There are hundreds of statues and monuments in the United States and around the world to people who abetted or took part in the murder of Jews and other minorities during the Holocaust. The Forward has, for the first time, documented them in this collection of articles. For a guide to each country’s memorials click here.
Monuments to French collaborators
New York, N.Y. and various U.S. states — Broadway plaque honoring Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain (1856–1951). After the Nazis conquered France, Pétain led the Vichy Regime – a puppet government of the Third Reich. In that capacity, he enacted antisemitic laws and deported around 76,000 Jews, mostly to Auschwitz. Above left, Pétain meeting with Hitler, October 1940.
Prior to becoming a Third Reich puppet, Pétain was a WWI hero; in 1931 he received a ticker-tape parade in New York. The Broadway plaque, unveiled in 2004, memorializes that. A second plaque memorializes a parade to Pierre Laval (1883–1945), who also became a Vichy lackey and played a key role in deporting France’s Jews. In 2018, New York’s government refused to remove either plaque.
The U.S. also has eleven streets named after Pétain in: Hartselle, Alabama; Prichard, Alabama; Yuma, Colorado; Abbeville, Louisiana; Monroe, Louisiana; Goffstown, New Hampshire; Milltown, New Jersey; Defiance, Ohio; Ellwood City, Pennsylvania; Nemacolin, Pennsylvania; and Dallas, Texas. Report in France-Amérique.
Pétain’s case is unique because the honors bestowed upon him took place when he was a WWI hero, before he served the Nazis. That puts them in a different category from monuments erected to perpetrators after they became collaborators.
Pétain’s status in his homeland has been ambivalent. France renamed its last Pétain street in 2011. In 2018, however, Paris announced plans to honor the disgraced marshal; the decision was reversed after an international backlash. The fact that even France, a staunch Western ally, was about to honor a traitor responsible for the murder of his country’s Jews shows the degradation of Holocaust memory worldwide.
For more locations named after Pétain, see the Canada section.
For more discussions about these cases, see the Tribeca Trib on the Pétain plaque in Broadway, The New York Times on the debate in Milltown, the Dallas Morning News on Pétain in Dallas and the Forward on Pétain’s antisemitism.
Monuments to Lithuanian collaborators
Lemont, Ill. — Adolfas Ramanauskas (1918–1957) commanded one of the many “self-defense” groups in the antisemitic Latvian Activist Front. Ramanauskas commanded his LAF unit in the summer of 1941, when the LAF slaughtered thousands of Lithuanian Jews of their own volition, carrying out lethal pogroms even before the Germans arrived.
While there’s no direct paper trail linking Ramanauskas to murders of Jews, the fact remains he was the leader of a unit in a Nazi-allied militia whose record of atrocities toward Jews is well-documented. Both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the World Jewish Congress condemned the memorial.
Lemont’s monument was unveiled in 2019 outside the Lithuanian World Center, in a ceremony attended by Lithuania’s foreign minister. This came after a drawn-out battle to place the monument on public land in New Britain, Connecticut. Eventually, local authorities soundly rejected the plan to use public space for a monument to an alleged collaborator in the atrocities of 1941.
Defending History worked closely, and quite publicly, with New Britain alderman Aram Ayalon during the months of debates on the monument. For more, see Defending History’s New Britain section, this BBC report and Defending History’s Ramanauskas page. (Many thanks to Dovid Katz for his information on Ramanauskas and Defending History’s Lithuania team’s involvement in the New Britain story.)
Below left, a Lithuanian collaborator watches a synagogue burning, June 1941. Below right, Lithuanian ultranationalists, some of whom bore swastikas, march through Kaunas, February 2014.
For more on Lithuania’s widespread glorification of Nazi collaborators, see the Lithuania section.
Monuments to Russian collaborators
Nanuet, N.Y. — A monument to Andrey Vlasov (1901–1946) and the Russian Liberation Army (ROA) at the Novo-Diveyevo Russian Orthodox convent. Vlasov, a Red Army general who defected to the Nazis and formed the ROA in 1944. Above left, Vlasov shakes hands with Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and one of the principal architects of the Holocaust, on the cover of the Nazi Army’s Signal magazine, Norwegian edition.
Vlasov’s army had numerous White Russian émigrés (Tsarist loyalists and various other anti-Communists who fled to the West after the Russian Revolution and Civil War). The graves of many prominent White Russians in the convent’s cemetery make it likely it was those émigrés who erected the Vlasov monument. Strangely enough, Vlasov resurfaced in the news in 2019, when Prague announced plans to build a monument to the general.
