Lviv historian Dr. Vasyl Rasevych addresses the historical memory of Ukrainians and Jews at Tel Aviv conference

Dr. Vasyl Rasevych is a senior academic at the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, Ukraine. His two lectures were presented in Russian on 14-16 September 2017 at a seminar in Tel Aviv for Israeli youth entitled “Jews and Ukrainians: Controversial Issues of Historical Memory.” Major topics from the lectures are outlined below.

“The creators of memory: Ukrainians and Jews in the historical policy of modern Ukraine”

What is the policy of memory? What opposing opinions and approaches exist within modern Ukraine in the context of a historical policy of memory? The instrumentalization of history: how is historical memory used by different political forces to promote their goals? The competition among victims and the competition of memories. Who are the heroes: those who killed or those who saved other people? How was the concept of "Zhydo-Kommuna” (“Judeo-Communism”) formed from the 1920s to the 1940s? The concept of "Ukrainians and Jews: always nearby, but almost never together." The creation of the positive myth of Jewish support for Ukrainian independence in Halychyna (Galicia). A critique of the concept: "Let Ukrainian and Jewish historians mutually admit sins and confess for the mistakes and crimes of the people."

“How not to offend people: Modern discussions about the historical ethnonyms (names) of Jews and Ukrainians”

Key points covered here included the use of the archaic and controversial term "Zhyd" in Ukraine and its historical context and current discussions. Those who called themselves "Zhyd" in Western Ukraine perished in the Holocaust. There is a need for the use of the term "Yevrei" in contemporary Ukraine as a form of respect for Jews.

By Shimon Briman
Edited by Peter Bejger


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