[I]n early July, Kiev named a major boulevard in honor of Stepan Bandera, and the city plans on naming another for Roman Shukhevych. Both these men were leaders accused of Nazi atrocities. And the people seeking to rehabilitate these men are winning support from influential Jewish leaders.
Ukraine’s whitewashing of history is focused mostly on transforming the image of two controversial World War II Ukrainian partisan groups, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, as well as that of their leader, Bandera. They were responsible for the slaughter of thousands of Jews and over 100,000 Poles, but now they’re painted as freedom fighters and tragic victims. Throughout this process, some Ukrainian Jewish leaders have expressed concern, but others have found ways to condone it.
On May 25, the Ukrainian Parliament held a moment of silence in honor of Symon Petliura, a nationalist responsible for the murder of 50,000 Jews in the early 20th century. When asked for a response, Josef Zissels, chairman of the Vaad organization of Ukrainian Jews, told JTA that worrying about Petliura “leads to unnecessary assignment of blame.” The same article quotes Zissels’s earlier statement that Jews, after all, also did terrible things to Ukrainians.
The whitewashing, now a disturbingly widespread phenomenon, ramped up in earnest after Ukraine’s 2013–2014 Maidan uprising and the ensuing conflict with Russia...I have Ukrainian heritage on my father's side. Fortunately for him (and me), his parents left that domain of Judenhass long before these horrors unfolded.