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Nazi Ghosts of the OUN/B Haunt Soccer in the Ukraine

Heinrich Himmler inspecting troops of the 14th Waffen SS Division (Galicia)

COMMENT: Before delving into “Austerity Equals Fascism, Part II” it may be useful to highlight an instructive article from the german-foreign-policy.com newsletter, which feeds along the bottom of the front page of this website.

The competition for the European football (soccer) championship, leading up to the World Cup, is underway in the Ukraine. The location for this event has aggravated tensions between Poland and the Ukraine over the massacres of Polish nationals committed during the Second World War by the OUN/B, a Ukrainian fascist organization that allied with the Third Reich.

Supplying personnel to the Einsatzgruppen (mobil death squads) and the 14th Waffen SS Division (Galician), the OUN/B has etched a bloody name into history running from the period between the World Wars, through World War II and the covert operations of the Cold War and its aftermath.

In particular, the organization has been deeply involved with covert operations and figures into the investigation into the assassination of President Kennedy, as well as the de-stabilization of the Soviet Union during the climactic phase of the Cold War. With a profound presence in the GOP’s Ethnic division, as well as the contemporary Ukrainian political infrastructure, the OUN/B is anything but an historical relic.

It is in the context of the OUN’s promotion of ceremonies and awards that celebrate and distort the organization’s fascist past that the Polish protest of OUN-related activities is to be examined. 

The Ukraine is considering declaring July 11 to be a commemoration of OUN/B military actions against Polish citizens during the war, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Poles! 

In the past we have noted that Ykaterina Chumachenko, head of the OUN/B’s leading front organization in the U.S. and Ronald Reagan’s Deputy Director of Public Liaison, went on to marry Viktor Yuschenko and become First Lady of the Ukraine after the “Orange Revolution.”

With the Yuschenko regime in power, OUN/B founder Stephan Bandera was named a hero of the Ukraine. As we see below, Roman Shukhevych  was also granted that honor. Shukhevych lead the OUN/B-staffed Einsatzgruppe “Nightingale” in its liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto! (Lvov has also been known as Lemberg and Lodz at various times in its recent history.)

Roman Shukhevych: "Hero of the Ukraine"

(Worth noting in passing is the fact that the SS leader of the Nightingale group in its liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto was Theodor Oberlander, who became a West German Minister, in charge of the “expellees”–vertriebene groups. Forced to resign after his role in the Lvov massacre became public, Oberlander was deeply involved with recruiting Muslim combatants who had fought for the Third Reich on behalf of the Federal Republic’s intelligence services, as we saw in FTR #721.)

Oberlander also joined General Charles Willoughby‘s International Committee for the Defense of Christian Culture, an international fascist intelligence network that included Nelson Bunker Hunt of the ultra right-wing Hunt family. (Hunt was involved with attempting to corner the silver market in the early 1980’s, a gambit in which he conspired with Ali bin Mussalim, who managed the Al Qaeda account at Bank Al-Taqwa, an account that had an unlimited line of credit. ICDCC founder Willoughby was Douglas MacArthur’s top intelligence officer and was a German-born fascist and admirer of Francisco Franco.)

“Between Moscow and Berlin (IV)”; german-foreign-policy.com; 6/06/2012.

EXCERPT: Just a few days before the Soccer World Cup is scheduled to open, a reminder of massacres, carried out by Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, has created dissonance between the Ukraine and Poland. In Warsaw, government politicians are demanding that Kiev finally put a stop to public commemorations of Ukrainian militia fighting on Nazi Germany’s side. They were responsible for gruesome murders of Poles in World War II. One of those referred to, is the Nazi collaborator, Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), whose militia, for example, attacked a total of 99 Polish villages, massacring countless inhabitants on July 11, 1943. Bandera is honored with numerous memorials, particularly in western Ukraine, where the imprisoned ex-Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko has her electoral backing. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, the OUN, founded with Berlin’s support in 1929, evolved into the main Ukrainian nationalist political organization. On several occasions following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, it sought statehood for a secessionist Ukrainian nation under German dominion. The massacres were carried out against the Polish population, especially Jews. Most recently, the memory of numerous Ukrainians’ collaboration with the Nazis was re-awakened by the German trial against the former Ukrainian concentration camp guard, John Demjanjuk

Massacre of Poles

As the governing PSL party’s parliamentarian in the Sejm, Franciszek Stefaniuk explained, the Ukraine should face up to the commemorations of anti-Polish massacres by numerous Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in the Second World War. This is in reference to crimes, such as the murders on July 11, 1943, when Ukrainian militia engaged in a coordinated offensive against 99 Polish villages, killing thousands of inhabitants, says Stefaniuk.[1] Stepan Bandera, one of the commanders of the militia, is still celebrated today in the West Ukraine with numerous memorials. Warsaw demands that a stop be put to this. Declaring July 11, the day in 1943, when the Poles were slaughtered, an official day of commemoration is now being considered. This would refurbish the memory of Ukrainian collaborationist activities, for example, of the OUN, the most important of the organizations seeking Ukrainian statehood at the time.

The Spirit of the Leadership

The founding of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in Vienna in early 1929 had been prepared at a 1927 Ukrainian nationalists’ conference in Berlin. The Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) was also a participant at the Berlin conference. The UVO had its headquarters in Berlin and had undergone several clandestine training programs provided by the German Reichswehr.[2] In the 1920s, it had repeatedly engaged in terrorist campaigns and carried out attacks in Poland. According to the Polish intelligence service, six German soldiers were also present at the OUN’s founding conference.[3] Throughout the years of its existence, while, according to one of its commanders, “the democratic spirit” was replaced by “the spirit of leadership and the adulation toward the authority of the leadership,”[4] the OUN remained loyal to the Nazi government, even though the latter was occasionally forced to publicly distance itself from the former, for example after OUN terrorists assassinated the Interior Minister of Poland June 15, 1934. In any case, in 1939, the OUN had very close relations with the German Wehrmacht and organized a small unit of exiled Ukrainians for their engagement in the invasion of Poland. They were disappointed at not being allowed by the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact to march into Lwów (which had been Lemberg and later Lviv). The OUN began instead to repeatedly massacre Polish civilians throughout the war. These massacres are today the subject of Polish protests.

