TO SPEAK THE TRUTH OR ACQUIESCE TO SLANDER

Mr. Suslensky was present during these conversations. Also present during my discussion with Dr. Beysky was Dr. Kleiner. Were they pleased with everything I talked about? Obviously not - especially Mr. Suslensky. I've already mentioned that during our initial meeting in America, and in our correspondence before my trip to Israel, we agreed that we can and should remain friends, if we sincerely desire a truce and cooperation between Jews and Ukrainians - even though the two of us have very different opinions on various questions. But now he began to have reservations.

"I understand that you passionately defend Ukrainians, especially those from your historical past: Khmelnytsky, the 'Hajdamaky', Petlura, the OUN, UPA. I won't argue with you on this because I'm not a historian; I learned about Ukrainians from Soviet teachers and from Jews here, and I listened with interest to your explanations of the facts. But you earnestly defend every Ukrainian. Do you really believe that all Ukrainians are angels? Why, we can provide you with numerous documents, showing how your own Ukrainians betrayed their fellow-Ukrainians the 'Banderivtsi', to the Gestapo; how they helped track them down, arrest them, even imprison them. Would you like to see proof of this?"

"No, I know this too well. I'm not denying that during the German occupation of Ukraine, there were individuals among the Ukrainians who deserved to be hanged. Individuals like that could be found among every people under the German occupation. But among Ukrainians, the number was very small. After the war, the French hung approximately three thousand Frenchmen for collaborating with the Germans against the French people, and thirty thousand were sentenced to life imprisonment.

We Ukrainians had a hundred times less - they had three thousand, but we had thirty. And most of them can be found in the Free World, continuing their dirty work. In those years, they had denounced us as 'communists', while now they label us as totalitarians. But this is our own internal, Ukrainian affair. They committed an offense against Ukrainians, and a Ukrainian court will try them. And if any of them were to be sentenced to death, then we would bring in from Israel, Jacob Kozelchuk, who was a hangman in Auschwitz, to perform the execution so it could not be said that we were committing 'fratricide'. I repeat: What Ukrainians did to other Ukrainians is our own affair. But you are not accusing or hunting Ukrainians because of this. The Jews are persistently screaming about 'Ukrainian anti-Semitism', about the supposed assistance given by Ukrainians in the eradication of Jews. But in this matter, I have always held and will continue to hold the firm belief that no Ukrainian organization, group or even individual cooperated with the Gestapo in destroying Jews. If anyone in Ukraine did join the. 'Einsatzkommando', or the Gestapo, then it was a 'Volksdeutsch', that is, a resident of Ukraine who was of German descent".

"But were there such people, or not?"

"Certainly, and I am not defending them, since I don't consider them to be Ukrainians. In Chicago, as I had mentioned to Mr. Kogan, in our discussion, they're trying 'Ukrainians' who in reality are 'Volksdeutsch' - Deutscher and Lechmann. I am not protecting them, but why do you Jews insist on calling them Ukrainians? It is true, they were both born in Ukraine, but so were Chaim Weizman, the first President of Israel; David Ben-Gurion, first Premier of Israel; Itsak Ben-Tsvi, Israel's second President; Golda Meir, Premier of Israel, and many others. Why aren't you calling them Ukrainians also, and saying that the presidents and premiers of Israel are - Ukrainians? You don't even write that they were all born 'in Ukraine', but 'in Russia'. Golda Meir herself in her memoirs mentions on one page that she was born in Kiev, in Russia, but on another page she states that she saw pogroms against the Jews, which took place in... Kiev, in Ukraine. And that's how the matter stands".

"But wouldn't it be better to admit that there were those among Ukrainians who served the Germans and murdered Jews, and let the American courts seek them out, sentence them and deport them? Nobody's accusing you or those like you of any crimes - but there are those among your people who are guilty and there are Ukrainians who will agree that they should be brought to trial. In your conversation with Rabbi Kahana, you passionately defended the 'Hajdamaky'. But a Ukrainian professor from Harvard, in his review of your book, disputed this, admitting that Ukrainians butchered Jews during the time of Khmelnytsky and the Hajdamaky! And since the President of the Institute let this be published, then it must mean that he agreed with that view also".

