In 1944 my Ukrainian aunt and uncle, Olga Medynska and Mikolay Medynski, saved the life of a 14-year-old Jewish girl, Dziunia, from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Fifty years later, Dziunia located my aunt in Wethersfield, Connecticut. As a result, the names “Olga Medynska” and “Mikolay Medynski” were inscribed as the “Righteous Among Nations” in Yad Vashem – the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Jerusalem. The names of over 2,600 other Ukrainians who risked their lives to shelter their Jewish neighbors were also inscribed on this memorial.
Ukraine is led by Volodymyr Zelensky, a man of proud Jewish heritage who was elected in a landslide of 73% of the electorate. Long before Zelensky was elected, Ukrainians resoundingly rejected the kind of right-wing extremist movements that have gained footholds in some countries in the West, including the United States. Ukrainians promoted their vision of democracy through the Orange Revolution of 2004 and the Maidan Revolution of Dignity of 2013-2014, ousting Putin’s stooge, president Victor Yanukovich.
In speeches all over the world, Zelensky has exposed the massive war crimes the Russian army has committed in Ukraine and condemned Putin’s indiscriminate terrorist bombings and missile strikes against civilian targets.
Russian fascist disinformation looks to the U.S. far right to weaken American support for Ukraine. Ukrainian democracy is challenging a desperate megalomaniac, who flagrantly shows his contempt for Western values. The spirit of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorn and the Alcotts lives with Ukrainians around the world, in our united front against totalitarianism.
For accurate information on Ukraine’s history, please see: Harvard Professor Serhii Plokhy’s “The Gates of Europe, A History of Ukraine” and Yale Professor Timothy Snyder’s “Bloodlands,” as well as his free lectures on Ukraine’s history on YouTube.