Transcript of Sol Littman's Tryzub and Swastika speech
"And Ukrainian scholars, many of them at leading universities like Harbard — I mean Harvard — Yale, the University of Manitoba, the University of Alberta, people who have Ph.D.s and write the history of the Ukrainian community, they lie through their teeth about the Division. They re-write history. Because they hate to think that their fathers were really war criminals and not freedom fighters." — Sol Littman
Below is a transcript, prepared by the Ukrainian Archive, of a Museum of Tolerance (MOT) talk by Sol Littman, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Canadian Director. The subject of the Littman talk is his "soon-to-be-published" book, The Tryzub and the Swastika.
The location of Littman's presentation was the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, CA. The time is given as Sunday, August 31, 9:30 CT, but no year is specified. Because the last two years on which August 31 fell on a Sunday were 1997 and 1986, I take the date of the speech to be 31Aug97. Why a speech in Pacific Time California should have the hour specified in Central Time is a mystery, unless perhaps the speech was being simultaneously broadcast live.
If your computer has a sound card and you have the requisite software, you will be able to listen to the Sol Littman Tryzub and Swastika speech at:
I have often had to guess at the spellings of names and places and foreign words below, and a contribution can be made toward a more accurate transcript by any who can suggest improved spellings. I had particular difficulty in determining what people's names were, occasionally listening to a segment of the speech over and over, and ending up writing what the name sounded like to me, even though I thought it improbable that what I was writing was correct. To all those whose names I have gotten wrong, I apologize, and will make a speedy correction as soon as I receive better information.
All paragraphing, and all bold headings within the speech, are my own.
After preparing the transcript below, I have been forced to recognize that Sol Littman is the single individual who more than any other is responsible for such largely anti-Ukrainian pageants as Canada's Deschênes Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, and Canada's current war crimes prosecutions, and that he is by far the most active fomenter of hatred toward Ukrainians in North America. In volume of disinformation concerning Ukrainians, Sol Littman possibly outdoes Simon Wiesenthal himself. If Simon Wiesenthal is allowed to keep his title of "Grand Calumniator of Ukraine," it is primarily because he is more prominent and probably reaches a larger audience, as in his Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny which reached something like 30 million television viewers on the evening of 23Oct94.
Happily, Sol Littman, like Simon Wiesenthal — and like the several other calumniators of Ukraine who have been featured on the Ukrainian Archive — speaks and writes irresponsibly, and so makes of himself a vulnerable target, so that it is a wonder that Ukrainians have not rid themselves of this greatest of all local nuisances simply by going to the small trouble of critiquing his work. The cost to the Ukrainian community of having critiqued Sol Littman's work and having discredited him long ago is one one-thousandth that which they have had to pay to fend off his obsessive attacks.
Of course to a naive person who may hear or read Sol Littman's words, he has a good chance of appearing to be a brilliant historian breaking new ground, and his speech has a good chance of sounding totally convincing. Thus, it is a matter of some urgency that a thorough refutation be provided to accompany this Sol Littman Tryzub and Swastika speech so as to demonstrate to those who have little disconfirmatory information at their fingertips that Littman's is a flimsy piece of anti-Ukrainian hate propaganda. I have already begun to provide such a refutation in letters to Sol Littman whose links can be found on the Sol Littman page which can be accessed by clicking the LITTMAN link at the very top or at the very bottom of the present page. As the job of refuting Littman is monumental, however, help would be appreciated from people with expertise in any of the many fields in which Sol Littman sows disinformation.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center proudly presents:
How Thousands of SS Found a Safe Haven In North America
Speaker: Sol Littman, Simon Wiesenthal Center's Canadian Director
Sol Littman's trailblazing investigative work on how Canada became a safe
haven for thousands of members of the Waffen-SS spans three decades and
two continents. Hear his riveting expose at this special MOT event.
Co-sponsored by MOT Volunteer Council
|WHEN:||Sunday, August 31|
|WHERE:||Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles, CA|
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Museum of Tolerance. I think you're in for an interesting evening this evening. Ah, my name is Rick Eaton. I am a uh researcher with the Simon Wiesenthal Center. I have been researching extremist groups, and neo-Nazis, and white supremacists for the past uh eleven and a half years. And in my spare time I also uh spend a little time running the museum here and and making sure things go smoothly.
I think this is an uh appropriate lecture this evening because, uh in the in the course of our of this museum we've had nearly, I believe, a million and a half visitors come through in the past four and a half years.
A good majority of those visitors are high school and junior high school students, many who really have no conception of the time that is involved, the historical aspects, and many still believe that, that the, Oh!, these, this, these are historical facts and and these people are all dead, and uh those that committed these crimes, committed the Holocaust and and and other atrocities during World War II, they must all be dead by now. Well, that's really not the case, and uh our speaker tonight will elaborate on that subject.
Our speaker is Sol Littman. Uh, in his, in his uh uh vast experience he uh and I would, I must say I was very happy to be uh uh asked to introduce him tonight. I've worked with him on on various projects over the years, and and most importantly of all his many qualities, I think that he is probably one of the most diligent and and uh hard-working researchers that I know of in a field that that can easily be uh uh short uh shorter than that field. Sol is a very diligent, hard working, gets right down in there and and finds out the truth, and and that's one of his most important qualities. But over the years he's been a sociologist. He's a veteran journalist. He's a writer. Uh, he's been a long-time, dedicated civil rights worker, almost as long as I've been alive, since the 19, early 1950s. Uh, and is the author of a soon-to-be-published book that he's going to talk about today, The Tryzub and the Swastika.
So, without further ado, Sol Littman.
Sol Littman's Tryzub and Swastika Speech
A tale of treachery, of murder, and deceit
Ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be with you tonight, and my purpose in being here is basically to tell you a story, and the story you're going to hear tonight is a tale of treachery, of murder, and deceit. It involves cover-up by government and deliberate misrepresentation by scholars in major universities. It's a tragic and frustrating story, and a story which strangely enough has never been told in full, honest detail before now. I'm talking of the 14th Waffen-SS Grenadier volunteer Division Galitzien, better known among its Ukrainian members as the Halychyna Divisia, or the First Ukrainian Army.
In order better to understand the nature of this infamous division, and why it was formed, and how it earned its murderous reputation, it's necessary to remind you of two facts. First, that the Western portion of the Ukraine, the part we call Galicia, where the Galitzianer came from, was for a century or more a backward, impoverished province of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, ruled from Vienna. This large area, which included the cities of Lvov and Lutsk was taken from Austria and ceded to Poland by the Versailles Treaty in 1918. So from 1918 to 1939, Galicia was a Polish province. The Poles typically tried to Polonize the area, to make it completely Polish by language and culture. The Polish government settled many Poles to live amongst the Ukrainians. The area became a pepper pot of Ukrainian, Polish, and Jewish villages, each speaking its own language, and generally resenting the presence of others.
Fascism thrived everywhere
Next, I must remind you that the period between World War I and World War II was a turbulent, violent time. In every country of Europe, a vociferous, militant, Fascist party arose, modelled either on Mussolini's Fascisti, or Hitler's Third Reich. In France, you have the Action Francaise as the Fascist party. In Holland, the Dutch National Socialist party. In Belgium, the Rechsus. In Romania, the Iron Guard. In Hungary, the Cross and Arrow. In England, Mosley's National Front.
And in the Ukraine, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, known better as the OUN.
There were two branches of the OUN. One consisting of Ukrainians who had fled Galicia because they feared arrest by the Polish government, and they fled to Germany and Austria, and they were led by a former Ukrainian army officer by the name of Melnyk. The other consisted of younger Ukrainians who stayed on in Galicia and carried out terrorist activities against the Poles. They were led by a fellow by the name of Bandera.
Bandera and his band were among the most desperate terrorists in Europe. They assassinated Polish cabinet ministers, executed liberal university professors, and ambushed schoolteachers who sought to reconcile Poles, Ukrainians, and Jews.
When you talk to Ukrainians today, they will tell you that Melnyk and Bandera were great nationalist heroes, who wanted nothing more than to free the Ukraine from the Bolsheviks, and to create an independent Ukraine. Don't believe them! Don't believe them! Both branches of the OUN were intrinsically Fascist. Both believed the Ukrainians were a superior race. Both believed in rule by an inspired, charismatic dictator. Both proclaimed Jews as their major enemy, and both uttered "Jew-Bolshevik" as if it were one word.
The relatively benign occupation of Western Ukraine
I'm sorry, there's one more thing of which I must remind you. In 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and defeated the Poles in six weeks, the Russians, if you will, recall entered Poland from the Eastern frontier, and occupied Galicia. So in 1941 when the Nazis unleashed Operation Barbarossa, Lvov was one of the first cities to fall to the Germans.
Now the Soviet occupation from 1939 to 1941 was relatively benign. The Soviets really went out of their way to try to win the hearts of the Ukrainians and Poles in that particular neighborhood. However, they did arrest thousands of what they considered to be the bourgeoisie. And amongst them were many Jews, because most Jews were considered to be bourgeoisie. So that they sent both Ukrainians and Poles and Jews to Siberia. Now many of the people who were sent to Siberia were eventually grateful to the Russians for doing it to them because they were able to come back after the end of the war. But in the Ukrainian mind, the Russians and the Bolsheviks were all Jews, and therefore it was the Jews who took the blame for having organized these transports to Siberia.
Now, it's not unusual in the Ukraine for Jews to be the victims. There's a long history of pogroms in the Ukraine. Some of you know the history. You may have heard of the name Khmelnytsky, who in the middle of the seventeenth century, in the 1650s, slaughtered some 200,000 Jews. Then there was a peasant revolt a century later in which some 50,000 Jews were slaughtered. And in the 19th century, pogroms became almost a regular feature under the Czarist regime. And in 1881 after the assassination of the Czar, by anarchists, the Jews again were the victims. It was assumed that it was all a Jewish plot, and the Jews had to be punished for it.
In 1904 and 1905 there was a famous Kishinev massacre. And in 1919, or the period between 1918 and 1921, there were actually 1,200 large and small pogroms against Jews. And there is a name that's very closely associated with those pogroms of 1918 to 1921, and that's the name of General Petliura. And Petliura, as you may remember, was a Ukrainian general who attempted to set up an independent Ukrainian state. He was beaten by the Communists. He was exiled. He ended up in Paris where eventually he was shot by a Jewish radical.
Roland and Nachtigall
Now I mentioned there were two branches of the OUN, one that remained behind in Galicia and carried on sabotage and assassination, and another group that had fled to Germany and Austria. Now the German Abwehr, or the German Secret Service, was led by a very cunning man by the name of Admiral Canaris. And Canaris had no hesitation in recruiting the Ukrainians who were in Germany and Austria into what was known as the Brandenburg Regiment. This was a group of people trained in sabotage, in assassination, and disruption, and so on — they were spies, and all the other things that you could be trained for.
Now Canaris recognized that there were these two branches of the OUN that was operating, and he of course was a great opportunist, so he decided rather than choosing one branch as opposed to the other branch, he recruited both branches, and he called Melnyk Consul Number 1, and he called Bandera Consul Number 2.
Now in 1939, when Germany went to war against Poland, and the campaign lasted only some six weeks, the Ukrainians who had been recruited into the Brandenburg Regiment had very little opportunity to show their stuff. The war was over before they could really get going. But in 1940, Canaris organized the Ukrainians into two groups, two battalions, by the strangely romantic names of Roland and Nachtigall. Roland was under the command of Melnyk, Nachtigall was under the command of Bandera. In addition to that he recruited a large number of exiled Ukrainians for what he called Marchkessen. These were marching groups. Once the German army had passed through the territory, they were supposed to go in and set themselves up as mayors, as police chiefs, as town clerks, and so on, and to help organize the massacre of the Jews.
In 1941 when the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa, Nachtigall, Bandera's group, headed for Lvov on the heels of the German army. In fact, they got there before the German army did. Roland, under the command of Melnyk, headed for Kiev and the Crimea.
Now no sooner did Nachtigall arrive in Lvov, than the killing began. First of all, they came with a ready-made blacklist of people whom they intended to arrest and execute. It consisted largely of Jewish intellectuals, Jewish political leaders, members of the Communist party and Communist officials, as well as Polish intellectuals, and some priests, and so on. Hundreds were rounded up in the first days of the invasion. They were shot, they were hanged, they were beaten. Some six thousand Jews lost their lives in a period of five days in the Lvov and surrounding territory.
A Petliura day is followed by a Petliura week
But worse was yet to come. Three weeks later, the OUN decided to celebrate Petliura day, to honor their fallen general who had been assassinated by a Jewish student. So, how do you celebrate Petliura day? You go out and you kill Jews! An additional five thousand Jews were killed in a two-week period during which it was sort-of Petliura week. There were similar massacres not only in Lvov, but in Dobromil in Yavarov, in Ternopil, in Shlokov, and Sambor. At least another 15,000 Jews were killed in these surrounding communities.
Now, I think a group like this, you've all heard about the Einsatzgruppen, haven't you? Let me just summarize it very quickly for those of you who may not have been familiar with it. When the German armies marched into the Soviet Union, there were four special — we're going to call them mobile killing units — that accompanied the German armies. There were four such units, each one attached to one of the four German armies that moved eastward. Their job was to seek out Communist functionaries, to round up the Jews in the small towns and push them into ghettoes, and eventually shoot them, and they did their job very, very efficiently. They certainly managed in a period of about a year and a half to kill off close to a million Jews in the Soviet Union.
Now the four Einsatzgruppen were essentially drawn from German police units and German military units and Gestapo units and so on. But there were only about three thousand men all together. And here you had a population of something like — what was it? — three million or four million Jews on Soviet territory that they intended to execute. So they recruited locals to help them with this. They recruited them and put them in police uniforms, or gave them armbands as police auxiliaries, so that in Lithuania you had Lithuanian groups, in the Ukraine, you had thousands of Ukrainians who volunteered to serve in these various police units.
Now there's a point that I have to make here. These were not ordinary policemen. These were not traffic cops, or people who went out to look for people who robbed somebody of sixteen kopeks. Their job was very, very specific. It dealt with Jews. It dealt with rounding them up, ghettoizing them, and then massacring them. Also, the Germans didn't recruit just anybody. All these people were volunteers. But the Germans were selective. Now what were their criteria? Well, they wanted to know first of all that the person had some political experience in which they demonstrated they were pro-Nazi and pro-German. And for this, the OUN members were the most qualified, because they were certainly pro-Nazi and pro-German. So in the Ukraine, most of the people who served in police auxiliary units were ideologically OUN members.