Hero of the Ukraine

Once the Germans invaded the Soviet Union June 22, 1941, OUN’s Ukrainian militia, or at least its “Nightingale Battalion,” could make good on not having been able to march into Lwów. Under the command of Theodor Oberländer,[5] who later was a West German minister, the Nightingale Battalion participated not only in the invasion of that town, but was also involved in the deadly pogroms against Lwów’s Jewish community. That German/Ukrainian massacre left thousands dead. Nazi anti-Semites could count on the support of their collaborators. As soon as the Germans occupied Poland, the OUN declared “open season” on the Jewish population. “Alongside the German authorities, our militia is now arresting numerous Jews,” the OUN propaganda office in occupied Lwów reported to Berlin, July 28, 1941. “The Jews are using all means to defend themselves from liquidation.” The OUN and its troops continued anti-Semitic massacres in the following years.[6] The memory of the common front with the Germans in the war is still alive, at least in the western Ukraine. October 12, 2007, the pro-western president Viktor Yushchenko declared post-mortem the “Nichtingale” commander, Roman Shukhevych, a “Hero of the Ukraine.”

Under German Protection

The veneration that the OUN continues to enjoy in sectors of the western Ukrainian population can be also be explained by efforts to achieve Ukrainian statehood on the territory of the occupied Soviet Union under German hegemony – exactly as it was attempted back at the end of World War I.[7] . . . .


5 comments for “Nazi Ghosts of the OUN/B Haunt Soccer in the Ukraine”

  1. http://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/58338

    Fatherland and Freedom

    (Own report) – A CDU Ukrainian partner organization has announced its close cooperation with an extremist right-wing party. As reported from Kiev, the “Batkivschyna” (Fatherland) Party – in which CDU ally Yulia Tymoshenko is playing a leading role – is planning to form a parliamentary coalition with the “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) Party. Svoboda stands in the tradition of Nazi collaborators and internationally is affiliated with Hungary’s neo-fascist “Jobbik” Party. Svoboda won 8.3 percent of the votes in last Sunday’s parliamentary elections. It is not yet certain, whether the CDU’s second partner in Kiev, world heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko and his “UDAR” Party will join the coalition. This cooperation will not be the first time that extremist right-wing forces have been integrated into the pro-Western Ukrainian opposition. Similar alliances had already emerged during the “Orange Revolution” in late 2004.
    Germany’s Partners

    Following the parliamentary elections, President Viktor Yanukovych’s “Party of the Regions” will continue to hold the majority in a coalition with the Communist Party in the Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada. According to preliminary results, the “Party of the Regions” had received 35.06 percent and the Communist Party advanced considerably reaching 14.92 percent. The ” Batkivschyna” (“Fatherland”) Party of Yulia Tymoshenko, the politician courted by the West, remains the strongest party of the opposition with 21.95 percent of the vote. With 12.87 percent, Vitali Klitschko’s oppositional “UDAR” entered parliament for the first time. Tymoshenko is closely cooperating with the CDU. Some CDU politicians even claim that the Konrad Adenauer Foundation had charged the world heavyweight champion Klitschko with the organization of a Ukrainian Christian Democratic party. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[1]) The “Svoboda” (“Freedom”) Party is part of the opposition. With 8.31 percent, it could, for the first time, overcome the five percent hurdle to enter the Ukrainian parliament.

    Openly Neo-Fascist

    Svoboda evolved in 2004 from an older, openly neo-fascist organization, the “Social-National Party of the Ukraine” (SNPU). Svoboda replaced the SNPU symbol – a reflected wolf hook – with a stylized trident. Experts explain that “the transformation of the appearance was undertaken while maintaining SNPU’s basic ideological principles.” This camouflage has permitted Svoboda “to dissociate itself, in the public eye, from its openly neo-fascist past” while holding on to its extremist right-wing supporters.[2] The party achieved its political breakthrough March 15, 2009, when it was elected to the West Ukrainian Oblast Ternopil (parliament) with 34.69 percent of the votes, taking 50 of the 120 seats in the legislature. It is participating in the efforts of several extremist right-wing parties throughout Europe to found a continental umbrella organization. Among the members of the “Alliance of European National Movements” are the neo-fascist Hungarian Jobbik, France’s Front National (FN) and the British National Party (BNP).

    Renaissance of Collaborators

    Svoboda is directly drawing on the tradition of West Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, who, fighting on the German side in the Second World War, had carried out numerous massacres in the occupied Soviet Union. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[3]) The party considers itself to be “the modern day equivalent of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” (OUN), according to research published by the political scientist Andreas Umland.[4] And yet, the OUN, which was founded in close collaboration with German authorities,[5] had been simply “one of the diverse forms of international fascism” – “similar to other Central European classical fascisms, such as the Slovak Hlinka Guards and the Croat Ustashi.” Their renaissance – in the form of the Svoboda Party – corresponds to the renaissance of other organizations in the tradition of Nazi collaborators, for example the Hungarian Jobbik Party,[6] the Belgian Vlaams Belang [7] or the Austrian Freedom Party [8]. The renaissance of collaborators coincides with the imposition of a new, widely accepted, German predominance over Europe.[9]

    Right-Wing Coalition

    Already before parliamentary elections were held, Tymoshenko’s Batkivschyna Party had begun comprehensive cooperation with the Svoboda Party. As a first step, the two parties reached agreements on where their respective candidates would seek majority mandates – reaching an agreement not to run against one another in the same circumscription. Within the framework of these accords, Tymoshenko’s electoral organization ceded 35 circumscriptions to Svoboda. About ten days before elections were held, Batkivschyna and Svoboda agreed to form a coalition in the Verkhovna Rada, should Svoboda win entry into the legislature. Kiev has confirmed that the coalition will now be established, and that Klitschko is considering bringing his party into the coalition. But Klitschko, for the moment is having it be known that he detects a “right-wing radicalism” in Svoboda and therefore is having certain “misgivings.”[10] Some of the German media organs, which, for years, have been supporting the opposition in the Ukraine, have now begun to shy away from this assessment. Often, Svoboda is no longer being characterized as “right-wing extremist” or “right-wing radical,” but it is merely being mentioned “that its critics consider it to be right-wing radical.”[11]


