[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

The UPA in Lviv and Yaroslav Regions. Memoirs and Documents of UPA soldiers in Tactical Sector "Roztochchia" 1943-1947. Editor Ivan Lyko. Litopys UPA, Lviv-Toronto, 2000. 320pp., ISBN 0-920092-44-6, ISBN: 966-95674-3-2, hard cover, illustrations.


In this volume, we present the memoirs of Ivan Harvas, pseudonyms "Soia" and "Dub". Parts of these memoirs were previously published in the "Voiatska Vatra" section of Homin Ukrainy be- tween June 27, 1964 and April 29, 1973. The previously published materials include "Destruction of an Enemy Reconnoitering Party", "Crossing Over to Zakerzonnia", "A Visit to Levandivka", "Russian Deceit", "How Commander Bryl was Killed", "Raid on Lviv", "Secret Informer Olha" and "General Raid".

We reprint these materials with some minor abridgments of repetitive descriptions and unneeded information. The sections of the memoirs that have not been published previously are based on the author's manuscripts or were provided by him in typewritten form.

Harvas' memoirs recount the activities of the UPA company commanded by "Hlukhyi" in the regions of Iavoriv, Zhovkva and, to some extent, Lviv. Information about the organizational structure of UPA combat units on these territories is provided at the end of this Introduction.

The company commanded by "Hlukhyi"-"Chuhaistyr", of which the author was a member for three years, was part of the "Pereiaslavy" battalion (kurin), which, Harvas tells us, was commanded by battalion commander "Gonta". The battalion belonged to the "Roztochchia" Military District (Taktychnyi Vidtynok - TV), which was commanded at that time by "Tymish". The "Roztochchia" Military District (TV) formed part of the "Buh" Military Region (Voienna Okruha - VO), which, from the Year 1945, with three other Military Regions, comprised the UPA-West.

Harvas describes his UPA experiences by presenting sporadic episodes, which he recreates from memory as long as 50 years after the events took place, as, for example, in "Vorobets" in Soviet Captivity" and "Successful Ambush".

This prolonged time period explains the fading from memory of some chronologically more distant episodes, as we see in the account "My First Days in UPA Ranks", which begins in April 1943, but describes only later combat with the Red Army and says nothing about the Germans, who in 1943 were occupying Western Ukraine. Further, in reply to a question put to the author regarding the date of the July 1944 Soviet raid, Harvas admitted (December 21, 1998): "I don't remember".

Nevertheless, Harvas' memoirs are important as source material because they shed light on the spirit of the age, the spirit of the liberation struggle of the Ukrainian people and in particular, Ukrainian youth, about whom Mykola Klymyshyn, in his memoir, "Marching to Battle for Freedom: Memoirs", vol. I, published by the League for the Liberation of Ukraine and the Studium Research Institute, Toronto, 1975, p. 25: "As children, they had witnessed the happy days of freedom in 1917 - 1919. The participants of the glorious demonstrations, which moved under blue and yellow flags in endless procession through the streets of the cities of Ukraine, singing songs of freedom, made an indelible impression on these young people, which remained in their hearts for their entire lives".

Squad leader Ivan Harvas describes battles, actions and events as he himself experienced them and as he was able to convey them through the written word: simply, without any artificial phraseology or literary formulas and without commentary, making frequent use of patriotic generalities and without any critical analysis.

Not surprisingly, his memoirs tend to emphasize the courage, heedlessness and self-sacrifice of UPA soldiers. This is the result not of the author's fantasy, but of his personal experiences and observations. Many source materials by both Ukrainian and foreign authors have stressed the determination, courage and self-sacrifice of the participants of the UPA and underground liberation struggle, who frequently chose to kill themselves with grenades or pistols rather than fall into enemy hands.

Like hundreds of thousands of young Ukrainians, Harvas understood that only through armed opposition to the powers occupying Ukraine, in particular Soviet Russia, could independence be achieved. This understanding drove him to enter the UPA, where he spent four years and was wounded three times, but survived to bear witness to the great tragedy lived by the Ukrainian people under Russian subjugation. We need only look at the lists of Harvas' fellow villagers who were shot, burned or sent to Siberia to realize what an enormous loss of innocent lives the Ukrainian people experienced from just one of the powers occupying their country - Soviet Russia.

Harvas regards with contempt those people who, through their treachery and collaboration with the occupying powers, brought great injury and harm to the Ukrainian underground and the innocent civilian population, including deportation to Siberia and death under torture. He condemns the traitors, whom he calls spineless rogues, devoid of any ideals, who wanted to live "at the expense of the blood and lives of others, sometimes even their own brothers, sisters or parents". Such sentiments are expressed by the author in the accounts "My First Days in UPA Ranks", "Battalion Liaison Hania - "Zirka" and "Secret Informer Olha".

The author felt an obligation to contribute to recording that part of our modern history of which he himself was an active participant and he fulfilled this duty to the best of his abilities.

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In this issue of Litopys UPA, we also publish memoirs of other UPA soldiers from territories or detachments which bore a direct relation to the underground struggle of the "Roztochchia" Military District (TV). These additional memoirs include:

* * *

Apart from memoirs, we also publish in this volume the following underground documents:

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The memoirs by Zynovii Sokoluk (pseudonym "Zenon Semeniv") give fragmentary descriptions of the combat and actions of the UPA units in which the author served as political officer. These accounts were published earlier in the Ukrainian press in the West, that is, in Suchasna Ukraina, Ukrainska Trybuna, Ukrainskyi Samostiinyk and Katolytska Aktsiia, in 1948 - 1957.

In contrast to Ivan Harvas, who in his accounts provides dates, place names and pseudonyms of fellow participants in the events described, "Zenon Semeniv" gives little information about under- ground personnel, place names or even the exact time period of depicted events. This is probably because his memoirs were first published during the last years of the UPA struggle, a period of brutal persecution of the Ukrainian people by the Soviet Russian occupiers. For this reason, the author generalizes the times and places of events, choosing rather to depict the atmosphere of un- derground life and psychological state of the people who chose this difficult and very dangerous life path. In every account of the activities of a given UPA unit, "Zenon Semeniv" tries to portray the often very unfavourable physical conditions that had to be dealt with and which made insurgent life even more difficult.

Z. Sokoluk's memoirs also differ in terms of their style. While Harvas recounts events, mainly combat activities, focusing the reader's attention on the action taking place, Z. Sokoluk uses a novelistic style, directing the reader's attention to the psychological state of the event's participants, descriptions of nature, discussions, conversations, planning of the action and finally - the action itself. His memoirs read easily and it is a pity that, as a company political officer, the author was not able during his lifetime to complete the accounts with additional information about individual underground members known to him and the times and places of the events he describes.

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The brief memoir by Sergeant "Spartak", an account of a single battle, was written by a platoon leader from "Bryl's" company, Andrii Huk (Byk), who in 1947 crossed over to the British zone of occupation in Austria. Later, he lived in Rochester, New York (USA). This battle is also mentioned in the memoirs of Ivan Laluk ( "Kaminnyi") and Antin Katchala ("Shuhai"). Katchala describes it very briefly, while Laluk provides much more detail, but the three authors differ regarding interpretation of certain events and combat actions.

Differences are also apparent in the descriptions of actions and their results by A. Katchala and I. Laluk, who both began their insurgent careers in the same unit - the company commanded by "Dnister". Each author lived through the events in his own way, had different impressions and acquired different experience.

The very stringent demand for secrecy in the underground led to a gradual dimming over the years of memories of those experiences. Recreating past events in detail after many years is almost impossible; for this reason, the events of the UPA struggle are explained in different ways by different sources and authors, whether insurgent or other. And, in spite of the assertion by Laluk - "Kaminnyi" (in private conversation) that he wrote his "journal" while serving in the UPA (recording dates, codes and symbols known to him) and completed it later in the USA, there are some discrepancies as to the dates of actions given in his memoirs and those provided in the combat activity reports written by Com- mander "Bryl" (see Commander "Bryl's" combat activity reports in this volume of Litopys UPA).

The discrepancies noted among the memoirs of different authors do not lessen their historical value, because they result not from a deliberate attempt to obliterate or deny facts, but from purely human differences in perception and later recall of events and phenomena in order to record them for history.

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More credible sources of information about UPA activities are the combat activity reports written by commanders of individual detachments. Relatively few of these have survived because of the destruction of the UPA's underground archives. In addition, we still lack complete access to all the archives of the former USSR, and even to all archives in Ukraine. We have at our disposal only some fragmentary materials that were preserved in the Archives of the State Defense Division in Warsaw, which are part of the Central Archives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Poland. Copies of these materials are found in The Peter J. Potichnyj Collection on Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Ukraine, University of Toronto Library. The materials were taken from the archive of the "Sian" Military Region (VO) headquarters, commanded by Commander Myroslav Onyshkevych ("Orest"), who was arrested by the Polish security service on March 2, 1948 and executed in Warsaw on July 6, 1950. On each of these documents is a note, in Polish, "Znaleziono u mnie" ("Found in my posession"), handwritten and signed by Commander Onyshkevych. Additional information about these documents is provided by Ievhen Misylo in the book Povstanski mohyly. (Propamiatna knyha - Povstanski mohyly, vol. I, published by "Ukrainskyi Arkhiv" and "Litopys UPA", Warsaw - Toronto, 1995, pp. 9 - 12).

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In addition to reports by Commanders "Bryl" and "Hamaliia", we publish a report by platoon leader "Dovbush", about a battle near Horaiets, and a report by Raion security service (SB) leader "Troian" about the mining of the Krakovets power station and the reasons for not destroying the nearby bridge.

Of the documents taken from the archive of Commander Myroslav Onyshkevych's "Sian" Military Region (VO) headquarters, we publish here two letters from Military District (TV) Commander "Uhrynovych" and one letter from Commander "Roman" to Commander Onyshkevych. The reports and letters are reprinted here without any changes.

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Below we provide a general sketch of the "UPA-West" territorial organization with a focus on territories which are mentioned by writers in this volume. Territories of Halychyna, Bukovyna, Transcarpathia and Zakerzonnia region were part of the UPA-West.

"Andriienko" - Oleksander Lutskyi was named to the posi- tion of the UPA-West Commander in 1943.

"Shelest" - Vasyl Sydor held this posation from 1944 till 1947.

In the Years of 1943 - 1944 UPA-West was composed of eight Military Regions (Voienni Okruhy - VO):

In 1945, organizational structure changes were made and number of Military Regions (VO) were reduced to four:

Military Region "Buh" (VO 2) was composed of five Military Districts (Taktychnyi Vidtynok - TV):

Two battalions (Kurin) belonged to Lviv ("Roztochchia") Military District (TV) - "Kholodnoiartsi" and "Pereiaslavy".

Military Region "Sian" (VO 6) was composed of three Military Districts (TV):

Military District "Lemko" (TV 26) was under the command of maj. "Ren". It consisted of two battalions:

Lemko battalion was composed of four companies:

Peremyshl battalion was composed of four companies:

From Octorber 1945 to April 1946 there was also one company commanded by Volodymyr Sorochak ("Voron").

Military District "Bastion" (TV 27), "Mesnyky" battalion, consisted of five companies:

From April 1946 till May 1947 there was active a special task unit "Pereiaslavy 1" under the command of Commander "Bryl" - Iaroslav Hamela.

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I would like to thank everyone who assisted me in the preparation of this volume. I am grateful to Prof. Petro J. Potichnyj and Stepan Shpak for finding most of the memoirs of Ivan Harvas ("Soia"), the memoirs of platoon leader "Spartak", "Kaminnyi" and "Shuhai", as well as other materials included in this volume in The Peter J. Potichnyj Collection On Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Ukraine at the University of Toronto; Dr. Modest Ripeckyj for providing materials from his personal archive and Mr. Mykola Kulyk for making available those portions of Harvas' memoirs which were published in the "Voiatska Vatra" section of Homin Ukrainy. I thank Mr. Ivan Laluk for verbal clarifications regarding his memoirs and all other individuals who helped me collect materials and prepare this volume for print.

Ivan Lyko


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