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FTR #985 Fascism: 2017 European Tour, Part 2

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE [1]. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of 2017. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more.)

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment [5].

Intro­duc­tion: Focus­ing on bur­geon­ing fas­cism in Europe, this pro­gram con­cen­trates pri­mar­i­ly on East­ern Europe. Mobi­liz­ing grass roots sup­port from eco­nom­i­cal­ly dis­ad­van­taged cit­i­zens suf­fer­ing the effects of aus­ter­i­ty, many ascend­ing fas­cist move­ments share xeno­pho­bic, anti-immi­grant/an­ti-Mus­lim sen­ti­ment. These ide­o­log­i­cal tenets are com­mon to sup­port­ers of Team Trump in the U.S.

  1. Begin­ning our tour in Poland, we note alarm­ing signs [6] of that coun­try descend­ing into fas­cism [7], with anti-immi­grant, anti-Mus­lim xeno­pho­bia on the ide­o­log­i­cal front burn­er of the iron­i­cal­ly named Law and Jus­tice Par­ty: ” . . . . Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple — many of them young men with crew cuts, but some par­ents with chil­dren, too — flocked to the Pol­ish cap­i­tal to cel­e­brate Inde­pen­dence Day in a march orga­nized in part by two neo-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tionsThey waved white and red Pol­ish flags, they bran­dished burn­ing torch­es, and they wore “white pow­er” sym­bols. They car­ried ban­ners declar­ing, ‘Death to ene­mies of the home­land,’ and screamed, ‘Sieg Heil!’ and ‘Ku Klux Klan!’ . . . .”
  2. The treat­ment accord­ed female counter-demon­stra­tors exem­pli­fies the nature of the ral­ly: ” . . . . A dozen incred­i­bly coura­geous women showed up to protest the march. After mix­ing with the marchers, they unrav­eled a long strip of cloth embla­zoned with ‘Stop Fas­cism.’ They were imme­di­ate­ly attacked. Their ban­ner was ripped apart. Marchers pushed some of the women to the ground and kicked oth­ers. . . .”
  3. At an insti­tu­tion­al lev­el, the Law and Jus­tice Par­ty is imple­ment­ing an Orwellian mock­ery of its name: ” . . . Ever since the Law and Jus­tice Par­ty won both the pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in 2015, Poland has been under­go­ing a dis­turb­ing polit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion. Law and Jus­tice is an Orwellian name for a par­ty that con­stant­ly vio­lates the law, breaks con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions and is hell­bent on sub­ject­ing the courts to its con­trol. The par­ty is dis­man­tling the insti­tu­tion­al frame­work of par­lia­men­tary democ­ra­cy piece by piece in order to remove any restraints on the per­son­al pow­er of its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczyn­s­ki. ‘Prezes,’ the Boss, peo­ple call him. . . .”
  4. The xeno­pho­bia uti­lized by the Law and Jus­tice Par­ty is a com­mon ele­ment in Euro­pean and Amer­i­can fas­cist move­ments: ” . . . . Two years ago, the par­ty bet that latch­ing onto the refugee cri­sis in Europe would give it pur­chase on the votes nec­es­sary to win. Its cal­cu­la­tion proved entire­ly cor­rect. One of the first insti­tu­tions the par­ty hijacked was pub­lic tele­vi­sion. Law and Jus­tice has turned it into Fox News on steroids, paid for by the tax­pay­ers. It feeds view­ers non­stop pro­pa­gan­da about the mount­ing threat to Poland’s sov­er­eign­ty from the Euro­pean Union, specif­i­cal­ly in the form of Mus­lim refugees. Those refugees present a threat to our way of life, the gov­ern­ment and the press insist. They will assault our women, they say, and they are car­ry­ing infec­tious dis­eases to boot. A year ago, a quar­ter of Poles opposed accept­ing any­one flee­ing the rav­ages of war in the Mid­dle East; after months of relent­less pro­pa­gan­da, 75 per­cent are now opposed. This year the coun­try has let in only 1,474 asy­lum seek­ers, near­ly all of them from Rus­sia or Ukraine. . . .”
  5. In Italy, Cas­a­Pound [8] reca­pit­u­lates Italy’s fas­cist past, in res­o­nance with anti-immi­grant xeno­pho­bia exhib­it­ed by oth­er neo-fas­cist par­ties: ” . . . . But Cas­a­Pound is win­ning seats in a hand­ful of towns, and some of its core beliefs — a fond­ness for Rus­sia and sharp oppo­si­tion to the Euro­pean Union, glob­al­iza­tion and immi­gra­tion, which it believes sul­ly the nation­al iden­ti­ty and econ­o­my — are increas­ing­ly spread­ing through­out Italy. In Sici­ly, the new head­quar­ters of Broth­ers of Italy, a descen­dant of the post-fas­cist Ital­ian Social Move­ment, had the phrase ‘Ital­ians first’ writ­ten on the wall dur­ing its recent inau­gu­ra­tion. Anti-immi­gra­tion sen­ti­ment has grown so pop­u­lar that the once-seces­sion­ist North­ern League has dropped the word ‘North­ern’ from its name as it looks for inroads to the south. . . .”
  6. Much of our tour is in Ukraine, where the OUN/B fas­cists are rewrit­ing his­to­ry. The Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­or [9]y, head­ed by Volodomyr Via­tro­vych, is stand­ing Ukrain­ian World War II his­to­ry on its head. ” . . . .The Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry (UINP) and its patrons in the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment in Kyiv are allow­ing us to study the process of nation­al­ist myth-mak­ing in real-time. Pres­i­dent Poroshenko has enabled nation­al­ist activists like Volodymyr Via­tro­vych, head of the Insti­tute, to sculpt Ukraine’s his­to­ry and mem­o­ry poli­cies. Part and par­cel of the Institute’s ‘decom­mu­niza­tion’ cam­paign to remove rem­nants of a Sovi­et past simul­ta­ne­ous­ly has been to lion­ize 20th cen­tu­ry Ukraini­ans who fought for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence no mat­ter how [10] prob­lem­at­ic [11] their prob­lem­at­ic [11]. In par­tic­u­lar, the Via­tro­vych and the Insti­tute have made white­wash­ing the image of World War Two Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists a pri­or­i­ty, not a small feat con­sid­er­ing their doc­u­ment­ed ties to, and com­plic­i­ty with, the Nazis. This nation­al­ist revi­sion­ism seeks to show that the main wartime nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions, the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) and its mil­i­tary wing, the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA), were ulti­mate­ly mul­ti-eth­nic, ‘mul­ti-cul­tur­al,’ and demo­c­ra­t­ic. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the nation­al­ists’ rela­tion­ship with Ukraine’s Jews has proved the biggest chal­lenge to this rein­ven­tion of Holo­caust co-per­pe­tra­tors and eth­nic cleansers as tol­er­ant inter­na­tion­al­ists. . . .”
  7. Via­tro­vych and his Insti­tute are mar­ket­ing a “pet Jew” to prove the open-mind­ed, polit­i­cal­ly cor­rect­ness of the UPA and the OUN/B: ” . . . . Much Ukrain­ian media ink has been spilled in recent years glo­ri­fy­ing the role of one Jew, who served with the nation­al­ists. His sto­ry encap­su­lates Ukraine’s war on mem­o­ry, and its eager attempts to write out anti-Semi­tism from its wartime his­to­ry. Lei­ba-Itsko Iosi­fovich Dobrovskii has been tout­ed as a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist who also hap­pened to be Jew­ish. That was to make the point that Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism and Jew­ish­ness were not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. These days, we’d call the re-engi­neer­ing of facts about Dobrovskii a fake news sto­ry. But it is instruc­tive to trace its ori­gins. . . .”
  8. Via­tro­vy­ch’s UPA “pet Jew” has an inter­est­ing polit­i­cal gen­e­sis: ” . . . .The leg­end of Lei­ba Dobrovskii, Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist Jew, orig­i­nat­ed not in World War Two but the mid-2000s, when he was first briefly men­tioned in a book in 2006 by his­to­ri­an and activist Volodymyr Via­tro­vych. Via­tro­vych made ref­er­ence to a “Jew” in the UPA, who helped write leaflets for the UPA in 1942 and 1943 and even­tu­al­ly was arrest­ed by the Sovi­ets. In 2008 the Dobrovskii leg­end grew, thanks to the exhi­bi­tion ‘Jews in the Ukrain­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment,’ [12] staged by the Ukrain­ian Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice and the Insti­tute for Nation­al Mem­o­ry with the assis­tance of Via­tro­vych. Draw­ing on Dobrovskii’s arrest file in the archives of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, the exhi­bi­tion high­light­ed his line-up pic­ture and alleged role in the UPA, while notably offer­ing no more details. . . . ”
  9. The myth of the UPA’s Pet Jew has been ampli­fied by the inter­na­tion­al media. ” . . . .  At this point, the myth of Jews hap­pi­ly serv­ing with Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists in WW2 began to be report­ed in pres­ti­gious out­lets like BBC Ukraine [13]. After the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion of 2014, and Viatrovych’s fur­ther rise with­in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, the Dobrovskii leg­end flour­ished. . . .”
  10. The truth about Dubrovskii dif­fers from the Via­tro­vych nar­ra­tive: . . . .As a Red Army sol­dier, he was cap­tured in 1941 and changed his name to Leonid Dubrovskii to appear Ukrain­ian. In this guise, he got out of cap­tiv­i­ty and went to north-west­ern Ukraine, where he acci­dent­ly met local Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists con­nect­ed to the local col­lab­o­ra­tionist police and admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing the local may­or and lat­er UPA mem­ber, Myko­la Kryzhanovskii. Note­wor­thy is that Kryzhanovskii was well-known for his bru­tal­i­ty towards Jews. Not sus­pect­ing that Dobrovskii was Jew­ish and appre­ci­at­ing his edu­ca­tion, the nation­al­ists recruit­ed him to pro­duce pro­pa­gan­da. In con­trast to the shiny new nation­al­ist leg­end, Dobrovskii actu­al­ly con­cealed his Jew­ish­ness to his nation­al­ist ‘com­pa­tri­ots’ and was no enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. In fact, he was scared that they would find out who he real­ly was. . . .”
  11. The UPA’s Pet Jew had some inter­est­ing obser­va­tions about the nature of the orga­ni­za­tion: “. . . . Dobrovskii had well-found­ed rea­sons for his reluc­tance and fear. He felt that Ukraine’s nation­al­ists, who delib­er­ate­ly helped staff local police forces under the Ger­man Nazi forces, were com­plic­it in the geno­cide of the Jews. In 1943, he not­ed, nation­al­ist detach­ments ‘car­ried out the mass mur­der of the Pol­ish pop­u­la­tion’ in west­ern Ukraine. He described the rad­i­cal­iz­ing influ­ence of West Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists on Ukrain­ian youth and observed that they spread ‘enmi­ty toward Jews, Rus­sians and Poles.’ He also observed nation­al­ist vio­lence and ‘ter­ror’ against Ukraini­ans, includ­ing the mur­der of two church lead­ers by UPA. He did not even believe in the nation­al­ist claims that they were fight­ing the Ger­mans, remark­ing that they “did not kill a sin­gle local Ger­man [Nazi] leader in the area” of Vol­hy­nia. . . .”
  12. Whole­sale sup­port for Via­tro­vy­ch’s Orwellian re-write [14] of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry has come from Poroshenko gov­ern­ment: “. . . . The con­tro­ver­sy cen­ters on a telling of World War II his­to­ry that ampli­fies Sovi­et crimes and glo­ri­fies Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist fight­ers while dis­miss­ing the vital part they played in eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles and Jews from 1941 to 1945 after the Nazi inva­sion of the for­mer Sovi­et Union. . . . And more point­ed­ly, schol­ars now fear that they risk reprisal for not toe­ing the offi­cial line — or call­ing Via­tro­vych on his his­tor­i­cal dis­tor­tions. Under Viatrovych’s reign, the coun­try could be head­ed for a new, and fright­en­ing, era of cen­sor­ship. . . .
  13. More about Via­tro­vy­ch’s his­tor­i­cal pro­pa­gan­da: “. . . . To that effect, Via­tro­vych has dis­missed [15] his­tor­i­cal events not com­port­ing with this nar­ra­tive as ‘Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da.’ [This is true of infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed by any­one that tells the truth about the OUN/B heirs now in pow­er in Ukraine–they are dis­missed as ‘Russ­ian dupes’ or “tools of the Krem­lin’ etc.–D.E.] In his 2006 book [16], The OUN’s Posi­tion Towards the Jews: For­mu­la­tion of a posi­tion against the back­drop of a cat­a­stro­phe, he attempt­ed to exon­er­ate the OUN from its col­lab­o­ra­tion in the Holo­caust by ignor­ing the over­whelm­ing mass of his­tor­i­cal lit­er­a­ture. . . .”
  14. The Pol­ish fas­cists described above have remained silent about Via­tro­vy­ch’s aca­d­e­m­ic coverup of the Ukrain­ian fas­cists’ exter­mi­na­tion of eth­nic Poles dur­ing World War 2: “. . . . UPA supreme com­man­der Dmytro Kliachkivs’kyi explic­it­ly stat­ed [17]: ‘We should car­ry out a large-scale liq­ui­da­tion action against Pol­ish ele­ments. Dur­ing the evac­u­a­tion of the Ger­man Army, we should find an appro­pri­ate moment to liq­ui­date the entire male pop­u­la­tion between 16 and 60 years old.’ Giv­en that over 70 per­cent of the lead­ing UPA cadres pos­sessed a back­ground as Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, none of this is sur­pris­ing. . . .”
  15. Ukraine’s Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion is echo­ing and ampli­fy­ing Via­tro­vy­ch’s nar­ra­tive: “. . . . Sev­en­ty his­to­ri­ans signed [18] an open let­ter to Poroshenko ask­ing him to veto the draft law that bans crit­i­cism of the OUN-UPA. . . . After the open let­ter was pub­lished, the legislation’s spon­sor, Yuri Shukhevych, react­ed [19] furi­ous­ly. Shukhevych, the son of UPA leader Roman Shukhevych and a long­time far-right polit­i­cal activist him­self, fired off a let­ter [19] to Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion Ser­hiy Kvit claim­ing, ‘Russ­ian spe­cial ser­vices’ pro­duced the let­ter and demand­ed that ‘patri­ot­ic’ his­to­ri­ans rebuff it. Kvit, also a long­time far-right activist [20] and author of an admir­ing biog­ra­phy one of the key the­o­reti­cians of Ukrain­ian eth­nic nation­al­ism, in turn omi­nous­ly high­light­ed the sig­na­to­ries of Ukrain­ian his­to­ri­ans on his copy of the let­ter. . . .”
  16. More about Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion Kvit, and Via­tro­vych: “. . . . Last June, Kvit’s Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion issued a direc­tive [21] to teach­ers regard­ing the ‘neces­si­ty to accen­tu­ate the patri­o­tism and moral­i­ty of the activists of the lib­er­a­tion move­ment,’ includ­ing depict­ing the UPA as a ‘sym­bol of patri­o­tism and sac­ri­fi­cial spir­it in the strug­gle for an inde­pen­dent Ukraine’ and Ban­dera as an ‘out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive’ of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.’ More recent­ly, Viatrovych’s Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry pro­posed that the city of Kiev rename [22] two streets after Ban­dera and the for­mer supreme com­man­der of both the UPA and the Nazi-super­vised Schutz­mannschaft Roman Shukhevych. . . .”
  17. In keep­ing with the re-writ­ing of Ukraine’s wartime his­to­ry, the city of Lvov [Lviv or Lem­berg, when it was part of Poland] has estab­lished a fes­ti­val in hon­or of Roman Shukhevych [23], the head of the Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall or Nightin­gale Bat­tal­ion, on the anniver­sary of the begin­ning of a pogrom that he led. More about this pogrom:
  18. “The Ukrain­ian city of Lviv will hold a fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor on the anniver­sary of a major pogrom against the city’s Jews. . . . On June 30, 1941, Ukrain­ian troops, includ­ing mili­ti­a­men loy­al to Shukhevych’s, began a series of pogroms against Jews, which they per­pe­trat­ed under the aus­pices of the Ger­man army, accord­ing to Yale Uni­ver­si­ty his­to­ry pro­fes­sor Tim­o­thy Sny­der and oth­er schol­ars. They mur­dered approx­i­mate­ly 6,000 Jews in those pogroms. . . .”
  19. The Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall was an SS exter­mi­na­tion unit. [24] “. . . . In 1959 [SS offi­cer Theodor] Ober­laen­der was the cen­ter of a storm that final­ly forced his res­ig­na­tion in May 1960. He was blamed for the mass mur­der of thou­sands of Jews and Pol­ish intel­lec­tu­als who had been liq­ui­dat­ed in July 1941 when a spe­cial SS task force under his com­mand occu­pied the Pol­ish city of Lem­berg (Lvov). . . . As briefly men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous chap­ter, Min­is­ter Ober­laen­der is accused of hav­ing been involved in the so-called “Lem­berg mas­sacre,” in which sev­er­al thou­sand Poles and more than 5,000 Jews were slaugh­tered. Dr. Ober­laen­der does not deny a] that he was the com­mand­ing offi­cer of a spe­cial SS task force, the Nightin­gale Bat­tal­ion, made up of nation­al­ist Ukraini­ans; and b] that this bat­tal­ion was the first Ger­man unit to move into the Pol­ish city of Lem­berg on June 29, 1941, where it remained for six or sev­en days. . . .”
  20. The offi­cial found­ing of the UPA (Octo­ber 14)–the group whose troops com­prised the Ein­satz­gruppe Nachtigall–is now a nation­al holdiay [25] Ukraine: ” . . . . Thou­sands of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists have marched through the cap­i­tal, Kyiv, to mark the 75th anniver­sary of the cre­ation of the con­tro­ver­sial Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA). March orga­niz­ers said as many as 20,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Octo­ber 14 march, which was sup­port­ed by the right-wing Free­dom, Right Sec­tor, and Nation­al Corp polit­i­cal par­ties. . . . Jour­nal­ists report­ed see­ing some marchers giv­ing Nazi salutes. Since 2015, the Octo­ber 14 anniver­sary has been marked as the Defend­er of Ukraine Day pub­lic hol­i­day. . . . .”
  21. We return to the sub­ject of the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union [26], who are engag­ing with maneu­vers with sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions from Latvia and Lithua­nia.
  22. Review­ing infor­ma­tion about the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men’s Union, we high­light its activ­i­ties as part of the Nazi mil­i­tary effort [27] in the Baltic states, includ­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in admin­is­ter­ing Hitler’s “Final Solu­tion.”
  23. Rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union–a fas­cist militia–has been expand­ed to meet the so-called “Russ­ian threat.” Like the OUN/B’s mil­i­tary wing–the UPA–the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union con­tin­ued the com­bat of World War II until the ear­ly 1950’s. Formed dur­ing the wan­ing days of the Sec­ond World War, they jumped from the Third Reich to the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion, a CIA/State Depart­ment oper­a­tional direc­torate. (This is cov­ered in FTR #777 [28], as well as AFA #1 [29].)
  24. Review of info­ra­tion from FTR #779 [30], not­ing that Svo­bo­da was net­work­ing with Rober­to Fiore’s Forza Nuo­va.

1a. You know things are get­ting bad when op-ed pieces in The New York Times inveighs against bur­geon­ing fas­cism.

“Poles Cry for ‘Pure Blood’ Again” by Jan T. Gross; The New York Times; 11/17/2017. [7]

If you want a sense of where Poland could be head­ing, look no fur­ther than the events last Sat­ur­day in War­saw. Tens of thou­sands of peo­ple — many of them young men with crew cuts, but some par­ents with chil­dren, too — flocked to the Pol­ish cap­i­tal to cel­e­brate Inde­pen­dence Day in a march orga­nized in part by two neo-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions.

They waved white and red Pol­ish flags, they bran­dished burn­ing torch­es, and they wore “white pow­er” sym­bols. They car­ried ban­ners declar­ing, “Death to ene­mies of the home­land,” and screamed, “Sieg Heil!” and “Ku Klux Klan!” The offi­cial slo­gan of the march was “We want God” — words from an old hymn that Pres­i­dent Trump quot­ed dur­ing his speech in War­saw in July. A dozen incred­i­bly coura­geous women showed up to protest the march.

After mix­ing with the marchers, they unrav­eled a long strip of cloth embla­zoned with “Stop Fas­cism.” They were imme­di­ate­ly attacked. Their ban­ner was ripped apart. Marchers pushed some of the women to the ground and kicked oth­ers. Were these women exag­ger­at­ing in call­ing the march fas­cist? Or are we in fact wit­ness­ing a resur­gence of fas­cism in Poland? To steal a phrase: I believe the women.

Though the Pol­ish pres­i­dent, Andrzej Duda, con­demned the march, say­ing Poland has no place for “sick nation­al­ism,” the inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Mar­iusz Blaszczak, called it “a beau­ti­ful sight.” He added: “We are proud that so many Poles have decid­ed to take part in a cel­e­bra­tion con­nect­ed to the Inde­pen­dence Day hol­i­day.” Giv­en what tran­spired, this sounds shock­ing. But for those of us who fol­low Pol­ish pol­i­tics, the minister’s take didn’t come as a sur­prise.

Ever since the Law and Jus­tice Par­ty won both the pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in 2015, Poland has been under­go­ing a dis­turb­ing polit­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion. Law and Jus­tice is an Orwellian name for a par­ty that con­stant­ly vio­lates the law, breaks con­sti­tu­tion­al pro­vi­sions and is hell­bent on sub­ject­ing the courts to its con­trol. The par­ty is dis­man­tling the insti­tu­tion­al frame­work of par­lia­men­tary democ­ra­cy piece by piece in order to remove any restraints on the per­son­al pow­er of its leader, Jaroslaw Kaczyn­s­ki. “Prezes,” the Boss, peo­ple call him.

Two years ago, the par­ty bet that latch­ing onto the refugee cri­sis in Europe would give it pur­chase on the votes nec­es­sary to win. Its cal­cu­la­tion proved entire­ly cor­rect.

One of the first insti­tu­tions the par­ty hijacked was pub­lic tele­vi­sion. Law and Jus­tice has turned it into Fox News on steroids, paid for by the tax­pay­ers. It feeds view­ers non­stop pro­pa­gan­da about the mount­ing threat to Poland’s sov­er­eign­ty from the Euro­pean Union, specif­i­cal­ly in the form of Mus­lim refugees.

Those refugees present a threat to our way of life, the gov­ern­ment and the press insist. They will assault our women, they say, and they are car­ry­ing infec­tious dis­eases to boot. A year ago, a quar­ter of Poles opposed accept­ing any­one flee­ing the rav­ages of war in the Mid­dle East; after months of relent­less pro­pa­gan­da, 75 per­cent are now opposed. This year the coun­try has let in only 1,474 asy­lum seek­ers, near­ly all of them from Rus­sia or Ukraine.

