Minister Freeland's Grandfather,
Michael Chomiak,
the Nazi's Top
Ukrainian Propagandist:

Fake News,
Mighty Wurlitzers,
Historical Amnesia and the
(or Bear) in the Room

By Richard Sanders, editor, Press for Conversion! magazine of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, March 22, 2017

"It takes a village to raise a Nazi" (old African proverb, slightly modified)

1- Introduction

2 - The Liberal Government's Warm Embrace of Ukraine's Nazi Collaborators

3 - Historical Amnesia and the Blinding Effects of Propaganda

4 - The Nazis as Victims?  Sure, just Blame the Russians!

5 - Canada needs Truth and Reconciliation, not Denials and Obfuscation

6 - Historical Denial among Canada's ultranationalist Ukrainians

7 - Michael Chomiak, The Ukrainian Central Committee and its Nazi Newspapers

8 - Aryanisation and the "Mighty Wurlitzer"

9 - The Ukrainian Canadian Congress and its Fascist Roots

10 - Getting them Early: Building the ultraNationalist Cause among Children and Youth

11 - The Freeland-Chomiak Parallels in Advocacy Journalism

12 - Was Freeland an "Accidental Journalist," or Groomed for the Job?

13 - In 1989, Freeland was Declared an "Enemy of the Soviet State"

14 - A Chomiak-Freeland Fixation on Jewish Oligarchs running the Kremlin

15 - Freeland's Kremlin-Oligarch Theory goes Global with Jewish Plutarchetype

16 - Institutionalised Confidence Scams: An Open Conspiracy of Oligarchs, Politicians and Journalists

17 - Escaping the War Racket starts with Seeing the Elephant

18 - Just Following Orders?  Which Orders?

19 - Is there a Bear in the Room?  Kill it!

20 - The Collective Care and Feeding of Russophobia

21 - The Need for Truth and Reconciliation

Press for Conversion!

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Captive Canada:
Renditions of the Peaceable Kingdom at War, from Narratives of WWI and the Red Scare to the Mass Internment of Civilians
Or, how we learned to stop worrying, keep calm and carry on loving the myths that define and confine us.

This issue (#68) deals with the mass internment of Ukrainian Canadians, this community's left-right split and the mainstream racist, xenophobic anti-communism of progressive "Social Gospellers" (like the CCF's J.S. Woodsworth) who were so captivated by their false beliefs that they carried out the genocide of First Nations and turned a blind eye to government repression during the 20th-century "Red Scare."

The main thesis is captured here:
"The Canada Syndrome,
a Captivating Mass Psychosis"

Part 4
The Nazis as Victims?  Sure, just Blame the Russians!

Chrystia Freeland has always been careful to portray her Nazi propagandist grandfather and his family as victims of the Soviets during WWII.  In all of her narratives of their wartime experiences she creates the impression that they were innocent people who were forced in 1939 to flee from their beloved Ukrainian homeland by the Soviet communists and their invading Red Army.  Freeland's simplistic morality tales about her grandfather's life during the war never actually mentioned anything about his complicity with the Third Reich. In fact, she never divulged a single thing about what he was actually doing during the entire length of the war.  Instead, Freeland has always used her narratives as an excuse to criticise the Soviet Union and suggest that they were the real aggressors of WWII.[i]

One of the memes basic to many of Freeland's narratives, one which she often falls back on ‑ regardless of the subject at hand ‑ is that Russian leaders are to blame.  In her world, the official all-enduring backstory is that, whether communist or capitalist, Moscow's Kremlin can never be trusted.  This, of course, is not a fringe belief.  For a century, the world of mainstream western institutions ‑ whether political, economic or military ‑ have all used narratives that use the bogeyman of Russian leaders to arouse moral panics on the homefront.  The main machinery used to spread these social phobias has been the mass corporate media.

A typical Russophobic response to crisis was clearly evidenced in Freeland's recent efforts to divert public attention from the truth that her maternal grandfather was indeed a Nazi collaborator. 

On March 6, Freeland was asked to respond to what the Globe and Mail called "allegations" that her grandfather was a Nazi collaborator.  Here is what she said:

"I don't think it's a secret. American officials have publicly said, and even [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel has publicly said, that there were efforts on the Russian side to destabilize Western democracies, and I think it shouldn't come as a surprise if these same efforts were used against Canada.... I think that Canadians and indeed other western countries should be prepared for similar efforts to be directed at them."[ii]

The Globe and Mail followed lock-step in this mainstream line of defence.  It's article, entitled "Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation," confirms her accusations in its very first line:

"Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is being targeted by allegations in pro-Moscow websites that her maternal Ukrainian grandfather was a Nazi collaborator, warned Monday that Canada should expect to be the focus of Russian disinformation campaigns..." [iii]  (Emphasis added.)

Outright denial was initially used as another official line of defence. The Globe and Mail, for which Freeland worked as deputy editor (1999-2001),[iv] reported that "An official in Ms. Freeland's office denied that the minister’s grandfather was a Nazi collaborator."[v]

In an effort to rally the faithful, the newspaper called upon the words of Paul Grod, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress whose member groups representing fascist political groups and Nazi veterans' associations.  “It is the continued Russian modus operandi that they have," said Grod with the gall of self-assured confidence. "Fake news, disinformation and targeting different individuals.... It is just so outlandish when you hear some of these allegations – whether they are directed at minister Freeland or others."[vi]

This is not untypical. The best defence, after all, is supposed to be a good offence.  And, when in doubt, it is now a century-old western tradition to throw blame at the Russians.

But what if this truth about Freeland's Nazi heritage had been revealed by "proJewish" websites?  Would Freeland, Grod and the Globe and Mail have had the chutzpah to say that she was "being targeted" by Jews?  (Chutzpah, said Leo Rosten, is "that quality enshrined in a man who, having killed his mother and father, throws himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan."[vii])

Even when the Globe and Mail acknowledged on March 7 that Freeland actually knew that her grandfather had edited a Nazi newspaper, it still continued to blame the Russians.  The article's second sentence returned to the fall-back position of blaming the Russians.  It read: "Ms. Freeland's family history has become a target for Russian forces seeking to discredit one of Canada’s highly placed defenders of Ukraine."  Russian forces?  And, the paper also included this gem:

"Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent who said it was obvious the Russians dug up details on Mr. Chomiak’s past to smear Ms. Freeland. 'It is unacceptable. It seems they are trying smear a minister with historical detail that has probably been misrepresented,' he said. “It is unfair and it is typical of what we have seen in other countries and it has nothing to do with her ability to represent Canada.” [viii]

As a former journalist, does Mr. Kent not realise that the truth is actually something worthy of some respect?  And, surely a person's inability to report or tell the truth does actually affect their "ability to represent Canada." Whether someone is representing Canada as a news reporter or as a politician ‑ dual careers that Kent and Freeland share ‑ surely standing for the truth must mean something.  But perhaps in the world of journalism and politics, serving the truth is, at best, not a prime concern.

Many representatives of Canada's Third Wave Ukrainian émigré community prefer not to accept the truth of their forebear's collaboration with the Nazis.  The phenomena of this amnesiac culture has actually been a major focus of study by some scholars within the Ukrainian Canadian community for some decades.  Here for example is a quote from an article called "War Criminality: A Blank Spot in the Collective Memory of the Ukrainian Diaspora,"[ix] by historian John-Paul Himka:

"[T]here persists a deafening silence about, as well as reluctance to confront, even well-documented war crimes, such as the mass murder of Poles in Volhynia by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA)[x] and the cooperation of the Ukrainian auxiliary police in the execution of the Jews.[xi] In his submission to the Deschênes Commission [of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada] in 1986 John Sopinka, counsel for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, stated that Ukrainian nationalist organizations 'were not in any way allied with the Nazis.'[xii] It has also been denied that the Ukrainian movement in World War II had any ideological predisposition which could have facilitated participation in genocidal actions. UPA veteran and military historian Lev Shankovsky, for example, asserted at a round-table discussion that organized anti-Semitism 'never existed in Ukraine. But there exists a myth about Ukrainian anti-Semitism' promoted by Moscow."[xiii] (Emphasis added.)

The last quotation cited by Himka, is worth highlighting.  Shankovsky, being a veteran of the UPA was hardly an unbiased and objective narrator of military history. (The UPA an army established by the Bandera faction of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists.)  After the war, Shankovsky was on the payroll as a "special correspondent" for a CIA-funded propaganda publication called Suchasna Ukraina, which was circulated to the Ukrainian diaspora in two dozen countries (primarily the US, Canada, England and Germany).[xiv]  In his statement from 1960, Shankovsky demonstrated that when exposed for antiSemitism, Ukrainian ultranationalists have long been using that old standby known as the "blame-the-Russians" defence.

Sources and Notes

[i] The following five sources provide the best known examples of Chrystia Freeland's narrative about her maternal grandfather's wartime life:

Chrystia Freeland, "The quiet revolutionaries," Financial Times, December 4, 2004

"My Country & My People," December 12, 2014.

Chrystia Freeland, "My Ukraine A personal reflection on a nation's dream of independence and the nightmare Vladimir Putin has visited upon it," May 12, 2015.

Chrystia Freeland, My Ukraine: A Personal Reflection on a Nation's Independence and the nation's dream of independence and the nightmare Vladimir Putin has visited upon it

Linda Diebel, "How Chrystia Freeland became Justin Trudeau’s first star," Toronto Star, November 29, 2015.

[ii] Robert Fife, "Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation," Globe and Mail, March 6, 2017.

[iii] Robert Fife, "Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation," Globe and Mail, March 6, 2017.

[iv] Chrystia Freeland

[v] Robert Fife, "Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation," Globe and Mail, March 6, 2017.

[vi] Robert Fife, "Freeland warns Canadians to beware of Russian disinformation," Globe and Mail, March 6, 2017.

[vii] Leo Rosten, The Joys of Yiddish, 1968.

[viii] Robert Fife, "Freeland knew her grandfather was editor of Nazi newspaper," Globe and Mail, March 7, 2017.

[ix] John-Paul Himka, "War Criminality: A Blank Spot in the Collective Memory of the Ukrainian Diaspora," Spaces of Identity, Special Issue: War Crimes, Vol.5, No.1, 2005.

[x] Himka's footnote reads:

“We need a media watchdog that will monitor the press and distribute information and demand corrections. Just last week, a writer on the New York Daily News editorial board wrote an article which stated that during World War II, Ukrainians massacred Polish Catholics.” Roman Iwasiwka, “Yes, We Should Hire a PR Firm,” Ukrainian Weekly, 30 January 2000. Typical is a reference to “the commemoration of the so-called 1943 events in Volyn, during which the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) is accused of destroying Polish settlements and murdering from 30,000 to 60,000 Poles.” Emphasis added. Oksana Zakydalsky, “Commemorations of 1943 Events in Volyn: Perspective of Ukrainians in Poland,” Ukrainian Weekly, 8 June 2003. “In 2003 Polish authorities are planning to make [sic] the anniversary of what they refer to as the ‘Slaughter in Volyn’ – the alleged killings of a large number of ethnic Poles by the Ukrainian underground in the Volyn region of Ukraine in 1943.” Emphasis added. “Treasure Trove of Ukrainain Historical Archives Discovered in Poland,” E-Poshta, 19 February 2003.

[xi] Himka's footnote reads:

"For an eminent Ukrainian political scientist in the 1980s it was still a question whether Ukrainians “served only as guards or also shot the Jews.” Yaroslav Bilinsky, “Methodological Problems and Philosophical Issues in the Study of Jewish-Ukrainian Relations during the Second World War,” in Ukrainian-Jewish Relations, ed. Potichnyj and Aster, p. 380. On the denial of the culpability of the Ukrainian police, see: John-Paul Himka, “Ukrainian Collaboration in the Extermination of the Jews During the Second World War: Sorting Out the Long-Term and Conjunctural Factors,” in The Fate of the European Jews, 1939-1945: Continuity or Contingency, ed. Jonathan Frankel (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), Studies in Contemporary Jewry 13 (1997): 186 n. 11"

[xii] Himka's footnote reads:

“Ukrainians during World War II,” Ukrainian Canadian Congress position paper, 19 June 1999.

[xiii] Himka's footnote reads: “Pro problemu antysemityzmu v Ukraini,” Svoboda, 3 February 1960.

[xiv] See "Personnel and Personnel Expenditures," for Suchasna Ukraina, February 12, 1954, p.11.