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Putin says he’ll ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Its Jewish president lost family in the Holocaust

Days before Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assumed office, he made a trip to his hometown of Kryvyi Rih. There, he visited a cemetery and laid flowers on the grave of his grandfather, Semyon Ivanovich Zelensky, who fought in the Soviet Union’s Red Army during World War II.

Global News 03.03.2022, 15:17
Putin says he’ll ‘denazify’ Ukraine. Its Jewish president lost family in the Holocaust

“[Semyon] went through the whole war and remain[s] forever in my memory one of those heroes who defended Ukraine from the Nazis,” he wrote. “Thanks for the fact that the inhuman ideology of Nazism is forever a thing of the past. Thanks to those who fought against Nazism — and won.”

This touching statement would seem strange this week if one were to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin’s pretext for invading the country. One of the goals of the “special military operation,” as he called it, was to “denazify” Ukraine.

The claim is ridiculous on its face. Not only is Ukraine’s leader Jewish, many of his relatives were killed by Nazis in the Holocaust.

In January 2020, during the commemoration in Israel of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Zelensky told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu two stories of some of his country’s bravest heroes during the war: a Crimean Muslim woman and a Catholic priest who each saved scores of Jewish children.

Then, he said, he had one more story “about a family of four brothers.”

Bernie Sanders lost family in the Holocaust. The Nazi flag at his rally was personal.

“Three of them, their parents and their families became victims of the Holocaust. All of them were shot by German occupiers who invaded Ukraine,” he said. “The fourth brother survived. … Two years after the war, he had a son, and in 31 years, he had a grandson. In 40 more years, that grandson became president, and he is standing before you today, Mr. Prime Minister.”

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