FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When Nazi Ghosts Come Back to Life

The irrational has begun to dominate our politics as if the American virus has stealthily moved north to infect our national narratives. It reflects itself in various ways but it seems that war – old wars, current wars and future wars – have gripped the minds of our political elite and their courtiers in the media. Most problematic is Chrystia Freeland whose well-documented hostility towards Russia raises questions about her suitability for the Foreign Affairs post. She got off almost scot free for blatantly lying about her Nazi grandfather. Justin Trudeau lost his reason regarding the US missile attack on Syria and we were subjected to an extra-heavy dose of non-sense about Vimy Ridge with Trudeau opining that ‘this was Canada at its best.’

Really? That was our best? This grotesque war that sent millions of innocent young men – from all combatant countries – to their meaningless deaths is what defined us as a nation?  We should obviously mourn the deaths of all those young people forced to sacrifice their lives for nothing.

But Canada at its best? How about when we finally gave women the vote? Or when we established universal Medicare. Or when we decriminalized abortion. Or ended the death penalty. Or when we refused to get sucked into the Iraq war. Or when Canada invented UN peacekeeping. Or when we took in Syrian refugees.

As for the mendacious Ms Freeland, why on earth is she still in one of the most important cabinet posts in the Trudeau government? She got a pass on her grandfather’s record with the help of media groupthink along the lines of “we can’t blame her for her Nazi grandfather.” But no one ever did. Critics blamed her for knowing her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator for two decades and saying nothing, and for never denouncing him (she still hasn’t). Critics also blamed her for lying about him – actually portraying him in her autobiography as almost a freedom-fighter: “My maternal grandparents fled western Ukraine after Hitler and Stalin signed their non-aggression pact in 1939. They never dared to go back…”

Well, yes, he did leave Ukraine. Freeland’s grandfather Mykhailo Chomiak spent the entire war in occupied Poland editing the Nazi-run newspaper Krakivski Visti (News of Krakow) under the orders of the Nazi’s German Governor-General Hans Frank, the man who organized the Holocaust in Poland.   Chomiak and his family moved into an apartment seized from a Jewish family and ran the newspaper from editorial offices of a former Polish-language Jewish newspaper, Nowy Dziennik, whose editor ended up being murdered at the Belzec concentration camp along with 600,000 other Jews.

Critics also blame Freeland for repeatedly refusing to answer direct questions about her grandfather. Her office gave the Hillary Clinton defense:   “People should be questioning where this information comes from, and the motivations behind it.” Freeland herself tried to deflect them with references to Russian disinformation:   “American officials have publicly said …there were efforts on the Russian side to destabilize Western democracies, and I think it shouldn’t come as a surprise if these same efforts were used against Canada.” What disinformation would that be?  Not, apparently, the crude attempts at whitewashing her grandfather’s role in Poland.

That whitewashing includes efforts to downplay just how pro-Nazi the newspaper was. Yet Krakivski Visti was a vicious propaganda tool fomenting as much hatred of Jews as it could.   The writer Juilan Tarnovych wrote a series “Out of Satan’s Claws” in which he referred to Jews as “Yid mobs,” “bastards,” “rotten scum,” “bacillus,” “that riffraff – that nest of crawling kikes,” and “a pile of crawling worms.” Chomiak himself wrote editorials claiming Poland was “infected by the Jews.”

Articles from Chomiak’s newspaper are featured in Holocaust museums around the world, such as the one in Los Angeles, California.

Instead, of saying (last year) “I am proud to honour [his] memory today.”  how difficult would it be to distance herself from her grandfather’s role?

Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that Freeland is, like her father and grandfather, a devoted Ukrainian nationalist with a deep-seated hostility towards Russia. Even when she was a journalist with the Financial Times she did not hide her fierce Ukrainian nationalism – encouraging the Euromaidan rebellion that became a violent coup against Russian-friendly Viktor Yanukovich. Freeland’s take?   “Their victory will be a victory for us all; their defeat will weaken democracy far from the Euromaidan. We are all Ukrainians now. Let’s do what we can … to support them.”

The democracy that resulted from the coup was not quite as advertised. Freeland’s Nazi ghosts came to life in the new government which was chock-a-block with outright Nazis. The new government had five cabinet members from the Svoboda Party – proud descendants of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) who fought against the Red Army alongside the Nazis. In 1941 the OUN sent a message to Lvov’s Jews in the form of a pamphlet which said: ‘We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet'”! The OUN and the SS arrested and executed 4,000 of the city’s Jews.

It is rare to see a modern politician so blinded by personal hostility. To place Chrystia Freeland in the position of foreign minister is nothing short of reckless. If her bias was against Luxembourg it would hardly matter. But the world is now closer to a nuclear holocaust that at any time since the Reagan administration. The relationship between the West and Russia is now the most important geo-political issue on the planet.

How can we trust someone who hates Russia to the extent that Freeland does to lead Canada in navigating these treacherous foreign policy waters? Does her blindness prevent her from imagining the potential for nuclear war? Is she capable of accepting that Russia has legitimate interests? Are we risking a Freeland blunder in a situation that requires nuance?

Regarding Russia the question arises of whether or not the tail is wagging the dog in the Trudeau government. Trudeau pledged in the last election to rebuild relations with Russia. Now Canada is demanding that “Assad must go” (via Freeland) – pure posturing especially given there is no evidence yet of who used gas against Syrian civilians. Then Trudeau added to the embarrassment by demanding Russia abandon Assad something everyone knows is not going to happen. But it will add to Putin’s paranoia that West is out to get him.

Someone should ask Trudeau just who he is trying to please by keeping this flawed politician in such a powerful post.

The column has been revised to correct the impression that Hans Frank, the Nazi’s German Governor-General of occupied Poland was Polish.

More articles by:

MURRAY DOBBIN, now living in Powell River, BC has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for over forty years.  He can be reached at murraydobbin@shaw.ca

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail