Letter 03   28-Apr-2000   Please change the name of your committee
"By the time the Banderite's face was turned into a bloody-hairy pulp, we were exhausted.  The Banderite slumped to his knees, then fell flat on his face.  We shot him." Israel Roitman
Israel Roitman is discussed on the Ukrainian Archive at www.ukar.org at the following locations:

@  05-May-1998  Israel Roitman: Former SMERSH agent boasts of war crimes
@  25-Jul-1999    Morley Safer: Who did Israel Roitman murder?
@  16-Sep-1999  Sol Littman: The murderers among us
@  21-Sep-1999  Sol Littman reply to two letters
@  24-Sep-1999  Comments on Littman reply
@  22-Oct-1999   Sol Littman: Why you never caught any Nazis
@  28-Apr-2000   Irving Abella: Please change the name of your committee
@  17-Jul-2002    Don Hewitt: Canada's REAL Dark Secret

As several of the addressees of the above correspondence are closely involved in war crimes prosecutions, and as in any case CSIS and the RCMP initiate war crimes investigations sua sponte, even without first receiving a complaint from the public, it might be expected that Israel Roitman would have by this time been investigated and prosecuted were it not that he has immunity from prosecution for the reason that the Canadian government refuses to prosecute Jewish war criminals, a corollary of which is that the Canadian government also refuses to prosecute Communist war criminals because a disproportionate number of them would tend to be Jewish.  However, granting any national, ethnic, or religious group immunity from prosecution violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms § 15(1) guarantee of equality before the law.

  April 28, 2000
Irving Abella
Department of History
York University
2140 Vari Hall
4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

Irving Abella:

Case 1: SMERSH agent, Israel Roitman

The following boastful confession of former SMERSH agent, Israel Roitman, originally published in the Russian-language periodical Our View in Thornhill, Ontario in 1998, recounts the experience of a Jew participating in the torture and murder of a Ukrainian during the Second World War, and boasts that this one crime was only the first of many:

by Israel Roitman

Our View


Once, on the occasion of a talk with students, I was asked: "Did you also kill people?"

What could I answer?  It remained only to smile sadly, and my memory recalled the first cruelty.  Afterward, there were many more, but the first is unforgettable.

It happened, if memory serves, in the Zolochiv region which lies along the Ternopil-Lviv highway (Western Ukraine).  The military SMERSH ("Death to Spies", as military counter-intelligence was named during the war) instructed us intelligence officers to investigate the cause of death of one of our sabotage units.  On the second or third day, we came upon the tracks of the perpetrators who were responsible for the death of our comrades, and caught them relaxing in broad daylight in a large house on a forest farmstead.  There were three men sitting around a table with moonshine and snacks: a thin, tall German, a heavily-armed policeman, and a fat-faced, unshaven Banderite [Ukrainian fighting for Ukrainian independence] wearing a service cap with a yellow-light blue [colors of the Ukrainian flag] cockade and some kind of stripes sewn on his sleeve.  It goes without saying: a merry band.

We had to shoot the policeman right there in the house, his abundance of weapons not helping him a bit.  We took the German and the Banderite out into the yard.  The Banderite, a huge man with long hands large as shovels, just stood there with a crooked smile.  On his unshaven face, his eyes darted nervously about like gimlets.  Evidently, the worsening situation was completely unexpected by him and he didn't know what to do, and couldn't hit upon any course of action.  Of course, under different circumstances, he could have tossed us boys around like puppies, but this time the inveterate beast could not do so: we were the ones with the weapons.

Oh, yes!  By that time, we had seen a lot of these nationalists, as they were contemptuously called, the "Samostiynyks" ["Independents"] (the motto of the Ukrainian Nationalists was "For an Independent Ukraine").  These were veritable beasts, worse than some Fritzes [Germans].

Volodka Seliverstov hit him first, in the solar plexus.  The Banderite groaned, gripped his stomach with his hands, and doubled over like a folding knife.  Then followed a knee upper-cut to the face.  A sobbing was heard and the Banderite started falling backwards.  But we didn't let him fall.  There were five of us.  We stood in a small circle and knocked him from one to another.  We struck silently with backhand blows, putting into them all our accumulated rage and hatred.  We struck viciously, probably like hunters striking huge and especially dangerous maddened beasts.  By the time the Banderite's face was turned into a bloody-hairy pulp, we were exhausted.  The Banderite slumped to his knees, then fell flat on his face.  We shot him.  The German, we delivered safely across the front line and turned him over to the SMERSH people.  (We followed the same practice afterwards.  When police, Banderites, Vlasovites, or Germans fell into our hands, we usually delivered the latter untouched, but the traitors we executed ourselves on the spot.)


