Ukrainian History 1941 - 1947

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Hitler retaliated by killing 20 innocent Ukrainian citizens for every soldier he lost
He would string them up from balconies where they would hang until they rotted, a reminder to those who would want to help the partisans. Moscow discovered that many of their own Soviet solders were sympathetic, often supplying guns and ammunition to the UPA army or joining them. Not uncomprehendable, because they were a Ukrainian brotherhood taken from Soviet-dominated Ukraine and forced to fight for USSR. Later Moscow fought the UPA with troops from other parts of Russia, killing off Ukrainians with American guns and ammo. Stalin told FDR that he had to fight off a few rebels (which were mostly Ukrainian farmers).

In 1941 Stalin announced a "scorched earth" policy for Ukraine.
"In the case of a forced retreat, all rolling stock must be evacuated and the enemy must not be left a single engine, a single railway car, not a single pound of grain or gallon of fuel." What could not be carried away must be set afire, including forests, stores and transports. This left a trail of destruction and hunger from Dniprohes Dam on the Dnieper River (largest power dam in Europe) to Kiev. His plans were to wipe out the Ukrainians anyway -- so a scorched earth was an empty earth where he could replant the people he choose.

Bandera is arrested.
Since most of the Soviet-controlled government of Ukraine had fled, in June 30, 1941 the Organization of Ukraine Nationalist is announced (once again) headed by Stepan Bandera and a new independent Ukraine with Yaroslav Stesko as Prime Minister. About a week later, the Germans disbanded the new Ukrainian government and arrested Bandera and Stetsko, imprisoning them throughout the war.

1943-44 Ukrainian reluctance to fight for Hitler:
In 1943 and early 1944 about 40,000 Ukrainians in the Galicia Division, controlled by German officers, were sent to fight the Battle of Brody, where it was encircled and destroyed by the Soviet Army. This Ukrainian National Army surrendered to the Allies in Austria and was interned in Italy. They were transferred to England and finally member emigrated to Canada, USA and Australia. Although Simon Wiesenthal had falsely accused them of war crimes, they were found innocent and the Galicia Division was completely exonerated from any war crimes in 1987.

Another example is this story from The Secret War Against Hitler, by William Casey:

"In August a German major and thirty SS officers rode into the area on horseback with the 700 Ukrainians then in German service, and 87 German non-coms walking on foot behind. They were to destroy the maquis. But the Ukrainians had had enough. Their ranking officer, a major named Hloba, secretly met with the maquis to arrange for an ambush. Several nights later, the Ukrainians struck. A pitched battle followed, in which the entire German cadre was wiped out. It had not taken long for the story to get back to the Germans. About the time the OSS mission arrived, reports came in that the enemy was massing troops near Luxeil-les Bains, more than 100 miles to the northeast. By mid-September a German major general moved into the forest with 4,000 soldiers equipped with artillery and tanks. For three days the Germans and the Franco-Ukrainians fought one pitched battle after another. Outnumbered four to one and their ammunition exhausted, the maquis were close to giving up. Fortunately the German general didn't know it, and the next day broke off the engagement, pulling his troops out of the region."

"...He simply enrolled the Ukrainians in the French Foreign Legion where they could continue fighting the Germans. I don't know if they were able to stay in France or were ultimately repatriated to face certain death..."

While Hitler held the Ukraine, he ordered partitions to destroy its unity. It was divided accordingly:
1. Western Ukraine with Poland under the General Government; Reichskomissariat Ukraine / central Ukraine;
2. Eastern Ukraine with Kharkiv was under German Army zone of administration;
3. Southern Ukraine with Odessa was renamed Transnistria and put under Romanian occupation; and
4. Hungary occupied Carpatho-Ukraine. Disunited, they couldn't fight back as well.

1941-1944- For 3 years Hitler occupied Ukraine entirely and then he had his own "scorched earth" policy in the Ukraine when retreating.
After the war, it was estimated that Germans destroyed 6 million homes leaving 25 million homeless. World War II was fought mostly on Ukrainian soil whereas Germany occupied Russia proper only for a very short time. The war in Ukraine was capitalized on by Stalin. The story of Ukraine's role and suffering in World War II is generally unknown to the world because it was in the interest of the USSR to emphasize the struggles of the Russian people. Russians still claim they lost 20 million people.

