16 April 2011

International Scholars Issue Open Letter

International Scholars Issue Open Letter on the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

The following historic letter, signed by over 100 scholars from around the world, many of them leaders in their fields, is being circulated across Europe and through international scholarly associations and listservs. It will no doubt include many more scholars and their names will be added as they are submitted.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress have been campaigning against the plans of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg to mount a permanent Holocaust gallery. The UCCLA has mailed out a postcard across Canada that reproduces the cover of an edition of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and implies that supporters of a Holocaust gallery are pigs. For its part, the UCC, which, in contrast to the UCCLA, is an elected body that represents major Ukrainian Canadian organizations, has complained that the planned Holocaust exhibit is “unacceptable” and has asked the Museum to provide the Holodomor, or Ukrainian famine of 1932-33, “no less coverage… than the Holocaust.”

We, the signatories to this letter, have all studied various aspects of genocide, fascism, antisemitism, Stalinism, war criminality, the Holodomor, and the Holocaust. We unequivocally recognize that the violence and oppression that Ukraine has experienced during its multi-totalitarian past ought to be remembered and commemorated in a Canadian museum devoted to the history and abuse of human rights. What we object to is the dishonest manner in which the UCCLA and UCC have distorted historical accounts of the Holodomor while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the Ukrainian nationalist movement’s role in the Holocaust.

The Ukrainian famine, which constitutes one of Stalin’s great crimes and one of Europe’s most devastating tragedies, deserves a place in any venue dedicated to commemorating and understanding the violation of human rights. Yet the way the UCC treats the Holodomor is problematic. All demographic studies place the number of famine deaths in Soviet Ukraine in the range of 2.6 to 3.9 million. This is, in itself, a grievous toll. Nonetheless, the UCC has, at times, inflated the number of victims to seven or even ten million. The implication is obvious: seven or ten million is more than six million; the Holodomor deserves more attention than the Holocaust. Such a manipulative attempt to exploit human suffering is reprehensible and should not be acceptable to the Canadian public.

We are also troubled by the attitude of the UCCLA and UCC toward the OUN, the UPA, and the 14th Grenadier Division of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ (1st Ukrainian). OUN stands for the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. UPA is the Ukrainian abbreviation for the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the armed branch of the OUN. The Galicia Division, a military unit that was primarily involved in counterinsurgency activities, was established by the Germans in 1943. Tens of thousands of Ukrainians who belonged to these formations perished while resisting the ruthless imposition of Soviet power at the end of the war. Today many Ukrainians revere the members of these organizations as the champions of an oppressed people. In February 2010, the UCC called on the Canadian government “to make changes to Canada’s War Veterans Allowance Act by expanding eligibility to include designated resistance groups such as OUN-UPA.” Last Remembrance Day, the UCC asked Ukrainian Canadians to honour veterans who belonged to OUN, UPA, and the Galicia Division.

In their calls to honour the members of these organizations as veterans, what the UCCLA and the UCC do not fully acknowledge is that all three groups have been implicated in violence against civilians on a massive scale. Significant historical research indicates the political responsibility of the OUN in anti-Jewish violence in the summer of 1941. Emerging research also demonstrates that many former policemen who aided the Nazis in genocidal operations subsequently joined the UPA, created in early 1943. Moreover, the UPA murdered tens of thousands of civilian Poles in the western province of Volhynia to undercut the ability of postwar Poland to make claims on the area. The Galicia Division was also involved in anti-civilian military actions, although mainly outside of Ukraine.

By pointing out the historical record of the OUN, UPA, and the Galicia Division, we do not mean to suggest some sort of collective responsibility for genocide on the part of all the men and women who served in them, and certainly not on the part of all Ukrainians. Nevertheless, in an age when the mass murder of civilians is regarded as a crime against humanity, the mixed record of these organizations has to be openly debated, particularly when the significance of the Holocaust is being questioned in a public campaign pertaining to a fair representation of the history of human rights.

We therefore assert that since the UCCLA and UCC have not understood that confronting the historical record openly and honestly is preferable to manipulative falsehood, have engaged in a competition of suffering, and have failed to acknowledge both the vices and the virtues of the nationalist movement, they ought to stay out of a debate about the Canadian Museum of Human Rights.


Tarik Cyril Amar, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University

Christine Achinger, Assistant Professor of German Studies, University of Warwick

Alexander Babyonyshev
, Davis Center, Harvard University

Alejandro Baer, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Bayreuth & Department of Social Anthropology, Universidad Complutense Madrid

Karyn Ball, Professor, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta

Omer Bartov, John P. Birkelund Distinguished Professor of European History and Professor of History and Professor of German Studies, Brown University

Yehuda Bauer, Professor of Holocaust Studies, Hebrew University

Delphine Bechtel, Associate Professor for Central European Studies, University Paris IV Sorbonne

Elissa Bemporad, Jerry and William Ungar Assistant Professor, Department of History, Queens College, City University of New York

Paul Bogdanor, Independent Scholar, London

Richard Breitman, Professor of History, American University

Christopher Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Aleksandr Burakovskiy, Independent Scholar, Clifton, NJ

Marco Carynnyk, Writer and Independent Scholar, Toronto

David Cesarani, Research Professor in History, Royal Holloway, University of London

Catherine Chatterley, Founding Director, Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA); SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of History, University of Manitoba

Paul A. Chilton, Professor Emeritus, Lancaster University

Brian K. Daley, Ph.D. Candidate, University of Alberta

Johan Dietsch, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of Languages and Literature, University of Lund

Karin Doerr, Professor, Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Concordia U

Roman Dubasevych, Ph. D. Candidate, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

Eirik Eiglad, Editor, New Compass Press, Norway

Gary Evans, Adjunct Professor, Department of Communication, University of Ottawa

Richard J. Evans, Regius Professor of History and President of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

Robert Fine, Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick

David Fraser, Professor of Law and Social Theory, University of Nottingham

Christian Ganzer, Deutsche Akademische Austauch Dienst Lecturer, National Pedagogical Drahomanov University, Kyiv

Norman J.W. Goda, Braman Professor of Holocaust Studies, University of Florida

Frank Golczewski, Professor, Historisches Seminar der Universität Hamburg

Nora Gold, Associate Scholar, Centre for Women’s Studies in Education, Ontario Institute of Studies in Education and University of Toronto

Chad Alan Goldberg, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin

Brian Goldfarb, Principal Lecturer in Sociology, De Montfort University

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Independent Scholar, Boston

Alain Goldschlager, Professor of French Literature, University of Western Ontario; Chairman, National Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research

Andrew Gow, Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

Lisa Grekul, Associate Professor, Department of Critical Studies, University of British Columbia

Atina Grossmann, Professor of History, Cooper Union College, NY

Bella Gutterman, Director of the International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem

Bernard Harrison, E.E. Ericksen Professor of Philosophy, University of Utah

Steven Haberman, Director and Deputy Dean, Professor of Actuarial Science, Cass Business School, City University, London

Guido Hausmann, Imre Kertesz Kolleg, Jena

Jeffrey Herf, Professor of Modern European History, Department of History, University of Maryland

John-Paul Himka, Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

David Hirsh, Goldsmiths College, University of London

Sara R. Horowitz, Professor, Humanities, York University

Pavel Ilyin, Geography Consultant, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

Marion Kaplan, Skirball Professor of Modern Jewish History, NYU

Dovid Katz, Editor, Defendinghistory.com, Chief Analyst, Litvak Studies Institute, Professor emeritus, Vilnius University

Steven T. Katz, Professor & Director of the Elie Wiesel Centre for Judaic Studies, Boston University