    One could already observe the integration of extremist right-wing forces into the ranks of the Ukrainian pro-western opposition during the “Orange Revolution” in late 2004. For example, the “Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists,” (KUN) had been included in the electoral alliance “Our Ukraine Block,” of Viktor Yushchenko, who later became president. The KUN was founded in 1992 by emigrants returning from their exile in West Germany.[12] Yushchenko, himself, had supported a journal, whose publisher had expressed his belief that the Ukraine was being ruled “by a small group of Jewish oligarchs,” who were “economically and politically in control.”[13] Yushchenko’s candidacy, in turn, was supported by the militant anti-Semitic UNA-UNSO organization. In fact, extremist right-wing milieus, for years, have been part of the pro-western spectrum particularly in the West Ukraine. One of their main motivations is hatred of Russia. Already in 2004, Berlin had accepted them as its covert allies to help weaken Moscow’s influence on Kiev.
    Please read also Between Moscow and Berlin, The Boxer’s Punch and Between Moscow and Berlin (III).

    [1] see also Der Schlag des Boxers (II)
    [2] Anton Schechowzow, Andreas Umland: Der verspätete Aufstieg des ukrainophoben Rechtsradikalismus in der postsowjetischen Ukraine – Teil II; ukraine-nachrichten.de 28.10.2012
    [3] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (IV) and Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (V)
    [4] Andreas Umland: Der ukrainische Nationalismus zwischen Stereotyp und Wirklichkeit; ukraine-nachrichten.de 11.10.2012
    [5] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (IV)
    [6] see also The New Era of Ethnic Chauvinists
    [7], [8] see also The Collaborator’s Tradition
    [9] see also Europe’s Chancellor, The Next Crisis Victory and Deutsche Führung
    [10] Parlamentswahl wirft Ukraine zurück; http://www.dw.de 29.10.2012
    [11] Erfolg für die Opposition zeichnet sich ab; http://www.faz.net 28.10.2012
    [12] see also Zwischen Moskau und Berlin (V)
    [13] see also Antisemitische “Kultur”

    Posted by Vanfield | November 1, 2012, 12:30 pm
  2. http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-commander-of-ss-led-unit-living-in-us/

    Ex-commander of SS-led unit living in US
    Michael Karkoc, 94, lied to American immigration authorities about role in Ukrainian Self Defense Legion during World War II
    By David Rising and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA and Randy Herschaft June 14, 2013

    BERLIN (AP) — A top commander of a Nazi SS-led unit accused of burning villages filled with women and children lied to American immigration officials to get into the United States and has been living in Minnesota since shortly after World War II, according to evidence uncovered by The Associated Press.

    Michael Karkoc, 94, told American authorities in 1949 that he had performed no military service during World War II, concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion and later as an officer in the SS Galician Division, according to records obtained by the AP through a Freedom of Information Act request. The Galician Division and a Ukrainian nationalist organization he served in were both on a secret American government blacklist of organizations whose members were forbidden from entering the United States at the time.

    Though records do not show that Karkoc had a direct hand in war crimes, statements from men in his unit and other documentation confirm the Ukrainian company he commanded massacred civilians, and suggest that Karkoc was at the scene of these atrocities as the company leader. Nazi SS files say he and his unit were also involved in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, in which the Nazis brutally suppressed a Polish rebellion against German occupation.

    The US Department of Justice has used lies about wartime service made in immigration papers to deport dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals. The evidence of Karkoc’s wartime activities uncovered by AP has prompted German authorities to express interest in exploring whether there is enough to prosecute. In Germany, Nazis with “command responsibility” can be charged with war crimes even if their direct involvement in atrocities cannot be proven.
    In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. (photo credit: AP/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)

    In this May 22, 1990 photo, Michael Karkoc, photographed in Lauderdale, Minn. prior to a visit to Minnesota from Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev in early June of 1990. (photo credit: AP/The St. Paul Pioneer Press, Chris Polydoroff)

    Karkoc refused to discuss his wartime past at his home in Minneapolis, and repeated efforts to set up an interview, using his son as an intermediary, were unsuccessful.

    Efraim Zuroff, the lead Nazi hunter at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, said that based on his decades of experience pursuing Nazi war criminals, he expects that the evidence showing Karkoc lied to American officials and that his unit carried out atrocities is strong enough for deportation and war-crimes prosecution in Germany or Poland.

    “In America this is a relatively easy case: If he was the commander of a unit that carried out atrocities, that’s a no brainer,” Zuroff said. “Even in Germany … if the guy was the commander of the unit, then even if they can’t show he personally pulled the trigger, he bears responsibility.”

    Former German army officer Josef Scheungraber — a lieutenant like Karkoc — was convicted in Germany in 2009 on charges of murder based on circumstantial evidence that put him on the scene of a Nazi wartime massacre in Italy as the ranking officer.

    German prosecutors are obligated to open an investigation if there is enough “initial suspicion” of possible involvement in war crimes, said Thomas Walther, a former prosecutor with the special German office that investigates Nazi war crimes.

    The current deputy head of that office, Thomas Will, said there is no indication that Karkoc had ever been investigated by Germany. Based on the AP’s evidence, he said he is now interested in gathering information that could possibly result in prosecution.

    Prosecution in Poland may also be a possibility because most of the unit’s alleged crimes were against Poles on Polish territory. But Karkoc would be unlikely to be tried in his native Ukraine, where such men are today largely seen as national heroes who fought for the country against the Soviet Union.

    Karkoc now lives in a modest house in northeast Minneapolis in an area with a significant Ukrainian population. Even at his advanced age, he came to the door without help of a cane or a walker. He would not comment on his wartime service for Nazi Germany.

    “I don’t think I can explain,” he said.

