The mayor of Kiev, Vitali Kliczko, whose grandmother was Jewish, has decided to commemorate a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the Nazis, translated Mein Kampf into Ukrainian, and became famous for anti-Semitic remarks.
Yediot Acharonot has learned that Kliczko plans to set up a memorial plaque for Dimitri Donatsov, an anti-Semitic Ukrainian nationalist who translated Hitler’s book and wrote that “the Jews are a destructive force that defiles the soul of the people and mocks national honor.” The memorial plaque will be placed on the facade of a government building, the offices of the Ukrainian news agency.
The Kiev mayor’s office justified the decision by saying that Donatsov was “an extraordinary resident of the city of Kiev.” But the chairman of the Jewish-Ukrainian Committee, Eduard Dolinsky, strongly criticized the decision and wrote that not only was Donatsov a Kiev resident, he was also an anti-Semite and a Nazi collaborator.
Donatsov, considered an important ideologue of Ukrainian nationalism, lived during World War II in Berlin and in Prague, and worked in Nazi institutions. He also attacked the Jews in his articles.
“I wonder if some of Donatsov’s statements will be written on the memorial board, such as ‘The world’s Jews are a destructive force attacking Germany,'” Dolinsky said.
Donatsov opposed the cooperation with Russia and said that the Ukrainian national culture is sacred and must be protected. In 1949 he emigrated to Canada where he lectured on Ukrainian literature in Montreal until 1973, when he died and was buried in New Jersey.
The commemoration of Donatsov is part of a continuous trend in Ukraine to perpetuate Ukrainian nationalists despite their problematic past as collaborators with the Nazis and murderers of Jews, as part of the destruction of the remnants of communism.
Among other things, a monument to Simone Petliura was erected last year in the Jewish neighborhood of Vinnitsa. Petliura is identified as responsible for the slaughter of 100,000 Jews during the Civil War of 1918-1920.
Throughout Ukraine, there are city squares and streets named after Stefan Bandra and his partners who collaborated with the Nazis, and massacred the Jews during the Holocaust. Ironically, the boulevard leading to Moscow and towards Babi Yar is named after him.