Monuments to Serbian collaborators
Libertyville, Ill. — A monument to Chetnik commander Pavle Đurišić, (1909–1945), who commanded Chetnik troops operating in Montenegro. In the process, he collaborated with the Third Reich, which awarded him the Iron Cross — a Nazi Germany military honor. Additionally, Đurišić allied himself with the Serbian puppet government of Milan Nedić, whose collaboration with the Nazis resulted in the annihilation of Serbian Jews; Belgrade became the first city in Europe to be declared judenfrei (the term Nazis used to declare an area “free of Jews,” meaning all Jews have been deported or killed). Đurišić also ordered his troops to carry out ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia and Montenegro. (Many thanks to Milijana Pavlović for aid in locating Chetnik statues outside Serbia.)
Cleveland, Ohio and five other cities — One of the several monuments to Dragoljub “Draža” Mihailović (1893–1946), founder and leader of the Chetniks, a Yugoslavian royalist and Serbian nationalist militia. At various points during the war, Mihailović’s forces collaborated with the Nazis and Mussolini’s Italy, the Serbian puppet government responsible for the elimination of 90% of Serbia’s Jews, and the genocidal Ustasha regime in Croatia. According to Yad Vashem, Israel’s main Holocaust research center, Chetniks killed Jews and turned them over to the Germans. That said, the Chetniks didn’t interact with too many Jews, because Serbia’s Jews were slaughtered very early in the war.
Later, Mihailović sided with the Allies, using his troops to rescue over 400 American airmen shot down in enemy territory; for that, he was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit by Harry Truman. Other Mihailović monuments in the U.S. are in Libertyville, Ill. (below left); Third Lake, Ill. (below right); Milwaukee, Wis.; Sheffield, Ohio; and San Marcos, Calif. (Thanks to Brian Kelly for the Cleveland image.)
Monuments to Ukrainian collaborators
Ellenville, N.Y. — This elaborate “Heroes’ Monument,” described by Moss Robeson in Medium, features busts of Nazi collaborators Stepan Bandera (1909–1959) and Roman Shukhevych (1907–1950). Bandera led a faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which allied itself with the Nazis, while Shukhevych was a leader in a Third Reich auxiliary police battalion as well as the commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which massacred thousands of Jews and 70,000-100,000 Poles. The monument was erected in 1962 by UPA veterans who, like thousands of other Holocaust perpetrators, were freely admitted to the United States.
As a side note, the Ellenville monument also contains the bust of WWI-era nationalist Symon Petliura (1879–1926), whose hordes murdered tens of thousands of Jews in pogroms, albeit before the Holocaust. (Thanks to Moss Robeson for photos and information about the monuments in this section and Jared McBride for advice on Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in the U.S.)
Baraboo, Wis. — A youth summer camp featuring busts of Petliura (see entry above) and Nazi collaborators Bandera and Shukhevych, erected in 2012–2013. Bandera’s OUN eagerly participated in the Holocaust across Ukraine, as did the men under Shukhevych, an officer in the Nachtingall battalion under the Nazis and hauptmann of the 201st auxiliary police battalion of the Third Reich. Above left, the town of Zolochiv celebrates after a pogrom, July 6, 1941. Banners include “Glory to Bandera!” and “Heil Hitler!”
Hamptonburgh, N.Y. — A monument to the OUN and UPA unveiled in 1989. In 2018, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum denounced Ukraine’s glorification of the OUN and UPA. Similar condemnations of Kyiv’s whitewashing of Holocaust perpetrators came from the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the World Jewish Congress; 1.5 million Ukrainian Jews were killed in the Holocaust, many gunned down in fields and forests in what is known as the Holocaust by Bullets.
Above left is the 1941 proclamation of the Ukrainian state written by the OUN, one of the groups honored by the Hamptonburgh monument. The proclamation was published right as the Nazis, aided by eager Ukrainian collaborators, were slaughtering Jews across western Ukraine. It states that the OUN looks forward to “working closely with National-Socialist [Nazi] Greater Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.”
Below, a torchlight march on Bandera’s birthday, Kyiv January 1, 2021; during the 2017 commemorations marchers chanted “Jews Out!”
For more information about other shrines to Nazi collaborators on U.S. soil, see Moss Robeson’s Twitter thread. Some of the last remaining Nazis in the U.S. have been collaborators from Ukraine. See the Daily Beast and The New York Times on a collaborator from Queens; Times of Israel on one who settled in Michigan; and this AP story on a commander of an SS-led unit linked to murder of civilians who became an officer in SS Galichina before settling in Minnesota.
Nazi collaborator monuments around the world
Lev Golinkin is the author of A Backpack, a Bear, and Eight Crates of Vodka, Amazon’s Debut of the Month, a Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers program selection, and winner of the Premio Salerno Libro d’Europa. Mr. Golinkin, a graduate of Boston College, came to the US as a child refugee from the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkov (now called Kharkiv) in 1990. His writing on the Ukraine crisis, Russia, the far right, and immigrant and refugee identity has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN, NBC, The Boston Globe, Politico Europe, and Time.com, among others; he has been interviewed by MSNBC, NPR, ABC Radio, WSJ Live and HuffPost Live.