"Not everything that is printed under the Harvard name is the actual truth. This is simply the opinion of someone who works there. Whether he believes it himself is another matter. Sometimes even among Ukrainians there are what you call 'Shabesgoys', who acquiesce to Jewish accusations against Ukrainians of having murdered Jews. By doing this, they hope to further their career. But what do you need more for establishing good relations between Jews and Ukrainians: Schabesgoys , who kow-tow to you in everything or Ukrainians with whom you can openly converse on an equal level about the truth?"

"Nevertheless, you are too severely critical of the Jews, and they dislike that".

"If somewhere along the way I have spoken an untruth, then by all means tell me and we will check it. I want cooperation between Ukrainians and Jews, but it must be based on the fact that the Jews understand and acknowledge that it is not the Ukrainians who must beg 'forgivness' from the Jews for the past, but the Jews who must ask it of the Ukrainians. The Ukrainians are not obligated to thank the Jews for saving their lives during the Bolshevik occupation of Ukraine because this never happened - although it might have, since the Jews held positions in the Soviet administration and risked nothing. But the Jews are obligated to thank the Ukrainians for saving their lives during the Hitler regime because there were thousands of these instances, even though every Ukrainian faced the prospect of death for this and many Ukrainians died at the gallows".

"But I still think that Ukrainians dislike Jews. During my recent stay in America, I saw for myself how Ukrainians in Cleveland demonstrated against Jews with placards reading: 'Jews are Communists', 'Jews and the KGB are one and the same', 'Jews crucified Christ!'"

"I did not see that, so I do not know what sort of slogans there were, but did the Ukrainians simply demonstrate against the Jews for no reason?"

"No, it was in connection with the trial of Demianiuk".

"You see, that was the reaction against which I constantly warn Jews. Imagine two young school friends going down the road in Ukraine, and Itsyk begins: 'Your father is a stupid Ivan!' And Michael retorts: 'And your father is a nasty 'Srul'. So which one of them is at fault: Michael, who in responding to the attack called Itsyk's father a repulsive name, or Itsyk, who provoked this sweet conversation? Should Michael have 'politely' replied: 'You, Itsyk, are always right, my father really is a 'stupid Ivan'. And I, his son, am also stupid!?"

Mr. Suslensky was displeased by my actions in defense of Ukrainians, whom the Office of Special Investigation accuses of participating with the Germans in the destruction of Jews - and particularly by my memorandum to the U.S. Government, and members of the United States Senate and Congress. He read the Memorandum and talked with members of that department. How could I have given such testimonies in the American courts; how could I have written the memorandum, directly accusing the Jews, the Judenrat and the Jewish police?

"I regard your trial testimonies, your public appearances and your memorandum as being saturated with an anti-Semitic spirit which merits our condemnation. I'm certain that in different circumstances ill-educated and inhumane Ukrainians - of which, unfortunately, there are still very many - would accept this as a signal for pogroms, and begin a mass destruction of Jews".

"Thank you for being so frank. I expected your first answer to my truthful words in defense of Ukrainians to be: 'You're an anti-Semite, promoting anti-Semitism!' Your attitude brings to mind a tale about a Ukrainian beekeeper. One day a Jewish acquaintance of his, who was involved with some sort of 'handeles', came looking for him among the hives. Failing to find the master of the house anywhere around, he decided to go alone to the hives and collect a bit of honey. The bees promptly attacked him and began stinging him. To make matters worse, the dog ran over and attacked attached himself to the man's coat. The Jew began screaming: "Help, I'm being attacked by anti-Semites!" The bee-keeper hurried over to his aid, asking him: 'What anti-Semites are you yelling about? Where are they?'"

'What do you mean, where? Your bees are anti-Semites, and so is your dog and so are you; you turned them all into nasty anti-Semites!'

'But the bees and the dog attack anyone who comes here without me!, - the bee-keeper protested. But the Jew was insistent: 'It's not my business why they attack everyone else. I know they attacked me because I'm a Jew, and your bees, your dog and you - all hate Jews!'"

Suslensky frowned sourly. "This anecdote of yours is anti-Semitic! You're an innate anti-Semite!"

"Yes, just like one of those bees. But can't even an educated Jew, in a discussion about Jewish-Ukrainian relations, desist from this annoyingly persistent: 'Ukrainians are all traditional anti-Semites!'? Can't he converse calmly and to the point, subjecting every argument as well as every accusation on both sides to an objective analysis?"

"Very well. Tell me, how do you justify your actions and your memorandum?"

