[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

The UPA in Light of German Documents. Book Two: June 1944-April 1945. Comp. Taras Hunczak. Ed. Petro J. Potichnyj. Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1983. 272 pp., ISBN 0-920092-11-X, hard cover, illustrations, maps.


The documents published in Volume 7 of Litopys UPA date from July 1944, to April 1945, the last stages of the Second World War, when Germany found itself facing a total political and military collapse. At the Eastern Front the German Army, constantly retreating, had been forced to quit Ukrainian territory. Under such circumstances German military circles began to initiate belated attempts at searching for contacts with the UPA, OUN and those forces active in the underground struggle which continued to wage war against Soviet occupation. Contacts which were indeed established, as mentioned here by various military representatives, were not, however, political in nature, since the German side lacked proper authorization for this purpose, while the Ukrainian underground was not inclined to seek such contacts.

The majority of the documents in this volume are being published for the first time in their original language. Leaflets, UPA appeals, UHVR statements and the appeal, issued by the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR, were made available earlier in Ukrainian language publications.

Attempts by German military circles to collect basic information about the OUN and UPA and seek co-operation with them are spotlighted in Documents Nos. 2 4, 9-10, 12. With this in mind the instruction dated August 18, 1944 (Doc. No. 2) forbids the use of the term Banden (bands) in reference to the UPA, while the instruction from the Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Regions, dated September 18, 1944 (Doc. No. 9) allows contacts with the Ukrainian underground. Similarly, a memorandum of September 19, 1944 (Doc. No. 10) proposes that a special command group be created whose task would be to collect information about UPA activities and should there be a change in German policy towards Ukraine, to offer possible assistance to the UPA.

Preparations for these possible links with the UPA began somewhat earlier, for on August 29 and inventory was made of Soviet weapons held by the Germans which could be passed on to the Ukrainian underground (Document No. 4). Some documents state that a certain amount of weapons had been transferred to unidentified units of the UPA (Doc. No. 23) and that radio operators had been trained (Doc. Nos.23, 32, 33). But these contacts, as has been stated, never went beyond the narrow military framework; they did not touch on political issues. Also no information is provided about the command level of these contacts and which UPA commanders were thus involved.

During this period the Germans continued to watch developments in Ukraine and attempted to assess the Ukrainian liberation movement. In a purely military sense, this they found relatively simple to do. A number of the documents are indeed reports and analysis of UPA's organizational structure, numerical strength, tactics and main ideas (Doc. Nos.5-7, 10-13, 15-18,21-28, 32-35, 38-43, 45-46, 48-52, 56-59, 62). However, even these documents contain a number of errors and distortions which prove furthermore that German intelligence was far from complete, and lacked proper information. For example, the Supreme Commander of the UPA is identified as Stepan Shukhevych (Doc. No.17) and the commander of UPA-West is said to be Mykola Lebid (sic) (Doc. No. 41). UPA's strength is often exaggerated and almost until the end there is talk of the UNRA and its activities and those of another group, "Free Ukraine," not further identified (Doc. No. 39).

The documents that stand out for their pertinence, objectivity and information are the two reports filed by Captain Kirn (Doc. Nos. 32-33). Kirn and his group spent almost a month behind Soviet lines where they made contact with an UPA unit.

The Germans had far more difficulty when it came to analyzing and assessing political questions. Documents Nos.14, 30 and 53 speak in fair detail about the establishment of the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council (UHVR), its structure, aims and its stance towards Germany's Ukrainian policy. Document No. 8 is a translation of an underground report about the Conference of Captive Nations held at the initiative of the Ukrainian underground; the report provides accurate information about that event.

But at the same time, the Germans were receiving a great deal of confused and even false information. For example, they speak of the creation of the "Union for the Liberation of Ukraine" (Doc. No. 27) and report repeatedly that the head of the UHVR is Lebid (sic) (Doc. Nos. 44, 60) and that the OUNSD, OUN (Melnyk faction) and UPA-East are barred from membership in the UHVR (Doc. Nos. 44, 47). One of the most fantastic pieces of "intelligence" is provided by the report which states that Stalin planned to include Stepan Bandera in the government of Soviet Ukraine (Doc. No. 24).

The reports deal quite often with problems of Polish-Ukrainian relations and the possible co-operation between the UPA and the Polish Armia Krajowa (AK) (Doc. Nos. 13, 29, 31, 51, 61). Mention is also made of Ukrainian links with Britain (Doc. Nos. 12, 15, 24, 27, 48, 55). But the greatest attention is given to the Germans' political plans with regard to Gen. Vlasov and the Russians, as well as the reactions to these plans on the part of the Ukrainian underground (Doc. Nos. 26, 37, 38, 39, 43, 51, 53-54).

This volume also includes, as mentioned above, a complete text of the Proclamation of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian SSR addressed "To the Members of the so-called UPA and UNRA" (Doc. No. 20). Excerpts from the proclamation and commentary on it have already appeared in Volume 6 of Litopys UPA.

The documents in this volume, together with the attached maps, paint an interesting picture of the German's understanding and assessment of the events taking place in Ukraine; they show how the Germans reacted to the activities of the Ukrainian liberation movement, which were directed against the two powers of occupation.


The documents published in the two volumes, The UPA in Light of German Documents, were collected, compiled and provided with footnotes by Taras Hunchak. They were prepared for print by Jurij Majiwskyj, with assistance from Alexander J. Motyl. George Lopatynski and Petro J. Potichnyj prepared the abstracts of the documents, while Stepan Szpak and Yevhen Shtendera were responsible for the index.

We sincerely thank all those mentioned above and everyone else who contributed to the publication of these volumes.

Petro J. Potichnyj


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