Solidarity with Ukraine doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is it possible to criticize statements made by their representatives without being accused of legitimizing Putin’s actions? – asks Sigmount Königsberg, the Commissioner for Anti-Semitism of the Jewish Community of Berlin, in an opinion piece published on Jüdische Allgemeine.

For weeks now, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the horrifying images that have been coming to us from Bucha, Mariupol, Chernihiv and many other places, have been filling us all with horror. What is happening there is considered by many experts to be a war crime.

Most of us, including myself, stand in solidarity with Ukraine and support it in its struggle for national sovereignty. However, this does not mean that everything that Ukrainian representatives say should be endorsed without any criticism.

For example, here is what Andriy Melnyk, Ukraine’s ambassador to Germany, tweeted on April 3: „Neither Russians nor Germans have the right to decide who Ukrainians honor as a hero. Stepan Bandera and hundreds of thousands of my compatriots fought against both Hitler and Stalin for the Ukrainian state. Leave us alone with your lectures.”

However, I feel you cannot remain silent when murderers, criminals and antisemites are made heroes.

This is not an order, just a suggestion based on a very personal point of view: The militants of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) took control of the city after Nazi Germany invaded Lviv on June 30, 1941.

Rather than protecting people from attacks, they fuelled antisemitism and played a key role in pogroms: Jews in Lemberg (the German name for Lviv) were mistreated and many were killed. On the aforementioned day alone, more than 100 people were killed and who knows how many were wounded. My own family, my father and my grandparents themselves suffered these atrocities.

In the days that followed, Bandera’s men herded thousands of Jews into the hands of Einsatzgruppe C of the German security police, who then murdered them. I cannot remain silent when murderers, criminals and antisemites are turned into heroes.

Lose the Z! What’s the basis for Germany’s recent prosecution craze?

In recent days, the German police and public prosecutor’s offices have opened more than 140 investigations into the „symbolic use” of the letter Z.