What separates the Banderas from every other genocidal perpetrator of war is this: Even though the German SS had units dedicated to genocide, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)approached this mission with a zeal and barbarity that Hitler's own units could not muster. They routinely tortured people with saws and axes, and used the most painful methods they could devise to kill them. And now they are back!
In an OpEd in the LA Times,
entitled "Ukraine's Threat from Within,"
Director of the School of International Relations at USC Robert English very concisely warns that "the way Ukrainian Ultra Nationalists whitewash Bandera history, which is their past, makes the present and future all that much more scary."
The Banderas, or Banderites, are activists in the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement that is now in control of the government in Ukraine. Under the militant leadership of Stepan Bandera in World War II, the ultra-nationalists organized the Ukrainian Waffen SS Galician, Nichtengall, and Roland Divisions that collaborated with the Nazis and were responsible for the genocide of over 500,000 people. Following the war, however, Ukrainian Nazis were the only group to escape trial at Nuremburg for crimes against humanity. Moreover, neither the Banderas, the Ukrainian Waffen SS, nor any other Ukrainian collaborators have ever apologized for their participation in genocide.
In the landmark work on the subject , Genocide Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish Population During World War II, Ryszard Szawlowski characterizes it this way:
"...the Germans have long admitted to their crimes, and have apologized for them publicly .... [The] president of the Federal Republic of Germany, Roman Herzog, [said] in his speech in Warsaw on August 1, 1994 ... 'I bow before the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising, and before all the Polish war victims. I beg forgiveness for what the Germans did.' Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when he kissed monsignor Zdzislaw Peszkowski on the hand, whispered the words 'I apologize' ....
"Ukrainian genocide committed against the Poles during World War II surpassed German and Soviet genocide .... [It] was marked by the utmost ruthlessness and barbarity, and ... up until the present day, it has been denied or, at best, presented with reminders that all is "relative' or other such evasions."
According to Szawlowski's description of the methods the Banderites employed against the Poles at Volhynia, treachery was the most frequently used. The Banderites told the Poles they were one people and family with them and that it would be treason if they left. The Bandera groups even promised to protect them--in writing!
What else separates the Banderas from every other genocidal perpetrator of the war is this: Even though the German SS had units dedicated to genocide, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) approached this mission with a zeal and barbarity that Hitler's own units could not muster. They routinely tortured people with saws and axes, and used the most painful methods they could devise as means to kill them.
The Bandera would attack using "self defense groups" that were locally organized. These civilian Banderas were the main force used to attack and slaughter the Poles. If any of the massacre victims managed to survive, they were torched, robbed, and killed by follow-up groups of women and children.
Szawlowski's work on the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II is brought up to date by the recent observations of Ukrainian Wiktor Poliszczuk. "... he condemns the dangerous activities of the post-UPA [Ukrainian Insurgent Army] nationalists in present-day Ukraine, taking place not only in Lvov, but even in Kiev, 'Galician Fundamentalism,' and other such phenomena. Also criticized by him are the promoting of the totalitarian and genocidal doctrines of the Ukrainian Dmytro Dontsov, the erecting of monuments to the SS-men of the 14th Ukrainian SS Division "Galizien" ("Halychyna"), the OUN [Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] and UPA leaders: Yevhen Konovalets, Andryi Melnyk, Stepan Bandera, Roman Shukhevych and others, and the glorifying of the murderers of Poles, Jews, Russians and Ukrainians as national heroes of the Ukraine, after whom streets and squares are named, awaking the spirit of the Dontsov and Bandera era, so much hated by people." This was written only a few years ago.
Every major scholarly work--a prime example is the papers of Pers Anders Rudling--show that the Banderas murdered 500,000 people without even the pretext of an apology. They have lied and tried to change history in an effort to make Stepan Bandera and the Waffen SS heroes of the Great War. Among other tactics, they have tried to petition the UN to reclassify Bandera and take his name off the UN's list of leading Nazi collaborators and perpetrators of genocide. Legitimizing these men would irrevocably change the history of the Great War.
