Voice of Russia
Wed, 14 May 2014 10:14 UTC
It would be understandable if Jews worldwide raised the alarm and took up arms, metaphorically speaking, against the US. However, they are not being informed and the truth is being suppressed. We spoke to Professor Barry Lituchy, the editor and co-author of the book "Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia". He is also a member of the US-Jewish community and has roots in Ukraine. He spoke about the US support and the continuation of US collusion with Nazis and fascists worldwide.
Hello, this is John Robles, I'm speaking with Professor Barry Lituchy, he is a teacher of history at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. He is also the co-author of "Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia" analysis and survivor testimony. He is also the founder and President of the Jasenovac Research Foundation and the Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Committee in Brooklyn, New York.
Robles: Hello Sir, how are you this evening?
Lituchy: I'm very well John, thank you for calling.
Robles: I'd really like to hear your views on the current situation here in Europe and in Ukraine in particular with the holocaust, the rise of fascist movements in Europe, the support by the US government of known Nazi groups in Ukraine and all of this in light of the victory over the Nazis in World War II?
Lituchy: John, the Jews in the United States are very much aware of the rise of anti-Semitism and of neo-Nazism in Europe right now. What they are less aware of though is the connection between US foreign policy and I would say even other EU countries' foreign policy in helping to promote the rise of this neo-fascist movement that is occurring in numerous countries today in Europe and of course most spectacularly and most unfortunately today in the Ukraine.
I would say that the history of this connection between US foreign policy and other EU countries' foreign policy in promoting and protecting and also subsidizing neo-fascist movements goes back to the end of World War II when the United States and Britain not only did not send Nazi war criminals for trial in countries like Yugoslavia and elsewhere in Eastern Europe, but in fact protected them and with the cooperation of the Vatican and the ratlines out of the Vatican allowed them to escape, and then in fact co-opted them as assets for the CIA and MI-6 intelligence services in the post war/World War II years.
In fact we now know that an enormous budget was created to organize and support the organizations of these fascist movements in the post-war era. So, the truth is that it is not really a revival in places like the Ukraine when we see organizations like the Right Sector and Svoboda, with its neo-Nazi insignias and proclamations but rather a continuation of the past.
Robles: Isn't this disturbing for Jewish Americans and Jews in general? How do you feel about the fact that the Jewish community in Odessa is preparing evacuation plans currently as we speak? I don't know if you saw the Jerusalem Post article.
Lituchy: Yes, I did see it and as a matter of fact I think there is a great deal of confusion in the United States among American Jews about this because to a large extent unfortunately the major Jewish organizations have not really, I would say to a large extent, they have either gone along with the mainstream media or have not really sounded a clear alarm about these developments, because to a large extent a lot of the major Jewish organizations want to conform to US foreign policy and so therefore if US foreign policy and the US mainstream media's policy is to suppress the truth, the historical truth about these fascist movements and their connection to US foreign policy, I think then that is also what the major Jewish organizations are going to do, unfortunately.
But I think there is also a great deal of knowledge about what is going on among many American Jews. So, you will see a very contradictory and differentiated response to these developments.
But historians certainly know what is going on and historians know the trajectory of this and the background to this current evolution of fascist movements in places like the Ukraine and I think that it is really incumbent on them to ... it's important for them to speak out and that is why I am here because it is very important for academics and scholars of the Holocaust to make clear that this is not an accident and it is a very clear danger.
What happened in Odessa recently is a development that in many ways is identical to what occurred in October 1941 when the Romanian army entered Odessa, took Odessa and after an attack on the Romanian high command in Odessa, they basically burned to death across Odessa.
So, it is not surprising that the Right Sector when they came into Odessa a few days ago repeated history. They burned their victims to death. Historians can see that this is not reminiscent. It is identical to what occurred in the Holocaust.
Robles: Those are their heroes and they are trying to emulate the Nazi SS and the Bandera Nazis who were even considered brutal by the SS.
Lituchy: I think that a lot of American Jews, a significant number of American Jews can trace their heritage back to the Ukraine, a place that was home to millions of Jews before World War II and many American Jews like myself have a direct connection to the past history of the Ukrainian fascist movement.
I can tell you from my own family's experience, we came from a town in the Ukraine, the Lituchys that is, came from a town in the Ukraine called Zhashkov or Zhashkova in Russian, and in 1919 we suffered a terrible pogrom there organized by the Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura, and the Jews of Zhashkov, or Zhashkova, were rounded up and sent to the Synagogue and others were sent to other buildings, and if they could pay enough in gold, they survived, and if they could not, they were burned to death.
So, this is a family memory and this story was told to me by my grandfather's sister 30 somewhat years ago when I was young and it is something that everyone in my family knows because we never returned to our homes in that town after that pogrom and many, many, many Jews in that town were burned alive, killed, including two of my grandfather's cousins who were shot even though we paid Petlyura's boys the ransom that they wanted.
I see Petlyura really as the father of Ukrainian fascism more than Bandera. Bandera was more or less a pupil of Petlyura and so this movement has its origins to the time when the Germans first occupied the Ukraine in 1918. They saw the advantage then of sponsoring an extreme Ukrainian nationalist movement with clerical overtones, anti-Russian, anti-Jewish and deeply so. We should remember Petlyura denounced Russians and Jews and also outlawed the Russian language. And so the flag of present day Ukraine dates to that time as well.
