Page 77. UOP-West (UPA Zakhid), 'Lysonia': short descriptions of battles of 'lysonia' UPA units
The document we present here was originally prepared and published by the command of the UPA's 3 Military Region Podillia, code name "Lysonia", in December, 1945. It was reprinted in 1946 by mimeograph at the underground printing facility of the Ukrainian resistance operating within the borders of present-day Poland; at the end of the document is an after-word signed by "Iarlan" (Iaroslav Starukh): "For only the sword, and not mere words, will gain out nation its rights". The reprint of the document had added an excerpt from an order issued by the Supreme Commander of the UPA, General Taras Chuprynka, in July, 1946, and, probably, a page of citations from the writings of Mykola Mikhnovskyi. The publication was 26 pages long, densely typed, and 30 by 20 cm. in size. It was smuggled by members of the Ukrainian underground to the American embassy in Warsaw, from where it found its way to the National Archives of the United States.
The document consists of brief descriptions of battles waged by the units of the UPA's 3 Military region "Lysonia" during the period from December 16, 1943, to August 2, 1945. The accounts of the battles vary in length from a few lines to several pages of print. They are written in a very terse style, but provide basic information about each battle, such as the strength of the enemy force, the UPA's strength, the general situation, the course of the battle and the result. At the end of the document, the authors provide the following summary of the battles described:
"Altogether, the forces of UPA-Lysonia, those units whose reports are included in this publication, took part in 83 minor and major skirmishes and battles with the Germans and the Soviets between December 16, 1943 and August 2, 1945. during that time, they carried out five major offensive operations against enemy district (raion) centres, which they gained temporarily or in which they waged battle: Kozova (13. 8. 1944), Strilyska Novi (16. 12, 1944), Bilshivitsi (23. 12. 1944), Velykyi Hlubichok (21.1. 1945) and Bilshivitsi (4. 4. 1945). During the battles described here, the enemy German and Soviet armies sustained losses of about 3000 fighting men and officials killed and a large number wounded. At the same time, large supplies of arms and ammunition were taken from the enemy; these are still being used in the fight against the enemy occupying powers. In addition, the UPA has freed many hundreds of Ukrainians who had been arrested, repelled many of the terroristic, plundering attacks made by Soviet manhunters on Ukrainian villages and prevented the establishment and operation of the invading forces' administration on Ukrainian territory for almost the full duration of the one-and-a-half-year period under discussion. During that time 209 UPA soldiers were killed and about 165 were wounded; they sacrificed their lives and their blood for the holy cause of their nation's battle for liberation."
For the historian, this publication is a very important source of information about UPA activity on the territory of the 3 Military Region Podillia - "Lysonia". This is because, first of all, the document was prepared by the region's commanders, who had access to information about local UPA units and their activities. Secondly, the descriptions of battles published here are taken from reports of UPA units or come directly from the field, and thus qualify as first-source documentation. All of this makes the publication of particular value here, outside the borders of Ukraine, where there exist very few documents or other information relating to UPA activity in Podillia. Furthermore, the document contains not only descriptions of battles, but also other valuable data. For example, it gives the names of individual units of the UPA and their commanders, states the places where they operated, often mentions the strength of the units, how they were organized, what arms they possessed and the like. On the basis of this information, we are able to draw some conclusions about the organization, operations and tactics of UPA units on the territory of this UPA military region.
The publication reprinted here describes the battle activities of 21 or 22 UPA companies (it is not made clear whether "Bystryi's" battalion from Kamiantes-Podilskyi was composed of three or of four companies. The descriptions also fail to mention the code names of some of the UPA companies). Here is a list of those companies and their commanders: "Buini" company - commander "Ovoch", "Burlaky" company - commander "Chornyi", "Cherniak's " company, "Chornomortsi" company - commanders "Zhuk" and "Sych", "Haidamaky" company - commander "Iasmin", "Dovbnia's" company, "Holub's" company, "Kholodnoiartsi" company - commander "Ovoch", "Kosa's" company, "Lev's" company, "Lisovyky" company - commanders "Kok" and "Kruk", "Orly" company - commander "Kots", "Poltavtsi" company - commander Maksym, "Rybolovtsi" company - commander "Levko", "Rubachi" company - commanders "Voron" and "Hamalyia", "Siri Vovky" company - commanders "Iastrub" and "Kosach" and the company of non-commissioned officers' training school - commander "Chos". In 1944, some UPA companies still formed part of UPA battalions. The documents mentions the following UPA battalions and the companies included within them: "Bystryi's" battalion from the Chortkiv Military District, which included the companies "Siri Vovky" and "Chornomortsi" and the school for non-commissioned officers; "Bystryi's" battalion from Kamianets-Podilskyi oblast, which encompassed "Voznesenko's", "Mohyla's", "Smert's": and probably "Hrim's" companies; "Bondarenko's" (Volodymyr Iakubovskyi's) battalion, which was composed of the companies "Kholodnoiartsi", "Buini", and "Rubachi"; "Ostap's" (Omelian Poliovyi's) battalion, which included "Lisovyky" "Chornomortsi" and "Rybolovtsi" companies and "Chos's" school for non-commissioned officers; "Roman's" battalion, later "Iastrub's" (Dmytro Darpenko's), which was made up of "Burlaky", "Polatvtsi," Siromantsi", "Dovbnia's" and "Kosa's" companies.
At the end of the document there is a note starting that the published descriptions of battles waged by the UPA detachments of the 3 Military Region "Lysonia" do not encompass all the UPA battles that took place at that time. We are told that the publication "did not include descriptions of the battles waged by "Siromantsi" company during its raid through the Lviv area and across the Curzon line, battles that occured during the period of the movement of the front in July, 1944, and some others." The note assures us that "additional materials towards the history of UPA-Lysonia are being prepared."
Page 84. 'Podillia': List of battles for February-March-April, 1945
This "List of Battles" includes short descriptions of the battles which took place between UPA units and the NKVD during the months of February, March and April, 1945. The "Podillia" in the title refers to the Podilia krai, which coincided with the territory of the UPA's 3 Podillia Military Region "Lysonia". Listed in this document are 12 battles and skirmishes that took place on this territory between the UPA and the NKVD.
Almost all of these battles had already been described in "Brief Descriptions of the Battles of UPA 'Lysonia'", an underground publication of the UPA's 3 Military Region which we are reprinting in this volume of Litopys UPA. However, the descriptions included in the "List of Battles" are somewhat different from those in that publication. Probably, they were prepared on the basis of different reports and, as they often provide additional data, they serve to fill out the earlier descriptions.
A carbon copy of the original "List of Battles" can be found in the ZP UHVR Archives.
Page 88. 'Podillia': Fallen on the field of glory
This list of the fallen includes 32 people who were killed on the territory "Podillia" (Podillia krai), that is, within the UPA's 3 Podillia Military Region "Lysonia", between January 1 and June 1, 1945. Included in the list are only the leading activists of the Ukrainian armed resistance, who held various posts in megadistrict, regional or krai leaderships, and UPA officers. For each person listed the following information is given: pseudonym, function in the armed resistance, how, when and where he/she was killed. In a few cases, the exact dates or places of death are not indicated, and in one case, the specific functions of two women, "Lesia" and "Nina", are not given; we are told that they worked for the Ukrainian Red Cross (UCh Kh) in the Chortkiv area.
The documents inform about the deaths of the following UPA officers: "Chuhaistur", chief of organization and mobilization at the headquarters of the UPA's 3 Military Region "Lysonia"; "Kruk", commander of the UPA's Chortkiv Military district; "Kok", commander of the UPA company "Lysovyky"; "Kots", commander of the UPA company "Orly"; Maksym, commander of the UPA company "Poltavtsi"; and "Sych", commander of the UPA company "Chornomortsi". All of these officers were killed in battle with the NKVD.As suggested by its title, "Podillia", this document was written by the Podillia krai leadership of the Ukrainian resistance. The document is not dated. A carbon copy of the typed original is kept in the Archives of the Foreign Representation of the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council (ZP UHVR), No. E 20-2.
Page 122. 'Sanyk': Insurgent banner - a collection of revolutionary songs, 1947
This collection of songs consists of twenty UPA songs with music, explanatory notes and an article, "Afterword", published at the and of the book. The book's title, "Insurgents Banner", is also the title of the first song in the collection. The sub-title, "Collection of Revolutionary Songs", suggests that the book contains existing insurgent songs collected and published by "Sanyk", whose name appears on the title page. However, in the "Afterword" "Sanyk" is called the author of the collection. Thus, it appears that "Sanyk" himself wrote all of the songs with the exception of two, the authors of which are indicated: "We Shall Overcome", written by T. Vilshynka (Probably a pseudonym) and "I Do Not Choose to Merely Exist", written by B. Ia. "Sanyk", probably also composed the music to the songs and wrote the explanatory notes and the "Afterword", for no other author is mentioned in the informational material included in the book. We know nothing about "Sanyk" except that he was "a witness and participant of the UPA struggle" ("Afterword").
The subject matter of all the songs is linked to the struggle of the Ukrainian armed resistance. Specifically the songs were collected and published in order to mark the fifth anniversary of the UPA's fight, to extol the struggle for freedom waged by the UPA and the whole Ukrainian armed resistance and to praise the exploits of the heroes and those fallen on the field of battle. So we are told in the "Afterword", which also provides a short history of the UPA struggle and recounts its major successes. Some of the songs also deal with political matters tied in with the UPA struggle, describe various battle deeds of the UPA, or are dedicated to individual UPA commanders or members of the armed resistance. In terms of their themes, the songs can be classified as follows:
A. Songs dedicated to specific UPA battles or individual UPA commanders:(1) "Many Clouds" - a ballad about the defensive battles of the UPA detachment commanded by Captain Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"); the detachment was surrounded by a larger group of NKVD troops in a forest near Uhniv, Lviv province, on September 30, 1944. (2) Yet another song dedicated to Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), who came from Poltava province - "Hey, Is that Not a Hawk?", which calls Karpenko the most celebrated UPA commander in Podillia and recounts his achievements in battle. (3) "In Zahoriv on a Hill", a ballad about the defensive two-day fight waged by an UPA platoon against a motorized German regiment in the Zahoriv monastery, Volyn province, during the summer of 1943, in which all the insurgents were killed. (4) "The Hurbynskyi Forest Murmured and Blossomed in Spring" - a ballad about the UPA's Hurbynskyi battle in Rivne province in April, 1944. This was one of the UPA's most extensive defensive battles, in which the battalions commanded by "Buvalyi", "Dovbenke", "Iastrub", "Storchan" and "Zalizniak" withstood a full-day advance by motorized divisions of NKVD troops, then, during the night, broke out of their encirclement. (5) "hey, There Were Clouds" - a ballad about the first Supreme Commander of the UPA Colonel Dmytro Kliachkivskyi (Klym Savur), who organized and headed the insurgent movement in Volyn in 1942-44.
B. Songs dedicated to UPA soldiers and activists of the underground, extolling their exploits or honouring their deaths on the field of battle: (1) "Above the Steppes, Above the Forests" - a song dedicated to the OUN activist Dmytro Myron ("Orlyk"), who came from Podillia and was killed by a Gestapo bullet on a Kiev street on July 25, 1943. (2) "Joined in Work by an Idea" - a song honouring Sergeant-Major Mykhailo Sulyk ("Rukh"), who, when surprised by the Soviets, fought to the death. (3) "Beyond Siberia, the Sun is Rising" - a ballad about the exploits of the fighting group commanded by "Karmeliuk", from Budaniv, Ternopil province. (4) "Monastyryska Is Still in Mist" - a ballad about the death in battle of underground members Vasyl Haliuk ("Hrim"), senior courier Myroslav Kropodr ("Taras") and author of short stories "Uliana", who were surprised by the MVD. (5) "I Do Not Choose to Merely Exist" - a song in honour of teacher Kateryna Husak ("Raketa"), district director of the underground Ukrainian Red Cross, who when imprisoned in Pidhaitisi, Ternopil province, took poison to avoid betraying her colleagues during interrogation.
C. Songs on various political subjects linked to the UPA struggle: (1-2) The collection begins with a rousing marching song, "Insurgent Banner", which speaks of the insurgents' march under their own flag, and ends with "We Shall Overcome", which assures that the UPA struggle will end in victory. (3) "Freedom to Nations" - a marching song based on the UPA slogan of battling for freedom of all enslaved nations. (4) "The UPA Is Coming" - a marching song that glorifies the UPA battle. (5) "What an Odd Grave There in the Field", -a song in honour of an Uzbek soldier who was a member of the Uzbek unit of the UPA in Volyn and died there for the freedom of Ukraine and his own motherland. 96) "Hey, Beyond the Cut-Down Wood" - a song that is the testament of a dying insurgent, in which he urges his friends and countrymen to battle bravely and steadfastly until the full liberation of Ukraine is achieved. (7-8) "Honour and Glory to You, Freedom Fighters" and "Sleep Peacefully, Knights", - songs that praise the valor of soldiers fallen on the field of battle. (9) "World, Open Your Gates" - a marching song about UPA raids carried out into other counries in order to popularize the Ukrainians' struggle for their own state. (10) "It was Spring" - the only song in the collection that could be termed a love song (the author calls it a "revolutionary-love" song); it which speaks of paring of two lovers as the young man goes to join the UPA in order to fight for a Ukrainian state.