Yet the marchers in War­saw seem to feel that their coun­try is being over­whelmed. “We don’t want Mus­lims here,” they cried. “No to Islam.” And “refugees get out.”

Until very recent­ly, Poles had nev­er giv­en much thought to Islam beyond occa­sion­al­ly a sense of his­tor­i­cal pride that a Pol­ish king, Jan Sobies­ki, defeat­ed the Turks in a 17th cen­tu­ry bat­tle for Vien­na, thus sav­ing Chris­t­ian Europe from the infi­dels.

This fits a recur­rent theme in Pol­ish nation­al mythol­o­gy: Poland as a ram­part of Chris­tian­i­ty, the Christ of Nations. Poland, accord­ing to this trope, has repeat­ed­ly, and hero­ical­ly, suf­fered for the sake of oth­ers, espe­cial­ly the rest of Chris­t­ian Europe.

While the War­saw demon­stra­tors parad­ed with burn­ing torch­es, Mr. Kaczyn­s­ki gave a speech in Krakow express­ing a new twist on this famil­iar nar­ra­tive: The Poles’ mis­sion now is to save a “sick Europe” from itself. The neo-fas­cist marchers in War­saw sug­gest­ed, as if on cue, how it could be done: “Pure Blood,” read one ban­ner. “White Europe,” anoth­er said.

But most Poles couldn’t tell a Mus­lim or a Bud­dhist from Jesus. Their ani­mus, which car­ries Pol­ish nation­al­ism into such an aggres­sive­ly xeno­pho­bic artic­u­la­tion, springs pri­mar­i­ly from a deep pool of eth­nic-cum-reli­gious hatred, which is indige­nous to Poland and has his­tor­i­cal­ly been aimed at Jews.

Anti-Semi­tism is a deeply entrenched and his­tor­i­cal­ly root­ed ele­ment of this Pol­ish nation­al­ist world­view. It was the ide­o­log­i­cal cor­ner­stone of the pre­war Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Roman Dmows­ki, at whose stat­ue the Inde­pen­dence Day march began this year. A youth orga­ni­za­tion that helped orga­nize the march in War­saw is a descen­dant of a fas­cist off­shoot of the par­ty, whose mem­bers took to the streets in the 1930s to beat Jews and to slash them with razor blades affixed to wood­en canes. Those who marched on Sat­ur­day are the heirs to this vile lega­cy.

Poland’s lead­ers have let an evil genie out of the bot­tle. What we’ve wit­nessed on the streets of War­saw rep­re­sents a threat not only to lib­er­al democ­ra­cy in Poland but also to the sta­bil­i­ty and wel­fare of the Euro­pean Union. Half of the six mil­lion Jew­ish vic­tims of the Holo­caust were Poles. Two mil­lion more Poles were killed dur­ing the Ger­man occu­pa­tion. How many deaths are required for lead­ers to learn that words and ideas can kill?

1b.The demon­stra­tion saw par­tic­i­pa­tion of Euro­pean fas­cists from oth­er coun­tries,  includ­ing Rober­to Fiore [31] of the P‑2 nexus [32] in Italy.

“60,000 Peo­ple Join Far-Right March on Poland’s Inde­pen­dence Day” by Vanes­sa Gera [AP]; Talk­ing Points Memo; 11/11/2017. [33]

. . . . Some par­tic­i­pants expressed sym­pa­thy for xeno­pho­bic or white suprema­cist ideas, with one ban­ner read­ing, “White Europe of broth­er­ly nations.” . . . .

. . . . Some also car­ried ban­ners depict­ing a falan­ga, a far-right sym­bol dat­ing to the 1930s. . . .

. . . . The march has become one of the largest such demon­stra­tion in Europe, and on Sat­ur­day it drew far-right lead­ers from else­where in Europe, includ­ing Tom­my Robin­son from Britain and Rober­to Fiore from Italy. . . .

State broad­cast­er TVP, which reflects the con­ser­v­a­tive government’s line, called it a “great march of patri­ots,” and in its broad­casts described the event as one that drew most­ly reg­u­lar Poles express­ing their love of Polands, not extrem­ists.

“It was a beau­ti­ful sight,” Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Mar­iusz Blaszczak said. “We are proud that so many Poles have decid­ed to take part in a cel­e­bra­tion con­nect­ed to the Inde­pen­dence Day hol­i­day.”

A small­er counter-protest by an anti-fas­cist move­ment also took place. Orga­niz­ers kept the two groups apart to pre­vent vio­lence.

[34]

Cas­a­Pound sup­port­er

1c. A news sto­ry in the Times is worth not­ing as well.

Points of inter­est here are:

  1. The com­mon “anti-immi­grant” themes of neo-fas­cist par­ties, from “Team Trump” to the Pol­ish fas­cists above fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Cas­a­Pound ide­ol­o­gy.
  2. The rav­ages of aus­ter­i­ty are among the chief caus­es of the evi­dent, and very real dis­tress being expe­ri­enced by work­ing peo­ple in dis­tressed economies like Italy. Orga­ni­za­tions like Cas­a­Pound offer them hope and, in some cas­es at least, appo­site assis­tance in that regard.
  3. There are direct ide­o­log­i­cal links to the fas­cism of the World War II and pre-war peri­ods, as is the case with the 1930s-era Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Poland.
  4. Focus on “neo-fas­cist” par­ties like Cas­a­Pound eclipses the insti­tu­tion­al­ized fas­cism evi­denced in the dom­i­nant, long-stand­ing oper­a­tions of the Pro­pa­gan­da Due net­work in Ital­ian gov­ern­ment and soci­ety. Head­ed by Mus­soli­ni backer Licio Gel­li, P‑2 wield­ed deci­sive influ­ence in Italy for decades, and was promi­nent in polit­i­cal devel­op­ments around the globe. P‑2’s sphere of influ­ence stretched from George H.W. Bush and Ronald Rea­gan, to the Vat­i­can to dom­i­nant ele­ments in the post­war Ital­ian eco­nom­ic and nation­al secu­ri­ty stra­ta.

“In Italy, a Neo-Fas­cist Par­ty’s Small Win Cre­ates Big Unease” by Jason Horowitz; The New York Times; 11/17/2017. [8]

When a can­di­date for a neo-fas­cist par­ty, Cas­a­Pound, won a seat this month on the munic­i­pal coun­cil of the Roman sub­urb of Ostia, many Ital­ians were star­tled

But they real­ly took notice days lat­er when a tele­vi­sion reporter arrived to inter­view a Cas­a­Pound sup­port­er — a sup­port­er who hap­pened to belong to one of the area’s most feared crime fam­i­lies — and received a vicious, nation­al­ly broad­cast head butt that broke his nose.

Last week, Ital­ian jour­nal­ists trekked to Ostia to solemn­ly protest at the scene of the assault. Around the cor­ner, res­i­dents were still cel­e­brat­ing, shrug­ging off the party’s claims to be the direct descen­dant of Ben­i­to Mussolini’s Fas­cist Par­ty.

“Look at what I’ll show you,” said one, Gian­lu­ca Antonuc­ci, as he unzipped his jack­et to reveal a black shirt fea­tur­ing Mussolini’s gran­ite face. “Il Duce.” For a while, this coun­try seemed an out­lier as nation­al­ist and xeno­pho­bic forces made gains across Europe. But now some fear that Italy, the birth­place of fas­cism, is catch­ing up with its neigh­bors.

This month, thou­sands of Poles chant­ed “White Europe” dur­ing Inde­pen­dence Day march­es, and the Free­dom Par­ty, found­ed by ex-Nazis, is in nego­ti­a­tions to join a coali­tion gov­ern­ment in Aus­tria. In Ger­many, the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many now sits in the Bun­destag.

“In every state we want nation­al­ist forces to win,” said Luca Marsel­la, CasaPound’s new­ly elect­ed coun­cil mem­ber, who won 9 per­cent of the vote. “If this hap­pens in oth­er cities, we’ll have a chance to go into Par­lia­ment to defend our nation.” That is a long, long way off.

The par­ty, named after the Amer­i­can poet Ezra Pound, who sup­port­ed Mus­soli­ni, is still sta­tis­ti­cal­ly irrel­e­vant on the nation­al lev­el. But Cas­a­Pound is win­ning seats in a hand­ful of towns, and some of its core beliefs — a fond­ness for Rus­sia and sharp oppo­si­tion to the Euro­pean Union, glob­al­iza­tion and immi­gra­tion, which it believes sul­ly the nation­al iden­ti­ty and econ­o­my — are increas­ing­ly spread­ing through­out Italy.

In Sici­ly, the new head­quar­ters of Broth­ers of Italy, a descen­dant of the post-fas­cist Ital­ian Social Move­ment, had the phrase “Ital­ians first” writ­ten on the wall dur­ing its recent inau­gu­ra­tion. Anti-immi­gra­tion sen­ti­ment has grown so pop­u­lar that the once-seces­sion­ist North­ern League has dropped the word “North­ern’” from its name as it looks for inroads to the south.

The anti-estab­lish­ment Five Star Move­ment, while ide­o­log­i­cal­ly amor­phous, has charis­mat­ic fire­brand lead­ers who take the stage to the chant­i­ng of their nick­names and then rile up crowds with a mes­sage of resent­ment.

All of this makes CasaPound’s lead­ers hope­ful that Italy is new­ly fer­tile ground for fas­cism. The Ital­ian Con­sti­tu­tion bans “the reor­ga­ni­za­tion in any form of the dis­solved Fas­cist Par­ty.”

But Cas­a­Pound and oth­er neo-fas­cist move­ments have skirt­ed the law by call­ing them­selves the descen­dants of Mus­soli­ni. They insist that they believe in democ­ra­cy and not a fas­cist dic­ta­tor­ship.

Cas­a­Pound began 14 years ago as a sort of fas­cist ver­sion of the pop­ulist Rent Is Too Damn High Par­ty in New York. It now has thou­sands of chap­ters around the coun­try. “We are a young and clean polit­i­cal force,” said Simone Di Ste­fano, the party’s vice pres­i­dent, as he stood under posters of Mus­soli­ni in its Roman head­quar­ters.

The build­ing, which sits incon­gru­ous­ly in the heart of an immi­grant neigh­bor­hood in cen­tral Rome, has served as the party’s home since its leader, Gian­lu­ca Ian­none, a tat­tooed and extrav­a­gant­ly beard­ed mem­ber of a right-wing punk band, led fol­low­ers to occu­py the apart­ments.

On a recent after­noon, chil­dren of the rough­ly 20 fam­i­lies now resid­ing there ran in its entry­way, bright­ly dec­o­rat­ed with the names of the movement’s heroes, includ­ing Julius Cae­sar, Mus­soli­ni and the right-wing philoso­pher Julius Evola.

Of course, there was also Pound, who rant­ed against Jews on Ital­ian radio and was impris­oned for trea­son dur­ing the war. (The daugh­ter of the poet has tried to make the par­ty change its name.) Mem­bers with black boots, tat­tooed necks and shorn hair guard floors dec­o­rat­ed with pic­tures of Fas­cist-era march­es and ban­ners read­ing “Arm Your Soul.”

Cas­a­Pound has a more sec­u­lar and social­ly tol­er­ant approach than its hard-right cousin Forza Nuo­va, which Italy’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter, Mar­co Min­ni­ti, banned from reen­act­ing Mussolini’s “March on Rome” last month. But its mem­bers exhib­it the same fond­ness for Roman salutes and myth­ic glo­ry days.

