We present to our readers the first volume of the Powstanski mohyly. Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory Soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army - West from Military Region VI "Sian" Military Districts "Lemko", "Bastion", "Danyliv" (1944-1946). Through this publication, we intend to return to our history, many years after the event, the names of 507 UPA soldiers who gave their lives in the defense of their native land and people but until now had remained anonymous.
The material we are publishing does not require any pompous words or grandiose commentary. The names of several hundred young men killed in battle testify to yet another tragedy of the post-war generation of Ukrainians in Poland. For many of us, the publications of these names will represent a painful end of the hope that perhaps these men are still alive somewhere, perhaps they will still return.
Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory is, first and foremost, a documentary record of our most recent history, in which there still remain so many "blank pages" - hundreds of nameless soldiers fallen on the field of battle. Whether we fill in these pages and honor these still nameless soldier, or simply forget them, now depends only on us. Our memory of the fallen soldiers, their graves, will stand as proof that their death was not in vain.
The first volume of Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory is published jointly by the Ukrainian Archive and Litopys UPA.
My work on Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory began at the same time as I started my search for documents for the book Akcja "Wisla". In military reports and accounts of battles I saw, for the first time, the pseudonym, and often real names, of members of the Ukrainian underground killed during the anti-guerrilla operations of the Polish Army. At this time, 10 years ago, I was faced with the question: was there any sense in trying to collect these additional materials, scattered randomly in various places, or would it be better to focus only on searching for documents for the book on which I was working? This questions was very relevant because of the size of the holdings of the military archive (hundreds of volumes of materials, each volume averaging 400-600 pages). To collect the additional material, each page of each document would have to be read and the information copied by hand. And even if the information were collected, would it be possible now, almost 50 years later, to really reconstruct the human losses of the Ukrainian underground, given that the UPA archives had been destroyed and the atmosphere in Poland for this type of research was not encouraging?
With time, however, the question about the sense of trying to collect this information became more than just a moral question debated by the author. It became a matter of the consciousness of everyone who bears the obligation to preserve the memory of the fallen: their families, friends, comrades-in-arms, churches.
I do not know what finally led me to take on this task. Perhaps it was a need to look for answers to the questions we still feared to ask. Perhaps it was curiosity about who these soldiers, persistently referred to as "Ukrainian bandits", really were, why they entered the underground, for what cause they fought and died. Or perhaps it was just the ordinary human joy experienced at each discovery of the name of a fallen soldier within the thousands of dusty pages of archival documents which nobody had examined before and perhaps never will again.
Here, then, is the "philosophy" behind this book: each discovered name of a fallen UPA soldier is a symbolic grave, each pseudonym, a soldier's wooden cross. And a book? Perhaps this symbolizes a cemetery for insurgents, which will never again be destroyed by any bulldozer.
My collection of information took several years of systematic archival research, followed by a wide-scale correspondence with the families and friends of the fallen. The letters that I received ultimately confirmed my belief that a book on this topic was needed. I gave it the working title Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory and this title has remained.
With time, it became apparent that people have not forgotten the names of those who fell while fulfilling their self-imposed obligation to protect the Ukrainian population from attacks by the Polish underground, the Polish Army and the NKVD and deportation from their native lands. In letters, people began providing, fearfully at first the names of fallen fighters and brief biographies of their equally brief lives. With increasing frequency, they sent invaluable photographs and personal documents. The wealth and variety of the information received demanded that it be organized and used. This inspired the preparation of the "Fallen Soldier Information Sheet", patterned on the information sheet used within the UPA. These sheets, printed and circulated among former members of the underground and published in the press, made it possible to establish several hundred new names of fallen soldiers.
So far, we have collected about one thousand names or pseudonyms of persons who are know to have been killed while fighting in the underground against the Polish Army, the NKVD, militia or organs of the Security Administration. These persons include private soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Self-Defense Units and Security Service battle units and members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, who in terms of organization, belonged to the structures of the UPA Military Region VI "Sian", now known as the "Zakerzon krai". We have also established some names and pseudonyms of fallen fighters from other UPA regions, as well as numerous names of people who were accused of collaborating with the underground and shot or tortured to death during the repressive operations conducted by the Polish Army against the Ukrainian civilian population. These people did not have pseudonyms and did not swear their allegiance to Ukraine, but nevertheless, they died for her.
The information about fallen fighters is organized in the following manner:
The real losses of the Ukrainian underground are not know According to the data of the UPA Military Region "Sian" headquarters, prepared in the spring of 1947, from mid-1944 to the end of 1946, 694 UPA soldiers were killed (this does not include the losses of the OUN civilian network, Security Service or Self-Defense Units). However, no such calculation of UPA losses exists for 1947, particularly for the time of the "Visla" operation. In a situation as tense as that experienced by the Ukrainian underground at this time, no one kept such a record. Similarly, no records have remained, or at least, none have been found so far, which would allow at least an estimation of the number of members of the OUN, Security Service or Self-Defense Units who were killed in 1944-1947.
Polish sources about losses of the Ukrainian underground are incomplete and above all, unreliable. The historians W. Szota and A. Szczesniak, authors of the book "Droga do nikad", estimate UPA losses from July 1944 to March 1947 at 1500 killed. If we calculate Ukrainian losses on the basis of the reports and accounts of the Polish Army units fighting against the UPA in Poland, we find that from June 1945 to March 1947 the number of people killed was 3,400. According to the final report of the "Visla" operational group, during the "Visla" operation, that is, from April 28 to July 31, 1947, the Ukrainian underground suffered a loss of 1509 persons, whit 543 killed and 966 taken prisoner; after the end of the operation, at least 50 more people were killed. During the movement of the UPA to the American zone in Germany, from June 10 to November 12, 1947, fighting with the Czechoslovak army resulted in 61 UPA soldiers killed and 289 taken prisoner, including 41 wounded, of whom many died. For the most part, the pseudonyms and names of those killed or who died of wounds in Czechoslovakia have not yet been established. For this, research in Slovak and Czech archives is required. The losses experienced by UPA units which moved to the Ukrainian SSR during the summer of 1947 are not known. We can only surmise that most of their members were killed in battle with NKVD units.
We are not able here to fully assess the reliability of the figures cited above. However, taking into account the numbers of UPA soldiers in Poland, we can say that these figures are not realistic. It is now widely recognized that the figures of losses inflicted to the Ukrainian underground include large numbers of murdered innocent civilians.
In this first volume of Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory, we are publishing 507 biographies of UPA soldiers who were killed in the UPA Military Region VI "Sian". I discovered the source of these biographies during my work in 1992-1993 in the State Security Administration Archive in Warsaw. In 1994, I found copies of the same documents in the Central Archive of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Not much is know about the history of these documents. In the autumn of 1946, the Supreme Commander of the UPA Military Region "Sian", Myroslav Onyshkevych, "Orest", ordered that lists of soldiers killed from the time of the beginning of underground activity in the "Zakerzon krai" be compiled on the basis of reports of commanders
Of military districts and companies. These materials, submitted from the field, were held in the "Sian Military Region headquarters archive, located with the battalion commanded by "Zalizniak", who was also the commander of the "Bastion" Military District and Chief of Staff of the Military Region. Private "Kamin", headquarters secretary of "Zalizniak's" battalion, was given the assignment of organizing and compiling this information. Until the end of May or beginning of June 1947, Private "Kamin" worked in a bunker erected on the land of the farm of Ivan Luts, on Dembin's property in Hrubeshiv (Hrubieszów) county.
Information about fallen soldiers arrived at UPA headquarters in various forms: fragments of battle accounts, collective lists, individual sheets, sometimes miniature messages inscribed on scraps of paper. The majority were partly in code (name, place of birth, name of unit). At headquarters, the materials were organized according to military district: "Lemko", "Bastion" and "Danyliv". After decoding, personal information about each fallen solder was written with a non-erasable pencil on a separate page of a school notebook in 10-point form as follows: 1) name and surname;2) pseudonym; 3) date of birth; 4) place of birth, county; 5) military rank and function, name of UPA company; 6) education and profession; 7) information about military service in foreign armies; 8) date and place of death; 9) place of burial; 10) biography.
With the beginning of the "Visla" ("Wisla") operation, work on the lists of the fallen was suspended. The record of names was continued to the summer or autumn of 1946, depending on the military district, although some material was also gathered about soldiers killed later. The complete list, 260 pages, was bound together and numbered. On the first page, a drawing was done with colored pencils showing two angels bending over an insurgent grave. Under the drawing was the title: Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory Soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army West-Sian, from the Lemko Military District. The collected materials were packed into a box, along with other documents, and hidden underground in a bunker under the stable of the Greek Catholic manse of Father Oleksiy Koliankovskyi in the village of Denyska (Dyniska), Tomashiv (Tomaszów) county. In 1949, the existence of these documents was discovered by workers of the Security Ministry in Warsaw.
None of the people linked to this archive are still alive. According to an unconfirmed source, Private "Kamin" Hryhorii Kudryk was sentenced to death on October 8, 1947 in Tomashiv Liublinskyi and executed on 5 November of that year. The UPA Commander Myroslav Onyshkevych, "Orest", was arrested on March 2, 1948 in the village of Karcheviska, Lubin county, Wroclaw province and executed on July 6, 1950. Father Kolankovskyi was charged with collaborating with the UPA, arrested, taken to the Jaworzno concentration camp and later, sentenced to prison. On July 27, 1953, he was murdered by prison guard in Sztum, who drowned him in a barrel of water kept for fighting fire.
Because of the historical value and quality of the collected materials, we are publishing them in full as a separate book. All other names of fallen soldiers will be published in the second volume of Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory.
On the basis of the personal information included on the sheets, I wrote 507 biographies of fallen soldiers. I also verified and corrected errors in names, pseudonyms and place names. Where possible, I decoded and provided the names of companies. In addition, I selected photographs and prepared indexes of names, pseudonyms and place names. In the second part of the book, I included some of the letters that arrived at the Ukrainian Archive.
The biographies of the fallen soldiers are organized according to military district in chronological order:
The total number of names and pseudonyms is 507.
The names of the fallen soldiers are listed in chronological order by year (according to date of death), beginning with January of each year. In the case of a battle in which a number of people were killed, their names or pseudonyms are provided in alphabetical order.
The earliest information about UPA soldiers killed in battle mentioned in the book comes from the "Danyliv" Military District. These were soldier killed on February 11, 1944 in the village of Shykhovychi (Szychowice), Hrubeshiv (Hrubieszów) county, in battle with the Polish underground. In the "Bastion" Military District, the first battlefield deaths are recorded on April 11, 1944 and in the "Lemko" Military District, on October 19, 1944. The last recorded deaths occurred, respectively, in the "Danyliv" Military District on September 19, 1946, the "Bastion" Military District on December 27, 1946, and the "Lemko" Military District on July 24, 1946.
The 507 persons whose biographies are published here are exclusively UPA soldiers and commanders. There are no members of the OUN, Security Service or Self-Defense Units. Neither are there any women killed by enemy forces. The book includes biographies of two commanders of UPA battalions ("Konyk" and "Yahoda") and seven commanders of UPA companies ("Balay", "Veselyi", "Hayda", "Krapka", "Krylatyi", "Kropyva", "Orskyi"). Also included are two UPA soldiers who were wounded and taken prisoner and later sentenced to death and executed.
For reasons not know to us, there is no biography of Lt. "Baron", commander of "Udarnyky" company 96a, who was killed on October 21, 1945 in the village of Kuzmyna (Kuz'mina) Peremyshl (Przemys'l) county, or of a number of soldiers from "Lemko" Military District companies which, we know, sustained losses during this time. A serious lack in some of the biographies from the "Bastion" and "Danyliv" Military Districts is the absence of the name or code name of the company to which the fallen soldier belonged. Where possible, we added this information basing ourselves on other sources.
A reading of the materials published here inevitably gives rise to a number of questions, perhaps the most straightforward being who was killed first and who last? This is one of many questions to which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find an answer now. Knowing the history of the development of the OUN and UPA in this western Ukrainian territory, we assume that the fallen soldiers mentioned in this book were not the first sacrifices of the Ukrainian underground. Of course, a more complex questions arises regarding the beginning and end of Ukrainian underground activity in Western Ukraine, but it is not our intention here to try to answer it.
What makes the materials collected in the UPA archives and published in this book so valuable is the detail provided about names,
Dates of birth and most importantly, dates of death of over 500 people. Most of the biographies also mention the place of burial of the fallen soldier. Although this information tends to be very general (cemetery, beside the church, etc.), it could be helpful in the search for graves, at least to approximately determine the place where the remains of a fallen soldier lie. I have no doubt that many families will begin such searches after the appearance of this book. I hope this will result in the formation of an association dedicated to care for the graves of fallen UPA soldiers on Polish territory.
In the section about soldiers killed in Liublyn (Lublin) and Riashiv (Rzeszów) provinces are many names of people from the Lviv, Stanyslaviv and Volyn regions. There are also some names and unfortunately, in most cases, only pseudonyms, of soldiers from Eastern Ukraine.
In the second part of the book we publish a selection of the documents and the letters I received during my work on Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory. The documents and the letters, organized thematically, are a valuable addition to the published biographies.
What strikes the reader most while reading the biographies of these soldiers is their young age. Today we would say that they were only children. They had just begun their lives, their whole future lay before them, and suddenly their lives were ended brutally and tragically. The only thing we can do for these young men today is to remember the cause for which they gave their lives.
We invite anyone who can add to the personal information about fallen soldiers published in this book, decode their pseudonyms, provide additional information about their lives, underground activity or circumstances of death, to contact us at the Editorial Offices, Ukrainian Archive or Litopys UPA. These additional materials will be published in the second volume of Memorial Book Fallen on the Field of Glory. Information about fallen members of the underground should be provided in the form used for the "Fallen Soldier Information Sheet".
I take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the publication of this book.