Petro Poroshenko has tacitly erased his Twitter and Facebook posts about the Soviet deportation of Ukrainians to Siberia, which he illustrated with a photo showing Polish Jews being escorted to a Nazi death camp. The fake content had been online for nearly a week.
Last Friday, the Ukrainian leader took to social media to remind his followers of the 70th anniversary of the USSR’s forced evacuation of the population of Western Ukraine regions to Siberia in 1947. The choice of the cover image, however, landed Poroshenko in hot water – it was a photograph taken five years before the Soviet deportations and showing the Jewish ghetto of Lodz in Poland.
Social media users pointed out the ‘blunder,’ revealing that people in the picture were in fact Jews about to be deported to a Nazi extermination camp in 1942.
“Elderly women carrying young children and bundles of personal belongings trudge along a street in the Lodz ghetto toward the assembly point for deportations to Chelmno,” the caption of the photo says on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Poroshenko’s gaffe provoked a storm of dismay online, with users deriding the “ignorance” of the president’s team. Eduard Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee, described Poroshenko’s tweet as “strange.”
While the tweet and the Facebook post with the wrong picture had been online for almost a week, no comment was forwarded by the president’s office upon its removal.