The Jewish Museum asked me if I'd be willing to accompany two groups of history majors, who were assigned by their department to interview elederly people in nearby villages, about their memories of the war years and the fate of the many Jews who once were their neighbors. The conversations were conducted in Ukrainian, so I only understood very isolated words that indicated the gist of the conversation. But later the studentst tell me, Jews were mainly shot by Romanian and German soldiers, but there were also attacks by towns people who went with hatchets and hammers and even with their bare hands to murder people who were once their friendly neighbors. The rest were deported to Transnistria or managed to escape. Why? because (some) Jews were sympathetic to communists, because (some) Jews were rich, because when the propaganda machine cranked out it's venom it became easy to point fingers and believe that Jews were the root of everyone's problems. As we saw happening in recent history in Bosnia, Rwanda and other ethnic conflicts, where hate is used as a political tool.
|Illia conducts interview with Stefania Antoniuk Konstianyvna|
|what might she be remembering|
|Portrait of Stefania as a young beauty. The ornament on her blouse looks to be some kind of Soviet medal.|
|Pavlina, Velykyi Kuchuriv, UK ©Sylvia de Swaan|
|Nastya videotaping the interview ©Sylvia de Swaan|