Ukraine had four roles within the context of the Holocaust:
- Crime Scene
- Propaganda Podium
The Ukrainian people suffered incredible hardships during the Bolshevist revolution and even more so under the subsequent Stalinist rule, in particular during the Holodomor. Most Ukrainians were probably keenly aware of the predominance of people with a Jewish background among their oppressors.
For these reasons, in the eyes of most non-Jewish Ukrainians, the Germans came as liberators from both Soviet and Jewish oppression. Many of them did not wait for German armed forces to show up, but started pogroms as the Soviets retreated. Others were eager helpers of whatever the Germans planned to do with the Soviets and the Jews. They were more than willing to start pogroms or even lend assistance during executions.
Many volunteered to guard prison, PoW, labor and concentration camps. Based on numerous witness testimonies, the orthodox narrative has it even that Ukrainian helpers, so-called Trawnikis (derived from the Trawniki training camp), played a crucial role among those who are said to have run the so-called extermination camps.
Not just one, but two Einsatzgruppen – C and D – were active in Ukraine. The most infamous crime scene associated with these units is on the outskirts of Ukraine’s capital Kiev: Babi Yar. The Janowska Road Camp near Lviv is also among the better-known places connected with the Holocaust.
The Einsatzgruppen’s ranked death-toll list includes several entries for Ukrainian locations:
Ukraine was completely occupied by Germany, and many parts of it for a long time. This put all of Ukraine’s remaining Jews in mortal danger, and many paid with their life for the wrath of the revolution’s victims,’ and their foreign masters’ lust for revenge. (For the complete list, see the section “Documented History” of the entry on the Einsatzgruppen.)
At war’s end, Ukraine was turned into a podium for anti-German and anti-Ukrainian propaganda spread by Stalinist show trials and mock investigative commissions. The most famous of these show trials was staged in late 1943 in Kharkov. The most prominent collection of Soviet forensic investigations into alleged German atrocities is titled Nazi Crimes in the Ukraine. It was published in an English translation right after the hysterical climax of the Jerusalem show trial against the exiled Ukrainian John Demjanjuk (Denisov/Changuli 1987; to grasp their propaganda content, see the section “Soviet Propaganda Claims” of the entry on Aktion 1005).
In more recent times, French Priest Patrick Desbois turned the search for mass graves into a public spectacle, thus drawing media attention to the killing fields of Ukraine. However, he focused only on those graves which presumably contain Jewish bodies, with perhaps a total of many tens of thousands, up to a few hundred thousand victims. These may all be wartime victims of the Germans and their collaborators (see Mattogno 2015a). However, there has never been any comparable media spectacle for the many millions of non-Jewish Ukrainians who were victims of the Soviets and their collaborators from the pre-war and post-war periods. This double-standard is hard to reconcile with known facts.