Jewish leaders in southern Ukraine backed regional authorities in condemning a local film festival seen by critics as promoting ultranationalism among students. “We are against rewriting the history and whitewashing of those who fought alongside the Nazis during World War II and who killed many people, including Jews,” Anatoliy Gendin, leader of the Jewish community in the Crimea, told JTA.On March 29, the city council of Simferopol, the capital of the Crimea province, issued a statement condemning the Days of Ukrainian Cinema, a recent festival that included screenings of a documentary devoted to the 65th anniversary of the Ukrainian Rebel Army, or UPA, and the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roman Shukhevich, the UPA’s founder.Some of the screenings were organized for local students. In its statement, the Simferopol city council said the screenings were “propaganda of nationalism and fascism among school children.”The UPA fought against the Soviets during and after World War II, and many historians believe it was responsible for some wartime killings of Ukrainian Jews. Some Jewish leaders protested recently against a Ukrainian presidential initiative to award the Hero of Ukraine medal to Shukhevich.
Ukraine film festival condemned