"First let me refer to your previous statement. You expressed the opinion that, in different circumstances, ill-educated and somewhat inhumane Ukrainians would have accepted my memorandum as a signal or a call for pogroms. This is merely your supposition. But we, Ukrainians are dealing not with suppositions, but with actual facts when we say that the Jews exploit their influence in the U.S. for the purpose of conducting moralistic pogroms against Ukrainians. In cooperation with the KGB, they select a victim for an inquest and trial. And then the American press, dominated by Jews, ceaselessly heaps accusations and insults on all Ukrainians for being 'traditional anti-Semites' who murdered Jews with more savagery and pleasure than did the German Nazjs. Is that fair?"

"Then you're of the opinion that the U.S. Office of Special Investigations has turned into a Jewish 'Holy Inquisition', which is conducting 'witch-hunts' among Ukrainians. And do you state this in your memorandum".

"Unfortunately, it has turned out that way, to our and even to your detriment. You see, America is a super-democratic country. But even so, when a criminal who is black stands trial, it's forbidden to stress that he's black, or to suggest that all blacks are 'innate' criminals. Why didn't the Jews in America honor this principle and simply write about the accused, Mr. Fedorenko, that he was a former citizen of the U.S.S.R., and is now a U.S.A. citizen, instead of constantly harping that he's a 'Ukrainian' and proclaiming, even before the start of the trial, that he was guilty of the massacres of thousands of unfortunate Jews, and that all Ukrainians are known pogromists'".

"But, why the 'Holy Inquisition'?"

"Because under the medieval Inquisition, one piece of information, one accusation, a single suspicion, was enough, for the accused to become a victim of savage inquests, tortures and trials. The same thing, for all practical purposes, is happening in this case also. In Philadelphia, what proof was given of Wolodymyr Osidach's guilt, of his part in the decimation of Jews? None! But this led to his moral and financial ruin, and untimely death. What was proven in the accusation of Bohdan Koziy in Florida, concerning his participation in the destruction of Jews? The testimony of two 'Soviet patriots' who forty years ago, as children, supposedly had seen a Ukrainian policeman shoot a Jewish child and now, forty years later, recognized from a photo that the policeman was Bohdan Koziy. Aren't these the methods similiar to those of the medieval Inquisition?"

"And why are you calling this American Office of Investigation a Jewish Holy Inquisition?"

"Because almost all the members of this Office are American Jews and all the accused non-Jews. Even in Roman times the rule "no one should be judge of his own case" was accepted judicially. The Office should consist of non-Jews and should have searched for the guilty among all nationalities, including Jews, who assisted either the Germans in destroying Jews, or the NKVD in destroying Ukrainians. But the Jews are merely seeking revenge".

"Are you demanding that those to blame for helping Germans be sought even among those Jews who survived the Holocaust and came to the United States? In your memorandum this is what you demand. Did the Ukrainians find any such Jews - even one?"

"Yes, they should, since it's possible that former members of the Judenrat or Jewish police may have been among them. Or should they be left alone, not searched for and not punished simply because they are Jews? As to your second question, I don't know if Ukrainians have found even one member of the Judenrat or Jewish police in the U.S.A. But if even half the money which the American government took from the pockets of American tax-payers and gave for the Office's activities was turned over to that part of the Office which would be composed of Ukrainians searching for Judenrat and Jewish police members, then I'm sure not one, but several would have been found.

"So you want a special inquest of all Jews who came from Europe to the U.S. and of those who continue to arrive from the U.S.S.R.? Isn't that anti-Semitic?"

"No, sir, not at all! This is the American principle of fighting against discrimination: either investigate everyone, Ukrainians as well as Jews, or no one. In the United States there should be no discrimination against citizens simply because of their nationality. No single ethnic or religious group should be permitted to seek revenge for itself against another".

"To get back to the subject of accusations: how can the activities of the Judenrat and Jewish police be compared with the criminal actions of the Ukrainian police? The former were forced to carry out the German's orders and then they were also all destroyed. But the Ukrainians volunteered for the Ukrainian police and murdered Jews simply because they were Jews".

