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Ukrainian city honors Nazi decorated by Hitler

A street in the Ukrainian city of Nikopol will bear the name of an SS officer and recipient of the Iron Cross.

Nikopol has renamed one of its streets after Pyotr Dyachenko, an officer of the Ukrainian Waffen SS Division ‘Galizien’, the head of Ukraine’s Jewish community said on Monday.

 

Eduard Dolinsky, director of the United Jewish Committee of Ukraine, lamented the move by the city authorities both on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter), pointing out that Dyachenko was the recipient of one of Nazi Germany’s highest decorations, the Iron Cross. 

 

“The Nikopol City Council has renamed Pavlograd Street in honor of the Nazi war criminal, accomplice in the Holocaust, performer of punitive actions against civilians, commander of the 31st Schutzmannschaft battalion, head of collaborationist units within the Wehrmacht and the SS Galizien division, Pyotr Dyachenko,” Dolinsky wrote.

 

The 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, known as ‘Galizien’ (Galicia), attracted tens of thousands of volunteers from what is now western Ukraine. Its members took a personal oath to Adolf Hitler. The division went on to commit atrocities against Jews, Polish civilians, and Soviet civilians and partisans. 

 

Nikopol Mayor Aleksandr Sayuk told the Ukrainian outlet Strana that he is not a historian and could not comment on Dyachenko’s past.

 

“The renaming process was carried out by a commission, public discussions were held, and only then the streets were renamed,” Sayuk said. “About the fact that the street was renamed in honor of the man who received the Iron Cross award from Hitler? I don’t know, I don’t have such information.”

 

“You need to ask the commission, they worked on this issue. I am the mayor of the city, I am not an expert in history,” Sayuk added.

 

The Galizien Division was largely destroyed in the July 1944 battle of Brody. It was then rebuilt by the Third Reich and sent to Hungary and Yugoslavia to fight against the partisans there. In the spring of 1945, it was renamed the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army, only to surrender to the British and American troops on May 10, after the fall of Berlin.

 

The division’s founder, Vladimir Kubiyovych, was almost honored with a street in Kiev last year, until the Israeli ambassador complained to the mayor of the Ukrainian capital. His memorial plaque in the western city of Lviv has not been removed, however.

 

Nikopol is a city in Krivoy Rog Region, on the left bank of the Dnepr, across from the Russian town of Energodar and the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the largest such facility in Europe. 

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