DP Camps: Ukrainian Statistical Problems

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Ukrainian DPs
From: "Stefan Schroeder, 09 Apr 2002

From the basic research on DPs (book: Wolfgang Jacobmeyer, Vom Zwangsarbeiter zum Heimatlosen Auslaender, Die Displaced Persons in Westdeutschland 1945 - 1951, Goettingen 1985, pages 75-79), I sum up the following facts and comments:

DPs were classified according to their citizenship, not by their nationality. So Ukrainian DPs were classified as Soviet (Eastern Ukraine), Polish (Wolhynia, Chelm, Galicia), Romanian (Bukowina, Bessarabia) or Czechoslovakian (Carpatho-Ukraininans) citizens. The decision to reject the status of DPs as Ukrainians was taken late, for the US and British Zones in November 1945, UNRRA followed in December 1945. The French took no decision. The Allies thought to have solved a problem in this way. But in fact, "Polish" Ukrainians repatriated to Poland were driven to the USSR by the Polish state. Repatriation was feared and rejected by Ukrainian DPs.

In the DP camp Regensburg (US Zone), a Ukrainian committee was founded in the end of September 1945 (probably the first organization of DPs in Germany). The committee rejected repatriation openly. In the late summer 1945, the Ukrainian Central Committee was founded. It demanded from the occupying forces not to be repatriated and to be respected as a single national group of DPs. The political agitation among Ukrainian DPs lead to the installation of Ukrainian DP camps in the US Zone in the end of 1945. This was a contradiction to the official policy that Ukrainians were not given the status of a national group. Officially, the segregation of Ukrainian DPs was ordered in fall 1946 in the US Zone, in spring 1947 in the British zone. (That's why there are no statistics!!!) In the statistics, Ukrainians previously were classified as "undetermined nationals" or, in the French Zone, as "doubtful Poles".

The best statistics are from August 1947 and show a total of: 118,625 Ukrainian DPs in the US; British and French Zones: 2/3 of them lived in the US Zone: 58,468 inside; 15,178 outside of camps;
1/3 in the British Zone: 34,813 inside; 174 outside of camps;
a few percent in the French Zone: 4,274 inside; 5,718 outside of camps. Jacobmeyer states a lack of good statistics and estimates the total number of Ukrainian DPs between 110,000 and 140,000.Stefan

Quotes from: DPs Europe's Displaced Persons, 1945-1951 by Mark Wyman

Ukrainians, considered "the most nervous" about repatriation, along with Russians and Byelorussians, knew communism more intimately than other refugees. For Ukrainians the fight became one of proving that they were originally from the western Ukraine (Poland, Rumania, Czechoslavakia, Hungary). Those from the eastern Ukraine (USSR occupied) tried to obtain documents shifting their birthplace to Galicia, etc., to be recognized officially as Ukrainians rather than Russian or Soviets. Only 9,190 DPs were listed as Ukrainians in Dec 1945, versus 106,549 by June 1947. This perplexed screening teams who did not believe that Ukrainians could claim Polish citizenship and not be called Poles. An exasperated Ukrainian finally asked one American officer, "If you had a horse stable, and a cat went in the stable to give birth to kittens, are they kittens or horses? " Then the officer understood (pg. 80).

Canadians working for the Central Ukrainian Relief Bureau sent pleas to UN delegates & Eleanor Roosevelt, urging an end to forced repatriation on humane grounds. (pg. 82) Mark Elliott estimates that several thousand USSR citizens killed themselves rather than go back. (pg.83)

War losses:
Professor Norman Davies, author of the internationally acclaimed, two-volume study, God's Playground: A History of Poland (Oxford University Press, 1981) has recently reviewed the various claims made about deaths during WW2. He has calculated that approximately 5 million Jews died in the war, compared with 5 million ethnic Poles and as many as 11 million Ukrainians. Access to Soviet archives is denied to western scholars for the time being.

According to other sources, the Ukrainian losses are even higher: Close to 4.5 million Ukrainian soldiers were killed or disappeared during WW II. Another 8 million Ukrainian civilians also died or disappeared during this period. I understand that this is the highest per capita loss of any country in the world.

Nazi genocide
According to this table, Slavs were killed at twice the rate of the Jews. Also, it shows the heaviest democide at over 12 million USSR population (Univ. of Hawaii). Remember, that Ukrainians were listed as citizens of USSR and Poland; and Hitler occupied Ukraine for 3 years before he entered Russia proper.

Hitler and Stalin tried to erase Ukrainian and Polish populations. Through the guiding hand of God, we are now in 43 countries and growing. (M. Wyman says DPs of all nationalities were spread over 113 countries, p. 202.) Some people would like you to believe that the displaced people were lazy and wanted to live on the charity of others. When you read the following excerps, you will see how families were torn apart, millions of lives were destroyed, people didn't know where they should go and how they would ever survive.

If you don't find info the web page pertaining your own camp, start your own research page and link it here. We'll have a link to each camp as people become aware of this project. Make DP camp recognition your project.

Every oblast in Ukraine was ordered to publish a complete list of all Ukrainian soldiers who died or went missing during World War II. Somewhere close to 300 volumes have been published with each volume naming about 15,000 to 20,000 family names. The books are named "KNYHA PAM'IATI UKRAINY" with subtitles naming the oblast. In most cases the family names are listed alphabetically by Oblast, then by Raion, then by village.
Allan Szuch


8/31/04 My girlfriend found this map in her father's belongings. You may want to put this on your website. Alexandra Gibson

YPCP is acronym for Ukrains'ka Radians'ka Sotsialistychna Respublika [radians'kyi is Ukrainian word equivalent to Russian Sovetskaia] or, in Russian: Ukrainskaia Sovetskaia Sotsialisticheskaia Respublika 9/2/04 11:58 AM Laurence Krupnak

9/8/04 The very interesting map from your friend's father's belongings dates from the 1960s. In the west of Ukraine, it shows Ivano-Frankivs'k, which was known as Stanislaviv until 1962. In the east, it shows Luhans'k, which was renamed Voroshilovgrad in 1970. It was originally named after Voroshilov by Stalin but Khrushchev changed the name back to Luhans'k. It was changed again by Brezhnev and again after Ukrainian independence. Fortunately, Ivano Franko is a hero to both Communists and Ukrainian patriots so there's been no argument over that name change!

My guess is that the map dates from the early sixties (post-62 obviously), probably from the relatively tolerant Khrushchev era or just after. Partly that's because of the style but also because it's clearly an officially sanctioned map with all the place names in Ukrainian, not Russian, which is what I find interesting. Regards, Nick Powell.

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