ADL Criticizes Soviet Film on Babi Yar As Distortion of History

A new Soviet documentary film on the Nazi massacre at Babi Yar “distorts history” by virtually ignoring the murder of approximately 100,000 Jews, according to the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith. ADL associate director Abraham Foxman said the 70-minute film, like the Soviet memorial at the massacre site near Kiev, neglects the principal victims of the World War II slaughter.

The Ukrainian-produced documentary — a description of the 1941-42 German invasion of the Ukraine, which focuses on Babi Yar — was screened recently for an audience of diplomats at the United Nations. Prepared for Soviet television, it may also be exhibited throughout Western Europe and entered in film festivals in the United States according to Ukrainian officials.

Foxman said the “documentary” not only glosses over Jewish martyrdom but rejects the Jewish role in the resistance to Hitler, concentrating instead on Ukrainian and Soviet partisan fighters.

The film dishonors the memory of the victims of Babi Yar, the ADL official said, by including a propaganda message that equates present-day Zionism with Nazism. Furthermore, he asserted, it intersperses film clips of American neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan rallies in an attempt to link the U.S. with Nazism.

TRAGEDY DISMISSED IN ONE SENTENCE

Foxman said that what happened to the Jews at Babi Yar is dismissed in one sentence: “For the first five days, those who were killed were mostly Jews.”

“While the sentence is accurate,” Foxman declared, “the time limitation conveys the impression that Jews were only a small part of the total murdered by the Nazis. Actually, the killings were part of Hitler’s Final Solution and comparatively few other than Jews are buried in the mass grave.” The film refers to the Babi Yar massacre as “political murder” instead of genocide.

The only other references to Jews in the film, Foxman said, are a fleeting glimpse of a sign ordering them to assemble at a certain time and place, and a listing of the victims — “Ukrainians, Gypsies, Jews, Russians, and Khazars” — of Nazi death camps. The most flagrant omission, according to Foxman, occurs in the film’s portrayal of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. “The narrator manages to describe the heroic revolt of the Jews without mentioning Jews,” he said.

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