The original of the beginning of Israel Roitman's article appears below, the portion translated above shown enclosed in a box:

Our View

As Our View solicits articles from its readers, and as it is based in Thornhill, Ontario, there is a good chance that Israel Roitman lives in the region of Ontario in which Our View circulates, and thus that he would be eligible for investigation by Canada's war crimes unit, were it not inhibited from doing so by organizations like the CJC.

What rule is being followed that gives Israel Roitman immunity from prosecution?

If the CJC War Crimes Committee of which you are Chair were genuinely interested in war crimes, then it would have begun an investigation of Israel Roitman as soon as he published his confession, and at the very latest would begin one now.  Although Israel Roitman boasts only of torturing and murdering Ukrainians, there can be little doubt that SMERSH included Jews among its victims as well, so that CJC's refusal to target Israel Roitman for investigation would have to be based on a rule such as any of the following:

(1) the CJC exempts Jews from the accusation of war crimes no matter who the victims;

(2) the CJC exempts Communists from the accusation of war crimes no matter who the victims;

(3) the CJC exempts Jewish Communists from the accusation of war crimes no matter who the victims; or

(4) the CJC exempts Jewish Communists from the accusation of war crimes when those Jewish Communists show pride in having murdered Ukrainians, but are discreet enough to not mention murdering Jews.

Case 2: Ghetto policeman, Mitso Rosenbek

To consider a second case, Mitso Rosenbek poses a tougher decision for the CJC because he is Jewish (which pushes the CJC toward granting him immunity from prosecution), and yet he served the Nazis (which pushes the CJC toward prosecuting him).  As Mitso Rosenbek was living in Canada at the time of the Deschênes Commission hearings, and as Mitso Rosenbek's collaboration was widely known in emigré circles, the CJC would have had good reason to denounce Mitso Rosenbek to the Commission the way it was denouncing non-Jews without good reason:

Many recollections about old Drohobych can also be found in the book "Visit to Israel."  In Israel, Andzhei Khtsiuk visited his old friends and acquaintances former residents of Drohobych of Jewish nationality and together with them reminisced about their unforgettable home city and its inhabitants.  "We talked," he writes, "about good Poles and about bad Poles, about good Ukrainians and about bad Ukrainians, about good Jews and about bad Jews such as Mitso Rosenbek of "Betar" (such was the name of the Jewish soccer club in Drohobych. A.H.), who today lives in Canada and fears to travel to Israel, and about others who served in the Ghetto Police, and plundered and destroyed their own people."  One might wonder why those who search for "war criminals" among Ukrainians are silent about Mitso Rosenbek and others like him, and why the Deschênes Commission in Canada took no interest in him?
Adolphe Hladylovych, Polish Writer On Ukrainians Who Saved Jews, Svoboda, 24Aug92, in Mykhailo Shalata (ed.), Drohobych County The Land of Ivan Franko, Shevchenko Scientific Society, Drohobych, 1997, Vol. 4, p. 380.

If the CJC did not denounce Mitso Resenbek to the Deschênes Commission, then a viable hypothesis is that he had been granted an implicit immunity from prosecution for Nazi crimes because he is Jewish.

Case 3: Ghetto policemen generally

According to Raul Hilberg:

The number of Jews, who like Mitso Rosenbek above, served the Nazis in anti-Jewish actions, was large:

The Jüdische Ordnungsdienst, as the Jewish police in the ghettos were called, furnished thousands of men for seizure operations.  In the Warsaw ghetto alone the Jewish police numbered approximately 2500; in Lodz they were about 1200 men strong; the Lvov ghetto had an Ordnungsdienst of 500 men; and so on.
Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, 1961, p. 310.

According to Reb Moshe Shonfeld:

But to point out that Jews provided manpower for Nazi police actions may be to understate the case.  More accurate might be to say that wherever feasible, anti-Jewish police actions fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Jewish kapos, so that Jewish guilt in such actions was greater than non-Jewish guilt:

The Satanic plan of the Nazis assured that the personal fate of each Jew whether for life or death be exclusively left up to the decisions of the "councils of elders" [Judenrat].  The Nazis, from time to time, decided upon a general quota for the work of the camps and for extermination, but the individual selection was left up to the "council of elders", with the enforcement of kidnappings and arrests also placed in the hands of the Jewish police (kapos).  By this shrewd method, the Nazis were highly successful in accomplishing mass murder and poisoning the atmosphere of the ghetto through moral degeneration and corruption.
Reb Moshe Shonfeld, The Holocaust Victims Accuse: Documents and Testimony on Jewish War Criminals, 1977, pp. 119-120, emphasis added.

According to Israel Shahak:

In his moving letter to the editor below, Israel Shahak underlines that almost all the administrative tasks and policing required by the Nazis was placed in Jewish hands, that Jewish collaborators were ubiquitous, and that Jewish collaborators obstructed Jewish resistance, and made the Jewish Holocaust possible:

Falsification of the Holocaust

Letter to the editor by Prof. Israel Shahak, published on 19 May 1989 in Kol Ha'ir, Jerusalem.
Available online at:

I disagree with the opinion of Haim Baram that the Israeli education system has managed to instil a 'Holocaust awareness' in its pupils (Kol Ha'Ir 12.5.89).  It's not an awareness of the Holocaust but rather the myth of the Holocaust or even a falsification of the Holocaust (in the sense that 'a half-truth is worse than a lie') which has been instilled here.

