Morley Safer   Letter 17   28-Oct-1999   CBS must produce its evidence
"At the end of June 1941 the NKVD massacred 10,000 prisoners in Lviv." Nicolas Werth
In connection with the photograph below, the caption referring to "hundreds of bodies" at Vinnytsia may be somewhat of an underestimate, as other sources give higher counts, as for example in a Chronology of Major Events, opposite the date 13-17 July, 1943, the following entry: "An international medical commission with representation from neutral powers examines the graves of 9,439 victims of NKVD shootings (1937-8) in Vinnytsia" (Yury Boshyk, Ukraine during World War II: History and its aftermath, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Edmonton, 1986, p. 257).

Additional information on the Lviv massacre can be found in the Lubomyr Prytulak 04-Jul-1999 letter to Morley Safer, and also in the writing of Alfred M. de Zayas, The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945.  Statistics compiled from the work of Yuri Shapoval throw light on the ethnic and religious composition of the NKVD.

October 28, 1999

Morley Safer
60 Minutes, CBS Television
51 W 52nd Street
New York, NY
USA       10019

Morley Safer:

Jews massacred Ukrainians in pre-German Lviv

One cannot read the history of the 1941 German invasion of Ukraine without endlessly bumping into accounts of the massacre of Ukrainians by the retreating Jewish-dominated NKVD.  In reinforcement of the many quotations which I brought to your attention in my letter to you of 04Jul99, I presently enclose the chapter-long statement of Alfred M. de Zayas, and I add below the briefer statement of Nicolas Werth:

The rapid German advance in the first months of the war forced the NKVD to evacuate several prisons, labor colonies, and camps that would otherwise have fallen into enemy hands.  Between July and December 1941, 210 colonies, 135 prisons, and 27 camps, containing nearly 750,000 prisoners, were transferred to the east.  Summarizing "gulag activity in the Great Patriotic War," the Gulag chief, Ivan Nasedkin, claimed that "on the whole, the evacuation of the camps was quite well organized."  He went on to add, however, that "because of the shortage of transport, most of the prisoners were evacuated on foot, over distances that sometimes exceeded 600 miles."  One can well imagine the condition in which the prisoners arrived at their destinations.  When there was not enough time for a camp to be evacuated, as was often the case in the opening weeks of the war, the prisoners were simply executed.  This was particularly the case in western Ukraine, where at the end of June 1941 the NKVD massacred 10,000 prisoners in Lviv, 1,200 in the prison at Lutsk, 1,500 in Stanislwow, and 500 in Dubno.  When the Germans arrived, they discovered dozens of mass graves in the regions of Lviv, Zhytomyr, and Vynnytsa.  Using these "Judeo-Bolshevik atrocities" as a pretext, the Nazi Sonderkommandos in their turn immediately massacred tens of thousands of Jews.
Nicolas Werth in Stéphane Courtois, et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts and London England, 1999, pp. 225-226.

The Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny is a lie of Orwellian proportions

Of course my reason for bringing these two additional accounts to your attention is to underline the admission that journalistic ethics demands that you make that your 23Oct94 60 Minutes story The Ugly Face of Freedom got things exactly backwards.  In the days prior to German occupation, it was Jews who were killing Ukrainians by the thousands.  This is attested to by many.  The Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny that in the days prior to German occupation, Lviv Ukrainians killed some five to six thousand Jews is attested to only by Simon Wiesenthal and yourself.

CBS attempts to re-write history

One motive for CBS Jews to broadcast the Ugly Face of Freedom appears to be to re-write a history that they find unflattering.  The historical record shows that Communist rule over Ukraine was largely a Jewish-inflicted oppression and carnage of which the Lviv massacre constituted a single incident.  The Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny, then, gives the impression of being, in part, an attempt to replace the accurate perception of Jews killing Ukrainians or more generally, Jews killing Slavs with the false image of Ukrainians killing Jews.  However, the CBS effort was insufficient to erase from the historical record that the essence of Ukrainian-Jewish relations is captured not by the Ugly Face of Freedom, but by scenes such as the one below.

Vynnytsa, Ukraine, June 1943.  Here trenches dating from 1937-38 were opened and hundreds of bodies exhumed.  The authorities had built a park and summer theater on the site.  Similar trenches were discovered in Zhytomyr, Kamenets-Podolski, and other areas.  Such macabre discoveries continue even today.  In 1997, 1,100 bodies were exhumed in St. Petersburg, and another 9,000 were found in a mass grave in the forests of Karelia.
Stéphane Courtois, et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, Harvard University Press, Cambridge Massachusetts and London England, 1999, between pp. 202 and 203.

It's time for CBS to produce its evidence.

If you have evidence which demonstrates that the Wiesenthal-Safer accusation is true, I invite you to break your five-year silence by placing it beside the evidence that I have adduced so that comparisons can be made and the truth can be discovered.  Send me your evidence, and I will publish it on the Ukrainian Archive web site the same day, and web visitors will be able to judge for themselves who is right.  If you have no evidence on your side, I invite you to break your five-year silence by withdrawing the Wiesenthal-Safer Calumny.

If you continue to remain silent, the public will continue to judge not only that you were in the wrong, but that you lack the integrity to admit it as well.

Lubomyr Prytulak

cc:  Ed Bradley, Jeffrey Fager, Don Hewitt, Steve Kroft, Andy Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace.