Sol Littman   Letter 15   14-Oct-1999   What did you do during the war?
The number of Ukrainians serving in the Canadian armed forces during WW II was 40,000.
  October 14, 1999

Sol Littman
Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center
8 King Street East, Suite 710
Toronto, ON

Tel: (416) 864-9735
Fax: (416) 864-1083

Sol Littman:

If there is a single generalization that you recommend most urgently in your Tryzub and Swastika Speech of 31Aug97, it is that Jews were the chief victims of the Nazis, and that Ukrainians were the chief implementers of Nazi brutality.  However, any success you may enjoy in having your generalization accepted appears to depend upon your presenting a great volume of disinformation, and on top of that neglecting to disclose a wealth of information which paints the opposite picture of vast numbers of Ukrainians fighting against the Nazis.

As an example of information which supports this opposite picture and which you neglect to disclose, Peter J. Potichnyj estimates that the number of Ukrainians serving in the Canadian armed forces during WW II was 40,000 (in Yury Boshyk, editor, Ukraine During World War II: History and its Aftermath, 1986, p. 62).  If the number of Jews living in Canada at that time was approximately half the number of Ukrainians as is the case today, then the proportional Jewish contribution to the Canadian armed forces should have been approximately 20,000.  However, perhaps two Ukrainians for each Jew in the Canadian population is a ratio that was achieved only after the large influx of Ukrainian refugees following WW II, such that during the course of the war there was more than one Jew for every two Ukrainians, and so that to match the Ukrainian enrollment, Jews would have had to contribute more than 20,000.

As your career in recent years appears to have focussed on discussing the Ukrainian role during WW II, you must in the course of your work have come to recognize that the Ukrainian role can only be evaluated upon a comparison with the role of others.  As the accusers of Ukrainians tend to be Jews, the most natural comparison would be the Ukrainian role with the Jewish role.  As a contribution to making such a comparison, I wonder if you would be able to inform me now of the number of Jews enrolled in the Canadian armed forces during WW II?  Also of relevance would be the incidence of combat deaths among the two groups.

And to get more specific still, as being born in 1920 you were eligible to serve in the Canadian military, it might not be inappropriate to enquire what role you elected to play during the war to bring about the defeat of Nazism?  Your answer to this question is of considerable interest, as it might point to the conclusion that there were 40,000 Ukrainian Canadians who did more to defeat Hitler than you did.

Lubomyr Prytulak