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Neal Sher   Letter 03   24-Feb-1998   Koziy testimony coerced
"In the summer of 1994, the only surviving witness to that incident, 65-year-old Hanna Snegur, a Polish Catholic pensioner, admitted that she was forced to testify during an interrogation by the KGB that in 1943 she saw Mr. Koziy, then a militiaman in German-occupied Lysets, Ukraine, carrying off the little Jewish girl." Andrij Kudla Wynnyckyj
February 24, 1998

Neal M. Sher
Schmeltzer, Aptaker & Shepard, P.C.
Suite 1000
The Watergate
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC
USA         20037-1905


Dear Mr. Sher:

Andrij Kudla Wynnyckyj, writing in the Ukrainian Weekly (February 8, 1998, p. 1), reports you making the following statement to an audience at Toronto's Shaarei Shomayem Synagogue auditorium on January 28:

"Take the case of Bohdan Koziy," Mr. Sher said.  "He picked up a girl who was 4 years old, physically picked her up, pulled out his revolver and shot her, and then went on to shoot the rest of the family.

"There were hundreds of thousands of Bohdan Koziys who made the Holocaust work," Mr. Sher continued, "If you hear the 'small fry' argument, just keep the Koziy case in mind."

This graphic description of the evil against which you struggle would have helped reassure Canadians of the desirability of your serving as advisor to Canada's Department of Justice, were it not for further statements made in the same article:

The former OSI director did not mention that the principal witness against Mr. Koziy, a former immigrant to the U.S. now living in Costa Rica, has since recanted her testimony identifying Mr. Koziy as the perpetrator of the incident described.

In the summer of 1994, the only surviving witness to that incident, 65-year-old Hanna Snegur, a Polish Catholic pensioner, admitted that she was forced to testify during an interrogation by the KGB that in 1943 she saw Mr. Koziy, then a militiaman in German-occupied Lysets, Ukraine, carrying off the little Jewish girl.

With respect to the above report, the following seven questions spring to mind:

(1) How do you reconcile your description of Koziy's actions with the knowledge that the evidence for those actions has been withdrawn?  In the minds of Canadians wondering how you could have been hired to advise Canada's Department of Justice, the fear is that you are either badly informed, and thus unaware of developments in the Koziy case, or else that you are bereft of success stories with respect to prosecutions of war criminals, and fall back on describing successes that you know to be untrue.

(2) What role did you personally play in the Koziy case, and more particularly in the taking of testimony from Hanna Snegur?

(3) With Mr. Koziy having been removed as the most egregious case within your knowledge, what other case will now replace it in your public addresses as the most egregious?

(4) In view of ample reason to doubt Soviet-supplied evidence, does Hanna Snegur's recanting her testimony make you reconsider the wisdom of your heavy reliance on such evidence in the past?

(5) The Canadian public might expect that upon learning that Hanna Snegur's testimony had been coerced and has since been recanted, you would have notified the OSI of this further reason to distrust Soviet evidence, and would have advised the OSI both to treat such evidence with heightened suspicion in the future, and as well to review the Koziy case together with all other cases that had relied on Soviet evidence.  Such a step would have gone a long way toward bolstering confidence in your competence and your integrity.  Would you be able to inform the Canadian public that you have taken such a step?

(6) Upon learning of the Hanna Snegur recantation, the Canadian public might also expect you to issue a retraction of your statements to the Shaarei Shomayem Synagogue audience.  Until such a retraction is made, I think you will not find it difficult to understand that some Canadians may be disposed to view your statements as constituting the spreading of hatred, and may be disposed to view your work in Canada as corrosive and divisive.

(7) I wonder if your description of the Koziy case to the audience in the Shaarei Shomayem Synagogue in Toronto was the first time that you so described it publicly, or whether you had previously made similar statements in front of similar audiences?  If you have misrepresented the Koziy case to other audiences, Canadians would be relieved to learn that you have issued, or were issuing, corrective statements to those other audiences as well.


Yours truly,


Lubomyr Prytulak

cc:  Anne McLellan


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