(1929.05.10 -- ????.??.??)
Ukrainian-Jewish relations have been a thorny issue in Ukraine
for hundreds of years -- since the time of Bohdan Khmelnitsky circa
1654 or perhaps even earlier since the time of the Khazars circa 1000
AD. For the past 100 years, this issue has spread to the Diaspora in
North America and around the world. Ukrainians are accused of
anti-semitism, pogroms, war crimes, responsibility for the Holocaust,
etc., etc. Every conceivable negative is dredged up; every positive
relationship or event is ignored. Any individual or organization that
defends Ukrainians and refutes the calumny directed against Ukraine and
Ukrainians is demonized -- not only by Jewish individuals and
organizations but by some Ukrainians themselves. The names of
Ukraine's defenders that come to mind are Petro Mirchuk, Valentyn
Moroz, Myron Kuropas and Lubomyr Prytulak.
Many attempts by sincere Ukrainians to improve Ukrainian-Jewish
relations have failed. The "Ukrainian
Jewish Encounter Project" headed by James Temerty is the most
recent attempt. However, I doubt that that this Project will be
successful. Until the Israeli government and the Jewish
Diaspora recognize Simon Petlura (Petliura) as one of the best friends
Jews ever had in Ukraine, there is little hope of success. [My summary
of the Project is archived at http://www.willzuzak.ca/tp/wllzzk/zuzak20101106UCCtriennial.html
My encounter in this area involved Yakiv Suslensky. This encounter is
archived in two pdf files (Suslensky1988.pdf
reproducing 3 letters dated
1988.12.05, 1991.10.20 and 1993.12.30.
(1) Suslensky1988.pdf [pages 1
translated version of the 05Dec1988 letter on page 1 reads as follows:
Respected and dear
Lily and Willy!
As you see, I am not forgetting you. I remember your hospitality and
support of Jewish-Ukrainian peaceful relations.
I expect that you will be able to come to Israel at the beginning of
May to take part in the 10th annivesary of our Association.We also
invite you for my 60th birthday -- 10 May, 1989.
I am sending you Volumes 19-20 of the "Dialogues", knowing that you
have all earlier volumes. It looks like this will be the last issue.
Because of lack of funds, we must stop publishing the bulletin.
Greet our mutual acquaintances. If you know my old prison-mate, Yuriy
Dziuba, greet him. Telephone (514)522-8092.
With best wishes,
Y. Suslensky [1988.12.05]
- An image of the
front cover of "Volumes 19-20 1998
Dialogues" is shown on page 2 of the 1988 pdf.
- Page 3 (inverted) reproduces page 40 of "Volumes 1-2 1983
Dialogues", which is a resolution of the Association for
Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation dated 1988.02.01 removing Dr. Petro Mirchuk as a
member of the Association.
- Pages 4 and 5 of this pdf reproduce a letter from Levko Lukyanenko to
Yakiv Suslensky dated 1988.04.13 from the Tomsk oblast Gulag camps.
[Lukyanenko was arrested on 12Dec1977 and sent to the Siberian Gulags.
When Ukraine declared its independence and the Soviet Union collapsed
in 1991, Lukyanenko was released, became Ambassador from Ukraine to
Canada and later a deputy in the Verkhovna Rada (Member of Parliament)
in Ukraine. My wife, Lily, and I met him several times when he visited
Montreal to attend Ukrainian functions.]
- Page 6 reproduces the first page of a letter form Nadia
Lukyanenko (wife of Levko) to Yakiv Suslensky dated 1988.07.07
outlining their efforts to obtain his release. [ Both letters are on
pages 244 to 250 of Vol. 19-20, 1988 Dialogues.]
Dialogues: Volumes 1 to 20 from 1983 to 1988
The Association for Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation headed by Yakiv
Suslensky published 10 books in all from 1983 to 1988 (2 books
per year from 200 to 300 pages each) discussing
affairs. There are from 60 to 95 articles per book in the Ukrainian and
Russian languages. During this time period, the trials of John
Demjanjuk were in full swing with countless accusations of Judeophobia
and Ukrainophobia. It was also the time of "glasnost" and
"perestroika" preceding the dissolution of the Soviet Union and
Ukrainian independence. Furthermore, Suslensky had served time
the Gulags amongst many Ukrainian political prisoners -- two of whom he
credited with saving his life. Consequently, he had good contact with
and great empathy for the Ukrainian dissidents -- which is reflected in
the articles appearing in the Dialogues. Unfortunately, Suslensky could
not remain impartial and responded viciously to articles which
criticized the hypocrisy of Jewish preconceived views of historical
events and people. Nevertheless, the Dialogues have archived a wealth
of information for future historians to study and interpret.