"What you've said contains too much demogoguery and too little truth. How can you pass over the fact that the Judenrat and the Jewish police were expressly organized by the Germans to assist them in destroying Jews, while the Ukrainian police were organized to perform among the Ukrainian people, such duties as the American police performs in America, and the Israeli police in Israel. So obviously it was not Ukrainians but Jews, who actually volunteered to help the German executioners annihilate the Jews. The fact that after a certain time members of the Judenrat and the Jewish police were liquidated by the Germans does not justify, but rather damns those Jews. If they knew that they would die anyway, why didn't they do so decently, without staining their hands and their conscience, before dying, with the blood of their Jewish brothers?"

"But there are still some differences between the Ukrainian and the Jewish police".

"Not 'some', but basic and significant differences. I've been talking all along about just that and I will repeat it once more: The Ukrainian police was never created for the purpose of destroying Jews, hence, there were no volunteers for this task, because the Ukrainian police never had any such duty and never performed it. But the Jewish Judenrat and police were explicitly created to assist the Germans in destroying Jews. This was well-known in advance by every Jew who ever volunteered to become a Judenrat member. So, obvioulsy, every member of the afore-mentioined consciously volunteered as an assistant to the 'Einsatzgruppe', and voluntarily carried out his hideous assignment... and how! During my four-year interment with Jews in Hitler's prisons and concentration camps, I heard how the Jews cursed and reviled this Jewish police and Judenrat. How can you defend them, simply because they're Jews?"

"Because I myself was in Soviet concentration camps, and I know how easy it is to lose one's moral strength in such difficult circumstances, in order to save oneself".

"If you're trying to justify the Jewish police and the Judenrat members because you sympathize with them, then that's understandable. But if you're trying to cover up their obvious guilt and despicability by diverting attention and conjuring up vicious accusations against the Ukrainian police and Ukrainians in general - then this is base and dishonest".

"What about yourself? In your memorandum, you write that 'Jewish witnesses can't be trusted' because they're Jews".

"Half of it is true, and half is a distortion of what I actually said. The first part of the sentence where I affirm that Jewish witnesses are untrustworthy is true. But the second part, 'because they're Jews', is a willful distortion. In my testimony at the trial of Koziy in Florida, as well as in my memorandum, I explained this in detail: Jewish witnesses are not to be trusted because in the wake of the Holocaust horrors, a special psychopathic phenomenon has occurred. They suspect every non-Jew, especially a Ukrainian, of being a covert 'pogromist' who helped Germans destroy Jews. If the suspicion has even the smallest verisimilitude, they are immediately ready to swear that they recognize that person as being a Gestapo or Ukrainian police member who murdered Jews. For example: In the Osidach case, an older Jewish lady was called to the witness stand. She stated that before and during the war, she lived in Rava, Western Ukraine. When asked, it transpired that she couldn't remember when the war began, or in what year the Soviet-German war started; she wouldn't recall in what year the ghetto was created in Rava, or what color the patches were which Jews had to wear on their sleeves. But when showed a photo, she immediately 'recognized' Osidach as the Ukrainian policeman who arrested her brother. To the lawyer's cross-examination, she replied that she had seen Osidach only twice in her life: once before the war - she couldn't remember the year - when a friend introduced her to him on the street; and the second time when Osidach arrested her brother. In reply to the question what it was specifically about Osidach's face or bearing that enabled her to immediately recognize him, after seeing him for only a few minutes at her brother's arrest, she said: 'His little whiskers.' And yet, Wolodymyr Osidach never in his life had any sort of whiskers. Still the judge accepted her testimony as sufficient and valid. Well? Can a normal person believe such witnesses?"

"Didn't she, however, immediately recognize Osidach among ten others in the photograph?"

"Sure, because the others were all in white shirts and Osidach was the only one in a plaid one. Now do you understand?"

"You're entirely correct in that these trials in the U.S. are only for the benifit of Bolshevik Russia, since they stir up hatred between Jews and Ukrainians. But why, do you in your memorandum, call this a conspiracy between Jewish and Russian Nazis?"

"Because decent Jews are condemning these trials. The American President Reagan, openly and publicly called Soviet Moscow a liar and forger of documents. Obviously, this refers primarily to the KGB - prevoiusly the NKVD - an unsurpassed expert in the fabrication of lies and simulated documents. And the Office of Special Investigation is working for all practical purposes, with these very 'experts' against American citizens of Ukrainian descent. On the basis of KGB, 'witnesses', and 'documents' the Office accuses and tries selected victims".20

"I talked with the members of the Office. They mentioned this charge of yours, and explained that the testimonies and documents from the U.S.S.R. are used only as corroboration of what was already affirmed by other witnesses and documents not from the U.S.S.R".

