by New Worker
ANTI-FASCISTS from a broad political spectrum gathered in Whitehall opposite the Cenotaph to make a silent and dignified protest to show their outrage as Ukrainians living in Britain staged a memorial ceremony for Ukrainian soldiers “fallen in all wars”.
This includes members of the Galician SS division who, collaborated with the Nazis and who, as members of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), took part in murdering Jews, Poles and Communists before Nazi troops had even occupied Ukraine and who served as concentration camp guards at Auschwitz.
It was even more shocking as the event came just two hours after the Union of Jewish Ex-Servicemen had held their annual remembrance event at the Cenotaph and their wreath ended up overlapping the UJEX wreaths.
The Association of Ukrainian Former Combatants in Great Britain was amongst a number of organisations calling for the march on the Cenotaph in London.
This organisation was created by former members of the Galician SS who settled in Britain after the Second World War. As the war ended they fled the oncoming Red Army and opted to surrender to American forces in Germany.
They were transferred to a prison camp in northern Italy and then taken to America, Sweden and Britain. Those who came to Britain were given work clearing mines from beaches and farm work.
Many were also employed in the construction and operation of nuclear power stations because they would never go on strike. As fascists they were totally opposed to the principles of trade unionism.
They maintained strong links with US intelligence, acting as an intermediary for money, weapons and propaganda being fed back to contacts within the Soviet Union to undermine it.
Through organisations like the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the World Anti-Communist League they used funding supplied by the US, Saudi Arabia and the Sultan of Brunei to attack the Soviet Union and to maintain their Nazi culture and ideology in exile.
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 some members of this community returned to Ukraine and their links with US intelligence continue to be very strong.
The Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (the main organiser of the memorial service) made no secret of the fact that they were commemorating both the SS Galicia Division as well as the anti-communist Ukrainian Insurgent Army (which also collaborated for a period with the Nazis and carried out atrocities).
In response to an enquiry from a Spanish journalist, Wolodymyr Pawluk, chair of the AUGB London branch said: “We remember the thousands who fought in the Waffen-SS Division Galicia” and then went on to try to downplay the Nazi character of the Division: “Many who joined the Galician Division did so not because they supported Hitler.
“They enlisted to get military training. Many remembered the atrocities committed by Stalin in other words Holodomor (famine), murders and repressions. Many would have been conscripted into the Red Army which would have meant certain death.
“There are many issues which have to be explored regarding this matter. In war the instinct is to survive. The war on the Eastern front was brutal and Ukraine was the battleground.”
This is typical of the type of historical revisionism which is common in Ukrainian far right nationalist circles. The members of the SS Galicia Division were volunteers who took the following very clear oath: “I swear before God this holy oath, that in the battle against Bolshevism, I will give absolute obedience to the commander in chief of the German Armed Forces Adolf Hitler, and as a brave soldier I will always be prepared to lay down my life for this oath.”
There are many myths about the famine in Ukraine in the 1930s but it did not affect Galicia, at that time was part of Poland.
Despite minor scuffles when Ukrainian nationalists attempted to wrest away one of the protesters banners’, the silent and dignified action went peacefully.