Now these police auxiliaries were the trigger men for the Germans. The German commanders of the Einsatzgruppen very frequently stood aside and let the Ukrainians do their dirty work for them. Sometimes the Germans even consented to shoot the men in a village, but left the women and children to their Ukrainian auxiliaries. They served as the trigger men. They did the dirtiest jobs. They guarded ghettoes. They guarded transports on the way to the various concentration camps and death camps. And they were guards in the concentration camps.
Now the Germans had a standard procedure that they employed. And it was all thought up by Heydrich before the invasion took place. They knew that in the Soviet Union, Jews were widely distributed. They were not originally allowed to live in the large cities, so Jews were very frequently scattered in many of the small towns, the shtetlock, and so on. The idea was to herd them together, so they emptied one town after another, and placed them in a ghetto in a larger town.
Now Heydrich recognized that having such a concentration of Jews was possibly dangerous, that this might encourage resistance activities, partisan activities. So the idea was that you would nip rebellion in the bud. The first thing you did when you established a ghetto was to somehow rather select the best educated, the healthiest, the strongest young men in the community, and take them out, and kill them first. And this was done over and over again.
The Riga archives incident
For example, in the area of Kovno, in Lithuania, as soon as the Germans had established themselves, they put out a call for three hundred young men, well-educated, well-dressed, to work in the Riga archives, saying that the Latvians had been very sloppy about keeping the archives. The Germans were neat and sober, you know, the Jews could help them maintain the Riga archives, so please, you know, come, volunteer, and we'll send you to the Riga archives. It so happened that on the morning that the Germans came to collect their three hundred archivists, the boys looked around and suddenly realized they were being conned.
There were a battalion of Lithuanian policeman waiting for them at the gate, so they began to melt into the side streets, into the lanes and alleyways of the town. So the Germans got very, very angry, and said, "Look, we came here to collect 300 people, we're gonna do it." So they took approximately 200 of the young men who were still there, who hadn't gotten the hint and hadn't started running, they took them out, and then they went into the town, and they dragged Jews out of their houses, out of their basements, out of anywhere they could find them, and it so happened they took a surplus, they took something like an additional 35 people. But the Galeleiter who was organizing this campaign said, "Look, this is punishment for having failed to come up with the 300 that we requested."
Now what happened to these 335? Well, about three weeks later, a peasant found a bunch of identity cards sitting in a field. And he brought them to the head of the Jewish community, a Dr. Elkis. And Elkis looked at them, and these were the identity cards of the 335 young men who had been taken away by the Germans. Now nobody wanders around without an identity card in that situation, so he knew that they were dead.
Now the community was confused because parents were still getting postcards from these young men saying, you know, "Life in Riga is good, we're healthy, we're well fed, the work is easy, it's clean" — because the Germans, when they had gathered them up and put them on trucks, issued them with postcards and told them to date them, give them various dates, and then the Germans were sending back the postcards to the Kovno ghetto while these boys were already dead.
Now I'm telling you in this kind of detail because this was all part of a plan that operated in every community from Archangel in the north to Sevastopol in the south. Every community was subjected to the same routine and the same organization. And it was these policemen who executed these plans, these recruited, auxiliary policemen.
Now let me mention some of the Ukrainian police groups that are of special interest to us tonight, because we're going to be discussing the Ukrainian Waffen-SS division. Amongst them was what we know as SS-102 which was very active in the Ternopol region, Roland and Nachtigall after their early forays in Lvov and surrounding territories, the two units were disbanded by the Germans, but the personnel was taken and transferred into this new Waffen-SS division that Himmler had created. And they went willingly. They were not conscripted, they were not forced. They were very happy to go because it meant an increase in prestige for them. They were no longer auxiliary policemen, they were now in an SS uniform. The carried full weapons, and so on.
They became, the Roland and Nachtigall battalion became, the nucleus for this new Ukrainian Waffen-SS division that was organized in March of 1943. There was also the Ukrainian police battalion number 204. There was the 31st Vikahaikin from the area of Lutsk. There were ... well, there were quite a number of them. Let me just rhyme them off early. There was the 201st. Uh, there was um, well, I, I'll find them in my notes. But all of these police units, thousands of Ukrainian policemen, were transferred into this new Waffen-SS division.
German defeat at Stalingrad
Now why was the Division organized? The answer is, Stalingrad. The Germans took a terrible beating at Stalingrad. Not only were they defeated militarily, but there was an enormous drain of German manpower. Something that really frightened the Nazis, and particularly frightened Himmler, who was always concerned that we not run out of German genes, that we don't destroy ourselves, we don't destroy the Aryan race in the process of this war. That we keep our best material.
So, there was a need to add to the German fighting strength. Ordinarily, Himmler would never have considered having a Ukrainian Waffen-SS division. These guys weren't Aryans. They were Ukrainians. They were Slavs. And Slavs rated just a little bit higher than Jews and Gypsies in the attitude of the Nazis. In fact, Himmler had a plan of destroying about one-third of the Slavs in the area, replacing them with German farmers instead of Ukrainian farmers, and enslaving pretty much the rest of them to serve the German settlers. In spite of this, although the German plans were fairly clear, these Galician Ukrainians decided that their fate lie with the Nazis, that they would rather be with Hitler than with the democracies.
Two Polish uprisings
Now one of these groups, the 31st SD which came from the Lutsk area is interesting in a peculiar way. There were two uprisings in Warsaw. One was the Jewish ghetto uprising in 1943, and the other was the Polish uprising in 1944. Now in 1943, the accounts of the German forces, or the German general who suppressed the uprising, indicate that there were many Ukrainians among Bakhvalevsky's troops. Vakhvalevsky was Hitler's favorite general because he was in charge of putting down any rebellions that took place. And Bakhvalevsky organized groups of very, very strange and bitter and savage people to serve in putting down these rebellions.
So in 1943 when the Jewish ghetto uprising broke out there were a series of what there was known as Trawniki men. Trawniki men. These were people who were trained in a town called Trawniki to be camp guards and police auxiliaries, and so on. It consisted not only of Ukrainians, but it consisted also of Latvians and Lithuanians, but the majority were Ukrainians, and the records indicate that many Ukrainians participated in putting down the Jewish ghetto uprising.
In 1944, when the Poles rose, Bakhvalevsky again brought in his forces and this time he took two thirds of a group called the 31st SD which came from the town of Lutsk which was in the Volhynia section of Galicia, and he brought them to Warsaw to help put down the Polish uprising. The record of their activity there is utterly brutal. They set fire to hospitals. They torched people in courtyards by drenching them in gasoline. They were among the most feared of the troops that came to put down the uprising. After they finished that job, they were then transferred back into, they were put into, the Waffen-SS division, the Ukrainian Waffen-SS division.
