«Jewish Observer»
January 2002
5762 Tevet

Main page To print

Ukrainian Jewish relations have been developing rather successfully since the 1991 conference dedicated to this problem. Joint conferences and festivals, publications of authors of different nationalities have become a common phenomenon in independent Ukraine. Still there people who all this time were strongly asleep and then suddenly they woke up, rubbed their eyes and decided to say something wrong about the Jews. Of course, they can say nothing new. They only repeat already known anti-Semitic accusations. So it happened, in my opinion, to Vladimir Shkvarchuk who wrote booklets "The Implanted branch" (Chernigov, "Prosvita", 1999, 72 pages) and "Poisoned issue" (Chernigov, "Prosvita", 2000, 28 pages). The latter is with the attachment "Dilettante's notes". He had the full right to write such a note for the first booklet too.

"The Implanted branch" has the subtitle "Jews in the archives of VUCHK-GPU-NKVD-KGB, Chernigov oblast". Describing specific cases, the author is rather objective. But when he starts summarizing and making conclusions it comes out that he does not know the problem and operates with anti-Semitic stereotypes. On the first page he lists several dozens of Jewish names asserting that all these people worked in the law enforcement agencies. No reference to any documents. Nothing is said where the names have been taken from and what these people are accused of. Apparently the author thinks that to have a Jewish name is already criminal. Then he draws attention to almost full absence of Ukrainian kozak names in the list of law enforcement officers. However, he could easily find such names in the list of the pogromers of ataman Semesenko who organized massacre in the city of Proskurov in February, 1919. Within three hours 1600 Jewish were cut then, together with the orthodox priest Klimentiy Kucharovsky who tried to defend innocent victims.

No doubt, many such names were in the army of ataman-pogromer Angel who was protected by Simon Petlyura when the Central Rada demanded to punish him for organizing pogroms. The famous Ukrainian leader V.Vinnichenko wrote about this but our admirers of Petlyura do not mention those facts at all. V.Shkvarchuk prefers better to quote another dilettante from Jsrael - G.Kogan who asserts that Bolsheviks organized most of pogroms. If Shkvarchuk read the book by professor V.Sergeichuk "Pogroms in Ukraine: 1914-1920" (K., 1998), he would find there the list of towns were pogroms were held and those who organized those pogroms, i.e. who used to kill Jews (pages 445-456). It was those pogroms that make Jewish parties, as will as Jews who were members of non-Jewish parties, join Bolsheviks because only they could stop pogrom bacchanalia in Ukraine.

Speaking about Jews working in Bolshevik punitive agencies we advise Shkvarchuk to imagine that almost all these people survived the pogrom tragedies. Many of them saw how their relatives were killed, mothers, sisters raped, how old men and women were cut their eyes, hands and legs... May be the author thinks that after all this one can easily preserve his normal mental state? Moreover, the author acknowledges himself that it is "top absurd to look closely on own territories at the blood of own relatives who ever they may be because it is the direct search for race purity" ("Poisoned issue", p.18).

"Racist is short-sighted", - writes the author on the same page, and he is right. Nevertheless, the author is also short-sighted when he accuses Jews of monarchism, of rejecting the right of suppressed people for ""territorial and political independence" ("The implanted branch", p.4-5) being aware that there were 50 representatives of Jewish parties in the Central Rada, etc. He is also shortsighted when he accuses Jews for the lack of patriotism. It is well known that 10 years ago the percentage share of Jews voted for the independence of Ukraine was bigger than that of Ukrainians.

Therefore, it is strange that V. Shkvarchuk's books were published by Chernigov "Prosvita". This press agency apparently thinks that it has solved all problems of Ukrainian culture and it is time to solve Jewish problems.


«Jewish Observer» - obozrevatel@jewukr.org
© 2001 Jewish Confederation of Ukraine - www.jewukr.org