Ukraine’s president whitewashes Nazi Holocaust crime, falsely blaming it on USSR

Ukraine’s right-wing, NATO-allied government is rewriting history to portray the communists who defeated the Nazis as the real villains.

President Petro Poroshenko tweeted a photo on October 20 and wrote, “Today, the 70th anniversary of mass deportation of the population of Western Ukraine to Siberia and the northern regions of the former USSR. Remember.”

poroshenko nazi holocaust photo

Poroshenko implied that this was a photo from the Soviet Union. In reality, the watchdog group Defending History exposed the Ukrainian president’s lies, tweeting, “Dear @poroshenko Photo you shared isn’t 1947 #Ukraine Siberia deportations, but Jews from Lodz ghetto being marched to death camp in 1942!”

The Ukrainian president had actually shared a photo of a Nazi crime against humanity from the middle of the Holocaust. The image is archived at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which notes the photo is actually from Lodz, Poland in 1942. It is captioned: “Elderly women carrying young children and bundles of personal belongings trudge along a street in the Lodz ghetto toward the assembly point for deportations to Chelmno.”

ushmm lodz ghetto photo

These were victims of the genocidal Nazi regime, not of the Soviet Union — which crushed the genocidal Nazi regime.

The Ukrainian government is erasing Nazi Holocaust crimes in order to demonize the communists who defeated fascism in World War II.

(UPDATE: After journalists highlighted Poroshenko’s outlandish propaganda, the Ukrainian president deleted his tweet. It is archived here for posterity.)

Blatant anti-communist lies like these are far from new. This is just one example of a much longer pattern of right-wing forces helping fascists whitewash their history and even rebrand in an effort to create anti-communist propaganda.

I recently reported on a f(l)ashy NATO film that celebrates Baltic Nazi collaborators who murdered Jews in the Holocaust, lionizing the so-called Forest Brothers, many of whom had previously fought in the Waffen SS, as heroes for taking up arms against the Soviets.

In Ukraine — where the fascist leader Stepan Bandera, who collaborated with the Nazis during the Holocaust, enjoys widespread support throughout society — this is a particularly common phenomenon.

Fascists occupy some of the highest positions in the Ukrainian government. Andriy Parubiy, the chair of Ukraine’s parliament the Rada, in fact, is a white supremacist fascist who previously founded a Nazi-style party.

Defending History is a research group led by European Jewish scholars dedicated to countering the fascist assault on history:

opposition to attempts to prosecute Holocaust survivorsopposition to the Prague Declaration; opposition to elitist antisemitism and  state-sanctioned city center neo-Nazi marches; opposition to attempts to glorify the local perpetrators and collaborators, and institutions engaged in such efforts; opposition to the Double Genocide movement emanating particularly from the eastern regions of the European Union. These efforts were and are seen as inseparable from work to preserve the decimated Litvak heritage and its living Yiddish culture; work to support the Lithuanian Jewish community and other remnant Jewish communities in Eastern Europe; and work to combat racism, homophobia and the New Far Right.