Ukraine Opens Criminal Probe Against 94-Year-Old Jewish WWII Hero

Ukrainian authorities have decided to open a criminal investigation into a 94-year-old Jewish WWII hero who is being accused of killing a Nazi collaborator.

Col. Boris Steckler was warned that he is expected to stand trial for killing a Ukrainian nationalist in 1952.

Steckler was a senior officer in the Soviet Army and after the war was appointed as an officer in the KGB and was responsible for capturing Nazis and collaborators in western Ukraine.

During a battle in the Rivne Oblast in western Ukraine, Steckler was involved in a confrontation with nationalists who cooperated with the Nazis. During the confrontation, a man by the name of Neil Hasiewicz, who was a propagandist and district judge during the war, was shot and killed.

Local nationalist groups recently filed a complaint against Steckler, accusing him of responsibility for the assassination of Hasiewicz—a fact that Steckler does not deny.

In an unprecedented move, this is the first time Ukrainian authorities have sought to arrest a person who worked against Nazi collaborators during and after the Second World War.

Steckler was recognized as a local war hero and is regularly invited to the parades commemorating the victory over the Nazis. He was wounded during the war and received countless medals for courage.

Alex Tantzer, whose family was murdered in the Holocaust in the Rivne region, said that it was nothing less than a sign of cultural decline for Ukrainians.

“I do not know whether this is anti-Semitism or not. In Ukraine, there are occasional complaints from nationalist organizations, and it’s a shame that the authorities take it seriously … It’s a shame that the government in Ukraine does not stop these horrific things.

Now when we celebrate victory over Nazi Germany, we are persecuting this Jew who fought against Nazis.”

1 reply
  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    Prosecutors in Ukraine initiated a murder investigation against a Jewish former Soviet officer who is suspected of killing a nationalist in 1952.

    The General Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine opened the probe against 94-year-old Boris Steckler on April 18, the Ist Pravda news website reported last week based on documents it obtained from the National Advocacy Center, a nationalist and anti-Russian not-for-profit group.

    Steckler is accused of killing Neil Hasevych, an artist who was a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, or OUN, which fought during the first half of the 20th century against Soviet domination.

    Leaders of OUN briefly collaborated with Nazi occupation forces before turning against them.

    Steckler is accused of throwing a grenade into a bunker where Hasevych and several other underground fighters were hiding. His accusers claim he was working for the feared NKVD security service, which later became the KGB.

    Nationalist groups in Ukraine have for years tried to prosecute Steckler. Last year, the Rivne District Administrative Court began reviewing a lawsuit connected to Steckler that nationalists brought against Ukraine’s SBU security service. The petitioners wanted the SBU to release old classified files about Steckler.

    He declined to show up at the hearing in Rivne and appealed to the court to dismiss the plaintiffs’ petition. Steckler has declined to comment on the allegations made against him, the news website said.

    Following a bloody revolution in 2014 that unleashed a wave of nationalist sentiment in Ukraine, the state has celebrated the legacy of various personalities from OUN and its military wing, the UPA, including commanders who are accused of responsibility for the murder of thousands of Jews and Poles

    One such leader was Stepan Bandera, who has a large statue of him in the city of Lviv and streets named after him in several cities,
    including Kiev. Another is Roman Shukhevych, whom the director of the state-operated Ukrainian National Memory Institute recently praised as “one of five eminent personalities who have changed the course of history.”

    Advocates of nationalist leaders like Bandera and Shukhevych claim their vision of Ukraine extended to Jews, some of whom served in UPA’s ranks. 65 Some UPA militants also rescued Jews from the Holocaust.

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