The author gives a generalized history of the origins, growth and the activities of the UPA forces in the Volyn region. The necessity to defend the local population against the Nazi atrocities on the one hand, and the hostile behavior of the Soviet partisans on the other hand, is given as the main reason for the origins of the armed struggle. The crisis came in the winter of 1942-1943 when large detachments of Soviet partisans arrives in the region of Polissya and began to sabotage the German supply lines. The Germans responded by burning and massacring the Ukrainian villages of Kortylis, Tsuman and several others. The Ukrainian militia units, which the Germans wanted to use in the punitive expeditions, refused to obey the Nazis. Germans, in turn, intensified the arrests, and executions of the recalcitrant militiamen. This led in March and April of 1943 to mass desertion of militiamen into the forests. At the same time the Nazis began a large scale campaign of terror and executions of the Ukrainian intelligentsia and workers who, in order to survive, left the cities in large numbers.
The first self-defense units, according to the author, were organized by the Ukrainian peasants for the protection of their villages against the Nazi expeditionary forces and the Soviet saboteurs. The city refugees, militiamen, workers and intelligentsia swelled the ranks of these units and gave them the name the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
In March 1943 the UPA began offensive operations and succeeded in clearing large areas of Volyn, Polissya regions both of Germans and Soviet partisans.
The author refers to the UPA as the nucleus of the Ukrainian National Army which in the event of collapse of the German and Soviet empires would have to assume the responsibility for the defense of the entire territory of Ukraine. He also discusses the military and political achievements of the UPA in Volyn up to 1944 as well as its future organizational tasks.
The real name of the author is Rostyslav Voloshyn. He was one of the OUN leaders who in 1943 became the chief proponent of the armed struggle, the Commander-in-Chief of the peasant self-defense forces in Volyn region, and member of the UHVR. He died in combat with the Soviet MVD troops.
The article describes in a popular yet purposeful manner the various organizational aspects and activities of the Ukrainian armed resistance in Volyn and Polissya in 1943. The local village self-defense forces command the largest share of attention of the author.
The population of endangered localities was fully militarized and lived in full military preparedness. All property was hidden in the underground bunkers or in inaccessible locations. The peasants maintained a continuous system of observation and signalization, designed to warn the population and the defense forces of the approaching enemy. Each village had its own defense plans, including aid to the neighboring villages and evacuation contingencies should the need arise. All bridges and roads were either destroyed or artificial obstacles were built to impede free movement. The existing passages were guarded by special units. The general behavior of the population in such difficult circumstance is also described.
The remainder of the article analyses the military and political activities of the UPA. The author refers to the UPA as the backbone of the people's self-defense and the higher form of the armed struggle. The UPA units helped in organization of the village self-defense forces and supported them in battles with the enemy. The UPA also helped in providing that the ultimate aim of the struggle is the creation of the Ukrainian independent state. The author sees the UPA as a nucleus of the future Ukrainian army, but admits, that organizationally and technologically it is too weak to wage the regular front-line battles with the enemy. The author's real name is unknown.
As a consequence of the Ukrainian armed struggle, the Nazi police troops exercised effective control only over the larger cities and communication centers which were important for their war effort in the East. From these centers the Germans made raids in the surrounding villages carrying death and plunder to their inhabitants. The Red partisans and the Soviet saboteur units which came from Russia behaved no better against the local population. This forced the Ukrainian peasantry to move to inaccessible forest or marshy areas and to organize an extensive self-defense system for the protection of life and property. The author describes the defense system and the method employed by the inhabitants in hiding food and property from the enemy.
The UPA administration in more remote regions is also described. In addition to military affairs it also ran schools and provided medical and social services for the population. The existing industrial enterprises were put into operation and , where possible, new ones were set up in order to provide the people with the most essential products for everyday life.
Wolodymyr Makar who was in the editorial staff of the Ukrainian underground radio station "Vilna Ukraina" (code name "Aphrodite") in 1043-1944. Now he is living in Toronto.
The above letter by Yaroslav Starukh (pseudonym - Lav) to Mykhaylo Palidovych (pseudonym - Denys) of 1 March 1944 raises the matter of publication of collected articles and materials about the UPA in Volyn entitled "Ukrayins'ka Povstancha Armiya (UPA)".The projected book was to include the articles by A.S. Borysenko, Yaroslav Yasenko, Vadym, the excerpts from the newspaper "Vil'na Ukrayina" - "The Origins of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army", (all of them published in this volume of the "Litopys UPA"), and other materials. The collection has never been published. The book was being prepared for publication by the editorial board of the underground radio station "Vil'na Ukrayina" (code name - "Aphrodite"). The head of the editorial board was Dr. Myroslav Prokop (pseudonym - Volodymyr). The articles by Yaroslav Yasenko and Vadym are being published here for a first time.
The article deals with the Polish-Ukrainian relations during the World War Two. The major share of the article is devoted to the conflict between the Polish and the Ukrainian anti-German resistance movements in the period proceeding the spring of 1944.
The author claims that all Ukrainian political parties, including the OUN to which he belongs, both in theory and in practice defended the right of freedom for all peoples. This meant first of all that every people should have the right to their own state located on their ethnographic territory. On the basis of this platform the Ukrainians sought to forge a political and military cooperation with their neighbors in the struggle against the Nazi and Soviet imperialists.
The polish political circles, on the other hand, although engaged in a bloody struggle against the Germans, failed to recognize these rights for the Ukrainians, Belorussians and Lithuanians inhabiting the formerly Polish territories moreover, in some instances, the Poles sided with the invaders in the destruction of the local nationalist forces. This in turn led to a political as well as an armed conflict became especially bloody and brutal on Ukrainian territories.
The general tone of the article is strongly accusatory but the author tries to present the causes and consequences of the conflict as objectively as he could under the circumstances. The articles ends with a call to the influential Polish Government in London to end this unnecessary and harmful struggle and to unite in the fight for freedom.
The author describes the harvest of 1943 in the territories controlled by the UPA, especially those located in Volyn region. According to him, the primary goal of the Ukrainian struggle at that time was to prevent the harvest from falling into German hands. The villagers harvested the grain under the protection of the UPA units and immediately concealed it in special, well camouflaged bunkers.
In the author's opinion, the war between the Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union was being fought for the control of Ukrainian territories , and in particular for Ukrainian bread. Approximately one half of the article is devoted to this theme. The author feels that the Ukrainian people should be able alone to dispose of their land to enjoy the fruits of their labor. The article was published in the Volyn underground newspaper "Vil'na Ukraina" in September, 1943.
The article by R Hryva (a pseudonym) is included in this volume as a sample of the underground polemics against the insinuations of German propaganda. The article specifically mentions two German newspaper in Ukrainian language, "Ukrains'kyi Dobrovolets" and "Klych", as well as some German leaflets from the Volyn region. The above publications were not above employing smear tactics in a propaganda campaign against the UPA and the anti-Nazi Ukrainian resistance movement. Quite often they printed the most unlikely or unbelievable stories. For example, in one of the leaflets it was stated that the OUN is serving Stalin and that one of its prominent leader Stepan Bandera was made a member of the USSR Government. (It was a well-known fact in Ukraine at that time that S. Bandera was in the German prison). The author ridicules such clumsy propaganda efforts, and in addition, presents many facts about the German terror in Ukraine.
The article provides information about the conditions of labor of Ukrainian workers in Germany in contrast to the promises of German recruiting propaganda. The recruiters offered the workers employment according to skill, good living conditions and excellent wages. But in Germany all city workers were kept prisoners behind the barbed wire and in horrible living and sanitary conditions. The supervisors treated the workers from the East brutally. Many workers died from continuous under nourishment, difficult working conditions, sickness or allied bombs. The author gives many facts about the fate of the Ukrainian intelligentsia from central Ukraine and names many individuals from Kiev and Kharkiv.
This editorial of the newspaper "Visti", analyses world political and military events of 1943, and offers prognoses for the future. This article is an example of how the underground circles evaluated the international situation towards the end of 1943.
In 1943 the course of war took a totally negative turn for the Germans. German armies left Africa and were in retreat in the Eastern and Italian fronts while also lacking power in the air and on the seas. Germans were forced to set up occupational regimes in the countries of their erstwhile allies. The Allied forces won several military victories, continued to bomb Germany mercilessly and achieved the collapse of the German political successes especially because of the brutal German policy. The Soviet Union and the Allies experienced many misunderstandings which will have led eventually to a military conflict among them. The totalitarian regime in Italy had collapsed and a similar fate was to be expected for Germany and the Soviet Union.
The Ukrainian resistance movement suffered heavy casualties in 1943 but has grown organizationally and militarily and its ideas have spread widely among the population. this development would permit it to play an important role in the future especially after the collapse of the Soviet totalitarian system.
This article analyses the international situation at the beginning of 1944 and asserts a favorable prospect for the Ukrainian struggle for freedom.
Both, the Nazi Germany and the Bolshevik Russia became materially and psychologically exhausted. Germany has experienced defeats on all fronts. It's industry has been destroyed and the military was mobilizing the last reserves, among them, children and teenagers. Nobody believed in victory anymore and the country was holding out on account of typical German discipline and because of the lack of good alternatives for capitulation.
The Soviet Union as experiencing a material crises, and the lack of sufficient reserves - women and teenagers were being sent to the front. The Allies were providing material support, while the hatred of Germans gave moral strength. The Soviet Union, however, was beginning to feel an open disagreement internally with the Bolshevik order.
Still another cause for the weakening of the USSR were the potential future disagreement with the Allied governments over the division of spoils and spheres of influence. Russian Bolshevism, moreover, was very expansionist and would try to take over the neighboring countries. This would increase conflicts with the Allies. At the same time the enslavement of other European countries would weaken the USSR internally, especially as these countries have strong traditions of freedom which would inevitably clash with the totalitarian system of Russia. The conflict would strengthen the positions of the Ukrainians in their fight for freedom. This editorial article from the periodical "Visti of the Ukrainian Information Service", was unsigned.
This declaration which briefly explains program of the UPA is interesting primarily for the issues it raises.
The UPA is striving to build an independent Ukrainian state with a just system without the Bolshevik commissars or the capitalists. In international sphere, the UPA is fighting for the right of all peoples to have their independent states. More specifically, the UPA fights against the Russian and German imperialisms and their attempt to enslave and destroy the Ukrainian people. The UPA fights the Soviet partisans as the advance units of Russian imperialists.
The declaration also mentions the origins of the UPA. The primary cause for the rise of the UPA is to protect the population against the terror of the occupiers and the need to create the Ukrainian military force. In future, the UPA will transform itself into a National Army that will defend Ukraine against the external enemies.
This section contains thirteen stories originally published in the UPA journal "Do Zbroyi", No. 1-4. They are reproduced here in order to show examples of the functional literature of the period. Most of the stories deal with the history of the UPA struggle and are written in a popular style with the aim of reinforcing the patriotic spirit and military honor of the UPA soldiers.
The story "Syla voli" (The Force of Will) by A. Skelya, author unknown, focuses on the importance of a strong will and decisiveness in a commanding officer in a skirmish or a battle.
The story mentions Price Svyatoslav Iglrevych of Kiev, Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytskyi and Napoleon Bonapatte as having exhibited the above mentioned qualities of a true warrior. The author then writes about the raid of the UPA units on the fortified German positions of the city of Tsuman in Volyn, during which it was unexpectedly attacked from the rear by the German tanks. The commanding officer of the UPA group did not loose his presence of mind, led his unit into an attack in the German armored troops, and succeeded in destroying the enemy. The author concludes that the strong will and decisiveness of the UPA commander ensured the victory over the enemy.
The story by M. Lisovyk (a pseudonym) "Simnadsyat' proty sotni" (Seventeen Against One Hundred), relates how a group of seventeen UPA soldiers fought against a company of Soviet partisans in Polissya.
The UPA unit was encircled by the enemy and found itself in a seemingly hopeless situation. However, Lysenko, the group leader ordered his unit to break through the encirclement. Although the unit suffered heavy casualties it fought its way out under his leadership.
The story by A. Bureviy (a pseudonym) describes how the insurgents destroyed from ambush a German police force near the village of Bolotkivtsi and them inflicted further casualties the next day when the Germans came to pick up their dead.
The story "Podruha Halya" (Comrade Halya) by an unknown author, relates how the nineteen year old girl courier Halya disarmed two German policemen and confiscated their motorcycles. She released the prisoners and delivered the weapons and the motorcycles to one of the UPA units.
The tale "Chervona Styozhka" (The Red Ribbon) by P. Potapov (a pseudonym), appears to be fictional. The Nazi encircle a village and begin a wholesale murder of the inhabitants. Maksym, a local peasant, sees his small son being killed, picks up his body and together with his wife attempts to hide in a nearby forest. During the escape his wife dies in a hail of German bullets. Maksym buries the body of his son in the forest and them joins an UPA unit to avenge the murder of his family and the destruction of the village.
An essay "Zhovti Vody" by H. Yaroslavenko (a pseudonym) talks about the historic battle at Zhovti Vody between the Cossacks under the leadership of Bohdan Khemenlyskyi and the Polish army of Stefan Potocki. This was the first victorious battle won by the Ukrainian hetman in the revolutionary war of 1648. The essay was one in the popular series entitles "Our Past Wars" appearing in the Volyn UPA journal "Do Zbroyi".
The best examples of the memoir literature are the two stories by Mariya (a pseudonym), "The Road to His People", and "Attack On The City of Kamin-Koshyrs'kyi". The first, describes a meeting between the small UPA unit and the Soviet partisans in Belorussia, and the second, the attack launched by the UPA on the German base.
