Comment: The naming of Nazi and SS Collaborator Stephan Bandera  as a “Hero” of the Ukraine should outrage everyone, not just Jews, although it shouldn’t surprise anyone. Deeply involved with war crimes committed by Nazi and SS units during World War II , Bandera’s OUN/B organization then jumped to Western intelligence  after the war. (The 14th Waffens SS “Galician” Division–pictured at right– was drawn largely from the OUN/B.)
Elements associated with Bandera’s group disseminated disinformation attempting to link Bandera’s death with the KGB and Lee Harvey Oswald . This helped cover up President Kennedy’s assassination by convincing some that a Third World War  would result from a proper investigation.
Evolving into a key element of the Nazi wing of the GOP , the OUN/B realized its goal of an “independent” Ukraine  during the Reagan/George H.W. Bush regimes. Ykaterina Chumachenko–the top operational leader of the OUN/B– became the head of Presidential Liaison under Ronald Reagan .
Eventually, she married Mr. Yuschenko, and Ykaterina became the first lady of the Ukraine!  Her husband has now named Bandera a hero!
Russia Times; 1/30/2010.
The largest Jewish human rights organization in the US, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, joined the chorus of those who condemn the declaration of controversial nationalist leader Stepan Bandera as a Hero of Ukraine.
Mark Weitzman, head of government affairs at Wiesenthal Center wrote to Ukraine’s Ambassador in the US, noting that “it is surely a travesty when such an honor is granted right at the period when the world pauses to remember the victims of the Holocaust on January 27.”
Expressing his “deepest revulsion”, Weitzman also reminded that the late Simon Wiesenthal, who founded their organization, was born in Ukraine himself.
Earlier, Russian Jews similarly called Yushchenko’s move “a provocation promoting the rehabilitation of Nazi crimes” and “a challenge to the civilized world.”
Outgoing President Yushchenko, who lost the presidential elections on January 17, signed a decree conferring Bandera, the head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in 1941–1959, the status of a national hero.
Bandera’s supporters – mainly in Western Ukraine – claim he fought for Ukraine’s independence against both Soviet and German soldiers. However, many others in his country and Russia believe he was a war criminal who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII and killed innocent people.
The Federation of Russia’s Jewish Communities, or FEOR, in a statement issued Monday, said Yushchenko’s move “insults the memory of the victims” of Nazi crimes.
“The decree says Bandera was awarded ‘for his spiritual invincibility, fight for national ideology, heroism and self-sacrifice in a struggle for the independence of Ukrainian state’,” the document published on the organization’s website (www.feor.ru) reads. “Apparently, this way Yushchenko equates heroism and self-sacrifice to the mass murdering of the Jews and Poles that Bandera and his associates were widely practicing.”
The document authors believe “such a political gesture is a challenge to the civilized world, to everyone who fought against Nazism” during the Second World War. . . .