    Members of his unit and other witnesses have told stories of brutal attacks on civilians.
    This undated reproduction shows a page of Michael Karkoc’s 1949 U.S. Army intelligence file that AP had declassified by the U.S. National Archives in Maryland through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials note in the document that Karkoc told them he performed no military service during the war; working for his father until 1944 and in a labor camp from 1944 to 45. (photo credit: AP)

    This undated reproduction shows a page of Michael Karkoc’s 1949 U.S. Army intelligence file that AP had declassified by the U.S. National Archives in Maryland through a Freedom of Information Act request. Officials note in the document that Karkoc told them he performed no military service during the war; working for his father until 1944 and in a labor camp from 1944 to 45. (photo credit: AP)

    One of Karkoc’s men, Vasyl Malazhenski, told Soviet investigators that in 1944 the unit was directed to “liquidate all the residents” of the village of Chlaniow in a reprisal attack for the killing of a German SS officer, though he did not say who gave the order.

    “It was all like a trance: setting the fires, the shooting, the destroying,” Malazhenski recalled, according to the 1967 statement found by the AP in the archives of Warsaw’s state-run Institute of National Remembrance, which investigates and prosecutes German and Soviet crimes on Poles during and after World War II.

    “Later, when we were passing in file through the destroyed village,” Malazhenski said, “I could see the dead bodies of the killed residents: men, women, children.”

    In a background check by U.S. officials on April 14, 1949, Karkoc said he had never performed any military service, telling investigators that he “worked for father until 1944. Worked in labor camp from 1944 until 1945.”

    However, in a Ukrainian-language memoir published in 1995, Karkoc states that he helped found the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion in 1943 in collaboration with the Nazis’ feared SS intelligence agency, the SD, to fight on the side of Germany — and served as a company commander in the unit, which received orders directly from the SS, through the end of the war.

    It was not clear why Karkoc felt safe publishing his memoir, which is available at the U.S. Library of Congress and the British Library and which the AP located online in an electronic Ukrainian library.

    Karkoc’s name surfaced when a retired clinical pharmacologist who took up Nazi war crimes research in his free time came across it while looking into members of the SS Galician Division who emigrated to Britain. He tipped off AP when an Internet search showed an address for Karkoc in Minnesota.

    “Here was a chance to publicly confront a man who commanded a company alleged to be involved in the cruel murder of innocent people,” said Stephen Ankier, who is based in London.

    The AP located Karkoc’s U.S. Army intelligence file, and got it declassified by the National Archives in Maryland through a FOIA request. The Army was responsible for processing visa applications after the war under the Displaced Persons Act.

    The intelligence file said standard background checks with seven different agencies found no red flags that would disqualify him from entering the United States. But it also noted that it lacked key information from the Soviet side: “Verification of identity and complete establishment of applicant’s reliability is not possible due to the inaccessibility of records and geographic area of applicant’s former residence.”

    Wartime documents located by the AP also confirm Karkoc’s membership in the Self Defense Legion. They include a Nazi payroll sheet found in Polish archives, signed by an SS officer on Jan. 8, 1945 — only four months before the war’s end — confirming that Karkoc was present in Krakow, Poland, to collect his salary as a member of the Self Defense Legion. Karkoc signed the document using Cyrillic letters.

    Karkoc, an ethnic Ukrainian, was born in the city of Lutsk in 1919, according to details he provided American officials. At the time, the area was being fought over by Ukraine, Poland and others; it ended up part of Poland until World War II. Several wartime Nazi documents note the same birth date, but say he was born in Horodok, a town in the same region.

    He joined the regular German army after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and fought on the Eastern Front in Ukraine and Russia, according to his memoirs, which say he was awarded an Iron Cross, a Nazi award for bravery.

    He was also a member of the Ukrainian nationalist organization OUN; in 1943, he helped negotiate with the Nazis to have men drawn from its membership form the Self Defense Legion, according to his account. Initially small, it eventually numbered some 600 soldiers. The legion was dissolved and folded into the SS Galician Division in 1945; Karkoc wrote that he remained with it until the end of the war.

    Policy at the time of Karkoc’s immigration application — according to a declassified secret U.S. government document obtained by the AP from the National Archives — was to deny a visa to anyone who had served in either the SS Galician Division or the OUN. The U.S. does not typically have jurisdiction to prosecute Nazi war crimes but has won more than 100 “denaturalization and removal actions” against people suspected of them.

    Department of Justice spokesman Michael Passman would not comment on whether Karkoc had ever come to the department’s attention, citing a policy not to confirm or deny the existence of investigations.

    Though Karkoc talks in his memoirs about fighting anti-Nazi Polish resistance fighters, he makes no mention of attacks on civilians. He does indicate he was with his company in the summer of 1944 when the Self Defense Legion’s commander — Siegfried Assmuss, whose SS rank was equivalent to major — was killed.

    “We lost an irreplaceable commander, Assmuss,” he wrote about the partisan attack near Chlaniow.

    He did not mention the retaliatory massacre that followed, which was described in detail by Malazhenski in his 1967 statement used to help convict platoon leader Teodozy Dak of war crimes in Poland in 1972. An SS administrative list obtained by AP shows that Karkoc commanded both Malazhenski and Dak, who died in prison in 1974.

    Malazhenski said the Ukrainian unit was ordered to liquidate Chlaniow in reprisal for Assmuss’ death, and moved in the next day, machine-gunning people and torching homes. More than 40 people died.

    “The village was on fire,” Malazhenski said.

    Villagers offered chilling testimony about the brutality of the attack.

    In 1948, Chlaniow villager Stanislawa Lipska told a communist-era commission that she heard shots at about 7 a.m., then saw “the Ukrainian SS force” entering the town, calling out in Ukrainian and Polish for people to come out of their homes.

    “The Ukrainians were setting fire to the buildings,” Lipska said in a statement, also used in the Dak trial. “You could hear machine-gun shots and grenade explosions. Shots could be heard inside the village and on the outskirts. They were making sure no one escaped.”

    Witness statements and other documentation also link the unit circumstantially to a 1943 massacre in Pidhaitsi, on the outskirts of Lutsk —today part of Ukraine — where the Self Defense Legion was once based. A total of 21 villagers, mostly women and children, were slaughtered.

    Karkoc says in his memoir that his unit was founded and headquartered there in 1943 and later mentions that Pidhaitsi was still the unit’s base in January 1944.