As one who himself lived through the Holocaust, first in Warsaw then in Bergen-Belsen, I will give an immediate example of the total ignorance of daily life during the Holocaust.  In the Warsaw ghetto, even during the period of the first massive extermination (June to October 1943), one saw almost no German soldiers.  Nearly all the work of administration, and later the work of transporting hundreds of thousands of Jews to their deaths, was carried out by Jewish collaborators.  Before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising (the planning of which only started after the extermination of the majority of Jews in Warsaw), the Jewish underground killed, with perfect justification, every Jewish collaborator they could find.  If they had not done so the Uprising could never have started.  The majority of the population of the Ghetto hated the collaborators far more than the German Nazis.  Every Jewish child was taught, and this saved the lives of some them "if you enter a square from which there are three exits, one guarded by a German SS man, one by an Ukrainian and one by a Jewish policeman, then you should first try to pass the German, and then maybe the Ukrainian, but never the Jew".

One of my own strongest memories is that, when the Jewish underground killed a despicable collaborator close to my home at the end of February 1943, I danced and sang around the still bleeding corpse together with the other children.  I still do not regret this, quite the contrary.

It is clear that such events were not exclusive to the Jews, the entire Nazi success in easy and continued rule over millions of people stemmed from the subtle and diabolical use of collaborators, who did most of the dirty work for them.  But does anybody now know about this?  This, and not what is 'instilled' was the reality.  Of the Yad Vashem (official state Holocaust museum in Jerusalem - Ed.) theatre, I do not wish to speak at all.  It, and its vile exploiting, such as honouring South Africa collaborators with the Nazis are truly beneath contempt.

Therefore, if we knew a little of the truth about the Holocaust, we would at least understand (with or without agreeing) why the Palestinians are now eliminating their collaborators.  That is the only means they have if they wish to continue to struggle against our limb-breaking regime.

Kind regards,

[Israel Shahak]

Please change the name of your committee

The example of Israel Roitman above suggests that the CJC has no interest in punishing crimes committed by Jewish Communists so long as these crimes are only boasted of against Ukrainians, and the examples of Mitso Rosenbek and of the
Jewish Ghetto police generally suggest that the CJC has no interest in punishing Nazi crimes against Jews when these crimes were committed by other Jews.  If the CJC were impartially interested in punishing all Nazi crimes against Jews, then it would have by now denounced and urged the prosecution of at least some Jews who committed such crimes, especially since such guilty Jews likely greatly outnumber guilty non-Jews.

Therefore, you could avoid misleading the public as you do today by changing the name of the committee of which you are Chair from the less accurate War Crimes Committee to the more accurate Nazi War Crimes by Gentiles against Jews Committee.

Further speculations on the nature of anti-Semitism

By way of further speculation concerning the origins of anti-Semitism, and its remedies, I wonder if I could get you to tell me what natural feelings you would expect a Ukrainian to experience upon reading Israel Roitman's account above?  If you can't imagine any answer, then I would invite you to imagine the feelings that a Jew might experience upon seeing a Ukrainian boasting of torturing and murdering a string of Jews.  Yes that feeling!  That is the feeling that you might expect would be natural and justifiable in a Ukrainian as well.

And now I ask you further, to whom might this feeling naturally attach?  To Israel Roitman alone?  And yet, this does not seem reasonable, as the owners and publishers and editors of Our View appear to approve of Israel Roitman's writing, and the readers of Our View might approve of it as well, and the CJC may be disinclined to voice any disapproval, and we do not read of the RCMP questioning Israel Roitman or Anne McLellan's war crimes unit prosecuting him.  Israel Roitman is no fool he boasts of torturing and murdering Ukrainians aware that he does so while immersed in a sea of approval.  He expected no harm to come to him as a result of his confession, and indeed no harm does come to him.  And who is it that provides Israel Roitman with this protective sea of approval?  Would it be unreasonable for any Ukrainian, or indeed any uninvolved observer, to imagine that this sea of approval contains a disproportionate number of Jews?

Is it not possible, then, that the natural and rational and justifiable righteous indignation that a Ukrainian or any impartial observer might experience upon seeing Israel Roitman enjoying impunity as he publicly boasts of torturing and murdering Ukrainians is it not possible that this natural and rational and justifiable righteous indignation would spread somewhat beyond Israel Roitman himself, and then be interpreted by the CJC as unnatural and irrational and gratuitous anti-Semitism which the CJC needs additional contributions from Canadian Jews to stamp out?

Lubomyr Prytulak