Stalin was twice TIME's Man of the Year, for 1939 and 1942.
On the death of Lenin in 1929, Joseph Stalin took control of the Soviet Union, instituting policies of nationalization and agricultural collectivization that fomented civil war and famine as well as cultivating a cult of personality. TIME described this public worship: "Joseph Stalin has gone a long way toward deifying himself while alive. No flattery is too transparent, no compliment too broad for him. He became the fountain of all Socialist wisdom" (1/1/40).

Eternal Memory Voices of the Great Terro - victims of Stalinism and Nazism - movie - Rent on Amazon .99 Buy movie $10, [Director David Putz; Narrated by Meryl Streep,

This film examines the Stalinist purges in the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 40s when an estimated 20,000,000 people lost their lives - some in labor camps, others starved in state-induced famine.

Millions of Ukrainians were killed by both Hitler and Stalin.
Documentary evidence exists of wholesale executions of the Ukrainians but all we hear about are the executions of the Jews. Ukrainian cities were starved to death according to a plan by both sides. Ukraine lost more people in WWII than any other European country, estimated at 11 million people by Stephan G. Prociuk*.

"At the end of the war, Ukraine lay in ruins; the populations had declined by 25 per cent -- that is by approximately 10.5 million people; 6.8 million killed or died of hunger or disease, and the remainder had been evacuated or deported to Soviet Asia as political prisoners or had ended up as slave labor or emigres in Hitler's German..." state Ann Lencyk Pawliczko in Ukraine and Ukrainians Throughout the World (University of Toronto Press, 1994, p.62). Still others estimate Ukrainian losses at over 13.5 million.

Between Hitler & Stalin - the untold story

Many Ukrainians were involved in the rescue of Jews during the Nazi occupation.
On 8 November 1992, The Ukrainian Weekly reported that during the first Jewish Congress of Ukraine, held in Kiev, "48 awards were handed out to Ukrainians and people of other nationalities who had rescued Jews during the Second World War."

Thanks to Oleh Iwanusiw for providing the photograph. Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky distributed a pastoral letter against the persecution of Jews in Ukraine titled Thou Shalt Not Kill, and the clergy and faithful of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, particularly Metropolitan Sheptytsky, hid hundreds of Jews in monasteries and convents."

Ukrainian women fought on the front lines alongside the men.
The most famous sniper of the war was a Ukrainian. Major Ludmila Pavlychenko* [Ukrainian name] was accredited with killing 309 German soldiers. About 1/2 million Russian and Ukrainian women also helped dig anti-tank traps. Before they could dig, they lit fires to thaw the ground. In the Russian Army, the Tamanski guards Air Corps Regiment, consisting entirely of women volunteers, made raids on German troops at night. The Germans called them "Night Witches."

The Atlantic Charter 1941:
Churchill and Roosevelt held a secret naval rendezvous off Newfoundland and drew up a statement of common principles based their hopes for a better future for the world, joint statement of war aims, mixing idealistic goals of the New Deal and Wilson's Fourteen Points, self determination of all peoples [excluding of course, Ukrainians], equal access to raw materials, economic cooperation, freedom of the seas and a new system of general security.

In other words, they were dividing up the spoils of the war and insuring that US and Britain get the very lucrative Mediterranean Sea along with the oil fields of the Middle East. They didn't allow Russia to make claim in the Middle East, so Ukraine was to be given to Stalin as one of his consolation prizes. They did not see the need to include Ukraine in one of the countries that would have self determination. This agreement led to further wholesale slaughter of the Ukrainian people in Poland.

1943 FDR enthrones Stalin:
As a result of 1943 Berlin Corridor Arrangement and Council of Foreign Relations, US money plates, paper and ink, under Henry Morgenthau Jr. (Secretary of the Treasury), Harry Dexter White (Under-Secretary), Harry Hopkins and Franklin D. Roosevelt sent money plates, complete with plane loads of special ink and four plane loads of special paper for printing our money in East Germany, to support Joe Stalin, building him up at the expense of US tax paying citizens. Incredible as it seems, the known movement of money from this transaction was about $19 billion. Roosevelt approved of every proposal Stalin made in the Berlin agreement, i.e., reducing the power of every nation so that Russia could control Europe.

