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Calls grow to remove memorial to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in Philly-area cemetery

The monument fits a pattern of efforts by ex-Communist states to rewrite the histories of those who committed atrocities.

St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Elkins Park, Pa. Source: Screenshot/FindaGrave.com.
St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Elkins Park, Pa. Source: Screenshot/FindaGrave.com.

The gray stone cross with sharp, pointed edges standing amid other graves had escaped attention for more than 30 years.

The Philadelphia-area Jewish community has recently learned about a monument in St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in the suburb of Elkins Park that honors members of the Ukrainian Waffen S.S. Division.

In response, Marcia Bronstein, regional director of American Jewish Committee (AJC) Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey, said: “We really do look forward to being partners and exploring how best they can condemn this and how they can remove this statue that is so painful to the Jewish community.”

The cemetery has not yet responded, redirecting queries to the Ukrainian Catholic Arch Diocese.

The memorial appears to have been installed shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The AJC identifies it as part of a trend wherein formerly Communist countries seek to honor historical figures who fought against communism while whitewashing collaboration with German Nazis during World War II.

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