“May 2, 1933 Germany – May 2, 2014 Ukraine – Nazis against trade union houses”: On the occasion of the commemoration of the victims of the Nazi violence against Ukrainian government critics on May 2, 2014 in Odessa, the Freidenker in Offenbach organized a screening of the film “Remember Odessa”. During the discussion, viewers confessed that there was a lot they didn’t know until then.
By Felicitas Rabe
On the evening of May 2, 2023, the Hessian freethinkers invited to a screening of the documentary film “Remember Odessa”, followed by a discussion about the background to the massacre and about political developments in Ukraine. On the occasion of the anniversary of the mass murder in the Trade Union House in the south-western Ukrainian city of Odessa, they wanted to commemorate the victims. In addition to the film director and publicist Wilhelm Domke-Schulz, the panel discussion also included the founder of the Druschba FM YouTube channel, Sergey Filbert, as well as Jan Veil from the Free Left and the President of the World Union of Freethinkers, Klaus Hartmann.
Odessa: Residents commemorate the victims of the massacre at the Trade Union House
The horrible events of May 2014 in Odessa are summed up in the description of the event by Freidenker:
“After the coup d’état in Kiev, there were massive counter-protests in the east and south of Ukraine, and Odessa became the most important center of civil resistance. Tens of thousands of people protested week after week against the illegitimate regime in Kiev. On May 2, 2014, several hundred radical nationalists stormed and armed men from the fascist Azov regiment stormed the protest camp. The government opponents fled to the trade union building behind it, which was then set on fire by the Nazis. 48 people were burned alive, and anyone who managed to escape through the windows to the outside was beaten to death with clubs The film takes us to the scene of the terrible crime that has gone unpunished to this day, the murderers of Odessa are still at large today.”
As part of the commemorative event, the President of the World Union of Freethinkers, Klaus Hartmann, recalled the storming of the union buildings by the SA hordes on May 2, 1933. The unions in Nazi Germany were then brought into line. In February 2023, the DGB condemned Russia’s “belligerent aggression” in a joint statement with the German employers’ association. The German trade union leaders have remained silent about the crime in the trade union building in Odessa to this day.
Before the film screening, the filmmaker Wilhelm Domke-Schulz welcomed the approximately 70 spectators who had gathered in the small town of Offenbach-Bieber for the day of remembrance in the Wiener Hof. At the time of his training, Domke-Schulz explained that the Babelsberg Film School was intensively dealing with fascism and the ideology of fascism.
May 2, 2014 – Nine years after the Odessa massacre
In the former GDR it was part of the ideal of a filmmaker to get involved with his works against fascism. Honoring anti-fascists was part of his socialization, especially because many streets were named after anti-fascists in the GDR era. After reunification, these street names were exchanged.
He was there with film teams from the first to the last day of the Maidan events in Kiev in 2014. The reports in the Western press about the 48 dead government opponents, according to official figures, lasted only three days. In the end, the murders were blamed on Russian agents.
The cinematographic work immerses the viewer directly in the events in Odessa in May 2014. The political struggles between the Ukrainian nationalists and the traditionally multicultural opponents of the government in the city on the Black Sea are reproduced in a comprehensible manner using original images and eyewitnesses.
The viewers are also expected to see original footage of the atrocities committed by the nationalists against the government opponents, which were filmed by witnesses at the time. The film reconstructs the terrible crimes and political conflicts that have continued in Odessa to this day in such a way that the viewer can finally understand developments in Ukraine as a whole.
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Relatives lament about a hundred people who were killed by fires and gas poisoning at the union building that day. Some also died jumping out of windows, were shot or beaten to death. To date, there has been neither a political nor a judicial investigation of the crimes. Another 100 people have been missing since that day. Internationally, the number of victims remains at 48 – because if more than 50 people die, an international investigation must be called, explained Sergey Filbert.
While the government opponents are still commemorating the victims in the trade union building, the nationalists are celebrating this day as victory day for the heroes of Ukraine, the German-Russian peace activist from Druzhba FM once again made clear to the viewers in the discussion. Even “seasoned leftists” would refuse to discuss the Donbass and the Trade Union House in Odessa.
Jan Veil from the Free Left assumes that the government opponents were killed on May 2 as a deterrent:
“It was planned that there would be many deaths so that resistance to the Nazis would be deterred.”
Finally, in Odessa, masses of opponents of the government went into resistance, and Veil said that this was to end that. After the film, one viewer admitted that he had not previously known that there was such a large, peaceful anti-Maidan in Kiev. And another viewer noted that in the original footage of the film, one can see very well
that it was actually Nazis who were fighting the government opponents – by their slogans admiring Bandera and by their contemptuous statements towards Jews.
This film absolutely has to be in the cinemas, pleaded several viewers at the end.
Events of the German Freethinkers Association to commemorate the day of liberation from fascism:
Sunday, May 7th at 11 a.m. on the Opernplatz in Frankfurt a. M. an “Immortal Regiment”
Monday, May 8th at 4 p.m. in Offenbach at the flame for the victims of Nazi terror in front of the town hall a commemoration on the day of liberation from fascism
Tuesday, May 9th at 11 a.m. the wreath-laying ceremony for Victory Day at the memorial for the Soviet war victims in Frankfurt’s main cemetery
more on the subject – Moscow: Behind the silence of the West there is “neo-Nazi madness” in Ukraine