Simon Wiesenthal   Letter 16   09-Sep-1997   Shifting date for the Lviv Massacre
September 9, 1997

Simon Wiesenthal
Jewish Documentation Center
Salztorgasse 6
1010 Vienna

Dear Mr. Wiesenthal:

In my letter to you of September 8, I demonstrated that two prominent historians seem to be unaware of the pre-German Lviv pogrom which killed 5 to 6 thousand Jews, at least as claimed by Morley Safer and yourself on the 60 Minutes broadcast, The Ugly Face of Freedom of October 23, 1994.  I will remind you that in that 60 Minutes broadcast, Morley Safer twice asserts once seemingly in your hearing that the Lviv pogrom antedated the arrival of the Germans, thus placing culpability squarely at the feet of the Ukrainian perpetrators.

In a continuing effort to learn more about this Lviv pogrom, I turned to your biographical Justice Not Vengeance, only to discover you claiming that this pogrom postdated the arrival of the Germans:

Thousands of detainees were shot dead in their cells by the retreating Soviets.  This gave rise to one of the craziest accusations of that period: among the strongly anti-Semitic population the rumour was spread by the Ukrainian nationalists that all Jews were Bolsheviks and all Bolsheviks were Jews.  Hence it was the Jews who were really to blame for the atrocities committed by the Soviets.

All the Germans needed to do was to exploit this climate of opinion.  It is said that after their arrival they gave the Ukrainians free rein, for three days, to 'deal' with the Jews.  (Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 36, emphasis added)

As the timing of the Lviv pogrom is critical to assigning blame, I would have expected this timing to have been verified with care and to be either consistent between the two reports, or else with an explanation offered for any inconsistency.  Instead, I find that you along with Morley Safer have broadcast a version in 1994 that directly contradicts a version that you published five years earlier in 1989.

I look forward to hearing your clarification of this discrepancy.

Sincerely yours,

Lubomyr Prytulak