cyril Amar, Assistant Professor, Department of History, Columbia University
Christine Achinger, Assistant Professor, Department of German Studies, University of Warwick, UK
Alexander Babyonyshev, Fellow, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University
Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Bayreuth & Department of Social Anthropology, Universidad Complutense Madrid
Karyn Ball, Professor, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of History and Professor of German Studies, Brown University
Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew Univeristy, Academic Advisor, Yad Vashem, Member of the Israeli Academy of Science
Delphine Bechtal, Associate Professor for Central European Studies, University Paris IV Sorbonne
Elissa Bemporad, Jerry and William Ungar Assistant Professor, Department of History, Queens College, City University of New York
Paul Bogdanor, Independent Scholar, London
Ray Brandon, historian, editor, and translator, Berlin
Richard Breitman, Professor, Department of History, American University
Christopher Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Aleksandr Burakovskiy, Independent Scholar, Clifton, NJ
Jean Axelrad Cahan, Director, Norman and Bernice Harris Center for Judaic Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Marco Carynnyk, Writer and Independent Scholar, Toronto
David Cesarani, Research Professor in History, Royal Holloway, University of London
Catherine Chatterley, Founding Director, Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism; SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Manitoba
Paul A Chilton, Professor Emeritus, Lancaster University
Brian K. Daley, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Alberta
Johan Dietsch, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Languages and Literature, University of Lund
Karin Doerr, Professor, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Concordia University
Roman Dubasevych, Ph. D. Candidate, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Eirik Eiglad, New Compass Press, Porsgrunn, Norway
Gary Evans, Adjunct Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa
Richard J Evans, Regius Professor of History and President of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
Robert Fine, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick
David Fraser, Professor of Law and Social Theory, University of Nottingham
Christian Ganzer, Deutscher Akademischer Austausch-Lektor, National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, Kyiv
Edyta Gawron, Assistant Professor, Department of Jewish Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow
Zvi Gitelman, Professor of Solitical Science and Preston R. Tisch Professor of Judaic Studies, University of Michigan
Norman JW Goda, Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida
Frank Golczewski, Professor, Historisches Seminar der Universität Hamburg
Nora Gold, Associate Scholar, Centre for Women’s Studies in Education, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education and University of Toronto
Chad Alan Goldberg, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin
Brian Goldfarb, Principal Lecturer in Sociology, De Montfort University
Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Independent Scholar, Boston
Andrew Gow, Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
Alain Goldschlager, Professor, Département des Etudes Françaises, Director, Holocaust Literature Research Institute, Chair, National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, University of Western Ontario
Lisa Grekul, Associate Professor, Department of Critical Studies, University of British Columbia
Atina Grossman, Professor of History, Cooper Union, New York
Bella Gutterman, Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem
Bernard Harrison, E.E. Ericksen Professor of Philosophy, University of Utah
Steven Haberman, Director and Deputy Dean, Professor of Actuarial Science, Cass Business School, City University, London
Guido Hausmann, Imre Kertesz Kolleg Jena
Jeffrey Herf, Professor of Modern European History, Department of History, University of Maryland
John-Paul Himka, Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
David Hirsh, Goldsmiths College, University of London
Sara R. Horowitz, Professor, Humanities, York University
Pavel Ilyin, Geography Consultant, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, New York University
Dovid Katz, Editor, Defendinghistory.com, Chief Analyst, Litvak Studies Institute, Professor emeritus, Vilnius University
Steven T. Katz, Professor of Judaic Studies, Boston University
Sir Ian Kershaw, Professor of Modern History, University of Sheffield
C. Richard King, Professor and Chair, Department of Comparative Ethnic Studies/American Studies, Washington State University, Pullman
Myrna Kostash, Writer, Edmonton
Matthew Kramer, Professor of Legal and Political Philosphy, University of Cambridge
Frederick Krantz, Professor, Liberal Arts College, Concordia University, Director, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Montréal
Matthias Küntzel, Research Associate, Vidal Sasoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism (SICSA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Taras Kurylo, Independent Scholar, Edmonton
Marija Kropuves-Berg, Bloomington, IN
Alexandr Kruglov, Associate Professor, Chair of Philosophy, Kharkiv University of Radio Electronics
Francis Landy, Professor of Religious Studies, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
Richard Ned Lebow, James O. Freedman Presidential Professor, Dartmouth College
Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University
Meir Litvak, Director, Center for Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University
Wendy Lower, Research Fellow, Department of History, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich
Andrei S. Markovits, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, University of Michigan
David Matas, Human rights lawyer, Order of Canada, Winnipeg
Jared McBride, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, UCLA
Maureen McNeil, Professor, Lancaster University
Oleksandr Melnyk, Ph. D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto
Grzegorz Motyka, The Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
Erin Moure, Poet and essayist, Montréal
Eduard Nižnanský, Professor, Department of Universal History, Commenius University
Nina Paulovicova, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
Srdja Pavlovic, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta
Dina Porat, Head, Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, Tel Aviv University
Moishe Postone, Professor, Department of History, Center for Jewish Studies, Social Sciences Collegiate Division, Co-Director, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, University of Chicago
Alexander V. Prusin, Associate Professor of History, Humanities Department, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
Doron Rabinovici, Historian, Vienna
Larry Ray, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sub-Dean for Graduate Studies, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent
Johannes Remy, Docent, Department of History, University of Helsinki
John E Richardson, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University
William Risch, Associate Professor of History, Georgia College
Andrew Roberts, Historian, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London
Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Director, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University
Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Hamburg, and Research Fellow at the Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, Vienna
Robert Rozett, Director of the Libraries, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
Per A Rudling, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of History, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
Clemens Ruthner, Assistant Professor of European Studies, Trinity College, Dublin
Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations, Simon Wiesenthal Centre
Anna Sommer Schneider, Ph. D. Candidate, Jagiellonian University, and Research Assistant, Emory University
Guy Sela, Ph. D. Candidate, University of Oxford
David M. Seymour, School of Law, Lancaster University
Anton Shekhovtsov, Kreisau Fellow of the George Bell Institute, Sevastopol
Ivan Sloboda, Translator, London
David Silberklang, Senior Historian and Editor Yad Vashem Studies, International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem, Jerusalem; Adjunct Lecturer in Jewish History, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Charles Small, Director, Interdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Antisemism, Yale University
Peter Stachel, Post-doctoral Fellow, Institute for Culture Studies and History of Theatre, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Lionel Steiman, Senior Scholar, Full Professor, Department of History, University of Manitoba
Daniel Stone, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Winnipeg
Terri Tomsky, SSHRC Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta
Marin Turk, Ph.D. student, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan
Heidemarie Uhl, the Institute for Cultural Studies and the History of Theater, Austrian Academy of Science, Vienna
Theodore Weeks, History Department, Southern Illinois University, Cardondale
Rafal Wnuk, Professor, Department of History, Catholic University of Lublin
Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor, Chair in Discourse Studies, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University
Deborah Yalen, Assistant Professor of History, Colorado State University – Fort Collins
Efraim Zuroff, Coordinator, Simon Wiesenthal Center Nazi War Crimes Research, Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center – Israel Office

Zitation
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, in: H-Soz-Kult, 13.04.2011, <www.hsozkult.de/debate/id/diskussionen-1510>.
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