According to Huff Post , "Dmitri Yarosh, leader of Right Sector, met with Israel's ambassador to Ukraine, Reuven Din El, and told him that their movement rejects anti-Semitism and xenophobia and will not tolerate it."
Right Sector became famous at the beginning of the Euro Maidan protests and subsequent revolution. It serves as the umbrella group for the combined militant Ultra Nationalist groups that existed in Ukraine prior to the revolution and that insist on a pure Ultra Nationalist Ukrainian nation under the most rigid conformity to Stepan Bandera's philosophy. Mr. Yarosh is the leader of Tryzub (Trident) which is the core Right Sector group. He has spent twenty years doing nothing else but preparing for the revolution that will sweep Ukraine's government into extreme Ultra Nationalism.
Despite his words to the Israeli ambassador, Dmitri Yarosh has been very clear from his first interviews that he is guided only by Bandera's writings and the writings of the group's founding leaders. He adheres to nothing else. Mr. Yarosh is adamant about the fact that Stepan Bandera was not an anti-Semite.
Both the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the State of Israel accept at face value that, given Yarosh's claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite--a claim he himself believes--the Jewish community can now relax about any contemporary threat from Ukrainian nationalists.
But can the State of Israel, or Abe Foxman, chairman of the ADL, or anyone else sticking his fingers into this pie explain away the deaths of over 200,000 Jews at Banderite hands? No! The ADL describes its main purpose as fighting anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, and defending democratic ideals. Counterpose to that the entire history of the Ukrainian Ultra Nationalist movement, including its history of today. When you do, can there be any assurances from its representatives that don't ring hollow?
The thinking today is true to pre-WW2 form: "This can't happen again." Part of what is clouding the issue is the very Jewish backgrounds of some in the Kiev government--including Yatsenyuk. A few of the Oligarchs-turned-governors even have Israeli citizenship.
During WW2, Babi Yar was the single most horrific act of holocaust at the time. Even today, the Banderite response to Babi Yar is "I am proud of the fact that among 1,500 Polizei executioners in Babiy Yar there were 1,200 OUN men but only 300 Germans." This quote is from a Rivne city official named Shkuratiuk, and appears in the book Organized Anti-Semitism in Contemporary Ukraine: Structure, Influence and Ideology by Pers Anders Rudling.
The atrocities at Babi Yar, and the accompanying brutality, were left to SS Nachtigall and the polizei. Both were Banderite. The reason was simple. The brutal work of genocide at this level made even hardened German SS uncomfortable. This fact is even obscured in the Holocaust Encyclopedia at the United States Holocaust Museum.
During the period September 29-30, 1941, the first massacre at Babi Yar killed over 30,000 Jews. Over the next few years the genocide piled up. Victims from the Roma (Gypsies) alone numbered almost 200,000. Banderite apologists have offered a range of rationalizations, from "Ukrainians suffered too" to the surreal "Bandera's men stepped back and the Jews did it themselves." No kidding. Babi Yar was racial suicide.
What separates Germany from the Bandera Nationalists in Ukraine is that Germany has taken responsibility for the atrocities they committed. Until recent events, they could say believably, "Never Again." Contrast this to Lviv, Ukraine, where surviving members of the WW2 Galician SS, willing participants in genocide, still parade on holidays, proudly displaying medals given them by the German Third Reich.
Instead of apologies, the Ukrainian OUN/Banderites/UCCA offer apologetics and write handbooks on how to escape responsibility for grievous crimes against humanity. They paint themselves, quite literally, as both victims and heroes, not perpetrators.
Ironically, one such handbook is entitled "Genocide- NEVER AGAIN- The Teacher and Student Workbook", printed by the UCCA (Ukrainian Congressional Committee of America) on the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide. The "NEVER AGAIN" in the title is of course the cry of people that managed to survive the genocide. Can it also be used by the people that committed it, unrepentantly?