CasaPound’s lead­ers shrug off Mussolini’s racial laws and alliance with Hitler with a nobody’s‑perfect non­cha­lance. They instead pre­fer to focus on Fascism’s role in Ital­ian mod­ern­iza­tion and mil­i­tary might. “That spir­it of the nation bloomed in this coun­try dur­ing those years,” Mr. Di Ste­fano said. “And I would like to bring that feel­ing back today.”

That is espe­cial­ly so in Ostia, a sub­urb of 230,000, home to job­less­ness, resent­ment toward immi­grants, and an orga­nized crime prob­lem so insid­i­ous that the police dis­band­ed the local gov­ern­ment two years ago. The jour­nal­ist who was head-butted was try­ing to inter­view a mem­ber of a pow­er­ful local clan called the Spadas, which had thrown its sup­port behind Cas­a­Pound.

“I vot­ed for Cas­a­Pound, and I’m proud of it,” said Mari­na Luglu, as she walked out of Bar Music, owned by the head-but­ter, Rober­to Spa­da, whom she admir­ing­ly called “Mr. Rober­to.” Vot­ers here reward­ed the par­ty for its engage­ment with their run­down hous­ing projects. Cas­a­Pound pro­vid­ed a food bank to hun­dreds of fam­i­lies, sent handy­men to fix ele­va­tors and lawyers to locals in need.

Viviana Pru­den­zi, a 34-year-old house clean­er walk­ing down a sea­side street with her moth­er, said she vot­ed for Cas­a­Pound because its mem­bers were “the only ones who are here help­ing — help­ing the Ital­ians.” “They call them fas­cists because they think of Ital­ians and not the for­eign­ers,” she said.

This sum­mer, Mr. Marsel­la, the Cas­a­Pound can­di­date, led a beach patrol of par­ty mem­bers in red vests. They forced unli­censed and immi­grant ven­dors, some vis­i­bly ter­ri­fied, off the beach. Left­ist activists have accused them of beat­ings. For recre­ation, par­ty mem­bers whip each oth­er with belts in mosh pits. “We don’t rec­og­nize vio­lence as a polit­i­cal tool, but if we are attacked, we respond,” said Mr. Marsel­la, a soft-spo­ken 32-year-old I.T. con­sul­tant. Asked whether he had pre­vailed in his clash­es with left­ist activists, he cracked a smile. “Oh, yeah.”

Over the sum­mer, Mr. Marsel­la and oth­er mem­bers of Cas­a­Pound clashed with the riot police in Rome as they protest­ed a pro­pos­al to grant cit­i­zen­ship to the Ital­ian-born chil­dren of immi­grants.

“We want­ed the Sen­ate to feel besieged,” Mr. Di Ste­fano said at the time. A video he post­ed of the clash­es on his Face­book page received more than 300,000 likes. That his­to­ry of vio­lence did not both­er a group of women gath­ered in front of one of the Spa­da family’s gyms.

They hailed the Cas­a­Pound activists as “good­fel­las.” When the Rev. Fran­co De Don­no, a priest known for his works against the Mafia and on behalf of immi­grants, walked by, they cursed him as “dis­gust­ing” for tak­ing a leave of absence from his sacra­men­tal duties to run for office.

They near­ly attacked a woman who urged them to acknowl­edge the drugs and vio­lence that rid­dled their neigh­bor­hood. Five Cara­binieri patrol cars came to her aid. Father De Don­no, who also earned a seat in the munic­i­pal gov­ern­ment, said one of his sup­port­ers had been beat­en by mem­bers of Cas­a­Pound, includ­ing Mr. Marsel­la.

(Mr. Marsel­la denied this.) “I hope that enter­ing in the insti­tu­tion, Luca Marsel­la lim­its his recourse to vio­lent meth­ods,” the priest said. On Sun­day, amid an increased police pres­ence, res­i­dents will vote in a runoff to decide who will become coun­cil pres­i­dent. Giu­liana Di Pil­lo, the lead­ing can­di­date of the Five Star Move­ment, acknowl­edged that Cas­a­Pound had siphoned sup­port from her and her cen­ter-right oppo­nent. She admit­ted to some trep­i­da­tion about serv­ing with a fas­cist. “Cer­tain­ly, it wor­ries me,” she said

2a. Next, we jour­ney to Ukraine, to take in the lat­est piece of WWII his­to­ry that Volodomyr Via­tro­vych and Ukraine’s Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry are craft­ing: In order to char­ac­ter­ize the UPA as mul­ti-eth­nic, mul­ti-cul­tur­al, and demo­c­ra­t­ic, Via­tro­vych appears to have con­coct­ed a com­plete fan­ta­sy ver­sion of his­to­ry around Lei­ba-Itsko Iosi­fovich Dobrovskii, a Jew who worked with the UPA.

This fan­ta­sy ver­sion of Dobrovskii as a will­ing and eager UPA mem­ber was start­ed in 2006 when that Via­tro­vych wrote about him in a book, alleged­ly based on his arrest file of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice. But as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, that file isn’t exclu­sive­ly avail­able to Via­tro­vych. And, of course, when the fol­low­ing author decid­ed to look into those files for him­self he found that Dobrovskii hat­ed the UPA, was basi­cal­ly forced to work with them, and the only rea­son they didn’t per­se­cute him for being a Jew was because he was hid­ing his Jew­ish back­ground the entire time [9]:

“Ukraine’s Invent­ed a ‘Jew­ish-Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ist’ to White­wash Its Nazi-era Past” by Jared McBride; Haaretz; 11/09/2017 [9]

Myth-mak­ing efforts by the Ukraine to glo­ri­fy the WWII role of one ‘arche­typ­al’ Jew, Lei­ba Dubrovskii, is part of Kyiv’s war on mem­o­ry: its eager attempts to erase anti-Semi­tism, bru­tal­i­ty and com­plic­i­ty with the Nazis from its wartime his­to­ry

For a prac­ti­cal les­son in nation­al­ism that white­wash­es an incon­ve­nient past, includ­ing ties to the Nazis, racism, anti-Semi­tism, involve­ment in the Holo­caust, eth­nic cleans­ing and oth­er vio­lence against a country’s own cit­i­zens – look no fur­ther than Ukraine.

The Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry (UINP) and its patrons in the Poroshenko gov­ern­ment in Kyiv are allow­ing us to study the process of nation­al­ist myth-mak­ing in real-time.

Pres­i­dent Poroshenko has enabled nation­al­ist activists like Volodymyr Via­tro­vych, head of the Insti­tute, to sculpt Ukraine’s his­to­ry and mem­o­ry poli­cies. Part and par­cel of the Institute’s “decom­mu­niza­tion” cam­paign to remove rem­nants of a Sovi­et past simul­ta­ne­ous­ly has been to lion­ize 20th cen­tu­ry Ukraini­ans who fought for Ukraine’s inde­pen­dence no mat­ter how [10] prob­lem­at­ic [11] their prob­lem­at­ic [11].

In par­tic­u­lar, the Via­tro­vych and the Insti­tute have made white­wash­ing the image of World War Two Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists a pri­or­i­ty, not a small feat con­sid­er­ing their doc­u­ment­ed ties to, and com­plic­i­ty with, the Nazis.

This nation­al­ist revi­sion­ism seeks to show that the main wartime nation­al­ist orga­ni­za­tions, the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) and its mil­i­tary wing, the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA), were ulti­mate­ly mul­ti-eth­nic, “mul­ti-cul­tur­al,” and demo­c­ra­t­ic.

Unsur­pris­ing­ly, the nation­al­ists’ rela­tion­ship with Ukraine’s Jews has proved the biggest chal­lenge to this rein­ven­tion of Holo­caust co-per­pe­tra­tors and eth­nic cleansers as tol­er­ant inter­na­tion­al­ists.

Its pro­mot­ers have recent­ly dou­bled down on these efforts, spurred on by the annu­al ‘Defend­ers of Ukraine’ hol­i­day, cel­e­brat­ing a fic­ti­tious foun­da­tion date of the nation­al­ists’ army, the UPA.

The Poroshenko gov­ern­ment cir­cu­lat­ed instruc­tions on the eve of the hol­i­day, empha­siz­ing the need to “pro­vide cit­i­zens with objec­tive infor­ma­tion.” But a his­tor­i­cal adden­dum pre­pared by the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry does the oppo­site by claim­ing that: “Jews and Belaru­sians also fought in the ranks” of the UPA and that “many Jews” joined them vol­un­tar­i­ly to prove them­selves “as seri­ous fight­ers and doc­tors.”

Much Ukrain­ian media ink has been spilled in recent years glo­ri­fy­ing the role of one Jew, who served with the nation­al­ists. His sto­ry encap­su­lates Ukraine’s war on mem­o­ry, and its eager attempts to write out anti-Semi­tism from its wartime his­to­ry.

Lei­ba-Itsko Iosi­fovich Dobrovskii has been tout­ed as a Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist who also hap­pened to be Jew­ish. That was to make the point that Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism and Jew­ish­ness were not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive. These days, we’d call the re-engi­neer­ing of facts about Dobrovskii a fake news sto­ry. But it is instruc­tive to trace its ori­gins.

The leg­end of Lei­ba Dobrovskii, Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist Jew, orig­i­nat­ed not in World War Two but the mid-2000s, when he was first briefly men­tioned in a book in 2006 by his­to­ri­an and activist Volodymyr Via­tro­vych.

Via­tro­vych made ref­er­ence to a “Jew” in the UPA, who helped write leaflets for the UPA in 1942 and 1943 and even­tu­al­ly was arrest­ed by the Sovi­ets. In 2008 the Dobrovskii leg­end grew, thanks to the exhi­bi­tion “Jews in the Ukrain­ian Lib­er­a­tion Move­ment,” [12] staged by the Ukrain­ian Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice and the Insti­tute for Nation­al Mem­o­ry with the assis­tance of Via­tro­vych. Draw­ing on Dobrovskii’s arrest file in the archives of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice, the exhi­bi­tion high­light­ed his line-up pic­ture and alleged role in the UPA, while notably offer­ing no more details.

At this point, the myth of Jews hap­pi­ly serv­ing with Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists in WW2 began to be report­ed in pres­ti­gious out­lets like BBC Ukraine [13].

After the Maid­an rev­o­lu­tion of 2014, and Viatrovych’s fur­ther rise with­in the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, the Dobrovskii leg­end flour­ished. In 2015, at the promi­nent Kyiv-Mohy­la Uni­ver­si­ty, Via­tro­vych gave a lec­ture pre­sent­ing Dobrovskii as the arche­typ­al “Ukrain­ian Jew” [35] in the UPA. Anoth­er exhi­bi­tion this past May again used Dobrovskii in the same vein. Even the largest Holo­caust Muse­um in Ukraine, locat­ed in Dnipro, high­lights Dobrovskii as a Jew “in the OUN-UPA.”  [36]

With this October’s hol­i­day, his pho­to and brief sto­ry has appeared fre­quent­ly in local pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing at the West­ern fund­ed Radio Svo­bo­da oper­at­ed by Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty (RFE/RL), which also pro­motes the myth [37] of a Nation­al­ist Inter­na­tion­al [38]. Dobrovskii’s name and pic­ture have become sym­bols of the alleged tol­er­ance and mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism of Ukrain­ian World War Two nation­al­ism.

How­ev­er, when I actu­al­ly read Dobrovskii’s file, the leg­end of the Jew eager to join the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists quick­ly evap­o­rat­ed.