[20Oct1991 letter on pages 1 and 2]
After greetings, references to a tour of the Tokamak de Varennes during
his previous visit and thanking Lily for offering to shelter his
children should they be threatened by "Saddam's scud missiles",
Suslensky announces that he is coming to Montreal. He has just returned
from 50th-year commemorations of the Babyn Yar tragedy in Ukraine. At
an earlier conference in Kyiv on Jewish-Ukrainian relations, it was
decided to host a similar forum in Jerusalem in May 1992 to which 100
people from Ukraine and 100 people from the Diaspora (ratio of 70
Ukrainians and 30 Jews). He is trying to find sponsors to subsidize the
participants from Ukraine. He asks us to organize a meeting of members
of the Association in Montreal for 11November1991 and to organize a
paid lecture at the University [McGill] on a theme such as Israel,
Ukraine, Jewish-Ukrainian relations or Ukrainian "Righteous of the
World". He wants someone to meet him at the airport at 21:00 hrs
10Nov1991 from a Delta Airlines standby flight from New York and to
arrange an overnight stay. He asks us to inform Yuriy Dziuba, Ihor
Kutash, Zorianna Hrycenko-Luhovy, Roman Serbyn, Anatoly Bilotserkivsky,
Irwin Cotler, Adrian Chomenko, Yaroslav Pryshlyak, Natalie Vitkovsky
and others of his arrival.
[30Dec1991 letter on pages 3 to 6]
Page 3 is a postcard with New Years Greetings and remembering Lily's
offer to shelter his children should they be endangered by war. He asks
God to protect us.
- On pages 4 and 5, Suslensky thanks us for Hannukah Greetings, which
he celebrated in Kyiv -- his sixth visit in 3 years. He is very pleased
with the progress in Jewish-Ukrainian relations in Ukraine, since this
is his life goal. However, he is troubled by the state of
Jewish-Ukrainian relations in the Diaspora. Recently, his book on
"Righteous Heroes" was published in Kyiv and he would like to tour
North America to promote his book, the funds from which would go to
publish an English-language version. He asks Lily, if she could
organize a book-launching with the Ukrainian community in Montreal
after consulting with Roman Serbyn and other influential people. If
response is yes, to reimburse travel costs of 200 to 250 dollars and
lodging for 1 or 2 nights. He has reserved a ticket to New York for
29Mar1994 and could be in Canada in April. He awaits Lily's reply.
- Page 6 is a photocopy of a newspaper article promoting his
book "Righteous Heroes".
(4) Montreal lecture
- My memory of Suslensky's visits to Montreal is very hazy, since it
was Lily who made all the arrangements and I was just a bystander. I
think he stayed at our home only once during the summer of 1988, but I
am not sure if he gave his Montreal lecture at that time or circa
- I recall him describing evacuating to the East with his parents after
the German invasion of 22June1941 and describing leaflets scattered
from airplanes warning the population to welcome the Germans peacefully
and not to harbor Jews. He always emphasized the victimhood of the Jews
and atrocities perpetrated against them, but said that this was
understandable, because of the difficult circumstances that Ukrainians
- He was arrested (when?), because of his protests demanding that a
Jewish dissident (who?) be allowed to emigrate to Israel. In the Gulags
(where?), he found himself amongst Ukrainian political prisoners (the
so-called 60s Dissidents). He became seriously ill and was preparing to
die, but two Ukrainians (who?) coaxed him back to life. I do not recall
the time and circumstances of his release and emigration to Israel.
- I recall taking Suslensky to tour the Tokamak de Varennes at the
Hydro Quebec research facilities, where I worked.. (Just as I had done
with Johnny Demjanjuk, Ed Nishnic and Yoram Sheftel.)
- His Montreal Lecture on Jewish-Ukrainian relations took place in a
McGill University classroom, with some 30 people attending -- mostly
Ukrainians. However, in the midst of his lecture an elderly Jewish
gentleman got up, denounced Suslensky and demanded that he stop his
lecture. Surprised and confused, Suslensky turned to the audience and
asked if he should continue his speech. They, of course, said yes, such
that the lecture continued, but in a subdued atmosphere.
