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ALA pulls award for Enemy Archives. Critics claim “it whitewashes Nazi collaborators and war criminals”

May 10, 2024 | Featured, Politics

Lubomyr Luciuk holds up a copy of The Galicia Division: They Fought for Ukraine. Photo: Marco Levytsky

Marco Levytsky, National Affairs Editor.

The American Library Association (ALA) has retracted Enemy Archives: Soviet Counterinsurgency Operations and the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement – Selections from the Secret Police Archives, which was co-edited by Volodymyr Viatrovych and Lubomyr Luciuk, from the Best Historical Materials List 2023,
In a statement posted on its website, the ALA also apologized “for the harm caused by the work’s initial inclusion on the list” without specifying what the “harm” was.

The book, which is over 1,000 pages in length, contains documents collected by Soviet authorities in their campaign to quash the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and translated into English by Marta Olynyk.

“The documents seized from the insurgents and Soviet analyses of them shed light on a wide range of experiences in the underground: how the movement struggled to maintain discipline and morale, how it dealt with suspected informers, and how it resisted the ruthless Soviet state, laying the foundations for the continuing Ukrainian struggle against foreign domination,” says its publisher, McGill Press.

According to Luciuk, McGill Press submitted the manuscript to “a rigorous peer-review process before accepting it for publication”.

Speaking at a book launch for three of his works, co-sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Edmonton and the League of Ukrainian Canadians at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in Edmonton, April 28, Luciuk said he wasn’t informed of this decision by the ALA and only found out about this when Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese contacted him for a comment.

Pugliese wrote that the ALA pulled the award “over concerns it whitewashes Nazi collaborators and war criminals” in Ukraine.

Luciuk said he has written several times trying to find out why it was retracted, what was the harm, who complained and why wasn’t he nor Viatrovych provided with an opportunity to answer any of the complaints but has not received a reply.

“I know why the other side is attacking Enemy Archives. That’s because this is the first time these documents have been translated into English and made available to a wide audience of scholars,” he added.

New Pathway – Ukrainian News sent an email to ALA’s media inquiries address as well as to Shawnda Hines, Deputy Director of Communications, directly, but did not get any response.

The retraction followed an April 10 article in The Nation by Lev Golinkin who stated that the two authors have “a track record of whitewashing Nazi collaborators”.

“Viatrovych, who is currently a deputy in the Ukrainian parliament, is notorious for drafting laws glorifying Ukrainian Nazi collaborators and Holocaust perpetrators… Luciuk, a professor in Canada’s elite military college, has defended a Third Reich division accused of war crimes,” he said.

Viatrovych is a respected historian and liberation movement scholar who played a pivotal role in championing legislation within the Ukrainian parliament aimed at decommunization. These laws seek to condemn the communist regime responsible for millions of deaths and its collaboration with the Nazis until 1941.
Luciuk is a Canadian academic and author of numerous books and articles in the field of political geography and Ukrainian history. He is currently a full professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and a Senior Research Fellow of the Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto.

Golinkin, who broke the story about Yaroslav Hunka’s membership in the Galicia Division, has a long history of vilifying Ukrainian nationalists. He has written that the Revolution of Dignity was backed by the United States, has accused Ukraine of interfering in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, supported the claim that “far-right” Ukrainian groups killed the Heavenly Hundred in a “false-flag operation” designed to overthrow President Viktor Yanukovych, among other allegations.

Another Jewish writer has taken Golinkin to task for his attacks on Ukrainians. In an Open Letter to Golinkin in The Tablet, on July 11, 2023, Vladislav Davidzon stated:

“His unremitting search for followers of the Ukrainian interwar integralists is the politics of the post-Soviet Jews of the generation of my parents and grandparents. He is far too young to be consumed by these sorts of fantasies, but he is being rewarded by a bonkers progressive left that worships Soviet-era communists but sees Nazis under every bed. Yet his fears—which I have empathy for as a fellow Jew—are his own and should not be projected outward. So, I humbly beseech you Mr. Golinkin, as one Ukrainian Jew to another: Man up and face your fears. But do so without needlessly disgorging them on to other people in the midst of a war of existential survival.”

Two of the books Luciuk was launching are actually booklets. The Galicia Division: They Fought for Ukraine is a brief summary of the history of the Division which answers the charges that have been laid against them by Russian propaganda and the mainstream media and Cuo Bono (Who Benefits) is his bilingual submission to the Standing Committee on Procedures and House Affairs on the Hunka Affair.

Speaking before that committee on March 25, Luciuk pointed out that the 1986 Deschenes Commission Deschênes Commission concluded:

1. The Galicia Division should not be indicted as a group;
2. Members of the division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada;
3. Charges of war crimes against members of the division had never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before the commission, and that
4. In the absence of participation in, or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division was insufficient to justify prosecution.”

The commission also confirmed that:

5. No case could be made against members of the division for revocation of citizenship or deportation since the Canadian authorities were fully aware of the relevant facts in 1950 and admission to Canada was not granted because of any false representation, or fraud, or concealment of material circumstances.

He noted that as a teenager, Hunka fought in defence of Ukraine and had nothing to do with the persecution of any minority community. “At war’s end, he became a POW, later an immigrant, and finally a naturalized Canadian citizen. He served in the Canadian Army (1963-1965, militia), swearing an oath to Her Majesty the Queen. He worked hard, raised a family, paid taxes, broke no laws and contributed for 70 years to the general welfare of his adopted country. Yet, disregarding the principle of natural justice, members of Parliament joined an execrable chorus of zealots and prats who gibbeted Hunka for being something he never was — ‘a former Nazi.’ I’d say the House owes our fellow Canadian, and an innocent man, a public apology,” said Luciuk.

Speaking at the launch, he stated that the coverage of the Hunka affair was very one sided. “There wasn’t a single Canadian reporter that would take my call with a different point of view of what the Galician Division was. Not a single one.”

Luciuk explained that what must be carried on are the ideals of the nationalist movement – a free Ukraine. That’s why the Soviets set out to destroy the ideals of the nationalist movement and the way to break it up was to plant the idea that these people were Nazis. It is up to us in the diaspora to carry these ideals forward.
Today Russian propaganda is deliberately pushing this narrative as “a distraction from our support of Ukraine at this critical time.”

He termed Russian dictator Vladimir Putin as “a man who is waging an existential war against Ukraine because we’ve always been the enemy and you as part of the community of the diaspora are the enemy.”

The continued propaganda is creating fear in the Ukrainian community. “Some Ukrainians organizations say we are busy helping Ukraine fight World War III and you are driving us back to World War II (but) I am not.”

“This story of Hunka, the Hunka incident the Divizia Halychyna is part of World War III… if we don’t counter the disinformation that goes way back to the Soviet period, that is meant to cause friction between us and other communities, then we will actually be giving sustenance to the foe. To the Russians,” he said.

““We are at war. Our enemies are trying to break up the diaspora, they are trying to separate grandparents from children, children from grandchildren. They are trying to create fissures in our community, attack our monuments, our churches, attack our organizations in order to weaken us so that we cannot help Ukraine. It’s a concerted, orchestrated and organized effort and it has been very, very effective.”

Enemy Archives can be purchased directly from McGill-Queen’s University Press (https://www.mqup.ca/enemy-archives-products-9780228014669.php) or from Amazon.ca as well ordered from good book stores. The Galicia Division, and Qui Bono? are available in public and university libraries across North America

Ed. Note:

The following is Professor Lubomyr Luciuk’s response to an acrimonious attack that was leveled at him and his book launch entitled “My Afternoon with Ukrainian Nationalists in Edmonton”* by the far-left internet publication The Orchard, run by Jeremy Appel and co-published** with another far-left publication Progress Report run by Duncan Kinney, who has been charged with vandalism following the defacement of the Shukhevych monument at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex and the monument at St. Michael’s Cemetery to all the soldiers who fought for a free Ukraine throughout the ages and continue doing so today.
*https://www.readtheorchard.org/p/my-afternoon-with-ukrainian-nationalists
**https://www.theprogressreport.ca/academic_defending_yaroslav_hunka_receives_standing_ovation_in_edmonton

On Jeremy Appel, “My Afternoon with Ukrainian Nationalists in Edmonton,” The Orchard, 1 May 2024
My talk in Edmonton focused on the “crippling legacy” of Canada’s first national internment operations, the theme of a new book, Lest They Forget. While speaking, I advocated for the restoration of an internee cemetery, located in Quebec’s Abitibi region. The graves of over a dozen people, including several children and one man shot dead trying to escape from Spirit Lake, are found there. They remain unmarked and all but forgotten. Frankly, I’m surprised anyone claiming to be a “progressive” would mock my plea that we do something about this injustice.