Now the division was essentially a police unit, and as I said, Roland and Nachtigall became its nucleus. But as time went along, a variety of other police units was added to the division. Police units 29, 30 and 31. Police battalions 4, 5, 6, 17 and 8. Police regiment number 32, with some 1,200 members of that battalion were transferred into the Division. So that the Division essentially was a police battalion composed of policemen who had a vicious record of massacre and torture and burning before they even became Waffen-SS members.
Now the Division did not have a brilliant fighting record. Their greatest successes were against what they called, "the partisans." These were the people who had fled to the forests. These were the people who attempted to maintain some sort of guerrilla warfare against the Germans. The people who fled to the forests were virtually unarmed. Maybe they had one rusty pistol amongst them, and there were two or three hundred people huddling in the forest trying to survive the Russian winters. The partisans, even though they were somewhat better supplied were basically under-armed, with very little ammunition, so that any decent military unit could cope with them very, very effectively. And there were not heroes in this battle against the partisans. Some of the officers of the Division, the German officers of the Division, found the men rather brutal and careless, and they did not think they made very good soldiers.
Two-thirds of the Division were actually sent off for a period of six months to fight the partisans, and when they came back, the stories that were brought back by them and about them indicated that they had massacred ruthlessly, had done terrible things, and really did not deserve to be considered soldiers at all.
The Battle of Brody
Now the Division eventually engaged the Russians, the full force of the Red Army, at a place called Brody. Brody is about sixty miles, I think, east of Lvov. And there, there was a pitched battle between German forces and the Red Army, and the Red Army smashed the German forces very, very thoroughly, and the Ukrainian Division was caught in the cross-fire, and they suffered very heavy casualties. Somewhere between two-thirds and three-fifths of the Division were killed or wounded in that engagement.
Now normally, under normal circumstances, this would mean the end of the Division. Once it had suffered a calamity like that, there would be nothing left of it. But this wasn't true of the Galician Division. Within six weeks, they were back up to strength, they were re-armed and training again. Now how did this happen? Well, it happened this way. When the call went out in March of 1943 for people to join the Division, thousands — some thirty thousand — Ukrainians volunteered. Now the Germans only took 16,000 of them. That was divisional strength. The others were converted into various kinds of police units that patrolled their own territory back home. After the Battle of Brody, when the Division was decimated, the Germans then called on those people who had been in reserve, and brought them into the Division. They also brought concentration camp guards who were no longer needed for camps which had already been overrun by the Russians. They brought in all kinds of the dregs of society, as long as they were Ukrainian, and shoved them into the Division. So that actually, after the Battle of Brody, the reconstituted Division had as bad or worse a record of individual atrocities than the original members of the Division.
The Galicia Division had several names
Now there is some confusion about this Division. Historians sometimes fumble and do badly, because the Division had a variety of names. Those of you who have seen military service know that the army almost arbitrarily changes the names of your regiment, or changes the name of your division, and normally it's not terribly significant. So the Division began as the 14th SS Volunteer Division Galitzien. It went on to become the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division der SS Galitzien number one. It eventually ended up, in the last two weeks of the war being called the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian Army.
Now the names have some significance. The Ukrainians who joined the Division very badly wanted the Division to be called The Ukrainian Division, because they hoped that it would be the beginning of a military force that would serve as a Ukrainian army for an independent Ukraine. Himmler, however, did not want them to be called Ukrainians because he didn't want to fortify, he didn't want to encourage, any national strivings on their part. So he gave them a more provincial name. He called them Galicians. Because after all, in the German army, there was a regiment of Pomeranians, there was a regiment of Swabians, and so on. So he wanted them to be content with that. So when eventually in the last days of the war, in the last weeks of the war, when it really didn't matter any more, the Germans said, "OK, you want to be Ukrainians, be Ukrainians!" and they allowed them to change the name to the First Ukrainian Division of the Ukrainian National Army. Where in reality, there never was such an army. And it was never entered officially into the German roster.
Now the officers of the Division are very interesting. The officers were all German, with some rare exceptions. And what's interesting about them is that almost all of them had bad records before they joined the Division in 1943 and 1944. They were already wanted for war crimes in France. They were already wanted for a whole variety of events in Belgium and in Poland, even before joining the Division. The person who was the — what shall I call him? — the inspiration for the Division and its political mentor was a fellow by the name of Vekhter. A very bright, very handsome, Nazi. And he was the one who basically convinced Himmler to allow them, to allow the creation, of the Ukrainian Division. Vekhter was originally the governor of Krakow. And it was under his regime that 30,000 Jews were ordered out of Krakow, and then shortly later another 20,000 were ordered out of Krakow. In 1942, he was transferred to become the Governor of Galicia. Now the United Nations War Crimes Commission holds him responsible for events in Auschwitz and Birkenau. Acts of sadism and terrorism. Because he was the governor, he was the one who helped establish the camps, he was the one who could have interfered and made them different had he chosen to. He was also the commander, he was the administrative head and the commander of police, and he also persecuted a large part of the Polish clergy who was in his district. So the German officers of the Division were also war criminals from the start.
The Galicia Division embarks on trains
Now I have some film that I obtained from the Kiev archive which shows the Division shortly after it was organized marching off to boot camp heading for the trains that were gonna take them to where they were gonna be trained, where they got their basic training. And the film is interesting because it's captured German newsreel film. These were the films the Germans took to celebrate, to advertise, to promote the Division. And what you see are swastika banners all over the place. You also see the tryzub, the the Neptune's fork, which became the Divisional insignia, and the swastikas and the tryzub, and you see this massive group of Nazi dignitaries taking the salute as these boys marched by. And they get on to trains which are already chalked, there are chalk marks on the sides of the train showing cartoons of Jews hanging from nooses. This was gonna be their mission, this is what they were marching off to war to do.
The Huktyniachka Massacre
One of the atrocities that the Division committed which is probably best documented is what took place in a town called Huktyniachka. There were a triangle of three Polish towns east of Lvov. And in Huktyniachka during the winter, a few partisans began hiding in the barns, and trying to protect themselves against the brutal winter. I suppose they stole some potatoes and beets from the field as well, from the storehouses. And one day a German patrol went by and spotted them, and there was an exchange of fire, and two German soldiers were killed. Rather, two members of the Division, two Ukrainian soldiers were killed. The following week, a large contingent of German Wehrmacht, regular German soldiers, and a large contingent of Ukrainian policemen, and a large contingent from the Division, from the Waffen-SS Division, the Ukrainian Division, surrounded Huktyniachka. They gathered all the men in the village into the village square and they shot them there. Then they took the women and children and put them in the church. They had wooden churches in that area. They nailed all the doors and windows shut, and torched the building. And if anybody managed to get out, they were machine-gunned as they emerged from the smoke and flames.
The Himmler thank you
On May 16, 1944, Himmler visited the Division. And he made a speech, in which we have a record, the record of it in the National Archives in Washington. And in that speech, he congratulated the Division for having made the Ukraine a much more beautiful place than it had been previously by eliminating the Jews, who had been a blemish on the landscape.
The Galicia Division surrenders
Now, I'm gonna rush through their career in Slovakia, where they helped put down a Slovakian democratic uprising in 1944 — again, a very, very brutal procedure. I'm going to rush through their activities in Yugoslavia where they tried to take on Tito's men, and were badly beaten. And, we'll go to the surrender of the Division on May 8, virtually the last day of the war, in Klagensberg, Austria. They had retreated all the way to Klagensberg, Austria. And there, they surrendered to the British.
Now part of the Division, about 5,000 members of the Division, actually surrendered to the Americans in another location. The Americans kept them in a camp for about a year, then released them. Most of them went into Displaced Persons camps, and eventually came to America and Canada. Some of them actually served as guards for DP camps, housing Jews and others. The bulk of them, however, some 9,500 men surrendered to the British 8th Army, which had come up through Italy. And the British didn't know what to do with them. They didn't know who they were. They'd been fighting in the East, and the British were really badly informed, especially the troops who came up through Italy were so consumed with the Italian campaign, they knew very little about what had taken place on the Eastern Front.
Anyway, the British have a very strange way of being charmed by the wrong people. They found these guys quaint and cute, because they came in, a ragged army, in dilapidated limousines, nevertheless, they marched in, singing Russian songs, singing Ukrainian songs, and immediately asked permission to have a church service, and they sang beautifully. And the British were totally seduced by it.
Also, the commanding officer of the Ukrainians saluted very smartly, and said, "We have come to join you in your attack against the Russians! We're part of your army now!" The British thought that was cute too. So, instead of putting them in a prison camp in Austria, they marched them out to Italy, and put them in a prison camp in Rimini, Italy. And there they festered for two years. Some of them deserted the camp, and married Italian women, and disappeared in the landscape, others managed to make their way to Germany and Austria where they went into displaced persons camps. But the bulk of the Division retained its identity, retained its discipline, continued to serve under their original, Ukrainian non-commissioned officers.
But after the two-year period was up — they surrendered in 1945, so in 1947 — the British got very, very nervous. The British thought, "Maybe these guys would be useful, if ever we begin marching east again to recapture the captive nations, the people behind the Iron Curtain, wouldn't these anti-Bolshevik Ukrainians be very handy?" And as a matter of fact they even trained a few of them and parachuted them down into the Ukraine, where of course they were immediately picked up because, uh, well, its a long, complicate story of spy versus counter-spy. But Philby, the famous Russian spy, was the guy who organized the parachute drops, and he was informing the Russians of who he was sending in to parachute into the Soviet Union.
In any event, the British became very fond of these boys. They put their patronizing arm around them, and they felt that they were their responsibility. But by 1948, there was going to be a treaty with Italy, and the British troops would be leaving, and the Italians did not seem very happy to keep a Ukrainian Waffen-SS division on their territory, especially one of their favorite resorts, Rimini. So the British got very nervous that when they left, the Italians would hand the Division over to the Russians. And the Russians were dying to get their hands on them. So, instead, the British brought them to Britain. They loaded up seven ships at a time when shipping was very, very scarce, and in 1948 they brought them to Britain.
Now the British cabinet was divided on the issue of bringing them to Britain. They recognized the British trade unions would not be happy to have a Fascist group coming to England. There was a labor government at the time, and they were concerned about public reaction. But the British had another problem. They signed a peace treaty with the Germans. And the German prisoners of war who had become the mainstay of British agriculture during the course of the war. You know prisoners of war are sent out to work frequently, and the Germans were very happy to work on British farms rather than rot in camp. So the British needed to replace the German agricultural workers, and the myth was that all these Ukrainians were peasants, simple peasants, who would love to put their hands deep in British soil and cultivate it. So the British brought them to England, and the cabinet had to debate the issue. Finally a compromise was reached. They would bring the men to England, but because they would need, the British would need, the jobs by 1950 when the British troops were demobilized. You may not remember, but the British Army was engaged in Burma, it was engaged in Greece. The British army had not fully demobilized. But by 1950, all the boys were being brought home, and they would need all these jobs. So, the Ukrainians had to be gotten out of there by 1950.
Well, in 1948, shortly after they arrived, the British Dominion Secretary, that's an official position, or used to be an official position in the British Cabinet, wrote to what he called the White Dominion. That means Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and ironically enough at that time, South Africa, and asked that they take these Ukrainians off their hands. Now, there was a curious incident that took place. A labor member of parliament by the name of Tom Dryberg rose in the house and asked the question of Ernest Bevin who was then the Foreign Secretary, and said, you know, "Why are you bringing these Nazis into Britain? These war criminals? These cut-throats?" And Bevin, who read off a paper supplied to him by one of his assistants, said "These men are not cut-throats. They're Ukrainian nationalists. They have not committed any war crimes, and it's perfectly acceptable that they come to Britain."
The Haldane Porter report
Now some of the other civil servants, during Bevin reply, turned pale, because Bevin had implied that all of these men had been investigated and checked, and they knew that these men had never been checked, and they were afraid that one of these days the truth would come out — that they had never been checked — and that Bevin would be deeply embarrassed politically, having answered a question untruthfully in the house, a great sin in the British Parliament. So they had to investigate them quickly. So they sent a fellow by the name of Haldane Porter to Rimini to investigate these people.
Now Haldane Porter's report on the Division is a masterpiece of bureaucratic double-talk. On the one hand, he says, "Look, we didn't really have time to do the job. Number two, we didn't have anybody who spoke Ukrainian on the team. Number three, we don't know whether these guys were lying to us or not, but you know, it wouldn't be hard to lie to us, but we don't think they did. Next, we don't have any papers, there's no history, there're no war diaries, these guys don't have any personal papers. We can only speak to a few of the people." And then he says — knowing what his bosses really wanted the answer to be — "But on the whole I don't think they'll be a security threat to Britain."
Now by 1947, 1948 these people were certainly no security threat to Britain. There was nowhere else for them to go, nothing else for them to do. So, the Haldane Porter report was then used by the British Government to wave in the face of anybody who dared question Britain's good sense, humanity in bringing these cutthroats to Britain. And today, you can still look at British documents, and you can see the British cabinet members defending their action about bringing these guys to Britain by waving the Haldane Porter report around.
Sending the Galicia Division to Canada
Now the British Dominion Secretary wrote to Canada. And suggested that Canada had a lot of space and a big Ukrainian community, and wouldn't it be nice if Canada took two thousand of these guys? The Canadians were at first kind of hesitant. They weren't sure they really wanted an additional two thousand Ukrainians on top of all the Ukrainians they already had. And they said, "Look, can you assure us that there are no war criminals amongst them?" And the British lied through their teeth and said that, "Yes, we can assure you they have each been individually checked, and not a man of these has committed a war crime. There is no evidence against any of them."
Now the British knew this wasn't so, because we have documents we photostated from the British Archives which indicate that some of the top civil servants were very aware of the crimes committed by these people, but were quite prepared to cover it up because that was British policy at the time.
Now the Canadians were, as I said, hesitant. But there was one thing that really persuaded them. First of all, there was a big Ukrainian community in Canada, a pre-war Ukrainian community. The original two waves of Ukrainian immigration in Canada were largely what we call economic. These were poor people, poor peasants, who came to take up land to farm in Canada. The wave that came after the war from the displaced persons camps came for political reasons, not economic reasons. They were generally better educated. Many of them had been through high school at least, through "gymnasium." And they were welcomed by the Ukrainian community in Canada because their language was fresher, they knew all the dances, they could play the balalaika, and they knew how to make perogies, and they very quickly when they got there became leaders of the Ukrainian community in Canada. But the Canadian Government finally succumbed because there was one other point. This story is full of ironies. The pre-war Ukrainian community in Canada was divided up into thirds, approximately. One-third were Communists. They were members of the Canadian Communist party. The Ukrainian section of the Canadian Communist party was the largest section in any of the ethnic groups in the party. Bigger than the Jewish section, by far. One third were out-and-out Fascists. They had pictures of Hitler on the church wall. They were all members, supporters of one or of the other branch of the OUN. And there was one-third in the middle, a bunch of shleppers, they didn't know which way they went.
