The Shmooze

Ukrainian Association Objects To Rights Museum's Special Treatment of Holocaust

By Michael Kaminer

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What’s so special about the Holocaust?

That’s the question a Ukrainian association is asking after the soon-to-be-built Canadian Museum of Human Rights revealed plans that include a separate gallery for the Holocaust. According to the Toronto Sun, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA) is claiming the current plan “elevates some cases of human suffering above others.”

The UCCLA’s research director, Lubomyr Luciuk, told the Sun that “no gallery should be dedicated to one story, and one story alone. There are many other incidents of genocide in human history, why is that being lumped together?”

But Stuart Murray, the museum’s CEO, told the Canadian press that the Museum isn’t trying to say that one genocide trumps another, explaining, “We don’t want to get into a comparative because once you start comparing two genocides then you start comparing a third and a forth. That’s a slippery slope spiral that we’re just not going to get into.”

The Museum for Human Rights is slated to open in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2013, and will be Canada’s first National Museum outside Ottawa, the Canadian capital.

Arthur Schafer, the director of the Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics at the University of Manitoba, told Canada’s National Post that the museum’s decision to give the Holocaust a particular place of recognition shouldn’t be viewed as “diminishing the suffering of others,” because the Holocaust is unique.

“No matter the venue or context, he said, the Holocaust always has to be given primacy of commemoration because of the ideology that was behind the murder of the Jews,” the paper’s HolyPost blog reported.

“The very rationale for killing Jews was part of the official ideology of Nazism while forced starvation of Ukrainians was not the official ideology of communism,” Schafer told the Post. “What makes it unique was that it was the end result of planned dehumanizing of people. It was an ideology that said Jews were sub-human, they were toxic and the world needed to be freed of them.”


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