There is no indication in the book where it was published, but it was undoubtedly in Podillia, for when events or persons from Podillia are mentioned, they are very clearly identified by the author in the explanatory notes. However, the author displays less knowledge about events from Volyn; these he probably knows only from accounts by participants and from underground literature. The original copy of this collection of songs is in the ZP UHVR Archives, no. J 14-2. The book was published by mimeograph; it has 62 pages and is 14 by 20 cm. in size.
Page 132. 'Chad': Captain 'Iastrub'
This biographical sketch, written by "Chad" about Captain "Iastrub", Dmytro Karpenko, is being reprinted from the underground journal for youth, Na sharakh, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1946. The journal was published by the krai OUN Propaganda Center, about which we are given no other information. as we have not been able to track down an original copy of the journal, what we are publishing here is taken from a reprint issued in the West of underground publications (External Units of the organization of Ukrainian nationalists - [ZCh - OUN]) - Zh46; - 06 1949.
The sketch is written in an emotional style, with the intention of education young people in military and battle traditions. We are given relatively few facts from Karpenko's biography; however, the sketch is of value because it shows the character of this UPA officer and speaks of his behaviour in battle and in daily life.
With regard to biographical facts, we are told only that Captain Karpenko came from Poltava province, was a lieutenant in the Red Army, commanded the UPA company "Siromantsi" in the Carpathians in 1943, and gained renown in battles with the Germans and the Soviets near the border of Kholm province. The author provides details about several risky battle operations carried out by the company during the fall of 1944. On one occasion, while "Siromantsi" were quartered in a small wood near the town of Novyi Iaryshiv, a large number of NKVD troops tightly surrounded the forest before nightfall, in preparation for a morning attack. However, during the night, Karpenko managed to lead his company out of the encirclement. The men escaped by plugging into the Poltva River and walking in it. The river's piercingly cold water reached up to their necks; at times, they came upon drops in the river's uneven bottom and the water became even deeper. The author also describes the defensive battle waged by the battalion led by Karpenko near Uhniv on September 30, 1944, He tells us how Karpenko commanded the battled and how he behaved in various situations. For example, as Soviet tanks advanced on the insurgents, Karpenko grabbed a bazooka from a soldier and personally destroyed a tank. When the men firing the grenade launcher were wounded, Karpenko himself took over the grenade launcher. The battle lasted the whole day: at night, Karpenko led the battalion out of the encirclement so stealthily that the advancing NKVD units continued to attack and shoot at each other. In his description of another operation, the battalion's night attack on the district center of Novi Strilyska on December 16, 1944, the author focuses on the death of battalion commander Karpenko.
In his day-to-day life, Karpenko cared about his soldiers and always tried to set them a good example. We are given many illustrations of Karpenko's behaviour. For example, when the insurgents stayed in villages, Karpenko always refused to sleep in a house, but slept with his men in the barn. He would never sit down to a meal until he had ascertained that all his men had something to eat. In battle, he could always be seen in the most dangerous spots; he not only commanded battles, but personally took part in them. During the march through the Poltva River, he walked first and was first to fall underwater in the deep spots. As far as his physical appearance, the author tells us only that Karpenko was of medium height, that he wore a rust-colored sheepskin jacket and carried a map holder and machine pistol and that he rode on a swift horse.
With regard to himself, the author says that he was from Eastern Ukraine and was a member of the Ukrainian armed resistance. Probably he was a soldier of one of the UPA companies which entered into the battalion commanded by Karpenko in September, 1944, for that was when he met Karpenko. His descriptions of later battles are from the viewpoint of an eyewitness.
Page 139. The appeal by Halyna Didyk to the presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR
Halyna Didyk (1912-1979) worked actively for the Ukrainian armed resistance form 1943 to 1950. She began as director of the Ukrainian Red Cross for Ternopil oblast; later, she directed the whole of the Red Cross; in the last years, she served as chief liaison officer for the underground. She spent the Years 1950-1971 as a political prisoner in the USSR. After her release, she wrote the appeal which we are publishing here. In the appeal, she protests against the barbaric laws existing in the Soviet Union, and the lies used by the authorities to justify applying those laws against supporters of Ukrainian independence.
During the 1950s, when the Soviet government released millions of prisoners, members of the Ukrainian armed resistance remained imprisoned. And, although in 1961 prison sentences of 25 years were abolished as "inhumane", they were still maintained for Ukrainian independentists, who were classified as "particularly dangerous criminals" who had "collaborated with the fascists" and "murdered innocent people".
Halyna Didyk rejects as groundless the accusations made by the Soviet against supporters of Ukrainian independence. She states that no collaboration existed with the Germans and that Soviets claims about terror waged by the Ukrainian underground are false. On the contrary, it was the NKVD that waged massive terror in Western Ukraine, in 1930-41 and it was soviet terror that gave rise to the UPA struggle. During the period in question, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps; thousands of prisoners held in jails were shot by the NKVD before the Soviets retreated from Western Ukraine in 1941. Faced with the return of the Soviets in 1943, thousands of Ukrainians fled, with no idea where they were going; others took up arms against the occupiers. The battle that ensued was waged not only by the OUN, but by the whole Ukrainian population, millions of people. The Ukrainian movement was crushed in a bloody manner by the over-powering forces of the Soviet police.
The barbarity of Soviet justice is well-illustrated by Halyna Didyk's own life. Didyk was first imprisoned by the Soviets in 1939 and held for a year on a fabricated charge. Arrested for the second time in 1950, she underwent brutal torture for a full two years. Only after that was she sentenced, in absentia, to 25 years in a concentration camp; the sentence was later singed, also in absentia, to 25 years in prison. Even after 25-year prison sentences were abolished, in 1961, she still remained imprisoned, although she had never shot at anyone, but had only cared for wounded soldiers, among them even Soviet soldiers.
Even after her release, Halyna Didyk experienced KGB persecution. She was not permitted to return to her native region. As a former prisoner, she was not eligible to receive a pension; reportedly, she lived form what she earned from her plot of land and from people's charity. She spent her last days in the town of Khrystynivka, Cherkasy province, under the watchful eye of the KGB.
Page 181. Sergeant-major Mykhaio Nebola ('Holka'): Along the forests and ravines of Western Podillia
In 1943-45, the author served in the UPA on the territory of the UPA's 3 Military Region Podillia - "Lysonia". He began as a private and a student at the UPA's school for non-commissioned officers. Later, he became an adjutant to the battalion commander and finally, an assistant company commander. In the fall of 1945, the author left the UPA and with other former UPA soldiers emigrated to Western Europe. In his memoirs, he gives a rather detailed account of his experiences in the UPA, and a brief description of his youth (the first chapter) and his experiences after emigration (the last chapter).
The author was born on August 18, 1920, in the village of Teresva, county (povit) of Tiachiv, in Transcarpathia, which at that time formed part of Czechoslovakia. He completed seven grades of elementary school, and learned locksmithing. While a youth, he belonged to the Ukrainian Scout movement, Plast, and other Ukrainian organizations. When the autonomous state of Carpathian Ukraine was declared in 1938, he entered the army, Carpathian Sich, in Tiachiv and took part in battles against the Hungarian army, which occupied Carpathian Ukraine in 1939. Because of his participation in the Ukrainian army, the Hungarians arrested him several times and subjected him to sever beatings and other tortures. In order to avoid further persecution, he fled to Slovakia, and from there to the General Government (Poland under German occupation). He worked at first in Sianok, then, after 1941, in several towns in Halychyna under German occupation. In the fall of 1943, the author entered the UPA, joining "Burlaky" company, which was being formed in the Berezhany county of Ternopil province under the command of "Chornyi".
During the winter of 1943-44, the author underwent basic training and in the spring of 1944, training as a non-commissioned officer. The author gives quite detailed descriptions of events that were taking place at this time, day-to-day life in an insurgent unit, the commanders and soldiers of the company and inspections by battalion commander "Roman", the commander of the UPA's 3 Military Region, Omelian Poliovyi ("Ostap"), and his chief of his staff, Volodymyr Iakubovskyi ("Bondarenko"). After competing his training, the author was named adjutant to battalion commander "Roman". Just at that time, the Soviets launched an offensive from the line of Kovel, Brody, Ternopil and Chernivtsi, where the front had stabilized during the winter.