    Another legion member, Kost Hirniak, said in his own 1977 memoir that the unit, while away on a mission, was suddenly ordered back to Pidhaitsi after a German soldier was killed in the area; it arrived on Dec. 2, 1943.

    The next day, though Hirniak does not mention it, nearly two dozen civilians, primarily women and children, were slaughtered in Pidhaitsi. There is no indication any other units were in the area at the time.

    Heorhiy Syvyi was a 9-year-old boy when troops swarmed into town on Dec. 3 and managed to flee with his father and hide in a shelter covered with branches. His mother and 4-year-old brother were killed.

    “When we came out we saw the smoldering ashes of the burned house and our neighbors searching for the dead. My mother had my brother clasped to her chest. This is how she was found — black and burned,” said Syvyi, 78, sitting on a bench outside his home.

    Villagers today blame the attack generically on “the Nazis” — something that experts say is not unusual in Ukraine because of the exalted status former Ukrainian nationalist troops enjoy.

    However, Pidhaitsi schoolteacher Galyna Sydorchuk told the AP that “there is a version” of the story in the village that the Ukrainian troops were involved in the December massacre.

    “There were many in Pidhaitsi who were involved in the Self Defense Legion,” she said. “But they obviously keep it secret.”

    Ivan Katchanovski, a Ukrainian political scientist who has done extensive research on the Self Defense Legion, said its members have been careful to cultivate the myth that their service to Nazi Germany was solely a fight against Soviet communism. But he said its actions — fighting partisans and reprisal attacks on civilians — tell a different story.

    “Under the pretext of anti-partisan action they acted as a kind of police unit to suppress and kill or punish the local populations. This became their main mission,” said Katchanovski, who went to high school in Pidhaitsi and now teaches at the University of Ottawa in Canada. “There is evidence of clashes with Polish partisans, but most of their clashes were small, and their most visible actions were mass killings of civilians.”

    There is evidence that the unit took part in the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Uprising, fighting the nationalist Polish Home Army as it sought to rid the city of its Nazi occupiers and take control of the city ahead of the advancing Soviet Army.

    The uprising, which started in August 1944, was put down by the Nazis by the beginning of October in a house-to-house fight characterized by its ferocity.

    The Self Defense Legion’s exact role is not known, but Nazi documents indicate that Karkoc and his unit were there.

    An SS payroll document, dated Oct. 12, 1944, says 10 members of the Self Defense Legion “fell while deployed to Warsaw” and more than 30 others were injured. Karkoc is listed as the highest-ranking commander of 2 Company — a lieutenant — on a pay sheet that also lists Dak as one of his officers.

    Another Nazi accounting document uncovered by the AP in the Polish National Archives in Krakow lists Karkoc by name — including his rank, birthdate and hometown — as one of 219 “members of the S.M.d.S.-Batl 31 who were in Warsaw,” using the German abbreviation for the Self Defense Legion.

    In early 1945, the Self Defense Legion was integrated into the SS Galicia Division, and Karkoc said in his memoirs that he served as a deputy company commander until the end of the war.

    Following the war, Karkoc ended up in a camp for displaced people in Neu Ulm, Germany, according to documents obtained from the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The documents indicate that his wife died in 1948, a year before he and their two young boys — born in 1945 and 1946 — emigrated to the U.S.

    After he arrived in Minneapolis, he remarried and had four more children, the last born in 1966.

    Karkoc told American officials he was a carpenter, and records indicate he worked for a nationwide construction company that has an office in Minneapolis.

    A longtime member of the Ukrainian National Association, Karkoc has been closely involved in community affairs over the past decades and was identified in a 2002 article in a Ukrainian-American publication as a “longtime UNA activist.”
    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

    Posted by Vanfield | June 14, 2013, 9:29 am
  3. Update on Karkoc et al. …

    US limbo for Nazi suspects ordered out
    Email this Story

    Jul 30, 4:15 AM (ET)


    (AP) This Aug. 31, 2009, file photo shows John Kalymon, once known as Iwan Kalymon, at his home…
    Full Image

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – At least 10 suspected Nazi war criminals ordered deported by the United States never left the country, according to an Associated Press review of Justice Department data – and four are living in the U.S. today. All remained eligible for public benefits such as Social Security until they exhausted appeals, and in one case even beyond.

    Quiet American legal limbo was the fate of all 10 men uncovered in the AP review. The reason: While the U.S. wanted them out, no other country was willing to take them in.

    That’s currently the case of Vladas Zajanckauskas in Sutton, Massachusetts. It’s the case of Theodor Szehinskyj in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Of Jakiw Palij in New York City. And of John Kalymon in Troy, Michigan.

    All have been in the same areas for years, stripped of citizenship and ordered deported, yet able to carry out their lives in familiar surroundings. Dozens of other Nazi war crimes suspects in the U.S. were also entitled to Social Security and other public benefits for years as they fought deportation.

    (AP) This May 22, 1990, file photo, shows Michael Karkoc in Lauderdale, Minn. At least 10…
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    The United States can deport people over evidence of involvement in Nazi war crimes, but cannot put such people on trial because the alleged crimes did not take place on American soil. The responsibility to prosecute would lie with the countries where the crimes were committed or ordered – if the suspects ever end up there.

    In the 34 years since the Justice Department created an office to find and deport Nazi suspects, the agency has initiated legal proceedings against 137 people. Less than half – at least 66 – have been removed by deportation, extradition or voluntary departure.

    At least 20 died while their cases were pending. In at least 20 other cases, U.S. officials agreed not to pursue or enforce deportation orders, often because of poor health, according to a 2008 report by the Justice Department. In some cases, the U.S. government agreed not to file deportation proceedings in exchange for cooperation in other investigations, the report said.

    But the key stumbling block has been the lack of political will by countries in Europe to accept those ordered to leave.

    “Without any doubt, the greatest single frustration has been our inability, in quite a number of cases now, to carry out the deportation orders that we’ve won in federal courts. We can’t carry them out because governments of Europe refuse to take these people back,” Eli Rosenbaum, the longtime head of the Justice Department agency charged with investigating accused Nazi war criminals, said in the 2011 documentary “Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals.”

