[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

UPA's Third Podillia Military Region "Lysonia": Documents and Materials. Ed., Yevhen Shtendera. Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1989. 352 pp., ISBN 0-920092-12-8, hard cover, illustrations.


In this volume of Litopys UPA, we are publishing underground documents and other materials related to the history of the UPA's 3d Podillia Military Region, code name "Lysonia," Also included in this volume are personal accounts written in the West by participants of the armed struggle - former UPA soldiers and underground activists. There are also some photographs and biographical data about members of the UPA or the underground who were killed, which serve to complete the information provided in Volume 11 of Litopys UPA about the fallen from the Ternopil Region.

A few words need to be said about the UPA's 3d Podillia Military Region "Lysonia." It is not known exactly what territory this military region covered. During the German occupation, this military region coincided with the Ternopil province (oblast) that had existed under Soviet administration, except that it excluded the Volyn districts (raiony) of the former Kremianets county (povit) and included the former Rohatyn county. As a result of reorganization in the spring of 1945, the underground Ternopil province was renamed the Podillia krai; the territory of that krai coincided with that of the UPA's 3d Military Region. The krai no longer included the former Rohatyn county, but, as can be gathered from the materials published in this volume, it did include those districts of Kamianets-Podilskyi (now Khmelnytskyi) oblast in which the underground was active. Thus, in the lists of the fallen from Podillia krai that are published in this volume, we see names of individuals from Kamianets-Podilskyi oblast (see "'Podillia': Fallen on the Field of Glory", published in this volume). And in the brief descriptions of UPA battles published for this Military Region, there are mentions of battles waged by the Kamianets-Podilskyi UPA battalion commanded by "Bystryi" (see "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units", published in this volume). In all likelihood, the former Kremianets county was again excluded from the 3d Military Region, for there are no descriptions of battles of UPA units from that territory.

Up to the winter of 1946, the commander of the UPA's 3d Military Region was Lieutenant Omelian Poliovyi ("Ostap"). After he was captured by the Soviets, command of the region was taken over by Major Volodymyr Iakubovskyi ("Bondarenko"), who earlier had served as the region's chief of staff. Iakubovskyi was killed on June 17, 1947 near the village of Vivsie, Koziv district. [1] The chief of organization and mobilization at the headquarters of the military region was "Chuhaistyr" (see "'Podillia': Fallen on the Field of Glory"). However, Kost Himmelraikh, UPA commander of a special task force, mentioned in his memoirs that he met with the "chief of the mobilization section" of"Lysonia" - "Hordienko". [2] (It is not clear whether "Hordienko" is another pseudonym of "Chuhaistyr'' or a different UPA officer).

In the spring of 1945, the UPA's 3d Military Region Lysonia" was divided into five military districts (T.V.): Berezhany, Buchach, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Ternopil and Chortkiv, which were numbered from 15 to 19. However, no information exists about the code names or the command staffs of these military districts. All that is known is that the Ternopil Military District had the code name "Seret" I (therefore the Chortkiv Military District was probably code name "Seret" II) and that the commander of the Chortkiv Military District was "Kruk" (see - "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units").

An important factor in the UPA's activity in the 3d Military Region was the arrival in this territory of the German-Soviet front at exactly the time when the first local UPA units were being formed. In March April 1944, the front stabilized for several months approximately along the line of the Seret and Strypa Rivers. As there were no sizeable forests in the region, the newly created UPA units moved further west or into the Carpathian Mountains in order to undergo training. Some units which were caught between the two battling armies on this exposed territory were completely crushed or were disbanded. As there were many Soviet troops in the battle zone, the activity of the underground, and in particular of the UPA, was severely limited. Only after July, 1944, when the front moved west, to the Vistula River, did UPA units return to the region and the underground revive its activity. Much previously-unknown information about these matters is contained in this volume.

The most valuable of the documents published in this volume is the underground publication "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units". The original document consists of 26 densely- typed pages, 30 x 20 cm. in size. It contains descriptions of the battles waged by UPA units of the 3d Military Region "Lysonia" between December 16, 1943, and August 5, 1945. "Descriptions" was prepared by "Lysonia" headquarters on the basis of reports submitted by individual units. Here is a brief history of the document. It was published by the headquarters of the UPA's 3d Military Region in December, 1945. In 1946, it was reprinted in Poland (with an afterword by "Iarlan", that is, Iaroslav Starukh). One copy of the document got to the American Embassy in Warsaw, from where it was sent to Washington. It was placed in the American National Archives, classified as "secret". In 1982 it was reclassified and became accessible to researchers. It was discovered by Petro Potichnyj, who obtained a copy for reprint in Litopys UPA.

The significance of this document as a source of information lies in the fact that it was prepared at the headquarters of the UPA's 3d Military Region "Lysonia" by people who were personally familiar with all the local UPA companies in the region and who often were themselves participants in the described battles. Furthermore, as the editors tell us, the descriptions of battles are based on direct reports from the UPA units involved. The document covers UPA activity in "Lysonia" over a period of one-and-a-half years, from December 16, 1943 to August 5, 1945. This is a relatively long period and one during which UPA activity in the region was at its height. The document describes 83 battles and skirmishes of UPA units. The descriptions provide much valuable information: in most cases, they name the UPA units and their commanders and indicate the locations where the battles took place; they often also inform about the number of men in a given unit, how the unit was structured, the armaments it possessed and so on. Thus, from these descriptions, we learn about the organization, operations and tactics of the UPA units that were active within this military region.

The document is particularly valuable for researchers in the West, because up to this time there have been very few source materials relating to the UPA's activities within the "Lysonia" Military Region. As a result, authors writing on this topic inevitably gave incomplete or inaccurate information. Until this time, the most reliable work on UPA activity in the region was an account by Lev Shankovsky, "The UPA in the Pidhaitsi Region: Materials Towards a History of the No. III Military Region "Lysonia"'. [3] Although the author sought information from all available sources and from people involved in the underground during the German occupation, he was not able to correctly identify all the officers and UPA units of this military region. For example, he considered as one person battalion commander Ivan Klymyshyn ("Kruk") from the Kremianets area, battalion commander "Bystryi" from the Kamianets-Podilskyi area, [4] battalion commander "Bystryi" from the Chortkiv area, [5] the commander of the Chortkiv Military District, "Kruk" [6], and, probably, the commander of "Kholodnoiartsi" company, "Kruk". However, "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units" clearly identifies all these individuals as different UPA officers. In addition, Shankovsky repeats the legend, widespread in the West, that "Siromantsi" was a UPA battalion. [7] In fact, "Siromantsi" was always only a company. The confusion probably arose because in the autumn of 1944, the commander of "Siromantsi", Captain Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), was named battalion commander. However his battalion included not only "Siromantsi", but also several other companies, which are clearly identified in the document under discussion. Errors made by other authors are also clarified by this document. For example, Petro Mirchuk, in his book Ukrayinska Povstanska Armiya, 1942-1952 (The Ukrainian Insurgent Army, 1942- 1952), gives the correct code names of only five companies of the "Lysonia" Military Region - "Buini", "Burlaky", "Lisovyky", "Rubachi", and "Kholodnoiartsi"[8], and he mistakenly calls them battalions. Although two pages later he also lists the code names of three companies of "Lysonia" - "Siromantsi", "Poltavtsi" and "Chornomortsi", he mistakenly refers to them as part of the UPA's Lviv Military Region and calls them "special task battalions".

According to the information contained in "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units, "Lysonia" had 18 fighting UPA companies as well as the battalion commanded by "Bystryi" from Kamianets-Podilskyi (with an additional three or four companies). During the fall of 1944, several battalions were created out of some of these companies. "Bystryi's" Kamianets-Podilskyi battalion consisted of three or four companies, and "Descriptions" gives information about the deaths of their commanders ("otamany") "Voznesenko", "Mohyla" and "Smert"'; there is also mention of "Hrim" as a company commander. The battalion commanded by "Bystryi" from the Chortkiv area was composed of the companies "Orly" and "Siri Vovky". The battalion commanded by Volodymyr Iakubovskyi ("Bondarenko") included the companies "Rubachi", "Kholodnoiartsi" and "Buini." The battalion commanded by Omelian Poliovyi ("Ostap") was made up of the companies "Lisovyky", "Chornomortsi", "Rybolovtsi", and the non- commissioned-officers' school company commanded by "Chos". The battalion commanded by "Roman", and later, Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), included the companies "Burlaky", "Poltavtsi" and "Siromantsi", and, during the battle near Univ, also- the companies commanded by "Dovbnia" and "Kosa".

Although "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units" provides a great deal of information, the document fails to mention certain UPA battles that took place on "Lysonia" territory during the period under discussion. For example, there are no descriptions of battles waged in the region by UPA units from neighbouring military regions - from Volyn, the Carpathians and Lviv province, although we know, from materials published in Volumes 3,4,11, and 15 of Litopys UPA, that these battles took place. Undoubtedly, the authors of "Descriptions" were aware of at least some of these battles, so it would seem that they were adhering strictly to the principle of describing only battles waged by UPA units belonging to the 3d Military Region and about which "Lysonia" headquarters had received reports.

Additional information about the activities and personnel of UPA units of the "Lysonia" Military Region is provided by two other documents published in this volume, "List of Battles for February- March-April, 1945" and "Fallen on the Field of Glory", both of which were prepared by the leadership of "Podillia."

As we stated earlier, "Podillia" was the code name of the OUN and underground administration in this krai, (oblast) which was organized during the spring of 1945 on the territory of the previous underground Ternopil province. The leaders of this krai were Iulian Huliak ("Tokar") - 1943, Ivan Shanaida ("Danylo") - 1944-45 [9], Osyp Bezpalko ("Ostap", Andriy", "Zadorozhnyi") - 1945-1947[10], and Vasyl Bey ("Ulas") - 1947-1952(?). "List of Battles" provides brief descriptions of twelve UPA battles. The battles described (except for two) are the same as those mentioned in "Short Descriptions of Battles of 'Lysonia' UPA Units". However, these descriptions appear to be based on different reports, for the information they give about the battles is somewhat different. For that reason, these descriptions serve to complete those contained in the other document. "Fallen on the Field of Glory" provides brief information about the deaths of 32 individuals between January 1 and June 1, 1945. Among the fallen were six UPA officers, two female workers of the Ukrainian Red Cross and activists of the OUN and the underground administration who held various positions in nadraion, okruha or krai readerships within "Podillia". The death notices generally provide the following information: the individual's pseudonym, his/her function in the UPA or the armed underground, date, place and circumstances in which he/she was killed. Both of the above documents were obtained from the Archives of the Foreign Representation of the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council (ZP UHVR).

Also reprinted in this volume of Litopys UPA is an interesting period document, "Insurgent Banner - A Collection of Revolutionary Songs" by "Sanyk", which was originally published by mimeograph in 1947. Although the songbook gives no information about where it was published, it is clear from the content that it was put together within the territory of "Podillia", because many of its songs are dedicated to UPA soldiers and underground members who were from that region and were not known on other territories. The name "Sanyk" is given on the title page, and we are told in the "Afterword" that he is the author of most of the songs and music, but that two of the songs were written by other authors. We are also told that the songs in the book were sung by insurgents. The songbook was issued to mark the fifth anniversary of the UPA. It includes 20 song with music, some notes of a biographical and historical nature and an "Afterword." Five of the songs in the book describe battles waged by the UPA or speak of UPA officers (two songs are dedicated to battalion commander Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), one to the first Supreme Commander of the UPA and later commander of UPA-"North", Colonel Dmytro Kliachkivskyi (Klym Savur), one to the battle of a UPA platoon with a regiment of the German police at Zahoriv in Volyn oblast, and one to the Hurby battle of several UPA battalions with the NKVD in Rivne oblast. Another five songs are dedicated to underground activists who were killed in action. These include one song about Dmytro Myron ("Orlyk"), one about the exploits of the fighting group commanded by "Karmeliuk" in the Budaniv Raion, and one about the Ukrainian Red Cross worker, Kateryna Husak ("Raketa"). The other ten songs are on various political themes tied in with the UPA struggle. The "Afterword" provides a commentary on the songs and a general overview of the UPA's five-year activity. In our reprint of the book we include both the songs and photocopies of the original music, in order to show the musical level of this underground publication. The original publication has 62 pages, 14 x 20 cm. in size. It is found in the ZP UHVR Archives.

