Founder and Dean
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
September 21, 1999|
Dear Mr Prytulak,
Unhappily I must refuse your offer to collaborate in the hunt for World War II war criminals because it is evident that it is not meant sincerely. Both the subject matter and the fact that you have published your challenge on the Internet indicates that your real intention is to embarrass me rather than work with me. I am too busy to engage in games of one-uppmanship on any subject, let alone one as important as the search for war criminals.
Nevertheless, let me respond in part to your two letters (September 15 and 16, 1999). First of all, "self-confessed" or not, Israel Roitman whose story appeared in the May 5, 1998 issue of the Russian language magazine, "Our View" does not walk the streets of Toronto as you so vehemently claimed. ("Israel Roitman, then, walks Toronto streets as one of the murderers among us, and I ask you to explain why [he] does so with your blessing.") Nor does he have my blessing in any form since I have never heard of Roitman before and do not read "Our View." Not surprising in view of the fact that Roitman lives in Moscow and has never lived — or as far as I can tell — has never visited Canada.
This does not take away from the nature of his crime, but it does shift jurisdictions. It also shifts the definition of "crime." It is doubtful if the KGB will consider Roitman a war criminal for having murdered a Banderist at the request of Smersh.
Next, the question of Simon Wiesenthal. The accusations that you have listed have been known for some time. Yet, despite them, Simon seems to grow in stature and public acclaim every year. Not that he doesn't have enemies and detractors. However, none of them seems to [have] succeeded in bringing anything convincing against him.
Simon, 90 years old, is still tough, alert and stubborn. All of the events you mentioned in your letter were freely described by him in his own books. Surely, someone as astute as Wiesenthal is not going to describe events that shine an evil light on himself. You will note that every one of your accusations involves an insinuation, ("There is no better way to explain...") but no actual proof, no documents, no witness. As a social scientist, you should know better than to accept insinuation as proof of wrongdoing.
Finally, there is the repeated implication in your Internet communications that Ukrainians are somehow being especially singled out and victimized by organizations such as the OSI and the Wiesenthal Center. I cannot speak for the OSI, but the feeling I have is that they have dealt just as frequently with Germans, Lithuanians, Estonians and Latvians as Ukrainians. The OSI has expelled approximately 60 people since it began its operations. As a statistician it should not be difficult for you to check the list of those expelled and determine whether Ukrainians have been disproportionately prosecuted.
As for myself, the list which I handed Deschênes included Frenchmen, Netherlanders, Slovaks, Germans, Austrians, Romanians, Hungarians, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians. If you examine the list of eighteen people who have been named by the Canadian Justice Department so far, there is hardly an excess of Ukrainians.
Let me add, that the names I handed to Deschênes — and only to Deschênes; they have never been released publicly — was much more fully investigated than the two cases with which you sought to embarrass me. There were eyewitnesses, lengthy protocols and sometimes photographs. Fully half of the persons included in Deschênes' list of 20 preferred cases, were supplied by me. And once having supplied the names, it was my policy to let the wheels of justice grind on at its own pace even though I agonized at the slowness with which the Justice Department proceeded.
Enough for now. Having examined the bulk of your Internet output, I have no doubt that you will not allow the matter to rest and that we will be corresponding further. But let's leave it for another day.
[S. Littman signature]
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