On January 24, 2016 “Tkuma” Institute welcomed the regular session of Dniprovsky Historical Club dedicated to participation of Jews in underground movement during World War II and the Holocaust. Dr. Mykola Slobodyanyuk shared interesting information not only about the underground and motivation of its participants, but also on international relations before the war and the attitude to the “Jewish question”.
In 1939, 53% of Kyiv population were Ukrainians, 25% were Jews and 16% were Russians. Many Ukrainians perceived the Soviet government as alien and believed that if it needed protection then Communists and Jews had to do this. According to Dr. Slobodyanyuk the attitude of locals demonstrated such situation. For example, one Kyiv resident assessed the threat of Kyiv being invaded by German forces as following:
“I think, Russians and Ukrainian shouldn’t leave Kyiv, because together with the Germans Ukrainians will come, and we will have hetman. So far, Russians and Jews took all the best for themselves, leaving nothing to Ukrainians”.
At the beginning of the Nazi occupation of the city one of the signaler in the Kyiv underground said: “I will not work for underground. It’s your Jewish business, deal with it!”
At the same time, there were other cases. There is a lot of evidence of Kyiv Jews being rescued by Ukrainians. In particular, it is known about rescuing of Jews by Oleksiy Hlaholyev, prior of Pokrovska Orthodox Church at Podil, which became one of the Righteous among the Nations.
The meeting aroused great interest among the participants who took part in the discussion at the end of the session.