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.
Methodology for the Nazi Monument Collaborator Project
In order for a statue or street name to be included in the database, the individual/organization being honored had to meet one of four criteria:
Fighting with or providing military assistance to the Third Reich.
Holding a senior (e.g. minister, undersecretary, ambassador) level position in a Nazi-allied or a Nazi puppet government.
Carrying out or enabling the Holocaust either by engaging in outright killing of Jews (some paramilitaries did this in the service of the Nazis; others killed Jews on their own volition) or by assisting with arrests, round-ups, confiscations or deportations of Jews to ghettos, concentration camps or other mass murder sites. The enabling had to be direct — in other words, even though companies like IBM helped facilitate the Holocaust, it was not direct, hands-on assistance, and did not count for the purposes of this database.
Fomenting antsemitism on a state-wide level as precursor to the Holocaust. This includes passing anti-Jewish laws such as those in Romania and Hungary or stoking hatred through antisemitic propaganda on a state-wide level.
Gravesites and tombs were excluded from the database, as they are subject to a different standard. Monuments that are not actually part of gravesites, such as the ones in Oakville cemetery in Canada, were included.
A crucial part of building statues to Nazi collaborators is the whitewashing: Before a statue is erected, the collaborator must be recast as something more palatable than a collaborator — either a victim or a freedom fighter. This Holocaust distortion, which is far more sophisticated than the blunt “the Holocaust never happened” Holocaust denial, is accomplished via what’s called the Double Genocide theory.
Several people picked up on this perversion of the Holocaust early on; they played a critical role in alerting the world of this insidious new kind of Holocaust denial. Two in particular are Dovid Katz and Efraim Zuroff.
Katz is an American-Jewish professor who moved to Lithuania and discovered the first stirrings of efforts to transform Holocaust perpetrators into victims and freedom fighters. Katz spoke out against this, championed Holocaust survivors harassed by the Lithuanian government and founded Defending History, which provides indispensable information about Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe. Katz’ efforts were noticed by authorities in Lithuania — his articles against the whitewashing cost him his university job. Defending History created the first database of monuments to collaborators in Lithuania and hosted an early version of this database.
Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the director of the center’s Jerusalem branch. Zuroff has tirelessly fought against collaborator whitewashers not only in Lithuania but also in the West. For years, his voice was often the only loud Jewish institutional voice drawing attention to Holocaust distortion; he has not hesitated to call out even the Israeli government.
For more, see Dovid Katz on the Double Genocide theory in the Guardian; Katz’ commentary in The New York Times; Katz named in the Forward 50; Efraim Zuroff profile in Newsweek; Zuroff on Holocaust distortion in the Jerusalem Post; the New Yorker on Lithuania’s attack on a book Zuroff co-wrote; Dr. Yehuda Baer on Double Genocide; and NPR on Hungary’s manipulation of a Holocaust museum.
The reader will also notice that a disturbing number of Nazi collaborators documented in this database resettled in the West after the war. The answer to how they were able to do this, and how they ended up building statues to their heroes in U.S., Canada and Australia deals with a dark part of Cold War history. Essentially, Western governments freely accepted thousands of concentration camp guards, ethnic cleansers, antisemitic propagandists and butchers of Jews in order to use them against the Soviet Union shortly after WWII ended and the Cold War began.
Additionally, many of the Nazi collaborators admitted by Western governments did not possess leadership or rocket building skills — they were simply allowed in because keeping out Nazis did not seem to be a high priority for Western governments. As the U.S. State Department told the Anti-Defamation League when it tried to prevent a high-level Slovakian Nazi collaborator from receiving a visa: “Membership in or affiliation with the defunct Nazi Party in itself no longer constitutes a ground of ineligibility.”
For more, see Jared McBride in the Los Angeles Times; NPR on Eric Lichtblau’s book The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler’s Men; journalist Russ Bellant’s Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party: Domestic fascist networks and their effect on U.S. cold war politics; The New York Times on America accepting Nazis; the Jewish News of Northern California on how Canada took in 2,000 members of a Ukrainian Waffen-SS unit; the National Post on Canada’s failure to prosecute Nazis; and The New York Times on Ukrainian ethnic cleanser Mykola Lebed who was protected by the CIA.
A study of monuments to collaborators spanning three continents and ten languages required processing a lot of information about both WWII history and the modern efforts to whitewash it by the far-right. This would not have been possible without numerous experts, activists and journalists who provided detailed explanations, aided with translation, confirmed the status of names and monuments on the ground, provided information about current antisemitism and far-right climate and generously allowed the use of photographs for the project.
Of course, it should be noted that the decisions over what to include, the wording and interpretation and any mistakes in the database are mine alone and should not be attributed to these individuals or to anyone else.
Many, many thanks to the following for their aid in research and photographs:
Dr. Dovid Katz of Defending History; Dr. Tarik Cyril Amar; Dr. Per Anders Rudling; Dr. Rory Yeomans; Dr. Milijana Pavlović; Dr. Jelena Subotić; Balkanist editor-in-chief Lily Lynch; Dr. Jared McBride; Eduard Dolinsky, Director General of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee; Sasha Uzunov; Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta; Dr. Emanuel Plopeanu; Kevin Prenger, Kaj Metz, and Lennard Bolijn of Traces of War; Aleksandr Kuzmin; Dr. Marko Attila Hoare; Moss Robeson, researcher at the Bandera Lobby Blog; Dr. Marius Cazan, “Elie Wiesel” National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Romania, Bucharest; Marco Maximillian Katz, Founder and National Director of the Center for Monitoring and Combating Antisemitism in Romania; Dragan Stašić of Beta News Agency; Selma Boračić-Mršo; Silvia Foti; Grant Gochin; Milica Pralica of Oštra Nula; Gabriel Sipos; Evaldas Balčiūnas; Michal Filek of MY Žilinské noviny; Dr. Zac Robinson; David P. Jones; Brian Kelly; Faruk Vele/Radiosarajevo.ba; Sarajevo Times; SME Daily.
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.