1944 -The Big Three had four talks between June 7th and 14th, 1944 arguing over the Curzon Line:
Roosevelt establishing himself by 1943 as the mediator between Churchill and Stalin. The Soviets accepted most of Polish-exiled government in London demands to form a Polish National Committee in the Soviet Union; allow a Polish National military out of former Polish soldiers in the Soviet Union (USSR would provide arms); and independent boundaries. However, it would not restore the Polish state to its former grandeur.

President Roosevelt was still puzzled about who would get Lwow* (Lviv in Ukraine) and the oil region. He wanted to give it to Poland, but Stalin said he would cling to those frontiers restored in 1939, that Lwow will remain on the Russian side.

* Lwow (Polish) ...Lviv or Lvov (Ukrainian) ... Lemburg (Austrian / German) Stalin argued,"This new Poland should be reborn, not by seizing Ukraine and White Russia (Belorussia), but by the return of Polish lands taken by German." The Polish Prime Minister Mikolajczyk could not accept the Curzon Line and abandon 40% or more of the Polish territory and five million Poles (again claiming the Ruthenians/Ukrainians as Poles). He wanted and took most of Eastern Galicia (Ukrainians). Polish soldiers would soon decimate that population.

The Big Three:
Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt made principal decisions on the postwar reorganization of Eastern Europe. Jan 20 1945: Big Three Yalta Conference

"Stalin turned toward Eden (Anthony Eden, Foreign Minister for Great Britain) and asked him whether he thought that the Soviet government was going to swallow up Poland. Eden answered that he did not know how much the Russians were going to eat, and how much they would leave undigested. Stalin said they did not want anything belonging to other people, though they might take a bite out of Germany." *

* Closing the Ring, page 362.

On April 12, 1945, when Harry Truman became president of the US, he got his first look at secret documents that detailed the wartime alliance between the US and USSR. Truman noted the years of careful diplomacy required to keep the relationship going, with Roosevelt bending over backward to placate Stalin. Truman said, after reviewing his notes, that Roosevelt had finally become fed up with Soviet duplicity. Although Truman didn't want to undo Roosevelt's careful work with Russia, he said, from now it would be straight forward or they could "go to hell."

1945 Eisenhower sanctions a relocation program:
April 21, 1945 USSR and Polish provisional government signed a 20-year treaty of mutual assistance. During this time, Stalin told Poland to send all the Ukrainians from the Polish side to the Soviet side. Stalin had ulterior motives for this. He was in the midst of developing the oil and mineral-rich Siberia and needed a labor force. (As early as 1944 a Soviet decree signed by Zhukov and Beria [later murdered also] recommend that all Ukrainian be resettled in Siberia.) This accounts for all the Ukrainians in Siberia now.

History says Hitler committed suicide on April 30, 1945 [We later find it this wasn't true]. Berlin was captured and divided. The Red Army now had complete control of all the major cities in Europe. In June 10, 1945 Zhukov presented Eisenhower with the Soviet Order of Victory (a red star medal with rubies and diamonds estimated at over $100,000). In his acceptance speech, Eisenhower said, compatriots who had fought so that "the people might live a little better next year and next." He says of Zhukov, "no man does the United Nations owe a greater debt than to Marshall Zhukov." Four years after Hitler invaded Russia, General Eisenhower joined the Red Army victory parade in Red Square on Aug. 12, 1945.

Years of fighting had slaughtered the vast majority of young men with spirit and strength in the country. Anyone of intelligence or education, such as teacher and priests, was exiled to Siberia. The remaining women, children and old folk who survived this holocaust were beaten down. After 1945, there were only sheep left in the country. No power, no money, no food, no land. They meekly cowered to give Stalin and Khrushchev what these leaders wanted, a unified Russia. Oct. 24 and after there was a mass purge of many Communist leaders in Ukraine for their support of national aspirations as against the official Communist ideology.