Dobrovskii grew up in the Kyiv region, fin­ished law school, and was a Com­mu­nist par­ty mem­ber from 1929. As a Red Army sol­dier, he was cap­tured in 1941 and changed his name to Leonid Dubrovskii to appear Ukrain­ian.

In this guise, he got out of cap­tiv­i­ty and went to north-west­ern Ukraine, where he acci­dent­ly met local Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists con­nect­ed to the local col­lab­o­ra­tionist police and admin­is­tra­tion, includ­ing the local may­or and lat­er UPA mem­ber, Myko­la Kryzhanovskii. Note­wor­thy is that Kryzhanovskii was well-known for his bru­tal­i­ty towards Jews. Not sus­pect­ing that Dobrovskii was Jew­ish and appre­ci­at­ing his edu­ca­tion, the nation­al­ists recruit­ed him to pro­duce pro­pa­gan­da.

In con­trast to the shiny new nation­al­ist leg­end, Dobrovskii actu­al­ly con­cealed his Jew­ish­ness to his nation­al­ist ‘com­pa­tri­ots’ and was no enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­er of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ism. In fact, he was scared that they would find out who he real­ly was.

When asked in his inter­ro­ga­tion about the rela­tion­ship between Jews and the nation­al­ists in gen­er­al, Dobrovskii not­ed that “Jews could not for­mal­ly” join the Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists. He feared nation­al­ist ret­ri­bu­tion against his wife and child. Dobrovskii also tried to feign sick­ness to avoid work­ing for the nation­al­ists and on numer­ous occa­sions tried to avoid con­tact, but was pres­sured to con­tin­ue his ser­vice. On mul­ti­ple occa­sions, sol­diers came to his home to bring him to meet­ings.

Dobrovskii had well-found­ed rea­sons for his reluc­tance and fear. He felt that Ukraine’s nation­al­ists, who delib­er­ate­ly helped staff local police forces under the Ger­man Nazi forces, were com­plic­it in the geno­cide of the Jews.

In 1943, he not­ed, nation­al­ist detach­ments “car­ried out the mass mur­der of the Pol­ish pop­u­la­tion” in west­ern Ukraine. He described the rad­i­cal­iz­ing influ­ence of West Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists on Ukrain­ian youth and observed that they spread “enmi­ty toward Jews, Rus­sians and Poles.” He also observed nation­al­ist vio­lence and “ter­ror” against Ukraini­ans, includ­ing the mur­der of two church lead­ers by UPA.

He did not even believe in the nation­al­ist claims that they were fight­ing the Ger­mans, remark­ing that they “did not kill a sin­gle local Ger­man [Nazi] leader in the area” of Vol­hy­nia.

We might ask: Did Via­tro­vych and his sup­port­ers think that no one would ever read Dobrovskii’s arrest file? Did they them­selves read the entire file? Did they arbi­trar­i­ly choose to dis­miss all evi­dence of his fear of the nation­al­ists, and of their bru­tal­i­ty, as ‘Sovi­et dis­tor­tions’?

In that case, one would think they would at least men­tion and address a source that mas­sive­ly con­tra­dicts the myth they’ve have been embell­ish­ing and spread­ing. Archives are not buf­fets from which nation­al­ist pub­lic rela­tions activists can choose the most appeal­ing morsels. Instead, research requires con­tex­tu­al­iza­tion, not to men­tion cross-check­ing.

Sad­ly, we know this is not the first time that nation­al­ist activists have spread a fake nar­ra­tive about Jews and nation­al­ists, as in the case of Stel­la Krentsbakh/Kreutzbach, a fic­ti­tious Jew­ess who, accord­ing to her ‘auto­bi­og­ra­phy’, forged by a nation­al­ist pro­pa­gan­dist in the 1950s, thanked “God and the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army” for hav­ing sur­vived the war and the Holo­caust.

Sim­i­lar­ly, how is it that for almost a decade now Ukrain­ian media and parts of acad­e­mia have sim­ply trust­ed the state­ments of high­ly – and trans­par­ent­ly – moti­vat­ed nation­al­ist activists with­out both­er­ing to check their sto­ry? The archives are open, after all. Are Ukrain­ian media and west­ern out­lets like Radio Svo­bo­da inca­pable or unwill­ing to check infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by a Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment body offi­cial­ly ded­i­cat­ed to the Ukrain­ian his­tor­i­cal record?

In a post-Maid­an land­scape where an inde­pen­dent media and acad­e­my are vital to the integri­ty of Ukrain­ian democ­ra­cy and its inte­gra­tion in Europe, this case should force some reassess­ment of the degree to which Ukraine’s pub­lic can access facts and not pro­pa­gan­da.

Shock­ing as this case may be, Ukraine is hard­ly alone in its efforts to white­wash its past and ele­vate con­tro­ver­sial nation­al­ist lead­ers. Through­out East­ern Europe, be it in Hun­gary [39], Poland [40], or Lithua­nia [41], the strug­gle to deal with a dif­fi­cult, often anti-Semit­ic past in an hon­est, pro­duc­tive man­ner in an uncer­tain present looms large for the future of the region.

3b. In numer­ous broad­casts [42], we have not­ed the Orwellian rewrite [43] of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry to deny the per­pe­tra­tors of the Holo­caust in that coun­try and white­wash the Nazi-allied OUN/B and UPA.

A recent arti­cle in For­eign Pol­i­cy [14], fur­ther devel­ops the activ­i­ties of Volodymyr Via­tro­vych, appoint­ed as head of the Insti­tute of Nation­al mem­o­ry by Vik­tor Yuschenko [44] and then re-appoint­ed by Petro Pet­roshenko. CORRECTION: For­eign Pol­i­cy is not pub­lished by the Coun­cil on For­eign Rela­tions, as pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed. The CFR’s quar­ter­ly pub­li­ca­tion is “For­eign Affairs,” not “For­eign Pol­i­cy.”)

After the Yushc­neko gov­ern­ment left pow­er and pri­or to the Maid­an coup, Via­tro­vych was in the U.S., work­ing as a fel­low at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty’s Ukrain­ian Research Insti­tute. This is in line with the fun­da­men­tal role of the OUN/B‑based Amer­i­can emi­gre com­mu­ni­ty in the gen­er­a­tion of the Orange Rev­o­lu­tion and the Maid­an coup.

. . . . Dur­ing this peri­od Via­tro­vych spent time in North Amer­i­ca on a series of lec­ture tours, as well as a short sojourn as a research fel­low at the Har­vard Ukrain­ian Research Insti­tute (HURI). He also con­tin­ued his aca­d­e­m­ic activism, writ­ing books and arti­cles pro­mot­ing the hero­ic nar­ra­tive of the OUN-UPA. In 2013 he tried to crash and dis­rupt a work­shop on Ukrain­ian and Russ­ian nation­al­ism tak­ing place at the Har­ri­man Insti­tute at Colum­bia. When the Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion swept Yanukovych out of pow­er in Feb­ru­ary 2014, Via­tro­vych returned to promi­nence. . . .

Recall that Yuschenko mar­ried the for­mer Yka­te­ri­na Chu­machenko [45]–Rea­gan’s Deputy Direc­tor of Pub­lic Liai­son and a key oper­a­tive of the OUN/B’s Amer­i­can front orga­niz­tion the U.C.C.A.–and had Roman Zvarych [46] (Jaroslav Stet­sko’s per­son­al sec­re­tary in the ear­ly 1980’s) as his Min­is­ter of Jus­tice.

Note, also, that Ser­hiy Kvit, the Ukrain­ian Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion is a bird of the same feath­er as Via­tro­vych.  . . . . Last June, Kvit’s Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion issued a direc­tive [21] to teach­ers regard­ing the ‘neces­si­ty to accen­tu­ate the patri­o­tism and moral­i­ty of the activists of the lib­er­a­tion move­ment,’ includ­ing depict­ing the UPA as a ‘sym­bol of patri­o­tism and sac­ri­fi­cial spir­it in the strug­gle for an inde­pen­dent Ukraine” and Ban­dera as an ‘out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive’ of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple. . . .’ ”

The mea­sure of the revi­sion­ism under­way in Ukraine can be gauged by this: “. . . . UPA supreme com­man­der Dmytro Kliachkivs’kyi explic­it­ly stat­ed [17]: ‘We should car­ry out a large-scale liq­ui­da­tion action against Pol­ish ele­ments. Dur­ing the evac­u­a­tion of the Ger­man Army, we should find an appro­pri­ate moment to liq­ui­date the entire male pop­u­la­tion between 16 and 60 years old.’ Giv­en that over 70 per­cent of the lead­ing UPA cadres pos­sessed a back­ground as Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, none of this is sur­pris­ing. . . .”

It is depress­ing and remark­able to see such ele­ments being por­trayed as “hero­ic!”

“The His­to­ri­an White­wash­ing Ukraine’s Past” by Josh Cohen; For­eign Pol­i­cy; 5/02/2016. [14]

. . . . Advo­cat­ing a nation­al­ist, revi­sion­ist his­to­ry that glo­ri­fies the country’s move to inde­pen­dence — and purges bloody and oppor­tunis­tic chap­ters — [Volodymyr] Via­tro­vych has attempt­ed to redraft the country’s mod­ern his­to­ry to white­wash Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist groups’ involve­ment in the Holo­caust and mass eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles dur­ing World War II. And right now, he’s win­ning. . . .

. . . . In May 2015, Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Petro Poroshenko signed a law [47] that man­dat­ed the trans­fer of the country’s com­plete set of archives, from the “Sovi­et organs of repres­sion,” such as the KGB and its dece­dent, the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine (SBU), to a gov­ern­ment orga­ni­za­tion called the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry [48]. . . .

. . . . The con­tro­ver­sy cen­ters on a telling of World War II his­to­ry that ampli­fies Sovi­et crimes and glo­ri­fies Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist fight­ers while dis­miss­ing the vital part they played in eth­nic cleans­ing of Poles and Jews from 1941 to 1945 after the Nazi inva­sion of the for­mer Sovi­et Union. . . .

. . . . And more point­ed­ly, schol­ars now fear that they risk reprisal for not toe­ing the offi­cial line — or call­ing Via­tro­vych on his his­tor­i­cal dis­tor­tions. Under Viatrovych’s reign, the coun­try could be head­ed for a new, and fright­en­ing, era of cen­sor­ship. . . .

. . . . The revi­sion­ism focus­es on two Ukrain­ian nation­al­ist groups: the Orga­ni­za­tion of Ukrain­ian Nation­al­ists (OUN) and the Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA), which fought to estab­lish an inde­pen­dent Ukraine. Dur­ing the war, these groups killed [49] tens of thou­sands of Jews and car­ried out a bru­tal cam­paign of eth­nic cleans­ing that killed as many as 100,000 Poles. Cre­at­ed [50] in 1929 to free Ukraine from Sovi­et con­trol, the OUN embraced [51] the notion of an eth­ni­cal­ly pure Ukrain­ian nation. When the Nazis invad­ed the Sovi­et Union in 1941, the OUN and its charis­mat­ic leader, Stepan Ban­dera, wel­comed [52] the inva­sion as a step toward Ukrain­ian inde­pen­dence. [This is mod­i­fied lim­it­ed hang­out. The OUN/B was part of the Third Reich’s polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary order of battle.–D.E.] Its mem­bers car­ried out a pogrom in Lviv [53] that killed 5,000 Jews, and OUN mili­tias played a major role in vio­lence against the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion in west­ern Ukraine that claimed the lives of up to 35,000 Jews. . . . [A street in the Lviv dis­trict has been renamed [54] in hon­or of the Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall or Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion, com­mand­ed by Roman Shukhevych (named a “Hero of Ukraine” and the father of Yuri Shukhevych, a top archi­tect of the cur­rent Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal landscape.)–D.E.]

