Former Ukrainian Premier Says Petlura’s Acts Were to Blame for Assassination
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Former Ukrainian Premier Says Petlura’s Acts Were to Blame for Assassination

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(Jewish Telegraphic Agency Mail Service)

M. Vinnichenko, former Prime Minister of the Ukrainian People’s Republic and head of the Ukrainian Directory of which Petlura was one of the three members, who published an article in the Ukrainian paper “Dilo” of Lemberg, in which he warned Ukrainians against letting themselves become dominated by thoughts of revenge against the Jews because of the murder of Petlura by Schwartzbard, declared in his article:

“I am certain that among the cultivated classes of Ukrainians, no matter of what shade of opinion, there will be not a single voice raised in the demand for a national revenge for the crime which has been committed by an individual Jew.

“I do not want to touch upon the subject of revenge as such the question of whether such a sentiment has any justification from the point of view of morality or of the interests of the people. In the particular case with which we are dealing, there are the following points to consider: Against whom is our revenge to be directed and in whose interests? If we speak of a national revenge, the object of this revenge must be a whole nation. We cannot under any circumstances, however, prove or even suspect that the whole of Jewry took part in this crime. The very thought would be nonsense, and if a revenge against the whole of Jewry is nonsensical there can be no question of a national revenge.

“Revenge for what? For the murder of an Ukrainian leader who possessed a certain political or national significance? The murder of a vital personality who is valuable to a certain community must naturally evoke feelings of mourning and of pain among the members of that community. In the present case, opinion regarding the importance of Petlura is divided and the feeling as to his loss too therefore, is divided. By putting even the highest value upon Petlura’s place i nour life, granting that his loss is more heavy than any that could have befallen us, the feeling of revenge is illogical, is of no purpose and is harmful. Schwartzbard took upon himself criminically the right to judge and inflict vengeance upon a personage in Ukrainian life. What is there in all this to lead us to the wild conclusion that every Ukrainian ‘patriot’ may now take upon himself the right of a judge and take revenge upon the whole Jewish people? ave we not had in the past enough of this criminal right of judging and of taking vengeance and inflicting violence? Did it not contribute to the present unfortunate act?” M. Vinnichenko declared.

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