Ukraine under fire for erecting  monument for mass murderer of Jews

The World Jewish Congress condemned a new Ukrainian monument in honor of Symon Petrliura as “disgraceful and deplorable” and urged local authorities to remove it.

A New Ukrainian monument for one of its leaders, who was responsible for the death of tens of thousands of Jews at the beginning of the 20th century, has elicited angry responses from a global Jewish organization.

The Ukrainian city of Vinnitsa recently celebrated anti-Semitic nationalist leader Symon Petliura, whose Ukrainian People’s Republic killed tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms under his watch, by dedicating a monument in his honor.

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Tuesday condemned the move as “disgraceful and deplorable” and urged the local authorities to pull the monument, which was unveiled over the weekend.

WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer the organization was “distressed” by Vinnitsa’s “disgraceful and regrettable decision” to celebrate Petliura.

“He and his Ukrainian People’s Republic were more than just Ukrainian nationalists – they were also avowed and brutal anti-Semites, intoxicated by the thrill of carrying out unimaginably vicious and inhumane crimes against innocent people,” Singer stated.

“It is inconceivable that a man, who today we would not hesitate to call a terrorist, should be honored in the very same city in which he and his regime tried to wipe out a rooted and strong Jewish population,” Singer added.

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He pointed out that the statue’s erection in one of the historical centers of Jewish life in Ukraine “sends the wrong message to the Ukrainian people and to future generations, and undermines the critical process of democracy and tolerance.”

“The celebration of anti-Semites – including so-called nationalist ‘heroes’ – cannot and should not be abided,” he concluded.

During Petliura’s term as Ukrainian head of state in 1919–1920, some 35,000 to 50,000 Jews were massacred.

On May 25, 1926 he was assassinated in the center of Paris by Sholom Schwartzbard.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News 

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