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EDITORIAL: THE ASPER FOUNDATION LETTER AND THE PORTRAYAL OF UKRAINIANS IN THE HOLOCAUST GALLERY OF THE CMHR

by Rhonda Spivak, May 12, 2013

In their latest campaign of complaints against the CMHR, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has taken the position that the Asper Foundation promised them that Ukrainians would be portrayed in the CMHR Holocaust gallery only as victims of the Nazis and not as perpetrators in any way


They are relying on a the 2003 letter from the Asper Foundation to back up this position, but unfortunately, in my view the letter does not back up their position.

In the letter (which can be read fully here,
http://www.ucc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Asper_Fnd_letter_to_UCC_11_April_03.pdf) the Asper Foundation indicates they "recognize that the Ukrainian people were victims of the Nazis and will portray this historical fact.." It does not however say, that this will be the exclusive historical fact portrayed in relation to the Ukrainians. Clearly the letter does not say that notwithstanding historical evidence that shows that there were in fact Ukrainians who were perpetrators of the Holocaust, we commit to not portraying this. This letter does not say that the CMHR will portray Ukrainians onlyas victims and never as perpetrators.


Besides the fact, no one is entitled to change history, or obfuscate its truths. As long as history shows that there were in fact some Ukrainians that were on the side of the Nazis, then no Museum would be entitled to sanitize this fact. John Demanjuk was a Ukrainian. On 12 May 2011, Demjanjuk was convicted pending appeal by an ordinary German criminal court as an accessory to the murder of 27,900 at
Sobiborand sentenced to five years in prison. Are we going to say that Demanjuk was a victim and not a perpetrator?

And let’s face it, if it were the case that no Ukrainian acted as a perpetrator, then the Ukrainian Canadian Congress would never have needed to ask for any supposed commitment that Ukrainians could only be viewed as victims not as perpetrators.

The letter does note that almost 10% of the Righteous among the Nations in Yad Vashem are Ukrainians. There is no doubt the CMHR will make that information known.


But, the letter does not make any commitment as to the number of Ukrainians who assisted/collaborated with the Nazis against the Jews in the Holocaust.
 
 
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.


Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.