Another document we are publishing in this volume is the "Appeal" by Halyna Didyk. The "Appeal", which is addressed to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, protests against the 25- year prison sentences given to Ukrainian independentists. A1though these inhuman sentences were supposedly abolished in 1961, they nevertheless were maintained as exceptions for activists of the Ukrainian armed resistance, who were classed as "particularly dangerous criminals", who "murdered innocent people" and "collaborated with the fascists." The author rejects the Soviet accusations against the Ukrainian resistance as KGB slander, and condemns the brutal policies of Russian imperialism which aim to destroy the Ukrainian people. Halyna Didyk began as director of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Ternopil oblast; she then directed the whole underground Red Cross, and finally served as liaison officer for the central underground leadership. She was a political prisoner from 1950 to 1971 and died in 1979. [10]

"Report about the Zalozhtsi District" by "Zhur", another of the underground documents published in this volume, was written in 1946 for use by underground intelligence. The author of the report worked in the district Soviet administration and thus was well-informed about its activities. "Zhur" describes the workings of all the important district offices, which together employed more than 300 people. His report provides a detailed picture of the operations of the Soviet administration in one region of Western Ukraine, in conditions of battle with the Ukrainian armed underground, after the return of the Soviets to that territory. The report was taken from the Archives of the Misiia UPA and is now being kept in the Archives of Litopys UPA.

The last of the underground documents we are publishing in this volume is the biographical article by "Chad", "Captain 'Iastrub"'. This article originally appeared in the journal for youth, Nachatakh, No. 1, 1946, which was published by the krai OUN Propaganda Centre. Its value lies in the biographical information it provides about Captain Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), and its description of his qualities as the commander of a UPA battalion. We have taken the article from a reprint of underground publications issued in the West by the External Units of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (ZCh OUN) in 1949.

Also included in this volume are five personal accounts, written in the West by participants of the UPA or the armed underground, which add to our knowledge about the UPA units of the 3d Military Region "Lysonia" and the activities of the underground.

Sergeant-Major Mykhailo Nebola ("Holka"), a soldier in the UPA from 1943-1945, describes his experiences in "Along the Forests and Ravines of Western Podillia". Nebola underwent basic training in the "Burlaky" UPA company, which was commanded by "Chornyi", and training as a non-commissioned officer in the battalion commanded by "Roman" in Berezhany county. Later he served as adjutant to battalion commander "Roman", briefly as company commander, and for quite a long time, as assistant company commander to "Chornyi" in "Burlaky" company, which, £after the return of the Soviets, was operating in Ternopil county. Nebola came from Transcarpathia and he includes in his account a description of his service in the Carpathian Sich army in 1939. He also writes about his march to the West in the autumn in 1945.

In an account entitled "'Trembita' Company", "Chornomorets" writes about the history of his unit, which was one of the first IPA companies to be formed in Galicia. "Trembita" was organized in August, 1943, as a unit of the Ukrainian People's Self-defense (UNS); as part of that formation, it underwent training and fought against Germans in the Carpathian Mountains. The company spent the winter of 1943-44 in Iavoriv county, and in early spring, 1944, was disbanded; its soldiers were sent as NCOs to the new IPA units that were formed in Lviv and Ternopil provinces. The author was a member of "Trembita", serving first as a private, then as warrant officer and finally, as a platoon leader. We are including his account in this volume because two-thirds of the soldiers in "Trembita" company were from the territory of "Lysonia."