After the movement of the front, "Roman's" battalion was ordered to make a raid into the eastern part of Ternopil province, which since winter had been under Soviet occupation. When the battalion reached he vicinity of the district center, Kozova, "Roman" organized a night attach on the center, with the aim of liberating Ukrainians who were gathered there for transport to Siberia. however, the attack was unsuccessful, for the Soviets were aided by reinforcements form other centers. During the battalion's retreat, "Roman" was wounded. The battalion headed westward, seeking out more wooded terrain. Near the village of Tseniv, the battalion clashed with NKVD troops which were making raids in the area. During that battle, the wounded battalion commander was almost captured.
At this time, many men who did not wish to enter the Red Army were volunteering for the UPA. Battalion commander "Roman" ordered the creation of new companies, commanded by platoon leaders "Dovbush", "Ren", and the author. the new companies set up camp to undergo training in a forest near the village of Stratym, alongside trained companies of "Burlaky" commanded by "Chornyi", and "Poltavtsi" commanded by "Maksym". However, the training did not last for long. The new recruits' camp was attacked by NKVD troops. Although the recruits managed to repel the NKVD's day attacks, at night, when they were breaking out of the encirclement, they fell into a panic and many of them fled homeward. Later, commander O. Poliovyi arrived to inspect the battalion. he ordered that the untrained recruits be sent home and the company undergo a reorganization. he also relived "Roman" from the post of battalion, commander, for the company commanders had complained that he was unable to cope with command of the battalion. Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastryb") was named in "Roman's" place. He was a former lieutenant of the Red Army who had already gained renown through the countless battles of his UPA company "Siromantsi" against the Germans and the Soviets. During the time when this reorganization was taking place, the author was not with the battalion, for he was undergoing medical treatment in the village of Dibryniv.
When the author rejoined the battalion, Karpenko designated hem assistant company commander of the "Burlaky" company, which was commanded by "Chornyi". The other companies that made up the battalion were: "Plitavtsi", which was commanded by "Maksym", "Siromantsi", which was commanded by "Kosach", "Lisovyky", which was commanded by "Koka", and a company commanded by "Dovbnia". The author provides interesting sketches of the new companies and their officers, and speaks of other events involving the battalion. On September 30, 1944, while the battalion was quartered in a forest neat the village of Univ, Peremyshlany district, it was attacked by NKVD troops. he author gives quite a detailed description of the ensuing battle, in which the Soviets used tanks and planes. The battalion withstood a day-long attack and at night broke out of its encirclement. The following day, the Soviets discovered the battalion in the forest near the village of Piatynia and again tried to crush it. Again, at night, the battalion broke out of its encirclement and as it moved covered up its tracks so that the Soviets were unable to find it another time.
Following that battle, the Supreme commander of the UPA, General Roman Shukhevych ("Taras Chuprynka"), accompanied by O. Poliovyi and other officers, came to inspect the battalion. During a meeting of the officers, the new tactics of the UPA were discussed. In future, the operative units of the UPA were to be UPA companies, which were each act independently. Each company was to have designated its own territory, within which the soldiers were to build bunkers in which they would hide away during major raids by NKVD troops. The companies were to put heave weapons into storage and disband their camps, in order to become more mobile and less dependent of roads. The author's company, "Burlaky", was assigned as its territory the former Ternopil county, which under Soviet administration had been divided into four districts.
In October, 1944, "Burlaky" company moved to Ternopil county. There were few forests there, so it would have been difficult for the men to operate as a company, especially during the winter. For that reason, company commander "Chornyi" immediately assigned each platoon to a different district and sent the soldiers off to villages in order to build their bunkers and get to know the terrain. once the soldiers were "settled in", "Chornyi" organized ambushed and incursions on garrisons of the NKVD, who were treating the population in a very high-handed manner. Once they learned about the presence of the UPA, the Soviet administrators and the NKVD toned down their behavior. But during the winter, the soviets strengthened the NKVD garrisons in the district and began again to make raids into the forests and villages. However, they did not have and major successes. In the spring, two squadron of "Burlaky" company clashed with a platoon of NKVD troops in the village of Ostaltsi; during the skirmish, sixteen insurgents were killed, among them the company political instructor, "Granit". Otherwise, the insurgents managed to avoid clashing with the Soviets, or broke out of encirclements with only minor losses. But small units of the company executed a whole series of successful ambushed and attacks on the NKVD. The most important of these was the attack carried out on January 21, 1945, on the district center of Holubichok Velykyi, in which "Burlaky" members destroyed all enemy establishments and took away pharmaceutical supplies and other goods. The author provides quiet detailed descriptions of a number of skirmishes with the enemy, his varied experiences and the general situation prevailing in the villages.
