[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

The UPA in Light of German Documents. Book Three: June 1941-May 1943. Ed., Petro J. Potichnyj. Toronto, Litopys UPA, 1991. 271 pp., ISBN 0-920092-32-2, hard cover, illustrations.


Most of the documents in this volume come from the National Archives of the U.S.A. in Washington. They were collected and retyped by Dr. Omelian Antonovych, who also purchased microfilms of the documents and donated them to the Litopys UPA Archives.

The documents are all coded T175 and are found on microfilm reels 233-236, which means that they are part of the Sicherheitspolizei and Sicherheitsdienst archive. After the code number of each document appears the number of the frame on which it is found. Thus, for example, T175/233, 721399-721401 means that the document is located on frames 721399-721401 of reel 233. On the left side of the first page is also indicated the location of the original document, for example, Folder 173-a-10/29. These documents cover the period from July 2, 1941, to May 14, 1943.

The first group of documents is the Ereignismeldung UdSSR, covering the period from July 2,1941, to April 24, 1942, which begin at 10 and end at 195. These are mainly reports of special task groups (Einsatzgruppen und Kommandos), whose task was the destruction of the anti-German resistance and Jews on occupied territories. The reports written between May 29, 1942, and May 14, 1943 (Nos. 5 - 54) have a different title: Meldungen aus den besetzten Ostgebieten. To these documents we have added the Einsatzkommando C/5 instruction of November 25,1941, about the extermination of OUN(B) activists, which was taken from the book Trial of the Major War Criminals Before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 14 November 1945 - 1 October 1946. Nuremberg, 1949, Vol. 21XIX, doe. no. 7, pp. 269-270.

The second group of documents, all of which come from the Auswartiges Amt archive and cover the second half of June and beginning of July, 1941, were contributed by Dr. Dmytro Zlepko. These include a report of the Sicherheitsdienst which describes the efforts of Ukrainian politicians to create an All-Ukrainian Council, provides characterizations of individuals and groups and speaks about the aims and intentions of the Germans. Among the other documents are a memorandum from Volodymyr Stakhiv, director of the OUN(B) Political Division, to Joachim von Ribbentrop, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Reich, German assessments of various Ukrainian groupings, and a letter from Colonel Tymish Omelchenko, head of the Ukrainian National Association in Germany, to the Wermacht headquarters.

Also pubished in this volume are the minutes of the interrogation of the members of the Ukrainian National Committee and Stepan Bandera, which took place on July 3,1941, in Krakow, and the Information Bulletin No. 1, published by the Krakow Ukrainian Nationai Committee. Both of these documents were obtained from Prof. Myroslav Labunka, who found them in the Hoover Institution Archives (Roll 52, Folio 1198, Fragments 253, Stanford University, Caiifornia).

We are printing all these documents for the first time. This volume of Litopys UPA is the third that publishes German documents, although much of the material it presents dates before 1942, that is, before the creation of the UPA; some later documents are included only to complete the materials that were published in volumes 6 and 7 of Litopys UPA (volumes 6 and 7 of Litopys UPA publish German documents from 1942-45).

A few of the documents in this volume are published in full, but most are excerpts of materials which deal exclusively with the OUN and the Ukrainian underground. For purposes of information, we also include some documents giving a general view of the situation on Ukrainian territory under German occupation.

German policy towards Ukraine from the start of the war with the USSR is a subject that requires close study. The documents collected in this volume show the attitude of the Germans towards the Act of June 30 and the idea of Ukrainian statehood, Ukrainian political organizations, especially the two factions of the OUN, and Ukrainian organized life in general. Clearly apparent is the German tendency to resolve all internal Ukrainian questions, including the Jewish question, by means of police methods, with violence and terror.

The documents published here clearly show that for German police officials, enemy number one was the OUN(B), the members of which were subject to police surveillance, arrest and extermination, especially after the Act of June 30, 1941.In the early stages of the German occupation, the actions of any organization, including the OUN(M), were very often attributed by the German police to the OUN(B). Their attitude towards the OUN(M), at least at the beginning, was more positive, with the OUN(M) being considered a less "acute problem." Later, their attitude changed, as is shown by the destruction of the OUN(M) in Kiev.

German officials gave much of their attention to the conflict between the two OUN factions. Between August 16, 1941, and March 25, 1942) the conflict between the two organizations is mentioned periodically, although greatest attention is given to this matter in September and October, 1941, after the killings of Senyk and Stsibors'kyi. Some of the reports state that the OUN(B) intended to kill Col. Sushko, Ia. Haivas and Prof. V. Kubijovyc. They also state that the OUN(B) blamed the Germans for killings of Senyk and Stsibors'kyi, and accused the OUN(M) of collaborating with the "SiPo" (Sicherheitspolizei). Also mentioned in the reports is that both organizations were trying to use the Germans in their struggle and that in this regard "the upper hand is had by the OUN(M), which is regarded by the Germans as a not completely hostile current, and which therefore can use this tactic with greater success."

Very interesting documents are the texts of the anti-German leaflets and publications of the two OUN factions, which are provided in police reports. These publications show a clearly anti-German orientation. No less interesting are the reports about the beginning of the armed struggle in Volyn, and the OUN(B)'s calls for armed struggle in Mykolaiv. Also published here are reports about the activity of the units led by Taras Bul'ba-Borovets and "Savchuk's" proclamation, which were not published in volumes 6 and 7 of Litopys UPA.

The destruction of the OUN(B) network in Germany and Austria, which was carried out in December, 1942, is recorded in several documents in this collection. The documents provide the names and pseudonyms of the leading members of the underground OUN(B) network, their dates of birth, places ot residence and functions in the organization.

However, perhaps the most interesting materials published here are the documents from the end of June and beginning of July, 1941. They again confirm the hostile attitude of German police and political officials to the idea of the independence of Ukraine. The Chief of the Sicherheitspolizei and SD Mi.(ller?), in his quick letter of June 21, 1941, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he reports on the efforts to create an All-Ukrainian Council, clearly states: "I consider it impossible to tolerate the actions of Ukrainian political groups and their proponents in the present form, especially as obvious tendencies are becoming apparent which have nothing in common with German interests. There is an absolute need to take joint action to control future developments."

The reaction to Volodymyr Stakhiv's memorandum from the OUN(B) to Reichsminister Joachim von Ribbentrop, dated June 24, 1941 as well as to various memoranda from the OUN(M) was similar. Ministry official Grosskopf, in his rather superficial summary of Stakhiv's memorandum, says "that in the national-political program of the two OUN groups there cannot be great differences" and advises "not to reply" to the memorandum, but to pass it on for study to the appropriate section. Stepan Bandera, during the hearing conducted in Krakow on July 3, 1941, by Undersecretary Kundt, also confirmed that there was no reply to the memorandum.

Although the hearing in Krakow was characterized by Kundt as an attempt to clarify the facts relating to the Act of June 30 and the publication, in relation to it, of Information Bulletin No. 1, its aim was to warn Ukrainian politicians against taking any further steps along the road to battle for a sovereign Ukraine. Stepan Bandera's stance towards the Act of June 30 was unequivocal. He not only confirmed the fact, but took full responsibility for the action onto himself. In his words, "in this battle...we stand for an independent and free Ukraine. We are fighting for Ukrainian ideas and Ukrainian goals." At the end of the hearing, Bandera again emphasized "that none of the orders which I gave were made in agreement with any German agencies, but were based only on the mandate that I obtained from Ukrainians." Shortly after the hearing, Stepan Bandera was arrested, placed under house arrest in Berlin and later sent to a concentration camp, along with Iaroslav Stets'ko and other Ukrainian political prisoners, where he stayed almost to the end of 1944. The OUN(B) was declared an enemy organization, as indicated by the instruction of November 25, 1941, "because Bandera's movement prepared an uprising with the goal of creating an independent Ukraine. All the activists of Bandera's movement should be immediately arrested and after a complete hearing, exterminated in the greatest secrecy as pillagers."

Owing to lack of space, we are not publishing here enormous amounts of materials that are contained in these documents about mass executions of political prisoners in Western Ukraine by retreating NKVD units and the repressive measures of German Police units against the Jewish population, although this constitutes a very important part of our history, which should not be overlooked by Ukrainian researchers. There now remains no doubt that some individual Ukrainians helped the Germans to exterminate Jews. But the documents published here also show that among Ukrainians, Jews also had devoted friends and defenders. For example, the mayor of the city of Kremenchuk, Senytsia, not only personally helped Jews, but along with archpriest Romans'kyi, issued false certificates to Jewish people. Again, in Zhytomyr, as stated in one report, the OUN(B) made false documents not only for its activists, but also for Jews. The report also states that in OUN(B) propaganda leaflets "slogans and sentences with an anti-Semitic content have been crossed out." The report ends with discussion of the need to include Ukrainians directly into the anti-Jewish action.

But perhaps the most interesting statement is the assertion made from Kiev, that for "the population, anti-Semitism with a racist or ideological basis is foreign," that "among the Ukrainian population, there is a lack of leadership and enthusiasm for fighting against Jews, because of Soviet punishment of those who stepped out against Jews, and because in "the Jewish question they see only the religious difference, not a racial problem." Also mentioned in the documents published here is a letter supposedly from the OUN(B), "signed by the OWN," which states that "America, England and Russia will permit the creation of an independent Ukrainian state from the Sian River to the Black Sea," and cites the slogan: "Long life to an independent Ukraine free of Jews, Poles and Germans. Poles beyond the Sian, Germans to Berlin and Jews on meat hooks." The way in which this letter is formulated raises doubts about its origin in the mind of the unprejudiced researcher, although in many Western and Soviet publications, it has been cited as indisputable proof of Ukrainian anti-Semitism.

As can be seen from these brief descriptions, this volume of Litopys UPA makes a number of important and interesting materials accessible not only to researchers and historians, but also to interested readers.

We would like to thank Dr. Omelian Antonovych, who through his collection and purchase of microfilms made, perhaps, the greatest contribution to the publication of this volume. We also thank Dr. Dmytro Zlepko and Dr. Myroslav Labunka, who completed the collection with documents from their own archives. Volodymyr Makar, Vasyl' Bezkhlibnyk and Mykola Kulyk helped identify many people who were mentioned in the documents published here Antin Iwachniuk corrected text, Dr. Danylo Husar-Struk helped with illustrations, and Stepan Shpak and Gerald Bierling helped prepare the index. We thank them all.

Petro J. Potichnyj


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