The Canadian Government wanted reactionary Ukrainians in order to counter the one-third of the Ukrainian community that was pro-Communist and pro-Soviet Union. And they turned these guys loose on the left progressive, as they called themselves "progressive Ukrainians." The Ukrainian left in Canada had a series of what they called "labor temples," one close to the other. The community had labor temples. These labor temples were bombed. In the city of Toronto where I come from a bomb was set off on a Sunday afternoon, fortunately before the children's concert that was supposed to take place. In North Bay and in Timmins, the right-wing Ukrainians invaded the labor temple with baseball bats and beat the hell out of the Ukrainians who had come there for a meeting. And today if you talk to left-wing, formerly left-wing, Ukrainians — because they've all gone to the wall, they've virtually disappeared by now — you will find that they have many, many stories to tell of the outright brutality exercised by these people who came from the Ukrainian Waffen-SS Division, from the OUN, and so on.
A vast conspiracy of silence
Well, we have a problem. None of this has ever come out before. Because the British Government doesn't want to talk about it. The Canadian government certainly doesn't want to talk about it. The Ukrainian community is very sensitive on the subject. Every time they hear I'm gonna make a speech, they usually send somebody to record it. Is there anybody in the crowd here recording for...? No? Maybe they haven't heard that I'm coming.
In any event, they hate the subject. They fought when we tried to get war criminals prosecuted in Canada because they felt that the finger not only pointed to the Division but it pointed to many of the present-day Ukrainian leaders in the community, the people who gave it its political thrust. And Ukrainian scholars, many of them at leading universities like Harbard — I mean Harvard — Yale, the University of Manitoba, the University of Alberta, people who have Ph.D.s and write the history of the Ukrainian community, they lie through their teeth about the Division. They re-write history. Because they hate to think that their fathers were really war criminals and not freedom fighters.
So we have two thousand of these people in Canada. Most of them are now receiving German disability pensions. They are still being paid by the German Government for the service that they offered. And we are now trying to get the Canadian Government to investigate them all over again, to get the real goods on them, to really do a job of research, and we hope if time allows and we can out-race the biological clock, that some of them may yet be brought to justice.
LITTMAN: I think that questions are allowed.
HOST: At this point, we'll take questions. Those of you if you have a question, if you want to step back to the microphone back here, please.
LITTMAN: There's a microphone here, or if you like, come on up on the podium and ask me the question. I don't mind. I'll share it with you. ... Her name is Miriam, and....
GIRL-01: I have a question, and I have a remark. About three or four months ago, I saw an article at the LA Times about a Jewish scholar in Canada who was researching similar, similar, um...
LITTMAN: Speak in the microphone.
GIRL-01: OK. There was an article at the LA Times about four or five months ago, I think, about a Jewish scholar in Canada who was talking about the same subject matter, about Nazis hiding in Canada, and how well they were hiding all the time, and no one even thought of looking up in that country to bring them out to trial. So, I don't know if you are aware. I can't remember his name.
HOST: Irving Abella?
LITTMAN: I don't think it was Irving Abella. I don't think he's done any research in this particular field. I was reported in the LA Times — wasn't I? — some four or five months ago? It may have been me, I don't know of any other Jewish scholar in Canada at the moment at any rate who's been digging into this field.
GIRL-01: OK, and one more question.
LITTMAN: Yeah, sure. One more question.
GIRL-01: How is the relationship between the Jewish community and the Ukrainian community in Canada today?
LITTMAN: The question is, "What's the relationship, what's the relation between the Ukrainian and Jewish community in Canada today?" Let me say that amongst the older generation, there is no relationship. The memory of the long history of anti-Semitism in the Ukraine, the events that happened during the period of the Revolution, the events subsequently during World War II, have made Jews generally very mistrustful of Ukrainians. Nevertheless, Jews and Ukrainians live side by side, particularly in the Western provinces like Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan. You pick up a phone book in Winnipeg, for example, and you look at some of the large law firms, you'll see Jewish names, Ukrainian names, and French-Canadian names, and Mennonite names, in the same law firm. They have to live together in one form or another. The younger generation, generally speaking, the bitterness is easing off for them. The younger generation of Ukrainians, however, are anxious to enter the mainstream, and are terribly worried that some of this will come out, and that their parents and grandparents will appear as ruthless murderers rather than good, upright citizens. So, they too are extremely sensitive on this. OK?
There's somebody at the microphone. Why don't you line up at the microphone, and you'll be able to get your question.
GIRL-02: Many years ago, I read the book, "Slovak," which I believe was the speaker was here, or at this, before this, yes. [unintelligible] And I'm a political activist in different fields, and there was the use of Nazis in this country to stop, you know, Communism or any fears of it, so that a lot of the in, there were some people that were in Bush's campaign that very embarrassedly had to retire because they turned out to be some of these reactionaries, these Fascists. And so I understand in the United States they're still being protected by CIA types. Is there anything of that sort happening in Canada that would lend itself to their protection?
LITTMAN: It certainly is happening and did happen in Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the RCMP, or "the Mounties," were not only our national police force, they were also our counter-intelligence arm. And they were terribly worried about Communists in the wake of World War II. So, very frequently they hired the people we consider war criminals to inform them on who in their particular community was a Communist. So, for example, a fellow like Gouriyitsik, who lived in Windsor, he was informing on the Yugoslavs. There were a number of others who were informing on Ukrainians, Ukrainian immigrants, and the hiring of the people we consider war criminals supposedly to screen out Communists was a common thing both in the CIA and in the RCMP. OK? Does that answer your question?
GIRL-02: And today, are they still working for the government any more?
LITTMAN: Yeah, the situation has changed today. The RCMP has now arrested at least two of the people who were originally their informants. Gouriyitsik was one of them, and Nemsella was the other. Both of them had worked for the RCMP originally as informants. And they have now been arrested, and the RCMP did the investigation. OK?
GIRL-03: I have two questions, one is my mother escaped from the Ukraine around 1926, and she said that one of these people who led the pogroms was a woman named Mariutsa, and that later Mariutsa was considered a hero in Germany or something. Have you ever heard of her? She was interested in the woman, vicious, very vicious woman pogrom leader.
LITTMAN: Well, let me be fair. There were some people who were terribly vicious. There were also a lot of Ukrainians who were decent people and who helped protect Jews, but unfortunately, they were usually betrayed to the Germans by other Ukrainians.
LITTMAN: I don't wanna stigmatize or condemn a whole people. This is why my emphasis is on the OUN and the Division, because I believe it was those people largely who were committed to the Fascist ideology that were the most dangerous and the most vicious.
LITTMAN: There were democratic Ukrainians. There were people who got along with Jews and helped protect them. So, I'm sorry if anything I said...