Operation Vistula:
All battlefronts are quiet except the bloodbath begins. In 1946-47, Poland began a campaign to rid itself of the disgusting Ukrainian peasants (homesteaders from the 1700s) on 'their new lands'. In the middle of the night they ordered, under penalty of death, for people to gather what they could carry and march on down the road with an armed escort. Those who resisted were shot or bayoneted on the spot. Their homes were ransacked and then torched so that there was nothing for the Galician [Ukrainian, Rusyn, Carpathian] people to run back to. Those who died along the way, were left unburied. My friends wrote me his own story:

Eyewitness accounts of Operation Vistula - Ukrainians were chased out of Poland and forced to go to Communist Russia in 1946. The names are withheld because they still fear repercussions.
"My father was 9 years in Argentina and earned a little. Came home and bought a little bit of land. With a hand saw, he cut trees for new house and but all was left behind in Poland. In June 1946 Polish chased us but Ukrainian partisans (bandits) didn't let us in. We hid in sand. Then Polish Army came and chased us and those who were able to pack up wagons again returned to Komancza. The Army put us in wagons and drove us to Ukraine. Since our houses burned when bombs fell during war, we didn't have documents. We were placed in houses that didn't have doors or windows so we covered them with straw. We had trouble gathering food for there wasn't anything to eat for us nor for the cow."

Wasyl I
June 30 1999

Christ is Risen!
Dear family:

Letter of yours received for which very thankful to you, for learned that you received our letter. Dear sister, you ask if I know about evacuation. When we were transported in 1946 year, I was 18 years old, so I very well remember we were moved on the same green (spring) holidays. If we would have been shot, they would have long needed to explain that which was done, and for us was very scary, for we didn't know what was to happen to us.

It was like this: Soldiers came into the houses and told us in 1/2 hour to be gathered near the church. Village was robbed while people gathered at church. We there had to sleep out and they made us walk 150 kilometers. There we sat hungry at station under dark sky. Because in 1/2 hour, we couldn't gather food from home. A lot of people along the road died from hunger, cold and others they killed. Gathered us in wagons that took us to Russia over two Sundays (2 weeks travel).

Took us to station under bare sky and we had to sit l/2 month. Everyone searched for himself for food where ever able. And that's how we lived till now. Here they call us chased, live like we can. Yet if we ever meet and when I do meet you, then I will tell all in person.

For I can't come to you, for health doesn't permit, and I do not have a good visa or money to buy a ticket. Maybe you live better, than you can easier come to us. I would be very happy if we could see each other.

Vasy II

The Polish government is still claiming that it was a voluntary deportation. Figures and statistics vary depending on whose presentation. It is estimated that 65,000 to 70,000* people were deported according to Poland: A Country Study which justifies it in this manner:

"In the late 1940s, the main roles of the military were resettlement of Poland's newly acquired western territory, helping in economic reconstruction, and waging a three-year civil war against Home Army supporters, Ukrainian nationalist and various outlaw bands in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Some 70,000 people were arrested by internal security and military authorities in the repression of civil uprising between 1945 and 1948." (page 238) *

Others claim 178,000 were dispersed and 60,000 remain in Poland.The emphasis is mine. With a straight face, they can call 70,000 people outlaw bands? That was a substantial portion of the population of the mountainside. Unfortunates, without a roof over their heads and nothing to eat, decided to die on their native soil, rather than go to the Soviet Union. In order to save bullets, they bayoneted and bludgeoned old women who refused to leave on a wide-scale basis. (This is documented by Committee Against Mass Expulsion, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, NY 1948, 7-32 reprinted in volume 2/1975 of Annals of the World Lemko Federation.) Isn't it nice to know that commemorative crosses mark the spots where Polish soldiers perished in the voluntary transfer of these bandits but nothing for the peasants they massacred? For more see: Operation Vistula

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America statistics say 750,000 were killed outright or relocated to Siberia in cattle cars without food, suitable clothing or sanitary provisions for the winter trip. Many thousands died along the way and their bodies were thrown out of the trains to be buried in the dead snows until the spring thaw.