    Justice officials declined to make Rosenbaum available for an interview.

    The four men still living in the U.S despite deportation orders have all exhausted appeals:

    _Zajanckauskas, 97, remains in Massachusetts 11 years after authorities first began the denaturalization process. He was ordered deported to his native Lithuania in 2007, and ran out of appeals in 2010 but remains in the U.S. because other countries, including Lithuania, won’t accept him, Rosenbaum has said. Zajanckauskas took part in the “brutal liquidation” of the Warsaw Ghetto, according to Rosenbaum. Zajanckauskas, who didn’t return a message from the AP, has denied being in Warsaw at the time.

    _Szehinskyj, 89, remains in Pennsylvania nearly 14 years after DOJ began a case against him. He was denaturalized and ordered deported to his native Ukraine, Poland or Germany, and exhausted all appeals in 2006. The Department of Justice has said no country has been willing to accept him. Authorities say Szehinskyj was an armed guard at Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Poland, a claim he has denied. Szehinskyj’s attorney didn’t return messages from the AP.

    _Palij, 89, remains in New York 11 years after the DOJ initiated a case against him and seven years after he exhausted appeals. Court records say Palij – born in a part of Poland that is now part of Ukraine- was an armed guard at an SS slave labor camp for Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland until at least the spring of 1943, and helped to keep prisoners from escaping. Palij has denied the accusations. The original order deporting Palij to Ukraine has been amended to allow deportation to Germany, Poland or any other country willing to accept him. Justice officials say none has been willing. A man who answered the phone at Palij’s number had trouble hearing and could not carry out a phone conversation. A woman who answered the phone at the office of Palij’s attorney said he does not speak to reporters.

    _Kalymon, 92, is still in Michigan despite exhausting appeals earlier this year in a process that took nine years. Prosecutors said Kalymon, who was born in Poland, was a member of the Nazi-sponsored Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in Lviv, which rounded up Jews and imprisoned them. Prosecutors said Kalymon also shot Jews. He was ordered deported to Ukraine, Poland, Germany or any other country that would take him. His attorney, Elias Xenos, said his client was a teenage boy who was essentially guarding a sack of coal.

    “That’s not the government’s position, of course. But they’ve run out of true persecutors, and they are trying to now prosecute people on the fringes,” Xenos said.

    He said he is not aware of any country that has agreed to take Kalymon, who he said has Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

    In Poland, prosecutor Grzegorz Malisiewicz said an investigation of Kalymon was closed in January because authorities couldn’t definitively tie him to crimes committed in 1942. In Germany, Munich prosecutors have been investigating Kalymon on suspicion of murder since 2010.

    Efraim Zuroff, chief Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said many countries lack the political will to accept suspected Nazi criminals who have been ordered deported: “I don’t think it’s any lack of effort by the American government.”

    Germany has taken the position that people involved in Nazi crimes must be prosecuted, no matter how old or infirm, as it did in the case of retired Ohio autoworker John Demjanjuk. He died last year at age 91 while appealing his conviction of being an accessory to 28,060 murders while a guard at the Sobibor death camp.

    Before that case, Germany had been reluctant to prosecute Nazi war crimes suspects who weren’t German citizens, said Stephen Paskey, a former Justice Department attorney who worked on the Demjanjuk and Zajanckauskas cases. Germany has also resisted accepting those who are ordered deported because, like other countries, it doesn’t want to be seen as a refuge for those with Nazi pasts, the DOJ said.

    The case of Johann Leprich fell into that category. Authorities said Leprich, of Clinton Township, Michigan, served as an armed guard at a Nazi camp in Austria during World War II. He was 78 when he was ordered deported in 2003. Germany, Hungary and Leprich’s native Romania – which passed a law in 2002 barring the entry of war crimes suspects – all refused to accept him. A technical issue related to Leprich’s deportation order allowed him to remain eligible for public benefits until he died in 2013, although for unclear reasons he stopped receiving them long before that

    According to AP’s analysis of DOJ records, five other Nazi suspects were ordered deported but remained in the U.S. until they died because no country was willing to take them:

    _Osyp Firishchak, 93, of Chicago, died last November, nine months after exhausting appeals. A U.S. judge concluded that Firishchak had lied when he said he was not a member of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, which helped Nazis arrest Jews in large numbers and sent them to labor and death camps. He was born in territory that was then Czechoslovakia and is now part of the Ukraine. He was ordered deported to Ukraine in 2007.

    _Anton Tittjung, of Wisconsin, died last year at age 87. Born in a part of the former Yugoslavia that is now Croatia, he was accused of being an armed guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria and was ordered deported to Croatia in 1994. He said he was not a Nazi. He exhausted his appeals in 2001 but remained in the U.S. because Croatia would not accept him, saying he was neither born there nor a citizen of Croatia, according to a DOJ report. The U.S. also asked Austria and Germany to accept him; both refused.

    _Mykola Wasylyk spent most of his American years in the Catskills region, 90 miles north of New York City, and died in North Port, Florida, in 2010 at age 86. He exhausted his appeals in 2004. He was born in former Polish territory that is now part of Ukraine. Prosecutors say he was an armed guard at two forced labor camps in Nazi-occupied Poland, but he claimed he was unaware that prisoners there were persecuted. The United States ordered him deported to Ukraine. At Wasylyk’s request, the DOJ amended the order to seek to deport him first to Switzerland. Neither country took him in.

    _Michael Negele, died in St. Peters, Missouri, in 2008 at age 87. He was ordered deported to his native Romania or to Germany in 2003, and he exhausted appeals in June 2004. Neither country was willing to take him, the DOJ said. Negele was accused of being an armed guard and dog handler at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Germany, and later at the Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto in what is now the Czech Republic. Negele had argued he was not involved in any wartime atrocities.

    _Bronislaw Hajda, died in Schiller Park, Illinois, in 2005 at age 80. He was ordered deported to his native Poland or Germany in 1998, and his appeals process ended in 2001. But both countries repeatedly refused to accept him, authorities said. He was accused of participating in a massacre of Jews at a Nazi slave labor camp. Hajda had denied the allegations and said he never killed anyone.

    Leading Holocaust experts express frustration at the failure to remove such men from the United States.