In this section are reprinted a number of reports taken from the Ukrainian underground press about the UPA activities in Volyn and Polissya under German occupation. In the majority of cases, these are short descriptions of the general situation, of the skirmishes and encounters with the enemy, or information about individual battles. Among them also are mentioned larger operations of the UPA such as the military raids of the Volyn units into the territories of Zhytomyr, Kiev and Podillya oblasts.
These press reports represent only a very small part of the material in the UPA activities published in the underground periodicals. Very few of the periodicals are actually available in the West. For example, there seems to be only one issue of the Volyn monthly "Do Zbtoyi" (No. 4, October 1943), and only one issue of the Volyn newspaper "Vil'na Ukrayina" (No. 8, September 1943) available. In general, the reprints here are taken from the following periodicals: "Do Zbroyi", "Ideya i Chyn", "Informator", "Samostiynyk", "Vil'na Ukrayina", "Visti" (a publication of "Yunak"), "Visti Ukrayins'koyi Informatsiynoyi Sluzhby", and "Za Samostiynu Ukrayinu".
The reprints are valuable for at least two reasons. They offer a variety of samples of the underground journalism, and five a great deal of information about the UPA and other events of that time. A serious weakness of the information as a source material is the absence of identification of the UPA units, their strength or their commanding reports, however, do contain information about the strength of the enemy, the skirmishes and battles, the losses on both sides, and the time and place of the encounters.
This compilation brings together the selections from two documents, "Z khroniky podiy na ukrains'kykh zemliakh, 1943 - Zbirka No. 1", and "Diyi ukrains'kykh zbroinykh samooboronnykh viddiliv Ukains'koyi Povstanchoyi Armiyi (UPA) na OZUZ - Zbirka No. 2". All of the selected items refer to events in the regions of Volyn' and Polissya in the year 1943.
The first document consists of short items of information about the acts of terrorism perpetrated by the German occupational authorities against the Ukrainian population and the armed struggle against the occupiers by the UPA and the village self-defense forces. For example, the destruction by the Germans of the village Malyn, in Ostrih district, oblast Rivne and the burning of 850 local Ukrainians and Czechs is reported in seven typewritten lines. The general situation in various districts is also mentioned.
The first document is divided into five sections. Two of them deal with the Nazi occupational policies and the Ukrainian anti-Nazi resistance, and the other two describe the activities in Volyn of the Soviet partisans and saboteurs, and the UPA battles against them. The fifth section is devoted to the conflict with the Polish underground, primarily with the AK (Armia Krajowa) groups, but also with the Polish units of the Soviet partisans, and the Polish police units who served the Germans. The various Polish groups are quite often referred to in general terms, making it difficult, therefore, to identify them properly. The contents and structure of the second document are similar to the first.
The basic source of information for the collections were the so called "Khroniky bizhuchykh podiy" (Chronicles of Current Events) - which were prepared by each rayon administration of the OUN. These were supplemented by short excerpts from the military reports filed by the UPA units, and from reports of various underground functionaries and from news items published in the underground press. All of this information was them collated for each territory both chronologically, and thematically. The resulting collections were classified as "drafts" and designated for internal use only. Their functions was to serve as the sources of information for the leading cadres and as a useful material for the underground reporters and journalists.
The information contained therein was by no means all-encompassing or exhaustive. The compilers did not have at hand the reports from all regions at all times. Also, many events could be mentioned only briefly. In fact, other sources give much greater details about some information which is not found anywhere else and , therefore, merit publication in their entirety. It is also our hope that by publishing these chronicles we will enable the eyewitnesses to the events mentions there to eventually supplement and enrich them with greater details.
Both chronicles were compiled by Mr. W. Makar from a variety of reports at the end of 1943 and the beginning of 1944. The versions published here come from the copies which were retyped in the West in 1946. He is also the compiler of the following chronicle "Diyi UPA v 1943 r.".
This collection gives short items of information about the activities of the UPA and connected events in Volyn and Polissya during the German occupation. All items are organized in a chronological manner. The information focuses in individual battles or skirmishes, although, in some cases, a summary about the general situation in smaller administrative regions is also provided.
The original compilation had the introduction and six sections. Here are reprinted four sections that pertain directly to Volyn and Polissya. Two sections deal with the anti-German struggle; one focuses on the behavior of the Soviet partisans in Volyn; and the last one describes the battles of the UPA and the village self-defense forces against the Soviet partisans.
This material was compiled in October 1944. The compilation is based in the UPA field reports, and the reports by the underground territorial functionaries, not unlike "Z Khroniky Podiy Na Ukrayins'kykh Zemliakh, 1943 - Zbirka No 1" and "Visti z Oserednikh, Skhidnikh i Pivdennykh Ukrayns'ykh Zemel', 1943 i 1944 - Zbirka No. 2", the other two chronicles published here.