LITTMAN: makes it seem as though I'm condemning the whole Ukrainian people.
GIRL-03: No, not at all, but my mother would tell you she never, she never met a Ukrainian who helped the Jews at all.
GIRL-03: But anyway, I have a second question which you might not know the answer to, but, in the 1980s I knew a screen writer who's still alive, and he told me there was a Communist living in Seal Beach, California, and that a lot of people knew about it, and I also remember that in [unintelligible] a couple of years ago, in the middle 1990s, someone at the LA Times reported that this amazing thing had happened, the government had realized that there was a Nazi living in Seal Beach, California, and he was arrested, and I wondered why he was arrested, and it was amazing enough that they let him stay there, but why was it suddenly useful to the Americans to announce that they suddenly [unintelligible].
HOST: The Communist, the person questioned was not a Communist, was a former Nazi Yugoslav, was Artukovic, and who had been, Artukovic had been brought before the courts as far back as the 50s, but the laws did not exist until 1977 to deal with him. After the OSI was created and these people could be deported, if they themselves had been persecuted, he was deported to, I believe, Belgrade, and tried, and uh, and uh, died in prison in Yugoslavia. Um, 89, I believe, 89, 90.
LITTMAN: The answer, the general answer is, that there are a lot of Nazis, a lot of war criminals, still living in the United States who have not been identified, or who have not been charged. There are some fifteen hundred of them still alive in Canada. There are others in Australia, in New Zealand, and in England, and unfortunately the West really did not do a job of prosecuting war criminals after the war. As a matter of fact, in 1948, they pretty much decided not to do anything more about it because we wanted to bring the Germans on-side against the Russians. And Adenauer kept telling the Allies "If you keep having war crime trials, you're gonna lose the sympathy of the German people." So we stopped actually in 1948. And we had to start again, and it's very hard to get a process started again after witnesses are old, their memories fade, they get sick, they die and we're left trying to prosecute people for crimes committed fifty years ago.
OK, Sir. Can you hear me?
MAN WITH ACCENT-01: Yuh. Up until about two years ago, you had a Governor General of Canada, who was of Ukrainian descent. HT Natsian, something like that. A Governor General of Canada. [waits to be told the name] Surely you know that name? [Silence] I, I, additionally, at the moment you have a Prime Minister, I think, of Saskatchewan that's Ukrainian. Purpose of my question is as follows. I'm wondering how the Canadian Government deals with the Ukrainian minority which I gather is very large in Canada. The Ukrainians have come up a long way in Canada. I understand they're quite a political force to be dealt with. How do they deal with the Government? How does the Government deal with them? And how do they relate to the Jews in Canada who also are politically very strong>
LITTMAN: All right! I don't know about your question about Governor Generals, let me put it this way...
MAN WITH ACCENT-01: The Governor General was Hnatyshyn.
LITTMAN: Yeah. Years and years ago when I was a teenager, we had a Governor General by the name of John Buchan, an English writer, who was unquestionably an anti-Semite. More recently, we've had a Lieutenant Governor, namely somebody appointed by Ottawa to be the representative of the Ottawa Government in Quebec who in his youth joined a demonstration against Jews, in the early years of the war, as a French-Canadian he was anti-war. French Canada has a whole different history. It would be the subject of another lecture some night. The Ukrainian community in Canada consists of about a million people. The Jewish community in Canada consists of about five hundred people — five hundred thousand people. So, we're half the size of the Ukrainian community. The Ukrainian community is highly organized, highly political, and because they're concentrated in the three prairie provinces, they carry a lot of political weight, because they can pretty much determine who gets elected in those three provinces.
So, we have a big political problem, and it's one of the reasons why the Jewish community, even though it's influential, even though it's prosperous, even though it's well-educated, had a great deal of difficulty in persuading the Canadian Government to actually begin prosecuting, investigating, identifying, and prosecuting war criminals in Canada. The Canadian Government didn't want to get into it at all. It was the Simon Wiesenthal Center that pushed the Canadian Government into it, who forced the Government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into War Criminals in Canada, which set the tone which for the first time revealed that we had a large number of war criminals in Canada, that we've been a haven for war criminals in Canada.
The battle is not yet won. It's a see-saw battle. The Ukrainians win some of the skirmishes, we win some of the skirmishes. At the moment, we've managed to persuade the Government that it has a moral obligation, regardless of politics, to prosecute war criminals. It's carrying on. It's trying to do the job, but it's not doing it terribly effectively, and it's not doing it with a full heart, I assure you. So, we have a big battle on our hands in Canada. Nothing there is easy. In addition to that, we've recently had some very quirky court decisions that make life difficult even for the prosecuting attorneys. So, it's been a long and difficult battle, and I'm a very frustrated man.
MAN WITH ACCENT-01: Are you aware of the fact that the Canadian Government is now building a, or is going to build, a Jewish Holocaust Museum in Ottawa?
LITTMAN: Of course I'm aware. [laughs] If your question is "Am I aware?" the answer is "Yes!" The Holocaust, the Holocaust Museum will be a branch of our National War Museum in Ottawa. I hope to bring the directors down here to see the museum here, because I think, you know, uh, I'm not sure they have the same kind of dynamic outlook there that you have here. And I'd like them to learn from the museum here.
Thank you, sir, can you, uh.... You've asked some very good questions.
BOY-01: To what extent have you identified specifically war criminals, and to what extent have you
been able to associate crimes with those people? [repeats] And to what extent have you been able to associate or identify specific crimes with those people in order to go to the Government and say "We think you ought to be doing something about this"?
LITTMAN: The research done in the Canadian office has managed to identify in some detail some five hundred Nazi war criminals. And most of them are not German, most of them are Eastern European. And a large part of the information came from the archives of the various countries, from Poland, from Yugoslavia, from Latvia, and so on. We've given all those names to the Canadian Government, and I can't really tell you in all honesty that I know exactly what the Government has done with all of them. What the Government has done is they prioritize these five hundred cases. In other words, they feel that the evidence is strong in some of them, and more difficult to ascertain in others. They feel that the crimes committed by some of them were bloody and vicious, and that the crimes committed by others were more bureaucratic than otherwise. But, we've had no — we've had great success in identifying, and, war criminals, and gathering considerable evidence against them.
Whether we can give the Government the ability to do the job, I don't know. We're trying hard.
Yes sir. [giving the floor to another member of the audience]
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: Mr. Littman, my name is Albert Cuckoo. You probably know who I am. [silence] I was a cousin to your father. [laughter] Now, now, you recognize me?
LITTMAN: Yes, yes!
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: I didn't come with any questions, but I came to, uh, I have a kinda complaint to the Canadian — not to you, God forbid — but to the Canadian what we call authorities, Jewish authorities. In 1947, I was building on O'Connor drive. You know I lived in Toronto for many years.
LITTMAN: Uh-um. [indicating assent] I remember.
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: And I was doing construction there, and it happened to be, when I was ready to rent, I had nothing but Germans who came in, who were brought in, into Canada, and I filled up the apartment only with single Germans. I didn't like that, and I went back to some authorities, and told them that.
They says, "Eh, let them be here!" [unintelligible] the Canadian Jewish community did something in that matter, I complained, and the answer was to me, "Forget it! That's the way it's going to be." So, it's not a question, it's just a complaint. So, I, uh...
