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The Victims of War on BBC Radio 4 – Do not mention the Ukrainian Nazis!

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 30 January 2023

There were three historians on this show discussing the holocaust. Dan Stone and Catherine Merridale and a chap called Bernard Wasserstein.  Stone has recently published a book on how folks in countries across Europe assisted or took part in the murder of six million Jews. Among those were the parents and family of Mr Wasserstein who were butchered in a village in Western Ukraine.

Eventually the conversation turned to Ukraine and Wasserstein served up evidence of how the Ukrainians, not just the 80,000 members of Stepan Bandera’s OUN who fought with the Nazis and killed Jews with the Nazis but many other Ukrainian Nationalists were the worst offenders of Europeans assisting Germany. The old Jew tried to say this before Merridale rudely shut him up and cut across him. When she had finished a monologue on another topic, Wasserstein very politely resumed.

The evidence of what happened in Ukraine is very clear. But when he had finished Stone and the bossy Merridale both chipped in to say that the key point was to stop President Putin weaponizing what had happened in the past to justify his invasion by saying that the Ukrainians are Nazis today.

Sure, but is that the real lesson when everywhere else in Europe the real lesson is “Never Again.” In the most recent poll 74% of Ukrainians say they regard Stepan Bandera , a vile antisemite directly involved in the Lviv pogroms which saw 9,000 Jews slaughtered, as a hero. Only in the Donbas region and the Crimea did the folks not share that view. I cannot think why? Statues of Bandera and other leading Nationalists some who took part in the Jew killing still stand across Western Ukraine.

Before everything Ukrainian was worshipped by the Western Media, the British papers and even the BBC ran numerous stories about the Neo Nazis of the Azov brigade.  Obviously, we are not allowed to say that any more. Until Ukraine accepts that vast numbers of its citizens were Germany’s willing accomplices in the holocaust, then any trite saying of “Never again” is meaningless. 

But as that poor old Jew on Radio 4, remembering the place where his family was killed by Ukrainians, tried to make that point, the other historians put him in his place. Silly old Jew. Ukraine good, very, very good, always been good. Russia bad, very, very bad, always been bad.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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