Canadian paper under fire for spreading outrageous Holocaust lies

The Ottawa Citizen published an op-ed by a Ukrainian professor falsely claiming that the National Holocaust Monument “intentionally ignores the suffering of millions of people.”

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

A prominent Jewish human rights center criticized a Canadian paper’s decision last week to publish an op-ed by a Ukrainian professor that distorts the Holocaust by demanding equal recognition at the nation’s Holocaust memorial of Slavic people’s suffering at the hands of the Nazis.

Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) denounced the Monday article in the Ottawa Citizen by Royal Military College of Canada Prof. Lubomyr Luciuk, in which he called the emphasis on Jewish suffering “discriminatory messaging” and “perpetuating a prejudice.”

FSWC noted that the term “Holocaust” is defined by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as “the systematic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million European Jews by the Nazi German regime and its allies and collaborators.”

According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, using the term “Holocaust” to refer to events unrelated to the genocide of Jews by Nazi Germany and its collaborators is a form of Holocaust distortion.

In addition, Luciuk falsely claimed that the National Holocaust Monument “intentionally ignores the suffering of millions of people” because it doesn’t mention the Germans’ non-Jewish Ukrainian, Russian and Polish victims, who were “excluded” from the text on the monument’s plaque, “seemingly by design.”

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He misquoted from the plaque to back up his argument, saying it only mentions the Jews who were murdered, while the sentence in full reads, “The National Holocaust Monument commemorates the six million Jewish men, women and children murdered during the Holocaust and the millions of other victims of Nazi Germany and its collaborators.”

“It is shameful that the Ottawa Citizen would provide Lubomyr Luciuk a platform to spread his noxious and ahistorical views and disinform readers on the facts of the Holocaust,” said FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt. “At a time when Holocaust memory is under a sustained assault, it’s disgraceful that a university professor would misrepresent one of the darkest chapters in human history, and that a major newspaper would publish it.”

As a Holocaust memorial, the monument’s focus on the only nation to be singled out for complete extermination is a proper one, he continued, while “that focus does not cheapen or ignore the memory of the millions of other victims of the Nazis and their collaborators.”

Luciuk has supported the downplaying of the Holocaust before.

In 2014, speaking as a member of Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA), he criticized the fact that the newly built Canadian Museum for Human Rights devoted a stand-alone gallery to the Holocaust while giving much less space to other genocides, such as those of the Armenians, the Tutsis of Rwanda and the Holodomor, as well as the deliberate Soviet starvation of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s.

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“UCCLA’s position is that no genocide, however tragic, should be given pride of place in a publicly funded national Canadian museum, meaning no nation’s tragedy, however well-documented or evocative, should receive preferential treatment,” he told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency at the time.

The vision for the museum has always included a particular focus on the Holocaust, however, as noted by a government panel in 2008, the Holocaust “provides our paradigm for understanding the causes and processes of all mass, state-sponsored violence, as well as provides the inspiration for human rights protection on a world-wide scale.”

FSWC sent a letter to Andrew MacLeod, president and CEO of Postmedia Network, which owns the Ottawa Citizen, and to the Citizen, “calling for Luciuk’s piece to be retracted…and to provide space for a response in the newspaper that sets the record straight and explains the harm of Luciuk’s words.”