Sir Ian Kershaw, Professor of Modern History, University of Sheffield

C. Richard King, Professor of Comparative Ethnic Studies, Washington State University at Pullman

Myrna Kostash, Writer, Edmonton

Matthew Kramer, Professor of Legal and Political Philosphy, University of Cambridge

Frederick Krantz, Professor, Liberal Arts College, Concordia University, Director, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, Montréal

Matthias Küntzel, Research Associate, Vidal Sassoon Centre for the Study of Antisemitism, Hebrew University

Taras Kurylo, Independent Scholar, Edmonton

Marija Kropuves-Berg, Ph.D., Bloomington, IN

Alexandr Kruglov, Associate Professor, Chair of Philosophy, Kharkiv University of Radio Electronics

Francis Landy, Professor of Religious Studies, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

Richard Ned Lebow, James O. Freedman Presidential Professor, Dartmouth College

Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies, Emory University

Meir Litvak, Director, Center for Iranian Studies, Tel Aviv University

Wendy Lower, Research Fellow, Department of History, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich

Andrei S. Markovits, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Karl W. Deutsch Collegiate Professor of Comparative Politics and German Studies, University of Michigan

David Matas, Human rights lawyer, Order of Canada, Winnipeg

Jared McBride, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, UCLA

Maureen McNeil, Professor, Lancaster University

Oleksandr Melnyk, Ph. D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Toronto

Erin Moure, Poet and essayist, Montréal

Eduard Nižňanský, Professor, Department of Universal History, Commenius University

Nina Paulovicova, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

Srdja Pavlovic, Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta

Dina Porat, Head, Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, Tel Aviv University

Moishe Postone, Professor, Department of History, Center for Jewish Studies, Co-Director, Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory, University of Chicago

Alexander V. Prusin, Associate Professor of History, Humanities Department, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Doron Rabinovici, Historian, Vienna

Larry Ray, Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sub-Dean for Graduate Studies, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

John E. Richardson, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Cultures, Newcastle University

William Risch, Associate Professor of History, Georgia College

Andrew Roberts, Historian, Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, London

Alvin H. Rosenfeld, Irving M. Glazer Chair in Jewish Studies, Director, Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism, Indiana University

Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Hamburg, and Research Fellow at the Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies, Vienna

Robert Rozett, Director of Libraries, Yad Vashem

Per A. Rudling, Post-doctoral Fellow, Department of History, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

Clemens Ruthner, Assistant Professor of European Studies, Trinity College, Dublin

Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations, Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Paris

Anna Sommer Schneider, Ph. D. Candidate, Jagiellonian University, and Research Assistant, Emory University

Guy Sela, Ph. D. Candidate, University of Oxford

David M. Seymour, School of Law, Lancaster University

Anton Shekhovtsov, Kreisau Fellow of the George Bell Institute, Sevastopol

Ivan Sloboda, Translator, London

David Silberklang, Senior Historian and Editor of Yad Vashem Studies, Yad Vashem; Lecturer in Jewish History, Hebrew University

Charles Small, Director, Interdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, Yale University

Peter Stachel, Post-doctoral Fellow, Institute for Culture Studies and History of Theatre, Austrian Academy of Sciences

Lionel Steiman, Senior Scholar & Professor of History, University of Manitoba

Daniel Stone, Professor Emeritus of History, University of Winnipeg

Terri Tomsky, SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of English and Film Studies, University of Albertahttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

Marin Turk, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan

Rafał Wnuk, Professor, Department of History, Catholic University of Lublin

Ruth Wodak, Distinguished Professor, Chair in Discourse Studies, Department of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University

Efraim Zuroff, Director of Nazi War Crimes Research, Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Israel

See also: "Discord, accusations taint human rights museum debate", by James Adams.

1 comment:

  1. Certain elements of particular circles are, indeed, very frightened that the truth about Holodomor be spread, not only due to the magnitude of the event, but due to the fact that people will inevitably begin learning about who actually committed the Holodomor.


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