So all of this was then re- ... that was a kind of dress rehearsal. A lot of American Jews know about this because it is their family background, the estimates of historians is that between 150,000 and 200,000 Jews were killed in the Ukraine just during the period from 1917 to 1921, during these pogroms. There was over 2,000 pogroms.
So, this is well-known to many American Jews even if the American-Jewish leaders may not wish to come out and denounce US foreign policy in the Ukraine, in supporting these movements, nevertheless many, many American Jews are familiar with this story.
Robles: What is the reaction, what is your reaction to Victoria Nuland? She is a member of the Jewish community. I am sure she had Intelligence, I am sure she knew exactly who Svoboda was, who Yatsenyuk was, who Tyganbok was. How could they actually allow these people to come into power?
Lituchy: Yeah, well it's very hard for me to know exactly what's in the mind of someone like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland or much less her husband Robert Kagan, the hardline neo-conservative, theorist and advisor to presidents from Reagan to Clinton.
As far as their Jewish identity and their desire to use political movements with deeply anti-Semitic as well as racist, anti-Russian racist ideas, that is something really for a psychiatrist, I think, to figure out.
Robles: Is this a case perhaps of they are after Russia, so they'll do anything they can?
Lituchy: Well John, the United States has .... US foreign policy has, for a very long time used former Nazis and other neo-Nazis in foreign policy.
Perhaps the most dramatic recent case of this was in Yugoslavia. In Yugoslavia it became quite clear when the United States first was putting pressure to break up Yugoslavia in early 1990, it was quite clear that the conflict that was emerging in Yugoslavia was sponsored by the United States and European countries like Britain and Germany and even the Vatican by reviving neo-fascist movements.
These neo-fascist movements whether they be the Croatian Ustaša, or Croatian Nazis, or Bosnian-Muslim fascists, like Alija Izetbegović, who in fact was a former Nazi. Regardless of what they were, it was clear that this was part of the policy and that was what was driving the conflict and that ultimately proved to be the decisive factor in shattering Yugoslavia, in destroying Yugoslavia.
And that was why I began to organize conferences and ultimately leading to my book on this subject of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia, because there was a clear connection to US foreign policy in the Balkans and the revival of these fascist movements, and that story was being suppressed.
That was being suppressed in the media at that time, it was even suppressed in Holocaust institutions. Well particularly the US government Holocaust Museum in Washington DC told nothing about the story of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia when it opened in 1993 and in fact they invited Franjo Tudjman, an open anti-Semite and racist, an anti-Serb, to speak to the opening of that museum.
Robles: How could they possibly do that? What were they thinking? Are they making a mockery of everything?
Lituchy: The Yugoslav Jewish community did protest that but it got no play in the media, it was suppressed just as they had suppressed in the museum the whole story of the Holocaust in Yugoslavia at that time.
Since then, of course, they have added it to the museum but at that time because it was an inconvenient truth for the US government to talk about it, the US government in their museum on the Holocaust just erased the Holocaust in Yugoslavia, it didn't talk about the hundreds of thousands of Serbs, the 60,000 plus Jews, and the hundreds of thousands of Romas who were killed in Yugoslavia simply for being who they were, for racist reasons by the Croatian Ustaša and other fascist collaborators.
The lesson that was learnt from that experience in the 1990s in the Balkans was that this oppression of historical truth in regard to the Holocaust is a life-or-death issue because it ultimately it sets peoples up for victimization. In other words, the same people who were the victims of the Holocaust in World War II were being targeted to be victimized all over again. And this is the problem again with the Ukraine.
This is why the story of the fascists in the Ukraine, the massive involvement of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists, in carrying out the Holocaust in the Ukraine and their subordination to the SS and the Nazis in the occupation and Holocaust in Ukraine in World War II is being suppressed because it goes contrary to US foreign policy and because the aim of US foreign policy is to suppress that truth. So the same people can be victimized all over again - in this case, Russians and Jews.
Robles: Since you mentioned that, how important it is not to forget history, President Putin today just signed several laws into effect making Holocaust denial, making whitewashing Nazism, being an apologist and making false statements about World War II, those are now - in the US they are called felony offenses - but those are serious crimes now in Russia.
Lituchy: They are serious. They are serious.
Robles: What I have seen, for example with my students, young people today almost know nothing about the Holocaust, about what Nazis did in the concentration camps, about the experiments, about the atrocities. In Ukraine I think people just try to ignore the problem. Now there is blood flowing in the streets.
Lituchy: Governments today in the West, the United States, the European Union, Britain, Germany, they want to suppress the truth about the Holocaust in the Ukraine. They want to suppress the truth about the fascist movement in the Ukraine and its crimes because they want to allow these movements who victimized the peoples of the Ukraine, the non-Ukrainian population, the Russians and the Jews, and anyone who isn't Ukrainian. They want to victimize them all over again so that they can use this Ukrainian ultra-nationalist and fascist movements to establish NATO expansion into the Ukraine. I think everyone knows that but that's being suppressed by the media. It's being suppressed by the government.
You were listening to an interview with Professor Barry Lituchy, he teaches history at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, New York. He is also the editor and co-author of "Jasenovac and the Holocaust in Yugoslavia" analysis and survivor testimony. He is the President and founder of the Jasenovac Research Foundation, as well as the Vice President of the Holocaust Memorial Committee in Brooklyn, New York.