FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

When Nazi Ghosts Come Back to Life

by

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

November 23, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Discussing Trump Abroad
Jay Moore
The Failure of Reconstruction and Its Consequences
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Trout and Ethnic Cleansing
John W. Whitehead
Don’t Just Give Thanks, Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time
Chris Zinda
Zinke’s Reorganization of the BLM Will Continue Killing Babies
David Krieger
Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition
Rick Baum
While Public Education is Being Attacked: An American Federation of Teachers Petition Focuses on Maintaining a Minor Tax Break
Paul C. Bermanzohn
The As-If Society
Cole A. Turner
Go Away, Kevin Spacey
Ramzy Baroud
70 Years of Broken Promises: The Untold Story of the Partition Plan
Binoy Kampmark
A New Movement of Rights and the Right in Australia
George Ochenski
Democratic Party: Discouraged, Disgusted, Dysfunctional
Nino Pagliccia
The Governorship Elections in Venezuela: an Interview With Arnold August
Christopher Ketcham
Spanksgiving Day Poem
November 22, 2017
Jonathan Cook
Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot
William Kaufman
The Great American Sex Panic of 2017
Richard Moser
Young Patriots, Black Panthers and the Rainbow Coalition
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness
Lee Artz
Cuba Libre, 2017
Mark Weisbrot
Mass Starvation and an Unconstitutional War: US / Saudi Crimes in Yemen
Frank Stricker
Republican Tax Cuts: You’re Right, They’re Not About Economic Growth or Lifting Working-Class Incomes
Edward Hunt
Reconciling With Extremists in Afghanistan
Dave Lindorff
Remembering Media Critic Ed Herman
Nick Pemberton
What to do About Al Franken?
November 21, 2017
Gregory Elich
What is Behind the Military Coup in Zimbabwe?
Louisa Willcox
Rising Grizzly Bear Deaths Raise Red Flag About Delisting
David Macaray
My Encounter With Charles Manson
Patrick Cockburn
The Greatest Threats to the Middle East are Jared Kushner and Mohammed bin Salman
Stephen Corry
OECD Fails to Recognize WWF Conservation Abuses
James Rothenberg
We All Know the Rich Don’t Need Tax Cuts
Elizabeth Keyes
Let There be a Benign Reason For Someone to be Crawling Through My Window at 3AM!
L. Ali Khan
The Merchant of Weapons
Thomas Knapp
How to Stop a Rogue President From Ordering a Nuclear First Strike
Lee Ballinger
Trump v. Marshawn Lynch
Michael Eisenscher
Donald Trump, Congress, and War with North Korea
Tom H. Hastings
Reckless
Franklin Lamb
Will Lebanon’s Economy Be Crippled?
Linn Washington Jr.
Forced Anthem Adherence Antithetical to Justice
Nicolas J S Davies
Why Do Civilians Become Combatants In Wars Against America?
November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail