Edmonton Journal | Mar. 24, 2004 | Lubomyr Prytulak
Letter to Editor

Olesen performs no service to truth

Lee James Olesen (Edmonton Journal Letter 24-Mar-2004) offering the following Raul Hilberg quotation presents a misleading picture for two reasons: "The Ukrainians were involved in the fate of Polish Jewry as perpetrators. The SS and police employed Ukrainian forces in ghetto-clearing operations.... The Ukrainians had never been considered pro-Jewish."

First, unlike Olesen, Hilberg capitalizes "Police" in that statement because he has in mind the Jewish Ghetto Police, or Ordnungsdienst, which is evident throughout Hilberg's discussion of ghetto-clearance as when he says "Jewish police themselves were frequently used to assist in these operations" (p. 486) or "Each Jewish policeman was told to bring seven people for deportation each day or face 'resettlement' himself. Now every policeman brought whomever he could catch -- friends, relatives, even members of his immediate family" (p. 505).

Second, reading to the end of Hilberg's paragraph finds him noting, as he does throughout his work, that Ukrainian participation in the Jewish holocaust was reluctant and minimal: "On the other hand, these people had no stomach for the long-range systematic German destruction process. Short violence followed by confession and absolution was one thing, organized killing was quite another" (p. 519).

Mr. Olesen performs no service to truth by his biased and out-of-context quoting. In fact, Ukrainians do not have any trouble "coming to terms with" Ukrainian collaboration with the Nazis, as this collaboration reached a reprehensible degree in perhaps one Ukrainian out of every ten thousand. Nor does the picture of a Ukrainian force ghetto-clearing under Jewish command, or the Jewish police handing over family members to the Nazis, call to mind only the question of whether Ukrainians have come to terms with their collaboration.

Lubomyr Prytulak, Ph.D.
Ukrainian Archive
Vancouver, BC