Jordan   Letter 03   14-May-1996   Nowhere is the SS so openly celebrated

May 14, 1996

Michael H. Jordan
Chairman, Westinghouse Electric Corporation
11 Stanwix Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
USA         15222

Dear Mr. Jordan: There are certain questions that keep revolving in my mind to which I can't seem to find any answers perhaps you could help me with one of these.

The particular question which I have in mind at the moment is what it was that led Morley Safer to the conclusion that the Galicia Division reunion in Lviv scenes of which were shown on "The Ugly Face of Freedom" was in fact the most open celebration of the SS imaginable in Mr. Safer's own words: "Nowhere, not even in Germany, is the SS so openly celebrated."

Now for what strikes Mr. Safer as being the most open of all conceivable celebrations of the SS, I would think that the corroborative scenes shown should have contained all, or most, or at least several of the following ingredients:

 (1) a display of photographs of Hitler,

 (2) a display of photographs of Himmler, head of the SS,

 (3) a display of swastikas,

 (4) a display of the lightning-bolt "SS" insignia, or any "SS" insignia,

 (5) the playing of Nazi songs, perhaps Nazi marching songs,

 (6) goose-stepping on the part of the participants,

 (7) participants raising their hands in the "Heil Hitler!" salute,

 (8) pro-Nazi literature distributed to the participants as part of the celebration,

 (9) pro-Nazi statements elicited from the participants by reporters,

(10) pro-Nazi statements made by speakers addressing the celebrants,

(10) reminiscences of Nazi successes during World War II,

(12) expressions of anti-Semitism.

I would think that before a summary as extreme as "Nowhere, not even in Germany, is the SS so openly celebrated," a responsible reporter would have mentally run over such a check-list to measure precisely how much corroboration was really at hand.  Had Mr. Safer done this, he would have come up with a remarkable figure and that figure is exactly zero!  Zero out of a possible twelve!  In other words, the scenes aired by 60 Minutes contain not a shred of evidence not the smallest clue, not the slightest hint that this was in any way a "celebration of the SS."  To speak words as provocative and inflammatory as were Mr. Safer's, while at the same time offering as corroboration scenes which in no way support those words, perhaps demonstrates the contempt in which Mr. Safer holds the intelligence of the 60 Minutes viewer.

Had Mr. Safer done just a bit of homework before he started talking, he would have discovered that the Galicia Division was a combat unit whose only role was to fight the Soviet advance on the Eastern Front.  Had Mr. Safer done just a bit of reading before giving vent to his prejudices and stereotypes, he would have discovered that the Galicia Division has never been so much as accused of any war crimes or any crimes against humanity not even by the Soviets who have always been rabidly anti-Nazi, and against whom the Galicia Division fought.  Had Mr. Safer demanded from his support staff even the most superficial research prior to reading his proclamations, he would have discovered that in at least three formal investigations, the Galicia Division has been judged to have been devoid of Nazi sympathies.

So, then, what was the evidence that Mr. Safer was basing his statement on?  How could he have said something so strikingly at variance with what was being shown on screen?  This is the riddle that I wish you would help me solve.

Yours truly,

Lubomyr Prytulak

cc: Ed Bradley, Steve Kroft, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace