The Kyiv City Council may be set to name a street after a Nazi collaborator and SS official, Ukrainian Jewish Committee director Eduard Dolinsky has reported.
According to Dolinsky, a street in the Ukrainian capital will be renamed following a motion passed by the city council, and will bear the name of Volodymyr Kubiyovych, who during the Holocaust was heavily involved in the formation of the Waffen-SS Galizien, a Nazi military force made up of Ukrainian volunteers.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Dolinsky explained that a historical expert commission within the council had put forward several options for the renaming of what is currently Przhevalsky Street in Kyiv.
The names suggested by the historical commission were then put forward by the council for a public vote on the Kyiv Digital app, where voting will remain open until April 16.
The option to rename the street after Volodymyr Kubiyovych has so far received a majority, with 31% of the vote, with the second and third highest options receiving just 18% and 10% respectively.
Once the public vote is closed, the Kyiv City Council will then vote to approve renaming the street after Kubiyovych.
Who was Volodymyr Kubiyovych?
Prior to the start of the Holocaust, Kubiyovych was a strong supporter of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-M) and in April 1941, he requested the creation of an autonomous state within Ukraine in which Poles and Jews would not be allowed to live.
Later in the war in 1943, Kubiyovych took on a key role in the formation of the Waffen-SS Galizien, publicly announcing his willingness to take up arms and fight for the Nazi cause.
After the Red Army approached Poland in 1944, Kubiyovych fled to Germany, and then France after the Nazi surrender. In France, he served as the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Studies, the largest academic project taken on by Ukrainian expats during the Cold War.
The encyclopedia was reflective of Kubiyovych’s nationalistic views and was intended to preserve Ukraine’s heritage under Soviet rule.
Kubiyovych's airbrushed legacy
The encyclopedia – which now exists online, both in its native language and in English – is still frequently updated with articles focusing on Ukrainian heritage and culture.
The Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine avoids mentioning Kubiyovych’s Nazi past, instead focusing on his work before and after World War II, saying only that: “During the Second World War he headed the Ukrainian Central Committee (UCC) in Cracow and in 1943 took part in organizing the Division Galizien.”
Kubiyovych, who died in Paris in 1985, is recognized to this day by many as a prominent and important Ukrainian scholar, and his works continue to be widely circulated, despite his Nazi past.
Should a road in Kyiv indeed be named after him, it will not be the first time that Ukraine has chosen to honor Kubiyovych. In 2000, a pre-stamped envelope was issued by the Ukrainian postal service in honor of the 100th anniversary of his birth, and in the Ukrainian city of Lviv, a plaque honoring the Nazi official still stands.