    “That they have been able to live out their lives enjoying the freedoms of this country, after depriving others of freedom and life itself, is an affront to the memory of those who perished,” said Paul Shapiro, director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.

    The reluctance of countries to accept suspected Nazi collaborators could become a factor in the case of Michael Karkoc, a Minnesota man identified in an AP investigation last month as a commander in a Nazi SS-led unit accused of massacres.

    Both German and Polish prosecutors are investigating whether there is enough evidence to bring charges against Karkoc, 94, and seek extradition. If neither country decides to charge Karkoc, U.S. officials may try to hold him accountable through separate civil proceedings that would strip him of his citizenship and seek to have him deported. In that event, the U.S. would need to find a country that would take him in – and the earlier cases suggest that may prove difficult.

    “No one is obligated to take him unless he is charged,” Paskey said. “Ukraine wouldn’t have to take him. No one else would want him.”

    The AP investigation revealed that Karkoc lied to American immigration officials to enter the United States after the war, saying he had no military experience and concealing his work as an officer and founding member of the SS-led Ukrainian Self Defense Legion. Records don’t show Karkoc had a direct hand in wartime atrocities, but the evidence shows that he had command responsibility over a unit that massacred Polish civilians. Karkoc’s family claims he was never involved in Nazi war crimes. Justice officials would not confirm whether the U.S. is investigating Karkoc.

    Paskey said the U.S. could have a good denaturalization case against Karkoc, because prosecutors wouldn’t have to prove he had a direct hand in war crimes. But the quickest – and perhaps only – way to remove him from the U.S. would be if he is charged criminally.

    “Unless Poland or Germany decides to prosecute him,” Paskey said, “he is likely to die in the United States.”

    Associated Press writers David Rising in Kabul, Afghanistan; Monika Scislowska in Warsaw; Geir Moulson in Berlin; Michael Rubinkam in Aldan, Pennsylvania; Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden; and Liudas Dapkas in Vilnius, Lithuania, contributed to this report. Herschaft reported from New York.

    Posted by participo | July 30, 2013, 2:16 pm
  4. Posted by participo | July 30, 2013, 2:17 pm
  5. http://www.timesofisrael.com/ukraine-divided-over-legacy-of-nazi-fighters/

    Ukraine divided over legacy of Nazi fighters
    Local men who fought as part of the SS are remembered either as traitors or patriotic heros
    By Maria Danilova August 1, 2013, 3:28 pm 0

    CHERVONE, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainians dressed in Nazi SS uniform trudge through trenches and fire model rifles in a reconstruction of a key battle against the Soviets during World War II. An Orthodox priest leads a ceremony for fallen soldiers of the Nazi unit, sprinkling his blessing over several men sporting swastikas who lower a coffin in a ritual reburial.

    The scenes were part of commemorations last week of soldiers many Ukrainian nationalists — along with a smattering of hardcore ultra-rightists — hail as heroes. The men they are honoring belonged to the SS Galician division, a Nazi military unit made up mostly of Ukrainians, which fought Soviet troops during World War II.

    More than 20 years since gaining independence from the Soviet Union, Ukraine remains painfully divided over the legacy of World War II and the actions of Ukrainian nationalist fighters, who are honored as heroes by some and condemned as traitors by others. Some of those fighters served under or cooperated with the Nazis, seeing a chance to overthrow the Soviet regime, while others fought both the Red Army and the Nazis.

    “Ukraine is in our souls and hearts,” said SS Galician division veteran Mykhailo Yamulyk, a gray-haired man in his late 80s, before the remains of some of his fellow soldiers were reburied in coffins draped with the yellow-and-blue Ukrainian flag at a cemetery in this small village in western Ukraine. “Those who say that we wore German uniform — yes, we did, and our weapons were German, but our hearts were full of Ukrainian blood and we never betrayed it.”

    One of Yamulyk’s fellow SS Galician veterans is Michael Karkoc, a Minnesota man shown in an Associated Press investigation to have commanded a Nazi-led unit accused of atrocities. The annual commemorations of the Galician give an insight into the complex reaction that the Karkoc revelations have produced in Ukraine, in contrast to the near universal outrage they have stirred up in Poland, Germany and the United States.

    Each year, competing rallies commemorating World War II are held throughout Ukraine, sometimes resulting in brawls. Much of the Russian-speaking east of the country celebrates the Red Army’s victory over Nazi invaders, while in the Ukrainian-speaking west, where most of the anti-Soviet insurgents fought, monuments have been erected and streets have been named in their honor. Veterans receive government benefits, no matter which side they fought on during the war.

    Politicians are also deeply divided on the subject. Former President Viktor Yushchenko, who steered Ukraine toward the West after leading the 2004 Orange Revolution, campaigned to have the nationalist insurgents honored as heroes, even though leading Western historians say many of their units had a hand in massacring civilians, including Jews and Poles. And the radical nationalist party Svoboda — a vocal force in parliament whose leaders have been accused of anti-Semitic and racist remarks — extolls those fighters.

    The Party of Regions led by President Viktor Yanukovych, who is seen as more Russia-friendly, has campaigned against treating the men as heroes. But the party has exploited the anti-fascist cause to its advantage. In May, it organized a large rally in Kiev to protest fascism and call for tolerance — but after the event ended, pro-government activists clashed with opposition protesters and beat up two journalists trying to film the brawl.

    Post-Soviet Ukraine has failed to investigate, prosecute or bring to trial a single Nazi war criminal, according to Efraim Zuroff, the top Nazi hunter with the Simon Wiesenthal Center. The same is true of other post-Communist countries with a record of Nazi collaboration such as Latvia, Estonia and Belarus. Pressed by the West, Lithuania put three Nazi criminals on trial, but waited until they were too old or unfit to be punished. In all of these countries, experts say, suspected Nazi collaborators were protected because of their role fighting the Soviets, considered by much of the population as the greater enemy.

    “Ukraine’s efforts or lack of efforts to investigate and prosecute Nazi war criminals is assessed as a total failure; they haven’t done a damn thing,” Zuroff said. “To bring such people to justice would be very politically unpopular in Eastern Europe.”