"The head of the Office also gave this 'explanation' to the delegation of Ukrainian survivors of the Holocaust. But this is not entirely true. The whole case against Koziy, for instance, was based solely on Soviet 'witnesses' and KGB 'documents'".

"If this really happened, then it must be regarded as an exception, since the chief witnesses are usually Israelis and Jews who lived in the West and whose conduct cannot be attributed to KGB instructions. To disbelieve them means to be a raw defender of every crime committed by a Ukrainian".

"Your last statement is a classis example of Marxist dialectics. The heart of the matter is an honest defense of a person who has been criminally accused. Why twist the basic gist of the matter? Western, and in particular, American, justice rests upon the principle that every person is innocent until proven guilty.

The duty of an honest person is to defend the innocent; and this is what I'm doing. How can an intelligent and honest person pass off the defense of innocense as the defense of crime? There are courts and entire trial procedures for the purpose of objectively assessing if the accused has actually perpetuated a crime. Only the Russian KGB (or its earlier counterparts, the CheKa, GPU, NKVD) proceeds on the assumption that once arrested, a person must necessarily be guilty, and anyone attempting to defend the arrested person is guilty of defending the supposed crime also. And I dread to think what would happen to anyone questioning whether there was any crime committed at all in the first place".

On several occasions, Mr. Suslensky expressed disenchantment with his trip to America. Dr. Stern - said Suslensky - had hundreds of listeners everywhere, Ukrainians paid him for every appearance and he earned fifty thousand dollars for his lectures to Ukrainians; whereas he, Suslensky, was not paid at all by any Ukrainians, and there were usually only a handful of listeners. For some reason, the 'Banderivtsi' were boycotting him.

"This statement is entirely insubstantiated and false", I explained to him. "There was no boycott, only a different set of circumstances. Dr. Stern was lucky. At the time, there was as yet no dissension among Ukrainians in America, and all Ukrainians were terribly eager to see and hear a non-communist from Ukraine. In this atmosphere, everyone was glad to hear and see Dr. Stern, who recently came from Ukraine. But he disillusioned everyone. He said he was from Ukraine and liked Ukrainian borsch,21 and nothing more. Then the 'dissidents' appeared: - Leonid Pliusch, Hryhorenko and others - and they also disillusioned and divided the Ukrainians. People became distrustful: What will another such as Dr. Stern tell us? Will he tell us he's from Ukraine and likes borsch? At the time of Dr. Stern's trip, Ukrainians in America were united, but now - they're divided".

"Yes. I noticed that".

"You probably did more than notice it. In meeting Ukrainians, you must have become quite familiar with the situation".

"But why is there such dissension and division?"

"Discord is a general phenomenon, it occurs everywhere. Ukrainians on their native soil, in the face of every occupation, were divided into patriots, revolutionaries, those who were neutral or non-committal, and those who collaborated with the occupying regime. In America there is no oppression. Here dissension evolved for the same reason as elsewhere in the world. There is a German national government in West Germany and a German Democratic Republic; a Korean National and a Korean Democratic Republic; there was a Vietnamese National and a Vietnamese Democratic Republic; as well as Yemen National and Yemen Democratic Republic. So it was that Ukrainians in the free world divided into a Ukrainian National and a Ukrainian 'Democratic' community. And there exists a great gap between the two. Over there, the boundaries are maintained with barbed wire and machine guns; among Ukrainians here, the dividing line is moral-psychological one. The two cannot agree nor unite. This is why you must give separate lectures for the Ukrainian National and for Ukrainian 'Democratic' communities, though abviously, you can maintain ties with both".

 

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[20] In his report, published in the Soviet Russian journal "ZHOVTEN" (No. 9, Lvov, 1982) the chief of KGB B. Antonenko presents the members of two teams of the U.S. Special Commission who collaborating with the KGB visited Lvov in order to collect from KGB "documents" and "witnesses" depositions against selected American Ukrainians: Neal M. Sher, Norman Moskovitz, Bertram Felbaum in the case of W. Osidach, and Harri Rappaport N. Colman and B. Felbaum in the case of B. Koziy.

[21] Borsch - Ukrainian popular beet soup.