"My Brief Experience in the UPA" by "Zbruchanskyi" sleds some light on the events that were occurring inside the Soviet battle zone after the stabilization of the front along the line of the Seret River in early spring, 1944. The author of this account was from the village of Rozhyska, Pidvolochyskyi Raion. After the return o the Soviets to the area in March, 1944, he, like other young men from the village, hid out to avoid mobilization. Later in the spring he went off to join the Volyn UPA company commanded by "Topolia", which operated in the nearby Medobory forest along with the company commanded by "Bystryi." The two companies maneuvered among Red Army units in the battle zone in order to get to the forested areas of Volyn. In the Liubianskyi forest, Zbarazh county, the two companies were drawn into battle with Soviet Red Army units. During the battle, the author became separated from his company; he was later captured by the Soviets and put into the Red Army.

The account by Andriy Halaibida, "Memoirs of a Stanytsia Leader from the Village of Siltse Bozhykivske", provides a detailed picture of the work of the underground administration during the time of the German occupation. Siltse Bozhykivske, in Pidhaitsi county, is located close to forested areas. UPA units were quartered in those forests on an almost permanent basis, and many underground activists were working in the village. Thus, the village became a centre of underground activity and a centre of supply of UPA units. Halaibida describes the work that was done there.

In his account, "My Work in the Underground at the Time of the Formation of the UPA", Petro Kuzma ("Kamin") describes the work done by the underground on the local level in the Velykyi Hlubichok Raion (part of the former Ternopil county) during the period of German occupation. The author began as an OUN youth organizer in his village of Pleskivtsi. In 1943, he volunteered for the UPA in Volyn, but as there were too many volunteers at that time, the OUN Subraion Leader Hryhoriy Tsviakh, asked him to continue working in the underground administration. At that time, the underground was making provisions for the future activity of new UPA units. In March, 1944, the Raion was occupied by the Red Army, and a month later, the author was captured by the NKVD. He was sent to the punitive battalion of the Red Army.

The underground materials published in this volume were reprinted without any omissions; the only changes made were corrections of the most glaring grammatical, spelling or printing errors. Of the biographies we have gathered of those killed in the UPA and underground struggle, we are including here only those that relate to the materials published in Volume 11. We intend in future to publish a biographical dictionary of the UPA and lists of the fallen, and the remaining biographies will be included in those volumes. The editors of Litopys UPA thank all institutions and individuals who contributed to the preparation of this volume. In particular, we thank Mykola Lebed and Petro Sodol for archival assistance and information, Stepan Goliash for collecting biographies, Antin Ivakhnink for editing the texts, Volodymyr Makar for help in editing and proofreading, and Stepan Shpak for assistance in compiling the index.

Yevhen Shtendera

1 Ternopilshchyna: spysok upavshykh heroyiv ukrayinskoyi revoliutsiyi (Ternopil Region: List of Fallen Heroes of the Ukrainian Revolution). Toronto: Litopys UPA, 1985 (Litopys UPA, Vol. 11), pp. 125-127.

2 Kost Himmelreich, Spohady komandyra viddilu osoblyvoho pryznachennia UPA-Skhid (Memoir of a Commander of a Special Task Force of UPA-East). Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1987 (Litopys UPA, Vol. 15), pp. 222-223, 226.

3 Pidhaietska zemlia: istorychno-memuarnyi zbirnyk (The Pidhaitsi Region: Historical and Personal Account). Detroit: Central Committee of Pidhaitsi Natives, 1980 (Ukrainian Archive, Vol. 24), pp. 229, 292.

4 Ibid., pp. 230 and 249.

5 Ibid., pp. 257-258.

6 Ibid., pp. 250-251.

7 Ibid., pp. 244, 260-261.

8 Petro Mirchuk: Ukrayinska Povstanska Armiya, 1942-1952. Munich: Cicero, 1953, p. 245.

9 Kalendarets povstantsia na 1950 p. (The Insurgent's Calendar for 1950). Underground publication printed by the technical unit "Za voliu Ukrayiny"; size 17x12 cm., p. 40. (Original from the Archives of the UPA Mission, file III-14; now in the Archives of Litopys UPA.

10 Ibid., p. 42.

11 The "Appeal" was published in Ukrayinskyi visnyk, No. 8 (September, 1987), Kiev-Lviv, and reprinted in the West by the Ukrainian Helsinki Union External Representation, 1988, pp. 187-192.


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