On June 28, online seminar on World War II and the Holocaust history, devoted to the ideology and activities of the Ukrainian nationalist movement and its leaders, their attitude to the “Jewish question” during the war was held. Participants of the online event organized at the request of our friend and partner Oleh Karshenbaum, became activists of Dnipro Jewish community.
Dr. Igor Shchupak conducted the seminar. At the end of the event, he said:
“Relationships between neighboring nations have both bright pages of good coexistence, and pages of enmity and misunderstanding. These relations become even more complicated during the rise of national movements, which happened in Ukraine as well. After all, in the 1930's and 1940's, radical, xenophobic, and fascist tendencies intensified in almost all national and nationalist movements in Europe. It was in Ukraine as well. The main organizers of the Holocaust were the German Nazis. As for Ukrainian nationalists, we have facts of their participation in the persecution and extermination of Jews; we have the majority of people – “bystanders” of the Holocaust; we know and remember the heroism of the saviors of the Jews, the Righteous Among the Nations, among whom were members of the OUN – Olena Viter, Fedir Vovk. It was different – both good and bad. It is very important to understand a few important things:
- Explaining the preconditions of certain historical events and phenomena does not mean their justification.
- The national hero of one nation is often a cat and a murderer for another; and at the same time, it is necessary to understand why they respect “their” national hero: for persecuting “others” – or for defending the will and independence of their people.
- It is impossible to generalize characteristics about whole peoples, clinging to the labels “all of them...” or “always they...”.
And most importantly: remembering a difficult story, you need to be aware of its lessons; come to an understanding of who is a true friend and ally. An example of this is undoubtedly the Poles, who extended a fraternal hand to help Ukrainians in the current barbaric invasion of racists. Although Poles remember well not only the good interaction of the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania or the joint struggle against the enemies of the Commonwealth. They also remember the Ukrainian-Polish wars of the Cossack era; Ukrainian-Polish military confrontation of the early twentieth century; Volyn tragedy and other events of the Second World War.
With all this in mind, Poland is now making great efforts to help Ukraine. In the terrible times of Russian aggression, Poles proved to be real brothers of Ukrainians. Because “There is no independent Poland without an independent Ukraine, just as there is no independent Ukraine without an independent Poland!”, according to Józef Piłsudski.
I am sure that with this understanding that the construction of new bridges of interaction between nations begins. And a new Europe – just as the Franco-German understanding began the creation of the European Union”.
So, we draw the right conclusions from history. For the sake of the future. And we continue to study the difficult pages of history.