. . . . The new law [55], which promis­es that peo­ple who “pub­licly exhib­it a dis­re­spect­ful atti­tude” toward these groups or “deny the legit­i­ma­cy” of Ukraine’s 20th cen­tu­ry strug­gle for inde­pen­dence will be pros­e­cut­ed (though no pun­ish­ment is spec­i­fied) also means that inde­pen­dent Ukraine is being par­tial­ly built on a fal­si­fied nar­ra­tive of the Holo­caust.

By trans­fer­ring con­trol of the nation’s archives to Via­tro­vych, Ukraine’s nation­al­ists assured them­selves that man­age­ment of the nation’s his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ry is now in the “cor­rect” hands. . . .

. . . . In 2008, in addi­tion to his role at TsD­VR, Vik­tor Yushchenko, then pres­i­dent, appoint­ed Via­tro­vych head of the Secu­ri­ty Ser­vice of Ukraine’s (SBU) archives. Yuschenko made the pro­mo­tion of OUN-UPA mythol­o­gy a fun­da­men­tal part of his lega­cy, rewrit­ing school text­books, renam­ing streets, and hon­or­ing OUN-UPA lead­ers as “heroes of Ukraine.” As Yuschenko’s lead­ing mem­o­ry man­ag­er — both at TsD­VR and the SBU — Via­tro­vych was his right-hand man in this cru­sade. He con­tin­ued to push the state-spon­sored hero­ic rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the OUN-UPA and their lead­ers Ban­dera, Yaroslav Stet­sko, and Roman Shukhevych. . . .

. . . . After Vik­tor Yanukovych was elect­ed pres­i­dent in 2010, Via­tro­vych fad­ed from view. . . . Dur­ing this peri­od Via­tro­vych spent time in North Amer­i­ca on a series of lec­ture tours, as well as a short sojourn as a research fel­low at the Har­vard Ukrain­ian Research Insti­tute (HURI). He also con­tin­ued his aca­d­e­m­ic activism, writ­ing books and arti­cles pro­mot­ing the hero­ic nar­ra­tive of the OUN-UPA. In 2013 he tried to crash and dis­rupt a work­shop on Ukrain­ian and Russ­ian nation­al­ism tak­ing place at the Har­ri­man Insti­tute at Colum­bia. When the Maid­an Rev­o­lu­tion swept Yanukovych out of pow­er in Feb­ru­ary 2014, Via­tro­vych returned to promi­nence. . . .

. . . . The new pres­i­dent, Poroshenko, appoint­ed [43] Via­tro­vych to head the Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry — a pres­ti­gious appoint­ment for a rel­a­tive­ly young schol­ar. . . .

. . . . To that effect, Via­tro­vych has dis­missed [15] his­tor­i­cal events not com­port­ing with this nar­ra­tive as “Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da.” [This is true of infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed by any­one that tells the truth about the OUN/B heirs now in pow­er in Ukraine–they are dis­missed as “Russ­ian dupes” or “tools of the Krem­lin” etc.–D.E.] In his 2006 book [16], The OUN’s Posi­tion Towards the Jews: For­mu­la­tion of a posi­tion against the back­drop of a cat­a­stro­phe, he attempt­ed to exon­er­ate the OUN from its col­lab­o­ra­tion in the Holo­caust by ignor­ing the over­whelm­ing mass of his­tor­i­cal lit­er­a­ture. The book was wide­ly panned [56] by West­ern his­to­ri­ans. Uni­ver­si­ty of Alber­ta pro­fes­sor John-Paul Him­ka, one of the lead­ing schol­ars of Ukrain­ian his­to­ry for three decades, described it [57] as “employ­ing a series of dubi­ous pro­ce­dures: reject­ing sources that com­pro­mise the OUN, accept­ing uncrit­i­cal­ly cen­sored sources ema­nat­ing from émi­gré OUN cir­cles, fail­ing to rec­og­nize anti-Semi­tism in OUN texts.” . . . . Even more wor­ri­some for the future integri­ty of Ukraine’s archives under Via­tro­vych is his noto­ri­ety among West­ern his­to­ri­ans for his will­ing­ness to alleged­ly ignore or even fal­si­fy his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments. “Schol­ars on his staff pub­lish doc­u­ment col­lec­tions that are fal­si­fied,” said Jef­frey Burds, a pro­fes­sor of Russ­ian and Sovi­et his­to­ry at North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty.“ I know this because I have seen the orig­i­nals, made copies, and have com­pared their tran­scrip­tions to the orig­i­nals.” . . .

. . . . Sev­en­ty his­to­ri­ans signed [18] an open let­ter to Poroshenko ask­ing him to veto the draft law that bans crit­i­cism of the OUN-UPA. . . .

. . . . After the open let­ter was pub­lished, the legislation’s spon­sor, Yuri Shukhevych, react­ed [19] furi­ous­ly. Shukhevych, the son of UPA leader Roman Shukhevych and a long­time far-right polit­i­cal activist him­self, fired off a let­ter [19] to Min­is­ter of Edu­ca­tion Ser­hiy Kvit claim­ing, “Russ­ian spe­cial ser­vices” pro­duced the let­ter and demand­ed that “patri­ot­ic” his­to­ri­ans rebuff it. Kvit, also a long­time far-right activist [20] and author of an admir­ing biog­ra­phy one of the key the­o­reti­cians of Ukrain­ian eth­nic nation­al­ism, in turn omi­nous­ly high­light­ed the sig­na­to­ries of Ukrain­ian his­to­ri­ans on his copy of the let­ter. . . .

. . . . UPA supreme com­man­der Dmytro Kliachkivs’kyi explic­it­ly stat­ed [17]: “We should car­ry out a large-scale liq­ui­da­tion action against Pol­ish ele­ments. Dur­ing the evac­u­a­tion of the Ger­man Army, we should find an appro­pri­ate moment to liq­ui­date the entire male pop­u­la­tion between 16 and 60 years old.” Giv­en that over 70 per­cent of the lead­ing UPA cadres pos­sessed a back­ground as Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors, none of this is sur­pris­ing. . . .

 . . . . Last June, Kvit’s Min­istry of Edu­ca­tion issued a direc­tive [21] to teach­ers regard­ing the “neces­si­ty to accen­tu­ate the patri­o­tism and moral­i­ty of the activists of the lib­er­a­tion move­ment,” includ­ing depict­ing the UPA as a “sym­bol of patri­o­tism and sac­ri­fi­cial spir­it in the strug­gle for an inde­pen­dent Ukraine” and Ban­dera as an “out­stand­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive” of the Ukrain­ian peo­ple.” More recent­ly, Viatrovych’s Ukrain­ian Insti­tute of Nation­al Mem­o­ry pro­posed that the city of Kiev rename [22] two streets after Ban­dera and the for­mer supreme com­man­der of both the UPA and the Nazi-super­vised Schutz­mannschaft Roman Shukhevych. . . .

8a. June 30th has been estab­lished as a com­mem­o­ra­tive cel­e­bra­tion in Lvov [Lviv]. It was on June 30, 1941, when the OUN‑B announced an inde­pen­dent Ukrain­ian state in the city of Lviv [58]. That same day marked the start of the Lviv Pograms that led to the death of thou­sands of Jews [59].

The hol­i­day cel­e­brates Roman Shukhevych, com­man­der of the Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion that car­ried out the mass killings. The city of Lviv is start­ing “Shukhevy­ch­fest” to be held in Lviv on June 30th [23], [23] com­mem­o­rat­ing the pogrom. Shukhevy­ch’s birth­day. Shukhevych was named a “Hero of the Ukraine” [60] by Vik­tor Yuschenko [44].

In past posts and pro­grams, we have dis­cussed Volodomir Vya­tro­vich [61], head of the Orwellian Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance. He defend­ed Shukhevych and the pub­lic dis­play­ing of the sym­bol of the Gali­cian Divi­sion (14th Waf­fen SS Divi­sion.)

Lvov Pogrom, 1941--Einsatzgruppe Nachtigall youth in action. [62]

Lvov Pogrom, 1941–Einsatzgruppe Nachti­gall in action, 6/30/1941.

“Ukraine City to Hold Fes­ti­val in Hon­or of Nazi Col­lab­o­ra­tor Whose Troops Killed Jews”; Jew­ish Tele­graph Agency; 06/28/2017 [23]

The Ukrain­ian city of Lviv will hold a fes­ti­val cel­e­brat­ing a Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tor on the anniver­sary of a major pogrom against the city’s Jews. (Pho­tos to the right depict some of the excess­es of the unit, an exem­plary tac­tic that came to be known as “street humil­i­a­tions.” Do you believe the women?)

Shukhevy­ch­fest, an event named for Roman Shukhevych fea­tur­ing music and the­ater shows, will be held Fri­day.

Eduard Dolin­sky, the direc­tor of the Ukrain­ian Jew­ish Com­mit­tee, in a state­ment called the event “dis­grace­ful.”

On June 30, 1941, Ukrain­ian troops, includ­ing mili­ti­a­men loy­al to Shukhevych’s, began a series of pogroms against Jews, which they per­pe­trat­ed under the aus­pices of the Ger­man army, accord­ing to Yale Uni­ver­si­ty his­to­ry pro­fes­sor Tim­o­thy Sny­der and oth­er schol­ars. They mur­dered approx­i­mate­ly 6,000 Jews in those pogroms.

The day of the fes­ti­val is the 110th birth­day of Shukhevych, a leader of the OUN‑B nation­al­ist group and lat­er of the UPA insur­gency mili­tia, which col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis against the Sovi­et Union before it turned against the Nazis.

[63]

Roman Shukhevy­ch’s Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall (Nachti­gall Bat­tal­ion) in action in Lvov in 1941. The cadre was part of the UPA.

Shukhevy­ch­fest is part of a series of ges­tures hon­or­ing [64] nation­al­ists in Ukraine fol­low­ing the 2014 rev­o­lu­tion, in which nation­al­ists played a lead­ing role. They brought down the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovuch, whose crit­ics said was a cor­rupt Russ­ian stooge.

On June 13, a Kiev admin­is­tra­tive court par­tial­ly upheld a motion by par­ties opposed to the ven­er­a­tion of Shukhevych in the city and sus­pend­ed [65] the renam­ing of a street after Shukhevych. The city coun­cil approved [66] the renam­ing ear­li­er this month.

In a relat­ed debate, the direc­tor of Ukraine’s Insti­tute of Nation­al Remem­brance, Vladimir Vya­tro­vich [67], who recent­ly described Shukhevych as an “emi­nent per­son­al­i­ty,” last month defend­ed [68] the dis­play­ing in pub­lic of the sym­bol of the Gali­cian SS divi­sion [69]. Respon­si­ble for count­less mur­ders of Jews, Nazi Germany’s most elite unit was com­prised of Ukrain­ian vol­un­teers.

Dis­play­ing Nazi sym­bols is ille­gal in Ukraine but the Gali­cian SS division’s sym­bol is “in accor­dance with the cur­rent leg­is­la­tion of Ukraine,” Vya­tro­vich said. . . .

8b. The Nightin­gale (Nachti­gall) Bat­tal­ion was known to this writer, orig­i­nal­ly, as the Ein­satz­gruppe Nachti­gall–it was an SS exter­mi­na­tion unit, head­ed by an very impor­tant SS offi­cer (and for­mer Ger­man cab­i­net min­is­ter) named Theodor Ober­lan­der.