During the summer of 1945, a new order was issued regarding another change in the tactics of the battle of the Ukrainian resistance, brought about as a result of the end of the second World War. it was decided that the struggle would be continued by way of a secret armed underground. The battle units of the UPA were to be gradually "demobilized", and the struggle would be carried on be small battle groups and a highly-secret, armed organization. Everyone who was able, especially ill or wounded UPA soldiers and underground members, were to resume civil life. The author describes the moods and feelings of that period and speaks about the first such "demobilization". At that time, he became acquainted with a fellow-countryman, Lieutenant Ivan Kediulych ("Shubchyk"), a member of the UPA Supreme Military Staff. The two decided to leave the UPA and cross over to their home territory, Transcarpathia, in order to join the local underground there or resume civil life, or, of that proved impossible, to emigrate.
In September, 1945, the author was assigned to a group led by Kost Himmelreich ("Shelest", "Kyi") who until that time had been the commander of the UPA units from central Ukraine and was now also heading westward. The group was made up of about the equivalent of a platoon of soldiers. The author provides quite a detailed description of the group's travels through Stanyslaviv (now Ivano-Frankivsk) oblast, Transcarpathia and Hungary. Along the way, some of the soldiers those who were heading in different directions, left the group. In Transcarpathia, Himmelreich divided the group into smaller units, each of which was to go on independently. the author was in the unit with Himmelreich engineer "Iura" and the chemist "Vlodko". However, while in Hungary, he hot into a disagreement with Himmelreich and decided to continue alone, through Czechoslovakia. He traveled first on foot, them by train, and before the end of 1945, reached the American zone in Germany. In the last chapter of his memoir, he author describes his experiences in Germany, until his departure from there to work in the coal mines of England, where he lives to this day.
Page 208. 'Zhur': Report about the Zalozhitsi district
This report was prepared for the intelligence of the Ukrainian armed resistance in October, 1946. The author of the report was an employee of the district administration of Zoologist, Ternopil; oblast, in 1944-46. His report contains mush information about the functioning of the Soviet administration. Describing each office individually, the author writes of the responsibilities, organization and methods of action of 331 government offices. He also provides sketches of the directors of the offices and gives examples of their activities, often focusing on the oddities of Soviet administration.
The Zalozhtsi district encompassed about half of the former Zboriv county (which existed until 1939). It included 38 villages. The previous Polish county administration had numbered about 40 officials, including the police. The Soviet district administration numbered more than 300 officials, not counting the police or the army. The great majority of the Soviet officials had been sent from the east and more than half of them were non-Ukrainians. With a few exceptions, local people served only as lowly technical workers. This powerful bureaucratic apparatus attempted to fully control all the political, economic and cultural life of the district. In accordance with the demands of this apparatus, local village administrations also each had several permanent employees.
A characteristic feature of the Soviet administration was the overlapping of the functions of individual offices, in order to make it possible for one office to control the other. For example, although officially the district was administered by the supposedly-elected district executive committee, above the committee stood the district party committee, which fulfilled the same administrative functions, or rather, controlled the work of the executive committee. Additional functions of control over the district were carried out by the prosecutor's office and the political police, the KGB and the NKVD. Similarly, other officers, which had narrowed functions, also controlled each other. Control was exercised over even the most minor details. For example, the prosecutor would secretly go to places of work in the morning to personally check whether employees were coming to work on time. Village administrations were obliged to prepare detailed daily reports for district offices about the agricultural work done in the village: sowing, weeding of fields, hay cutting, harvesting, threshing of grain, delivery of quotas and so on. The district offices, in their turn, reported on these matters to the provincial administration. Should something somewhere not be done as required, the response would be the arrival of the district militia commander and the beginning of repressions.
