“I am not saying that the [Ukrainian] famine or the other components of the victimization narratives do not deserve historical research and reflection, nor that evil should be ignored, or that the memory of the dead should not be held sacred. But I object to instrumentalizing this memory with the aim of generating political and moral capital, particularly when it is linked to an exclusion from historical research and reflection of events in which Ukrainians figured as perpetrators not victims, and when “our own” evil is kept invisible and the memory of the others’ dead is not held sacred. There is an analogy that, for all its faults, might be useful for me to invoke. I write here in much the same way as would a North American Jew who feels all the horror of the Holocaust, but who is disturbed to see this tragedy exploited to further the agenda of various identity and political projects (e.g., the defence of Israel), particularly when it is linked to an exculpating narrative (e.g., vis-à-vis the Palestinians).”—John-Paul Himka, “War Criminality: A Blank Spot in the Collective Memory of the Ukrainian Diaspora” http://www.yorku.ca/soi/_Vol_5_1/_HTML/Himka.html
2 thoughts on “Second Quote of the Day”
Very good points, John-Paul Himka and Alan Rutkowski. Alan, could you elaborate on the Ukrainian culpability. I know something about the Russian atrocity – wasn’t it Sobibor – do I have the name right? – where there was a mass execution and Ukrainians were lined up at the top of a long, deep pit and executed. I remember quite some time ago about reading a book about that.
I provide a link to John-Paul’s paper at the end of the quote, Marg. That’s the best elaboration of Ukrainian complicity in the Holocaust. He has written widely on that topic if you’re interested in pursuing it. The Russian atrocity you’re thinking of is probably Katyn. Here’s he Wikipedia entry on it