A mem­ber of Charles Willough­by’s Inter­na­tion­al Com­mit­tee for the Defense of Chris­t­ian Cul­ture, Ober­laen­der was a chief archi­tect of the Third Reich’s use of dis­si­dent Sovi­et eth­nic minor­i­ty groups as com­bat­ant ele­ments dur­ing World War II and in the Cold War peri­od.

(In the Tetens text, Ober­lan­der’s last name is spelled with an “e”–“Oberlaender.” We have seen both spellings and read­ers con­duct­ing inter­net search­es should use both in their efforts.)

The New Ger­many and the Old Nazis [24]by T.H. Tetens; Ran­dom House [HC]; Copy­right 1961 by T.H. Tetens; p. 52; pp. 191–192. [24]

. . . . In 1959 Ober­laen­der was the cen­ter of a storm that final­ly forced his res­ig­na­tion in May 1960. He was blamed for the mass mur­der of thou­sands of Jews and Pol­ish intel­lec­tu­als who had been liq­ui­dat­ed in July 1941 when a spe­cial SS task force under his com­mand occu­pied the Pol­ish city of Lem­berg (Lvov). . . .

. . . . As briefly men­tioned in a pre­vi­ous chap­ter, Min­is­ter Ober­laen­der is accused of hav­ing been involved in the so-called “Lem­berg mas­sacre,” in which sev­er­al thou­sand Poles and more than 5,000 Jews were slaugh­tered. Dr. Ober­laen­der does not deny a] that he was the com­mand­ing offi­cer of a spe­cial SS task force, the Nightin­gale Bat­tal­ion, made up of nation­al­ist Ukraini­ans; and b] that this bat­tal­ion was the first Ger­man unit to move into the Pol­ish city of Lem­berg on June 29, 1941, where it remained for six or sev­en days. Dr. Obe­rI­aen­der does deny that his troops com­mit­ted any atroc­i­ties in Lem­berg. He has said that dur­ing his stay in that city “not a shot was fired.”

This is not even accept­ed by his CDU par­ty col­leagues; they believe only that Ober­laen­der him­self took no part in the mas­sacre. Although for­mal com­plaints were launched against the Refugee Min­is­ter, and although wit­ness­es in West Ger­many, in Israel, and in Poland were will­ing to tes­ti­fy, the Ger­man author­i­ties delayed as long as pos­si­ble before con­sid­er­ing offi­cial court action. 2 In the Bun­destag debate of Decem­ber 10, 1959, a gov­ern­ment spokesman declared: “Dr. Ober­laen­der has the full con­fi­dence of the Ade­nauer cab­i­net.” . . . .

8c. Ukraine decid­ed to for­mal­ly hon­or Symon Petliu­ra, [70] whose troops killed tens of thou­sands of Jew­ish civil­ians in pogroms fol­low­ing WWI, with a stat­ue not far from a syn­a­gogue. Ukrain­ian Jews are rais­ing their voic­es in protest.

Those Jew­ish dis­si­dents have been overt­ly threat­ened by a region­al offi­cial of the Svo­bo­da Par­ty, one of the OUN/B‑redux ele­ments promi­nent in the Ukrain­ian polit­i­cal pan­theon. In FTR #779 [30], we not­ed that Svo­bo­da was net­work­ing with Rober­to Fiore’s Forza Nuo­va.

“Region­al Leader of Ukraine’s Svo­bo­da Par­ty Threat­ens Jews who Dis­agree with a Pub­lic Mon­u­ment for Pogrom-meis­ter Petliu­ra”; Defend­ing His­to­ry; 10/23/2017 [71]

UKRAINE | ANTISEMITISM | FREE SPEECH | GLORIFICATION OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

As report­ed last week [72], in con­nec­tion with a protest from the World Jew­ish Con­gress, author­i­ties in Ukraine recent­ly inau­gu­rat­ed [73] a stat­ue to Symon Petliu­ra in the city of Vin­nit­sa. Petliu­ra (1879—1926) was a Ukrain­ian whose troops killed tens of thou­sands of Jew­ish civil­ians in a dev­as­tat­ing series of pogroms in Ukraine dur­ing the Russ­ian Rev­o­lu­tion and the civ­il war that fol­lowed it.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, quite a few Ukrain­ian Jews object­ed to the Petliu­ra stat­ue, espe­cial­ly as it was erect­ed with­in a short dis­tance of a still func­tion­ing Jew­ish syn­a­gogue. While it seems per­fect­ly rea­son­able that many Jews might have an issue with a stat­ue to Petliu­ra, not every­one appre­ci­at­ed Ukrain­ian Jews’ express­ing their objec­tions.

In a Face­book rant, a region­al leader of the extrem­ist Svo­bo­da par­ty, whose leader was once pho­tographed [74] mak­ing the Nazi salute, issued a blood­cur­dling Face­book threat to Ukraine’s Jews, telling them to fall in line or face the con­se­quences. Below is the Svo­bo­da leader’s post in Eng­lish trans­la­tion with our com­ments, fol­lowed by a screen-shot of the orig­i­nal. Jew­ish activists plan to com­plain to the police, but giv­en recent prece­dent it is con­sid­ered doubt­ful that any seri­ous action will be tak­en.

Trans­la­tion of the Svo­bo­da post with com­men­tary added in square brack­ets [ ]:

Again, these peo­ple are inter­fer­ing with our coun­try!!! “Peace­ful­ly coex­ist­ed” — Is that when they orga­nized the Holodomor?!!! [the charge that “the Jews” caused the ear­ly 1930s Holodomor famine in Ukraine is a recur­ring anti­se­mit­ic trope in Ukraine]. And now Israel won’t acknowl­edge the mas­sive killing of Ukraini­ans [in the Holodomor] as geno­cide!???

“The only time we com­fort­ably coex­ist­ed with kikes is in Kolivshi­na [an 18th cen­tu­ry pogrom in which Ukraini­ans butchered Jews — he is say­ing that this mas­sacre was the only time Ukraini­ans and Jews coex­ist­ed hap­pi­ly].

“I hope Ukraini­ans will remem­ber who is in charge of their land, and put all minori­ties in their place!!! Do not tell us how to live and to whom to put up mon­u­ments in our land. Do not tell us which lan­guage to speak and in which lan­guage to edu­cate our chil­dren!!! We are Ukraini­ans! That’s all you need to know — you are guests. If you want to live next to us, then get used to our rules; if not, go to your places [go to oth­er nations], or else you’ll be pun­ished.

[see screen­shot of Face­book post [75]]

9. Octo­ber 14th is now an offi­cial hol­i­day in Ukraine, cel­e­brat­ing the found­ing of the UPA.

“Nation­al­ists Mark 75th Anniver­sary Of Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army”; Radio Free Europe/Radio Lib­er­ty; 10/14/20 [25]

Thou­sands of Ukrain­ian nation­al­ists have marched through the cap­i­tal, Kyiv, to mark the 75th anniver­sary of the cre­ation of the con­tro­ver­sial Ukrain­ian Insur­gent Army (UPA).

March orga­niz­ers said as many as 20,000 peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Octo­ber 14 march, which was sup­port­ed by the right-wing Free­dom, Right Sec­tor, and Nation­al Corp polit­i­cal par­ties.

Some 5,000 police were on hand to keep order. Jour­nal­ists report­ed see­ing some marchers giv­ing Nazi salutes.

Since 2015, the Octo­ber 14 anniver­sary has been marked as the Defend­er of Ukraine Day pub­lic hol­i­day.

The UPA was found­ed in west­ern Ukraine dur­ing the Nazi occu­pa­tion of the coun­try in World War II and fought against both the Nazis and the Sovi­et Red Army. Its fight­ers car­ried out vicious acts of eth­nic cleans­ing in which tens of thou­sands of eth­nic Poles in the region were killed. . . .

10a.  Next, we return to the sub­ject of the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men, who are engag­ing with maneu­vers with sim­i­lar orga­ni­za­tions from Latvia and Lithua­nia.

“Baltic Min­ute­men Fight Russ­ian Foe” by Jonathan Brown; Politico.EU; 12/06/2016 [26]

Peer­ing past the black tarps cov­er­ing the win­dows of the bar­ri­cad­ed house, the men in cam­ou­flage could see day­light grad­u­al­ly illu­mi­nate the fresh snow.

For two days, speak­ers out­side the bar­ri­cad­ed build­ings had blast­ed Sovi­et-era jin­gles: “Put down your guns! Your lead­ers have for­got­ten you! While you stand here and freeze, oth­er men are hav­ing fun with your women!”

The sep­a­ratists holed up in their head­quar­ters had been get­ting defens­es ready for the day­break assault, nois­i­ly load­ing blanks into the mag­a­zines of their semi-auto­mat­ic weapons and assem­bling dud IEDs.

In this joint train­ing exer­cise with the country’s mil­i­tary, the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men played the role of sep­a­ratists declar­ing a break­away repub­lic, much like the Moscow-backed rebels did in east­ern Ukraine in 2014 — a sce­nario some fear may be repli­cat­ed here.

Indeed, since Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea two years ago and the ensu­ing con­flict in east­ern Ukraine, the Riflemen’s Union, a para­mil­i­tary group con­ceived almost a cen­tu­ry ago, has seen a sharp rise in mem­ber­ship. The group, which boasts more than 10,000 mem­bers, aspires to rebuild its post-World War I mem­ber­ship of more than 80,000 in a coun­try of 2.8 mil­lion peo­ple.

Anoth­er EU and NATO mem­ber might be unnerved by the grow­ing pop­u­lar­i­ty of a para­mil­i­tary force oper­at­ing with­in its bor­ders. But since Lithua­nia gained inde­pen­dence from the Sovi­et Union in the ear­ly nineties, the para­mil­i­tary group has foment­ed close ties with the mil­i­tary.

The Union’s code of con­duct aligns it with Lithuania’s armed forces, and it has so far proven to be a fierce­ly loy­al part­ner. When a Riflemen’s Union leader last year crit­i­cized the mil­i­tary for rein­stat­ing con­scrip­tion, he became the sub­ject of an embar­rass­ing and pub­lic vote of no con­fi­dence.

“We have to look to the con­sti­tu­tion of the Repub­lic of Lithua­nia,” said Major Ged­im­i­nas Latvys of the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces in Vil­nius. “It says that the defense of the coun­try, in the event of an armed attack, is the right and the duty of every cit­i­zen. We see the Riflemen’s Union as one orga­ni­za­tion that helps peo­ple to ful­fill this duty.”

The may­or of Vil­nius, a semi-celebri­ty mem­ber of the Riflemen’s Union, was among those to join after the “events in Ukraine.” Remigi­jus Sima­sius’ moti­va­tion for vol­un­teer­ing, he said at in his skyrise office in Vil­nius, was “not relat­ed to the fear of whether Rus­sia would attack, but more about the gen­er­al prin­ci­ple of being ready and being pre­pared.”

“Peo­ple have to con­tribute to their own safe­ty,” he said. Nation­al secu­ri­ty “is not just a func­tion of the state.” Ref­er­enc­ing the Sovi­et takeover of Lithua­nia in 1940, when the country’s mil­i­tary laid down arms, he said, “some­times the state gives up, but that doesn’t mean soci­ety gives up.”

Min­dau­gas Petraitis, 34, is a trans­la­tor in his civil­ian life — oth­er Rifle­men are tax con­sul­tants and small busi­ness own­ers — and says he was among the first wave of men and women to join the para­mil­i­taries in 2014.