The booklets I referenced detail the wartime history of the “Galicia Division” and discuss the so-called “Hunka incident.” The former is found on the website of the Ukrainian World Congress. As for Yaroslav Hunka, a Galicia Division veteran, his case is discussed in Cui Bono? My argument is simple. Like most Canadians, I affirm that a person is innocent until proven guilty. Given that no one has ever produced any evidence of wartime wrongdoing by Mr Hunka, he is an innocent Canadian citizen. Similarly, Progress Report’s Duncan Kinney, whom the Edmonton Police charged with vandalism for allegedly defacing monuments located in a cemetery and on private property, remains innocent until found otherwise. When Duncan gets his day in court we’ll see where the evidence points.

I also spoke about how David Pugliese, an Ottawa Citizen reporter, having chosen not to heed my advice and read Enemy Archives: Soviet Counterinsurgency Operations and the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023), nevertheless published an article citing Lev Golinkin, who, while also never having read the book, felt comfortable misrepresenting its contents – The Orchard’s Jeremy Appel has now joined them. Serious people prefer book reviews written by individuals who have read what they are commenting on.

Whether Mr Golinkin’s writing reflects prejudice is a matter of opinion, I suppose, but I think the following quotations from an article by Vladislav Davidzon, published in The Tablet (11 July 2023), are telling. Writing as “one Ukrainian Jew to another,” Mr Davidzon observed: (emphasis added):

“The Forward debases its proud historical legacy of anti-authoritarianism by publishing such nonsense. The article in question by Mr. Golinkin represents a rehashing of his numerous previous interventions in the debate. I only wish that he knew what he was talking about. What makes his argument worth engaging with is that similar beliefs remain widespread among a swath of post-Soviet emigres who are older than 50, at the same time as they are becoming commonplace among a segment of the American progressive left.”

This “open letter” also notes:

“…it is important to understand the origin of the appetite for The Forward’s fearmongering about Ukrainian neo-Nazis. The constant stream of articles by people like Mr. Golinkin is a market response to Americans’ ceaseless demand for garbage to feed the hunt for imaginary Nazis. As a Jew who was born in Ukraine but one who has not, to the best of my knowledge, ever returned to the country in the 30-plus years since his family immigrated to America, Golinkin has almost certainly not put in the necessary effort to understand for himself the radical and remarkable changes that have swept over his ancestral land.”

Finally, Davidzon adds:

“Thus, I rather pity Mr. Golinkin than dislike him. His unremitting search for followers of the Ukrainian interwar integralists is the politics of the post-Soviet Jews of the generation of my parents and grandparents. He is far too young to be consumed by these sorts of fantasies, but he is being rewarded by a bonkers progressive left that worships Soviet-era communists but sees Nazis under every bed. Yet his fears—which I have empathy for as a fellow Jew—are his own and should not be projected outward. So, I humbly beseech you Mr. Golinkin, as one Ukrainian Jew to another: Man up and face your fears. But do so without needlessly disgorging them onto other people in the midst of a war of existential survival.”

I remember when self-styled Ukrainian Canadian “progressives” adorned their “labour temples” with portraits of Stalin. In those days the editors and writers of The Jewish Daily Forward (as that newspaper was then called) found apologists for Stalinism to be just the opposite of “progressive.” Nowadays, The Orchard’s claim about providing “news and analysis from an unabashedly progressive perspective” is likewise risible. Evidence-based writing is always preferable to yellow journalism, even if some scribblers pretend to be “progressive.”

Professor Lubomyr Luciuk, 1 May 2024

See further coverage here:

Russian propagandists and fellow travellers are out to destroy objective history altogether

Unmarked graves of Ukrainians remain unknown, internment expert says

Lubomyr Luciuk's letter

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