- Some years later, I discussed Suslensky with Dmytro
Cipiwnyk, then President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress,
who had deep reservations about Suslensky. He said that while driving
Suslensky to the airport after one of his lectures, Suslensky told him
bluntly that his goal was to make Ukrainians admit and repent the
atrocities they had committed against Jews.
- It is surprising that on Wikipedia there is no entry for the
"Association for Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation" or for "Suslensky". He
appears to have disappeared into a memory hole.
(5) Petro Mirchuk
(1913.06.26 -- 1999.05.16); http://exlibris.org.ua/mirchuk/author.html
- Petro Mirchuk was a Ukrainian nationalist, who was imprisoned by the
Germans in Auschwitz for his nationalist activities. The external link
above gives a brief outline of his background leading to the text of
his book "My Meetings and Discussions in Israel" published in 1982.
Excerpts from this book explaining his involvement with the
"Association for Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation" and Yakiv Suslensky are
archived in the second internal link above. As noted above, Dr. Mirchuk
was kicked out of Suslensky's Association because of his uncompromising
stance against Jewish calumny against Ukrainians.
- His obituary
was published in the 30May1999 issue of the Ukrainian Weekly.
- It is my impression that Dr. Mirchuk and his books have also been
ostracised by the Ukrainian academic community, because of his
- Wikipedia has a "stub" with his name, biography and obituary, but
needs to be expanded.
Valentyn Moroz UKAR | XXX | Lubomyr Prytulak
- Surprisingly, there is no page for "Valentyn Moroz" on Wikepedia.
- On the other hand, an Internet search reveals that Valentyn Moroz is
still very active:
March 10, 2013 Valentyn
Moroz, the renowned Ukrainian historian and political dissident, is to
present his 2-volume Ukraine in the 20th Century at the Lontsky St.
Prison museum to the victims of occupation regimes.
The two volumes, published in 2005 through 2012, are remarkable for
their vivid style of presentation, something which makes this
scientific book a breath-taking reading.
To avoid propaganda clichés, the historical figures depicted in the
book are described both in the positive and negative vein, with their
actions explained by the then historical facts.
Valentyn Moroz spent 14 years in Soviet concentration camps.
In 1979, he was exchanged for KGB agents and went to live and work in
Canada and USA.
Since 1997, Moroz has lived in Ukraine, lecturing and writing.
(7) Myron Kuropas
from the recent controversy surrounding Myron Kuropas
brama.com | 10Feb2005 | Max Pyziur
by Myron B. Kuropas Ukrainian Weekly | 06Feb2005 |
- Should Neal
Sher be disbarred? Ukrainian Weekly | 01Mar1998 | Myron
- In response to an item in my GRC Report on
01Aug2011, Dr. Kuropas wrote "I don't believe reconciliation
is possible. The Jewish establishment needs to have
Ukrainians as enemies."
- There is no page for "Myron Kuropas" on Wikepedia, although there are
many references to him on other pages on Wikepedia.
(8) Lubomyr Prytulak
Grand Calumniator of Ukraine UKAR | 1984 | Lubomyr
attempts to silence Valentyn Moroz UKAR | 1984 |
Letter to the
Ukrainian Canadian community in Edmonton Email |
25Jun2004 | Lubomyr Prytulak
Support for Lubomyr Prytulak UKAR website
- There is no page for "Lubomyr Prytulak" on Wikipedia, nor are there
any references to him on other pages on Wikipedia.
- However, there are thousands of references to him and his articles on
There are 5 documents Suslensky1988.pdf, Suslensky1991.pdf, Suslenskyr20.html, prytulak20040625Jacuta.html and suslensky.html in the "suslensky" subdirectory.
on the material above, I have concluded that the role of Yakiv
Suslensky and his Association for Jewish-Ukrainian Cooperation was to act
as a "good cop" to soften Ukrainian resistance to calumny. To him
Jewish-Ukrainian cooperation entailed Ukrainians accepting the thesis
that Jews were/are the victims and Ukrainians were/are the victimizers.
Nevertheless, his 10 Dialogues books are of great historical significance requiring further analysis.
material on Petro Mirchuk, Valentyn
Moroz, Myron Kuropas and Lubomyr Prytulak indicates that these
individuals are attacked and ostracized, because they refuse to sell
their souls. Sadly, there are some individuals in the Ukrainian
academic community in the Diaspora, who decline to defend Ukrainians
Will Zuzak; 2013.12.08