Ukraine: My dad came from there.

My family from Kiev were rich Jewish merchants. Many came to America after repeated pogroms in Ukraine. You can find many successful Kolchinsky people in American cities today. Yaakov was my grandfather. He employed 30 garment workers in Kiev. My father David was 14 when they left Ukraine in 1922. They told me as I was growing up me that Ukrainians hate Jews and that’s why they left Kiev. My dad used to say “Ukrainians revere their historical leader Kamelnitzky who murdered Jews with the zeal of the Nazis.” My dad passed away in 1991. He used to say, “Any country that would kill its Jews will suffer the consequences of a culture preoccupied with hate of minorities instead of being occupied with building a just and vibrant society.”  I live in Canada today, a flourishing country with very little antisemitism. I read about  the Ukrainians still killing each other in 2014 instead of building an economy. I wonder if my father was right in what he believed? Why did Kamelnitzky have to murder Jewish children? Why did Ukrainians erect a statue for him on a horse in Kiev as if he was a good man hero? You know, readers, I feel lucky that the Kolchinsky clan were driven out of the Ukraine by antisemitism? I live in Canada. Ukrainian generals tortured strangers who lived peacefully in their midst  for a 1000 years! Something is wrong. I really don’t fully understand why Ukraine suffers so much.  I wish them peace. As a social psychologist, I wish they realize that Ukrainian nationalism should be nurtured to benefit all the Ukrainian people: Ukrainian, Russian, Jew, Tartar and others. Nationalism, yes, nationalism, that is what’s missing there, the sense that Ukrainians can come in different colors, religions and ethnicities and still be 100% Ukrainians. I still feel some affinity for the country of my grandfather Yaakov. Kolchinsky, the Kiev clan, why did you have to kick them out because they were successful Jews? Jealousy? They were good for your economy. My grandfather employed 30 people who lost their jobs. No wonder the economy is still struggling in the Ukraine. Please, shed off your hate for each other, get productive and live in peace! You need to learn to believe more in God and less in your version of Him!

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