Never again: why we must heed the lessons of history
On May 8th the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) joins the international community in solemn commemoration for the millions of victims and in eternal gratitude to the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for a free world.
World War II, which had begun in 1939 with the Nazi-Soviet invasion and dismemberment of Poland, became the most brutal war in human history. Its cost is beyond calculation: in Ukraine alone, over 8 million lives were lost, over 2 million people were forcibly deported. Today we pay tribute to millions of Ukrainian men and women who bravely fought in World War II, among them over 250 000 Ukrainians who served in Polish, French, British, US, and Canadian armed forces. We owe them an eternal debt that can never be repaid.
Caught between the totalitarian and murderous empires of Hitler and Stalin, Ukrainian people fought valiantly against both occupying regimes. The end of World War II did not bring peace or freedom to Ukraine. Instead, Stalin’s Soviet Union brought oppression and tyranny to Ukraine, as well as to many other captive nations of Eastern Europe. For over four decades, Ukraine was forced to continue its struggle against the Soviet regime that persecuted and denied the Ukrainian people the fundamental right to live freely.
Today, the people of Ukraine are once again forced to fight for their land and freedom as Russia seeks to subjugate Ukraine to its imperialistic rule. Russia, the modern-day aggressor state, seeks to utilize World War II symbols to justify and glorify its occupation of Crimea and invasion of Ukrainian Donbas. Through state-financed campaigns like “Bezsmernyi Polk”, Russia seeks to whitewash the horrific crimes of Soviet-Communism and affirm the cult of Stalin’s Soviet victory in World War II, using this propaganda to fuel the war in Donbas.
“As we commemorate the millions of World War II victims and pay tribute to those who fought for a free world, the UWC calls upon the international community to heed the lessons of history. The most recent escalation of Russian aggression once again showed us how vulnerable peace can be”– stated Paul Grod, UWC President. «We must not appease a modern-day tyrant who is attempting to rebuild the Russian empire and re-establish the Soviet prison of captive nations”.