How can a group that unquestionably committed the most brutal torture and barbaric murder in WW2 morph into champions of social justice? They continually deny involvement and try to convince the world of the same thing they teach their own people. They were victims and heroes. At the same time, they glorify their SS heroes at will. The 1st Division link is their homage to the Galician SS.
Typical UCCA Banderite propaganda looks like this: " The only important OUN idea from the past that survived is a desire for a free and democratic Ukraine where all Ukrainians, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds, can live in peace."
This response from a former Arizona UCCA state chapter president really needs to be considered in the light of history and present circumstances. That one statement says it all. The only question he leaves unanswered is, Who is a Ukrainian? Do they include all families that have lived there for hundreds of years and speak Russian? How about people that do not support Bandera?
How Does Bandera Fit in 70 Years Later?
On June 30, 1941 Stepan Bandera declared the formation of the Ukrainian State in Lviv. Stepan Bandera made his lieutenant Yaroslav Stetsko the Premier. After the war the Bandera groups formed their Government in Exile that was given quiet legitimacy by both the US and Canadian governments shortly after WW2. Part of this was due to their support during the cold war against the Soviet Union, and part due to the size of their lobbying effort. They pump a lot of money into Congress. That they were legitimized by the US Government is clear from all the released Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act documents I have come across.
It is very clear that the most important branches of the Diaspora government are in the US and Canada. Until 2003 the exiled leadership of the Bandera Government of Ukraine was only one step away from the person of Stepan Bandera himself. The supreme leadership of Bandera's Ultra Nationalists worldwide changed hands twice after his assassination. Both supreme leaders had been his closest associates.
The first was Yaroslav Stetsko, Bandera's Premier in exile. He took over control of the Ultra Nationalist Government in Exile on the death of Stepan Bandera and held the position until his own death in 1986. Upon his death, his wife Slava Stetsko took over the leadership role and lived to bring the worldwide movement home to Ukraine.
Most recognizable Ukrainian politicians, including Victor Yushhenko and Yulia Tymoshenko , are protégés of Slava Stetsko. This will explain why Mr. Yuschenko made Stepan Bandera a "Hero of Ukraine." The EU sharply objected to this at the time, because of Bandera's involvement in genocide, and Victor Yanukovych subsequently rescinded the award. That didn't work out well for him.
The 1st generation Bandera government, which pledged fidelity to Adolf Hitler and committed rampant and brutal genocide that it still denies, was alive and well until 2003. It ruled and raised funds from the Ukrainian Diaspora, which constitutes a third of the Ukrainian population worldwide, or 20 million people.
Today, the Kiev government is only the 2nd generation of Bandera government. Looked at realistically, it still promotes the teachings, policies, and doctrines of Stepan Bandera less than 10 years removed from their institutional moorings.
The Bandera leaders of today were cultivated to make sure they would not stray far. The present government in Kiev can also be counted to be true to its history.
School Kids That Scare Me
One of the changes happening now in Ukraine is forced Ukrainization. If you remember Nazi history and the Hitler Youth, you'll understand what Ukrainization means. It demands the same unquestioning loyalty from little children, a loyalty even greater than that to family.
What is forced Ukrainization at the pre school level ? Irina Farion was a favorite for the Minister of Education slot, until a discussion behind closed doors in the Senate. Sergei Kvit from Trizub (Yarosh core group), a real Ultra-Nationalist, got the nod instead.
Here is Irina Farion speaking to a little child: What is your name? Misha. It's not Ukrainian. You are Mihailo!
And your name? Masha. You are Marusa. But my mom calls me this! If you want to be Masha, go to Moscow!
Don't call other children Russian names. It is degrading. It's like calling them an animal that lives in the woods and walks on all fours.
Imagine a government official speaking to children like this. Children are now taught that if they have Russian names they are second-class citizens. All of the children of Ukraine will grow up to be Ultra Nationalists. Those instilled with National Socialism will get a better education, a better job, a better life.
What Does This Mean for South and East Ukraine?
