Museum expresses deep concern over two bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament in April
Ukraine's decision last month to extend official recognition to a nationalist militia that collaborated with the Germans during World War II has drawn condemnation from the US.
In a statement last week, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) expressed deep concern over two bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament in April.
One allowed for official government commemoration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, an ultra-nationalist faction that sought to establish an independent Ukrainian state, while the second would ban propaganda and symbols associated with both the Nazi and Soviet regimes.
While the law’s prohibition on the use of such symbols does not apply within academic contexts, it does prevent broadcast media from airing material that
Such provisions, the USHMM claims,
While the UPA, an offshoot of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, engaged in warfare against both the Soviet Union and the Nazis, it also collaborated with Germany and took part in actions against local Jews.
While OUN chief Stepan Bandera and his faction initially fought on the side of the Germans, they later turned against Berlin and the nationalist figure wound up in a concentration camp. He was killed by the KGB in Munich in 1959.
Such public support for Bandera has drawn criticism, especially from Jewish groups and from Russia, which maintains that Ukraine is sliding toward fascism. Jewish leaders in Ukraine have accused the Kremlin of using allegations of anti-Semitism to justify its annexation of Crimea and backing of pro-Moscow rebels in their country’s east.
Not everybody agrees, however, with one Jewish communal leader, speaking on condition of anonymity following a pro-Bandera march in Kiev earlier this year, saying that
Support for Bandera for many has less to do with anti-Semitism than anti-Russian sentiments, he added.