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: [laughs]
LITTMAN: All right, I register your complaint, and I can possibly elaborate on it slightly. Let me put it this way. The Simon Wiesenthal Center was organized in Canada some ten or twelve years ago. Until the Simon Wiesenthal Center came along, the Jewish community had very little knowledge of war criminals, and very little interest in war criminals. Now looking back at my colleagues in the Jewish community — I grew up in Canada, I was always part of the Jewish community there. I'm not sure how much blame, how much I want to blame them, because I think many of these people were very busy trying to save the lives, preserve the lives of people who had survived, rather than concentrating on punishing the people who had made them victims. And, I know that the Jewish community did a monumental job of bringing in survivors after the war and it drained almost every aspect of the Jewish community. We took in a much larger percentage per capita than any other Jewish community in the world. Now, um, I think that, uh, well, I, I have my own complaints about some of my colleagues, but I don't really wanna waste my time in berating my colleagues when I really should be out hunting war criminals.
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: Thank you.
MAN WITH ACCENT-02: By the way, regards from Leo. [laughter from the audience]
LITTMAN: [laughs] Stay for a minute after the lecture, I wanna talk to you.
MAN WITH ACCENT-03: Good evening sir!
MAN WITH ACCENT-03: My name is Morris Skimpy, and I am from Athens, Greece.
LITTMAN: Could you speak more loudly?
MAN WITH ACCENT-03: My name is Morris Skimpy, and I am from Athens, Greece. A Holocaust survivor.
MAN WITH ACCENT-03: And air force veteran. I was around Europe during the war and I saw many of those [unintelligible] they were taking my people, my family, were killed also in Sobibor and other places maybe, and I know that all these guards that were after the concentration camps were Ukrainians. Especially in Sobibor. Now, I learned something from you today, I don't like to say very much, if you know who are those Ukrainians? I know they are part of Russia. Are they Christians, or are they Moslems?
HOST: I think the question was that most of the, most of the the guards in the camps were Ukrainians, and basically were they Christians or were they Moslems?
LITTMAN: The Ukrainians were all Christians. They came from various branches of the Greek Orthodox church. They were either Uniate Ukrainians or the other kind of Ukrainians. But certainly they were at least nominally Christian, and when the Division marched out to boot camp, when they got on the trains to go for their basic training, there was a big church service, and they were blessed by the local bishops, and one of the things that they prided themselves on was that even though they were a Waffen-SS unit, they had Christian chaplains. They had priests. Apparently it didn't temper their, it didn't influence the way they operated. They were a very inhumane group in spite of the presence of priests. But certainly they were Christians if that's your question.
MAN WITH ACCENT-03: Well, I have to say very much, because as I know, many, many Moslem people went to German, and they donned the Nazi's uniform, and that's why I was asking. Thank you.
LITTMAN: Yes, please. One more, if you will.
BOY-02: Beyond the push to have the Canadian Government prosecutors seize criminals, are there other avenues, strategies, or tactics you are employing right now to bring the issue to light in Canada? For example, what role, if any, is the media playing in bringing your pursuit to light in the minds of the Canadian public — newspapers, television, what have you?
LITTMAN: Are you familiar with Canada at all?
LITTMAN: No. Well, we don't just, let's put it this way, our job is to identify the war criminals and to try to provide as much evidence as we possibly can against them. In order to keep the government interested in moving, we have to resort to the media a great deal. And if you ask, for example, let me just explain that, you know, somebody came to my daughter at the social agency where she works, and they said, "Hey, I saw your father on television the other night!" and my daughter shrugged and said, "When isn't he?" The truth is we write articles, we write letters to the editor, we are covered by the press very, very fully, we are on television frequently. We provide information to newspaper people, and to documentary makers. There are very few tricks in the book that we haven't, that we aren't aware of and which we don't try to exploit. If you have any new suggestions for me, I welcome them.
BOY-02: Probably none I'd want to state in front of a public group. Uh, have there been naming of names, you know, an outing if you will of the individuals you've identified?
LITTMAN: Well, it sounds like an easy item, but it isn't. Let me explain why. And "outing them" means we should name these war criminals publicly, in the press, and so on, and shame them at least if nothing else. First of all, the Canadian Government has made it very, very clear to us that the moment we start outing war criminals, they're going to stop investigating. And our purpose is still to get these people prosecuted. Second of all, if we name somebody, the likelihood is that they will get support from their community, the Ukrainian community, the Latvian community, and they will sue us for libel. Now they may be guilty as hell, but they will involve us in one libel suit after another which will drain the funds and the energy of the agency. It's happened! You know we've seen it happen to other agencies who tried this, and it didn't work very well for them. They got sued and they backed off. Libel in Canada is a much stricter thing than it is here in the United States. Here in the United States, if you're any kind of a public figure, you can say any damned thing you want about somebody. It isn't true either in Britain or in Canada. The libel laws are very strict and very severe and very expensive.
The the next thing is that I'm not prepared to swear by every one of my sources of information. Some of the information I receive, I receive from Soviet sources. Now while I'm convinced that everything that I've ever used in my work is absolutely accurate and reliable — and that the German Government is dependent on the same sources, and the British Government is dependent on the same sources, the American Government — nevertheless, I'm not prepared to say that every document I've received from the KGB is an authentic document. And mistakes have been made. The OSI made a mistake in the Frank Walus case and had to back off very badly, even though they were dead certain that he was guilty.
So, we can't play games with this. We have to do our utmost to try to get the Government to take action, to use their skills, their investigative arms. They got a lot more money and a lot more resources than, you know, the three people I have in my office. So, I would be happy to out people. There are some people that you know we've actually no question about.
Incidentally, I should tell you that outing was tried years ago. In Toronto there was a group called the N-3. These were people who had gotten some early information on war criminals in Canada, there was one fellow in particular, Pantoulis, who lived in Toronto, who was a contractor, and the boys from the N-3 picketed his home and placarded the neighborhood, and so on. What happened was that Pantoulis went on television and appealed to the press, and strangely enough, people were not sympathetic to this effort to out this man. However, I'm prepared to try it. The day that I become convinced that the Canadian government has stopped its efforts, that it's no longer going to move on these people, we will do whatever we can to expose them. We'll take the risk. OK?
LITTMAN: I'm sorry, there's one more question.
BOY-03: Excuse me, Mr. Littman, I would like to ask you if you could elaborate slightly on the involvement on Mr. Canaris, during the transfer period when a lot of the Ukrainian groups were being held by the Western authorities, the British or the Americans. Was Mr. Canaris in custody at that time, or was his involvement really [unintelligible].
LITTMAN: Canaris was dead!
BOY-03: Canaris was dead?
LITTMAN: Yes. Canaris was the head of military intelligence. The Gestapo, the SS, was his rival. They wanted to be the heads of intelligence, of all forms of intelligence. After there was a bomb effort made in Hitler's headquarters. You remember that?
BOY-03: In 39 I think?
LITTMAN: The SS, the Gestapo, simply arrested Canaris and strangled him to death.
BOY-03: Oh, I see. It was around that time, around 44?
BOY-03: I see. Thank you.
HOST: Thank you very much. [applause] Thank you very much.