    Ukrainians sought independence during centuries of rule by the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires as well as Poland, and seven decades as part of the Soviet Union. Subjugation under Poland lies at the heart of Ukraine’s historic resentment against Poles. When Soviet Ukraine was overrun by the Nazis during World War II, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists initially cooperated with Hitler’s forces, hoping to shake off the Soviet regime — which had collectivized farms, engineered a devastating famine that killed millions and imprisoned or executed regime opponents in droves. When leaders of the group realized the Nazis had no plans for an independent Ukraine, the group and its military wing switched to fighting both Stalin’s and Hitler’s forces. Other Ukrainian military units, such as the SS Galician Division or the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, remained loyal to the Nazis.

    Veterans of the Galician see themselves as freedom fighters.
    Yevhen Kutsik, 86, former soldier of SS Galician Division, right, and a young Ukrainian nationalist lay a wreath on a monument to SS Galician Division, Sunday, July 21, 2013. (photo credit:AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Yevhen Kutsik, 86, former soldier of SS Galician Division, right, and a young Ukrainian nationalist lay a wreath on a monument to SS Galician Division, Sunday, July 21, 2013. (photo credit:AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Yevhen Kutsik, 86, was a 16-year-old boy when he took up arms and joined the SS Galician division after seeing “mountains of corpses of innocent tortured men, women and even children” left by the Soviets. “I fought for my motherland, for my people, for my country,” Kutsik, clad in the division veterans’ dark blue uniform and forage cap, told The Associated Press during the commemorations outside the western city of Lviv in late July. After the war, Kutsik served 12 years in a Soviet labor camp.

    In April, a larger rally commemorating the SS Galician Division was held in Lviv. Men and women clad in traditional Ukrainian embroidered shirts marched peacefully in the center of the city waving the SS unit’s blue and yellow banners — but there was also a clear neo-Nazi contingent in the mix. Some marchers wore Nazi SS caps or uniforms that appeared inspired by the Nazi Wehrmacht armed forces, while others gave Nazi salutes. A band of neo-Nazi skinheads from Russia marched alongside the Ukrainian nationalists, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “SS Totenkopf” — in apparent reference to the SS unit that supplied death camp guards.

    At another recent commemoration in the village of Yaseniv outside Lviv, a young man with the SS Galician division’s lion symbol tattooed on his leg wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the neo-Nazi slogan: “White pride worldwide.”

    In much of the post-Soviet Union, people generally do not receive strong education regarding Holocaust horrors. Such ignorance plays a strong role in events such as the ones in Yaseniv and Chervone that glorify Nazi imagery — and most participants do not belong to the hard right. The tendency to overlook Nazi crimes, however, does breed tolerance of the few neo-Nazi elements among them, and can also lead to vulnerability to the xenophobic rhetoric of parties such as Svoboda.

    Rallies in honor of soldiers who fought in Nazi units during WWII have been held in Latvia and Estonia over the past years, also sparking controversy.

    Many Ukrainian historians see the insurgents, including those who collaborated with the Nazis, as resistance fighters and victims of unjust and brutal circumstances. Many Western historians say some of them were also involved in massacring civilians, such as Jews, Poles and Soviet sympathizers. The killings of Jews represent “a large and inexpugnable stain on the records of the Ukrainian national insurgency,” writes John-Paul Himka, a historian at Canada’s University of Alberta who studies the Holocaust in Ukraine. Historians are still weighing evidence on whether the SS Galician had a role in Nazi war crimes, Himka said.

    An open discussion of the legacy of the Ukrainian insurgents was taboo during the Soviet era, with school children taught that they were enemies of the people. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, secret archives opened up and witness accounts and documents became accessible, some portraying the nationalist fighters in a heroic light, others pointing to the atrocities they had committed.

    “Now it has become open and with it a lot of pain has emerged,” said Anatoly Podolsky, head of the Ukrainian Center for Holocaust Studies. “What cannot be done is to label them all as (Nazi) collaborators. Or as heroes. They are not all collaborators and they are not all heroes.”
    Ukrainians dressed in the SS Galician Division uniform stand in the guard of honor during re-burial ceremony at the SS Galician Division cemetery near the village of Chervone in western Ukraine on Sunday, July 21, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Ukrainians dressed in the SS Galician Division uniform stand in the guard of honor during re-burial ceremony at the SS Galician Division cemetery near the village of Chervone in western Ukraine on Sunday, July 21, 2013. (photo credit: AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

    Podolsky and others say that a thorough investigation and condemnation of Nazi war crimes in Ukraine should be conducted alongside a similar review of the crimes committed by Soviet authorities, which also hasn’t taken place.

    Born in the Lutsk region, which is now part of western Ukraine, Karkoc emigrated to the United States shortly after the war by lying to American authorities about his role in the Ukrainian Self Defense Legion, which is accused of torching villages filled with women and children. The AP investigation found evidence indicating that Karkoc was at the scene of the massacres, although no records implicate him directly in them. When reached for comment at his home in Minnesota, Karkoc refused to discuss his past.

    The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry declined to talk about the Karkoc case. The Prosecutor’s Office said Karkoc’s case would be reviewed by Ukraine’s security agency.

    But Vadim Kolesnichenko, a lawmaker with the president’s party, asked the prosecutors to seek Karkoc’s extradition from the United States and to put him on trial in Ukraine. “Nazi crimes against humanity have no expiration date,” Kolesnichenko wrote in a blog posting.

    Activists on the other side of the debate flocked to Karkoc’s defense.

    Rostislav Novozhenets, head of Ukraine-Rus, a group which studies Soviet repression against Ukrainians, said fighters like Karkoc cooperated with the Nazis for the sake of freeing their homeland from the totalitarian Soviet regime.

    “Was it better to join the Soviet army, the army of a country infamous for repressions and the Holodmor (Stalin-era famine), which killed millions of its own citizens? The USSR was enemy No. 1,” Novozhenets said. “That is why these boys, these Ukrainians, the representatives of an oppressed nation, cannot be condemned: They fought for an independent Ukraine and that is why they should be honored as fighters for independence.”

    Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

    Posted by Vanfield | August 1, 2013, 8:13 am

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