After wit­ness­ing Russia’s annex­a­tion of Crimea and the ensu­ing con­flict in Ukraine, “we felt very strong­ly that we have to pre­pare while we still have time,” he said. “We rarely use the pre­cise word for our ene­my in a mil­i­tary set­ting, but inside every­one knows who the ene­my is,” he added, refrain­ing from using the word “Rus­sia.”

Since 2014, the Lithuan­ian Min­istry of Defense has issued a year­ly man­u­al of what to do in case of inva­sion. This year’s edi­tion, with a print run of 30,000 dis­trib­uted to schools and libraries around the coun­try, unam­bigu­ous­ly iden­ti­fies what it believes to be the pri­ma­ry threat to Lithuania’s nation­al secu­ri­ty. “Most atten­tion should be paid towards the actions of our neigh­bor­ing state Rus­sia,” the man­u­al states. “This nation does not shy away from using armed pow­er against its neigh­bors. At this time, in prin­ci­ple, it con­tin­ues mil­i­tary aggres­sion against Ukraine.”

Beyond advis­ing cit­i­zens on how to resist an occu­py­ing pow­er — point­ers include iden­ti­fy­ing col­lab­o­ra­tors and hand­ing them over to resis­tance groups — the man­u­al encour­ages civil­ian readi­ness by com­plet­ing basic mil­i­tary train­ing or join­ing the Riflemen’s Union.

The rise of para­mil­i­tary groups across East­ern and Cen­tral Europe appears to be “a nat­ur­al response to the con­flu­ence of two forces,” said Michael Kof­man, a research sci­en­tist at the Cen­tre for Naval Analy­sis and a fel­low at the Wil­son Cen­ter. “A gen­er­al increase of nation­al­ist sen­ti­ments across Europe and the per­cep­tion of greater threat from Rus­sia.”

Sim­i­lar groups in the neigh­bor­ing Baltic states of Latvia and Esto­nia have also seen increased mem­ber­ship since the annex­a­tion of Crimea, and the Lithuan­ian Riflemen’s Union is in the process of for­mal­iz­ing rela­tion­ships with the youth wings of both the Lat­vian Nation­al Guard and Esto­nia Defense League.

In Cen­tral Europe [76], groups in Poland, Slo­va­kia, the Czech Repub­lic and Hun­gary have sprung up along­side a rise in right-wing sen­ti­ment in the region and the refugee cri­sis in Europe.

Para­mil­i­tary groups across East­ern and Cen­tral Europe, “encom­pass a diverse array of orga­ni­za­tions,” said Arthur de Liedek­erke, an exter­nal ana­lyst for the Brus­sels-based Glob­al Gov­er­nance Insti­tute. “Their means, objec­tives and rela­tion to the state often vary con­sid­er­ably.”

Para­mil­i­tary “will chal­lenge gov­ern­ment author­i­ty on the mar­gins and must be care­ful­ly trimmed in pow­er,” said Kof­man. “Play­ing with nation­al­ism is like hold­ing a tiger by the tail.”

The Union’s lead­er­ship encour­ages mem­bers to arm them­selves with hand­guns, specif­i­cal­ly Glock 17s, which cur­rent Lithuan­ian gun laws allows. Rifle­men can pur­chase the pis­tols at a dis­count and store them in safes at home.

But “what can you do with a pis­tol?” asked a Rifle­man (jok­ing­ly) who was pre­vi­ous­ly a sniper in the police spe­cial forces. “Shoot your way to a rifle,” he added, deliv­er­ing his own punch­line.

Lithuania’s already lib­er­al gun own­er­ship laws are set to be relaxed fur­ther. By Jan­u­ary, mem­bers of the Riflemen’s Union will be encour­aged to pur­chase semi-auto­mat­ic rifles under new laws that allow gun pos­ses­sion for the express pur­pose of “coun­try defense.”

“I think deter­rence is the pri­ma­ry aim of any country’s defense sys­tem — to deter, not to fight,” said Liu­das Gumbi­nas, com­man­der of the Riflemen’s Union, whose salary is paid by the Min­istry of Defense.

Along with the Riflemen’s strate­gic alliances with the armed forces, its deci­sion to invite mem­bers to arm them­selves with semi-auto­mat­ic weapons, Gumbi­nas said, is part of strength­en­ing that deter­rent, a pol­i­cy he said is akin to “not just shout­ing, but actu­al­ly doing some­thing.”

But he is quick to point out that the Union is more than a gun tot­ing boy’s club. With near­ly half of the Riflemen’s Union mem­bers under the age of 18, the Union’s free sum­mer youth camps, which he likens to the Scouts, famil­iar­ize thou­sands of Lithuania’s youth with mil­i­tary val­ues and struc­tures.

“We are build­ing the youth to become good cit­i­zens,” Gumbi­nas said of the camps, which take place at mil­i­tary facil­i­ties and aim to devel­op children’s “lead­er­ship skills, nature sur­vival skills, self-con­fi­dence, but all under a mil­i­tary frame­work.”

Kof­man said that gov­ern­ments should always be con­cerned by the rise of para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tions, espe­cial­ly since such groups often rise in response to a threat. “But the threat in most cas­es nev­er mate­ri­al­izes [and so] they look to occu­py them­selves. Some tran­si­tion into pol­i­tics and form far-right par­ties, oth­ers may choose to serve as mus­cle for crim­i­nal ele­ments.”

The Riflemen’s Union has been an inte­gral part of Neiman­tas Psilen­skis’ life since he joined 10 years ago. When the 24-year-old descend­ed the steps of the Gar­ri­son church in Kau­nas, arm in arm with his new wife last month, the Union’s Hon­orary Guard salut­ed the young cou­ple in full regalia and World War II-era bay­o­net­ed rifles.

Psilen­skis, a part-time employ­ee of the Riflemen’s Union and part-time con­struc­tion work­er, said his sense of patri­o­tism and loy­al­ty towards the Union was nour­ished as a young mem­ber.

“I’m a patri­ot,” Psilen­skis said. “No one would need to ask me if I would defend my home­land. Just give me a gun. You don’t need to ask. Maybe the fact that I came to the Riflemen’s Union at a young age formed these instincts.”

10b. Review­ing infor­ma­tion about the Lithuan­ian Rifle­men’s Union, we high­light its activ­i­ties as part of the Nazi mil­i­tary effort in the Baltic states, includ­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in admin­is­ter­ing Hitler’s “Final Solu­tion.”

Rem­i­nis­cent of the Nazi “pun­ish­er bat­tal­ions,” the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union–a fas­cist militia–has been expand­ed to meet the so-called “Russ­ian threat.” Like the OUN/B’s mil­i­tary wing–the UPA–the Lithuan­ian Rifle­man’s Union con­tin­ued the com­bat of World War II until the ear­ly 1950’s. Formed dur­ing the wan­ing days of the Sec­ond World War, they jumped from the Third Reich to the Office of Pol­i­cy Coor­di­na­tion, a CIA/State Depart­ment oper­a­tional direc­torate. (This is cov­ered in FTR #777 [28], as well as AFA #1 [29].)

“Russ­ian Threat Sees Rebirth of Lithua­nia Para­mil­i­tary Group” [Agence France-Presse]; Glob­al Post; [27] 9/2/2014. [27]

In thick pine forests hid­den in the remote wilder­ness of east­ern Lithua­nia, young pro­fes­sion­als are ditch­ing their suits and ties for cam­ou­flage gear, and swap­ping iPads for rifles.

These week­end war­riors also proud­ly wear bracelets with emblems of green fir trees on their wrists, sym­bols of their small Baltic country’s wartime resis­tance against the Sovi­et Union, which occu­pied it in 1940.

Now, Russia’s takeover of Crimea and increas­ing signs of its involve­ment in Ukraine’s east, cou­pled with sabre rat­tling in its Kalin­ingrad exclave bor­der­ing Lithua­nia, are spark­ing a sharp rise in para­mil­i­tary recruits here.

Like oth­ers in the region, Lithua­nia is call­ing on NATO to put per­ma­nent boots on the ground in the Baltics to ward off any poten­tial threat from their Sovi­et-era mas­ter.

But while they await a deci­sion that could come at a key two-day alliance sum­mit start­ing Thurs­day in Wales, Lithuan­ian civil­ians are lac­ing up their own com­bat boots.

Stu­dents, busi­ness­men, civ­il ser­vants, jour­nal­ists and even politi­cians are among the hun­dreds who have joined the gov­ern­ment-spon­sored Lithua­nia Riflemen’s Union, a group first set up in 1919 but banned in 1940 under Sovi­et rule.

“The Vil­nius unit has tripled in size since the begin­ning of the cri­sis in Ukraine,” says Min­dau­gas Bal­ci­auskas, unit com­man­der of the group which boasts about 7,000 mem­bers in the nation of three mil­lion, a num­ber almost on par with its 7,000 mil­i­tary per­son­nel and 4,200 reservists.

- ‘Take up arms’ -

Pres­i­dent Dalia Gry­bauskaite, a karate black belt dubbed Lithuania’s ‘Iron Lady’ for her tough stance on Rus­sia, has also sworn to “take up arms” her­self in the unlike­ly case Moscow would attack this 2004 NATO and EU mem­ber of three mil­lion.

“Being in a para­mil­i­tary unit will give me priv­i­leged access to infor­ma­tion and make me bet­ter pre­pared than those who don’t join,” Arturas Bortke­vi­cius, a 37-year-old finance spe­cial­ist, told AFP, adding that he wants to learn the skills he needs to defend his coun­try and fam­i­ly.

Mem­bers spend week­ends on manoeu­vres deep in the woods or at a mil­i­tary train­ing range in Pabrade, north of the cap­i­tal Vil­nius.

Lib­eral MP Remigi­jus Sima­sius says that while his place “would be in par­lia­ment” giv­en a cri­sis, he joined the rifle­men in the wake of Russia’s Crimea land grab in the hope of encour­ag­ing oth­ers to fol­low suit.

Even some Lithua­ni­ans with Russ­ian roots have joined up amid the Ukraine cri­sis.

“I’m a Lithuan­ian cit­i­zen of Russ­ian ori­gin. I am who I am, and I am Lithuan­ian patri­ot,” pho­tog­ra­pher Vladimi­ras Ivanovas, 40, who also joined up, told AFP.

- Check­ered past -

The Rifleman’s Union “has left an indeli­ble mark on the his­tory of Lithua­nia,” says his­to­rian Arvy­das Anusauskas.

It was cre­ated after World War I in 1919 dur­ing a series of “Wars of Inde­pen­dence” fought by Lithua­ni­ans in 1918–1920 against Russ­ian Bol­she­viks, mixed Russ­ian and Ger­man forces and Poles.

Aside from Lithua­ni­ans, from 1919–1940 research shows its mem­bers also includ­ed Russ­ian, Poles, Jews and even Chi­nese, reflect­ing the eth­nic com­plex­ity of and ten­sions in the region.

Its rep­u­ta­tion is how­ever taint­ed by alle­ga­tions that cer­tain mem­bers were involved in a series of Nazi mas­sacres between 1940–44 that claimed the lives of an esti­mated 80,000–100,000 Jews, Poles and Rus­sians in Panierai, a sub­urb skirt­ing the cap­i­tal Vil­nius.

The Riflemen’s Union was banned in 1940 by the Sovi­et Union when the Red Army swept in from the east to occu­py Lithua­nia dur­ing World War II, but mem­bers fought a gueril­la war against the Sovi­ets until the ear­ly 1950s.

Its revival in 1989 came as the Sovi­et bloc began to crum­ble and now its large new crop of mem­bers say they are will­ing to fight again should their coun­try come under attack. . . .

 

———-