Letter to Josh Kovensky of Kiyv Post

Dear Mr Kovensky,

In your article entitled Honest History: Ukrainians today still struggle with memory of Holocaust, published on https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/ukrainians-today-still-struggle-memory-holocaust.html, and on page 3 of the Kyiv Post Issue 16, published on 20 April 2018, you made the erroneous statement that, in addition to German and Ukrainian troops, there were some unidentified Polish units taking part in the Holocaust in Ukraine and shooting local civilians. Your exact words were as follows. “Jews were taken out of their homes and beaten in the streets. Thousands were shot by German, Polish and Ukrainian killing squads, with OUN members taking part, according to eyewitness accounts”. To support your claim, immediately after it you quote an out-of-context account of a survivor of those events, which, however, does not confirm your accusations against the Poles.

This statement is untrue and defamatory in relation to the Polish State and the Polish people.

Poles did not take part in the extermination of Lviv Jews. In fact, the Poles were the first victims of the Nazi and Soviet totalitarian systems, and were the only nation in Europe which did not collaborate with either of those. What makes your accusations even more unfair is that you fail to mention in your article the mass murders committed by the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) against Polish civilians in Volhynia and Eastern Lesser Poland, which took the lives of some 100,000 Poles, including women, children, and older people.

Therefore, to accuse the Polish people of participating in the Holocaust is to turn the victim into the oppressor, and to distort history. For this reason, we demand that you remove this untrue content from your website, and that you publish an apology, and place the following correction, including in the paper edition of the Kyiv Post on the same page:

“In Issue 16 of the Kyiv Post, published on 20 April 2018, I made an untrue claim about the participation of Polish units in the pogrom of Lviv Jews. Polish troops did not take part in the Holocaust. I sincerely apoloise for this error.”

Maciej Świrski
Chairman of the Polish League Against Defamation

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