South and East Ukraine don't want their children taught these things. Would you? Vladimir Putin and Russia are the only parties putting the brakes on that right now. The same Europe and America that 70 years ago violently overthrew the forces of bigotry and indoctrination are now saying that the Ukrainian people must accept them quietly!
Dmitri Yarosh (Trizub and Pravy Sektor, and Assistant Secretary of Defense [Military] and National Security): "It is better for us to build our own National State! Does that mean knives to the Moskals and ropes to the Jews? Well, not so unsophisticated. There must be a Ukrainian authority in Ukraine; the titular nation must dominate in business, politics, and culture...then--forced Ukrainization. Russians do not like it? Well, go back to F#cking Russia! Those that don't want to go--we can help them. Russians are not even Slavs.... Next we will liberate our lands: Voronezh, Kursk, Belogorod Oblast, and Kuban. These are all Ukrainian lands!"
The only problem is all of these Oblasts (regions) are in Russia!
The East vs. West Debacle
No, I am not talking about the US and Russia. The spit propaganda that became western media portrays this as Cold War redux. Are you for the West? Good, you support democracy! Not so fast.
This was never about West Ukraine vs. Southeast Ukraine. Most of the time I have spent in Ukraine was in the West. They are the least represented people in media today, and they lose the most all the way around. They are also my friends.
Propaganda obscures the fact that in Ukraine the people that suffered most under Stepan Bandera lived in Western Ukraine. They became victims, because they were within his reach. Today, western Ukrainians are still the most vulnerable. Banderites stem from Galicia, and Lviv is their capital. Everywhere the Banderas are, people are beaten, robbed and murdered. Intimidation runs rampant.
Today, if the Bandera want legitimate representative government, why are they robbing every armory? Why did Dmitri Yarosh promise he would send a battalion of fighters to Donetsk to stop the protests? Got police?
Why did Banderas shoot unarmed men in Kharkov and Donetsk last night? They are not police and have no state authority. But like the masked Maidan people who are robbing banks across the country, they are left alone and, if caught, released.
The Russian invasion of Crimea took a turn for the weird yesterday. The Prime Minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, directed Crimea's volunteer militia to arrest any person they see that looks like a Russian soldier!
Crimean authorities have heard that Pravy Sektor is masquerading as Russian soldiers, trying to provoke conflict. The now official Ukrainian government organization tried to set off a bomb at a cafe in Crimea 2 days ago.
Russian soldiers are staying on their bases, as per the current agreement Russia has with Ukraine. Their "invasion" stopped at the gates of the military bases.
This isn't about East vs. West. The choice is simpler than that. It is about life and death. There are no compromises to make. If Kiev declares Stepan Bandera and all associated groups are illegal and genocidal war criminals, the southeast in Ukraine will relax. But, quite to the contrary, the first thing the Kiev government did was to make laws that legalized the teaching of Nazi propaganda. Without representation, they decided that 10 percent of people's pay in the southeast would be taken without consent and given as support to the families of people that overthrew a constitutional government.
Ukraine is not West vs. East. They want you to make the same decision with them. Are you for a world ruled by Ultra Nationalists? Ukraine says no. Are you for a government that supports the doctrines of the 3rd Reich? Will you support one? Are you supporting one?
If the Ukrainian government that was propelled into power is not Ultra Nationalist, why are they making every move to show otherwise? Does the US government support Ultra Nationalist values? If not, why are they showing otherwise?
Clarification starts with both governments adhering to the rule of law. Otherwise, as I once heard someone I respected put it: "You can put lipstick on a pig, but at the end of the day it is still a pig."
George Eliason is an American journalist that lives and works in Donbass. He has been interviewed by and provided analysis for RT, the BBC, and Press-TV. His articles have been published in the Security Assistance Monitor, Washingtons Blog, OpedNews, the Saker, RT, Global Research, and RINF, and the Greanville Post along with many other publications.
He has been cited and republished by various academic blogs including Defending History, Michael Hudson, SWEDHR, Counterpunch, the Justice Integrity Project, along with many others.