NEW YORK - The World Jewish Congress is troubled by reports that the Lviv Oblast in Ukraine has declared 2019 to be the Year of Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with Nazi forces during the Second World War. Shock has also been expressed by Israel’s Ambassador to Ukraine, H.E. Joel Lion, who questioned how the move would help in the fight against antisemitism and xenophobia in the country.
WJC CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer said: “The notion that a figure such as Stepan Bandera – a Nazi collaborator during the Second World War who is deeply controversial within Ukrainian society and beyond – will be celebrated in this way is deeply troubling. Ukraine has a responsibility to acknowledge acts of genocide and not to glorify those who committed or abetted them, whatever their motivations or rationale. I urge the Lviv Oblast to reconsider this disconcerting step.”