"There are no official figures but experts in Gulag matters estimate the number of those who perished at Sanok at 20 to 25 thousand. No water, food once a day, at night. The camp kapos were German prisoners. They carried huge rods and beat everyone. Here too, orders came unexpectedly. At the double, fall in, two thousand in each column, that's how many each train took. You had to climb in after running between specially trained guards. Armed young soldiers, one to four or five prisoners. A hundred into each truck, packed in like sardines, and off they went on a journey lasting weeks, into the interior of the Ukraine, and from there on towards the Caucasus and Siberia." (by Mikl—s Zelei, Hungarian Quarterly, VOLUME XXXVIII * No. 146 * Summer 1997 - Some Highlights)
For more see: Operation West

Olga's relative's report: In April 1946 their father had to sign emigration documents which stated 'little ground, no woods, no orchard, no meadow'. For it was said that those who had much fields, would be routed to Siberia. Being afraid of this transfer to Siberia, they wrote they only had 3 hectare, when in fact they had 15 hectares (30 acres of field).
Dmytro's eyewitness account:

Dmytro, now is 80 years old, was relocated to northern Poland rather than to the Soviet Union. He has constant headaches. He is a very God-loving person, and always laments about the suffering of the Ukrainian people and how they are scattered all over the world. He doesn't understand English, but speaks fluent Ukrainian, Polish or German.

Dmytro grew up with my mother in the same village (Javirnik, Galicia); their families were godparents to each other over the years. He was 16 years old when the German army invaded. He was taken by the Polish army and served with the foreman of horses. They ran ahead of Germans to Romania. When the Germans began bombing the Polish army, he ran away from the bombs, deserting the German Army.

When he got back to home, the Germans had already occupied his homelands and were taking the young people to their country to work. He says, "The Germans scattered our people over 5 years. They took Ukrainian boys to their Army, lying and promising that they would get a free Ukraine."

Dmytro was taken in 1942 to work in Germany. In 1945 when the war ended; his brother was taken to Russian army where he later died. He says, "Russia took Ukrainian boys to the front where they were all shot up and crippled. Very few returned whole. At that time, you weren't recruited--instead, soldiers came (whichever side came first) and you were just taken into their army with them." "When Russia won the war and Ukraine was not declared independent; they assembled themselves into a Ukrainian army and went into the woods. The Ukrainian army called themselves UPA."

Dmytro returned home to his mother's house, then he was taken by the Ukrainian army. It was really truly hell. He tells of the 'voluntary' relocation program before 1945:

"Polish army and Russian army ascended on town's people. The people ran into the night, their homes burnt. People were killed or taken. Those who wouldn't go, were killed. The Polish Army surrounded the town for hours and loaded us in wagons and transported away to German soil and to who knows where."

It was winter; farm animals and small children slept under trees on snow and in wagons under frozen conditions. Slipping quietly through snow, Dmytro escaped into woods. He was arrested on Mar 28, 1945 for wearing the Ukrainian emblem, Golden Trident, on his cap. The Polish beat him and imprisoned him in Vislochi where he was forced to sleep naked on bare ground for those three years in the Polish prison. In the years between 1945 to 1947 every Ukrainian was afraid to talk in Ukrainian language.

"We were so trampled on in Poland. Many times my head bled for my payment for a free Ukraine," he cries silently as he remembers and writes to me. "A few escaped and ran to Czechoslovakia, to Germany and onto Canada or America. A lot of Ukrainian Army ended up in Canada."

Released on Jan 15, 1949, Dmytro returned to his home town. But his home was no longer there; all was burned in 1947. His mother had died immediately after he was arrested (got inflammation) and he never saw her again.

"Thus it was." Operation Vistula was obviously successful in eradicating the Ukrainian / Rusyn language and culture in Poland, since the decendants of these families had all become Polish. In 2001, my friend Stephen remarked, "People thought that I was Polish. They do not know that I know Ukrainian. I am ashamed [afraid] to let people know I am Ukrainian."

The ethnic cleansing of Poland was the first chapter of the new Poland. Most of my friends have lost the Ukrainian language and can only read and write in Polish. In 2002, Maria writes: "Very much sorry but we cannot reveal about those people for which you asked about. Parents to us almost nothing told about family. All that I could find out, I found out from letter of your mother's to parents, what was left at that time. Communists very much crushed the psyche of people. And father was afraid for us so he would not talk. Very much sorry that cannot help."
For more see: Operation Vistula

History of Ukraine continued on page 3

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