The author devotes the greatest amount of space in his report to discussion of the economic exploitation and terrorization of the population by the high-handed Soviet administrators. As the Soviet officials were paid very badly, they compensated for this by plundering the population and abusing them in every way. The author vividly depicts the difficult situation of the people in the villages. Excessively high quotas were imposed on them for agricultural products: grain, vegetables, fruit, meat, milk, eggs and so on. After meeting these quotas, families were left without even minimal supplies for themselves. Anyone who failed to meet the quotas was punished with fines of up to 10,000 rubles, to the confiscation of all his property and deportation to Siberia. If he failed to pay the fine, the finance department took all his goods - cattle, household belongings, clothing and anything else that had any value. Officials would even tear the tin from the house roofs and later sell it at speculative prices. Yet another method of plundering villagers of products, as contributions to the army, the war and other causes. The people could get very few manufactured goods, and such essential items as salt, kerosene, and soap could be obtained only in exchange for agricultural products. In addition, the villagers were obligated to give their labor to the government for free or for pennies, cutting wood, repairing roads, transporting freight, refurbishing buildings and so on. The Soviet bureaucrats made profits on confiscated goods, for everything of value they divided up amongst themselves, like thieves. Similarly, they took for themselves all the better products that came into the district along the commercial distribution network. Some officials, such as the party secretary and the head of the NKVD, held collections of food in the villages of their workers; the terrorized villages had to contribute if they wished to avoid retribution. In a similar situation as the villagers lived workers and minor government employees. They, too, were terrorized, and were paid very little; meanwhile, essential products were extremely scarce in the stores and speculative prices of such goods on the black market were very high. After two years of Soviet rule, the whole population was plunged into the depths of poverty, for worse event than what prevailed during the German occupation.
At least some restraint was placed on the activities of the Soviet administration in the district by the obvious presence of the Ukrainian armed underground. (There were no permanent UPA units there because of the lack of large forests for cover). Between August, 1944 and February 1, 1945, 23 leading Soviet personnel were killed in the district by the underground; these included 16 party and Komsomol members and seven local activists. Although the activities of the underground helped to temper the behavior of many bureaucrats, there were some who became fierce opponents of the underground. Often, panic would spread through the district at the news that UPA units had been spotted nearby. At the orders of the party, all male workers of the district administration belonged to the "destroyers' battalion", which was organized to fight the underground. Along with the police, the government wielders took part in operations against the underground, collections of quotas, confiscations of goods, deportations to Siberia and so on. In this way, they were exposed to danger and made more loyal to the regime. Anyone caught assisting the underground was sent to a concentration camp and his family was deported to Siberia. In spite of these brutal punishments, however, the population supported the underground.
Page 230. Platoon leader 'Chornomorets': The 'Trembita' company
This account paints a brief history of one of the first UPA-West companies, "Trembita", which served as a school for cadres of later UPA units. The company was created in August, 1943, out of two platoons from Ternopil oblast and one platoon from Lviv oblast. Its members underwent military training in the Carpathian Mountains as part of "Tyhry" battalion later known as "Haidamaky". In the spring of 1944, "Trembita" company was disbanded and its soldiers entered units of UPA's "Lysonia" (Ternopil oblast) and "Buh" (Lviv oblast) Military Regions. To protect members of his family still living in the USSR, the author of this account does not give his real name. He was born in the Carpathians and from 1941-43 was active in the OUN in Central Ukraine. In July, 1943, he joined "Trembita" company, and later was a member of the UPA company led by "Brodiaha". In that company he was, first, a private, them squad leader, warrant officer, and finally, platoon leader. In the fall of 1944 he was captured by the Soviets in Poland and sentenced to 25 years in a concentration camp. He was freed in 1956 and went to Poland, from where he later emigrated to the United States.
In July, 1943, the author went to Ternopil oblast to join fellow OUN activists, with whose help he wanted to enter the UPA in Volyn. Just at that time the local OUN was seeking volunteers for the first UPA units being established in the Carpathians. To hide their true identity from the Germans, the units were named the Ukrainian People's Self-defense (UNS). The author volunteered for the UNS. On August 5, 1943, 37 armed volunteers gathered in the village of Bohatkivsi in Berezhany county in the Carpathians, to the assembly point of the UNS company "Trembita". Others arrived to the same spot: a platoon from Lviv oblast, led by "Brodiaha"; a platoon from Ternopil oblast, led by "Orikh"; company commander "Chornobrybyi"; "Bohdan", a Jewish physician; and some local soldiers who came for purposes of liaison and reconnaissance. The company was quartered in barracks built by the local OUN network at the foot of Mount Stolba, 15 kilometers south of the town of Dolyna.
Company commander "Shornobryvyi" reorganized the company and began military training. The author began as a private, for he had never completed military training. Later, he was named squad leader, them company warrant officer and platoon leader. The author gives us a detailed description of the organization of the company, life in the camp and the course of training and provides sketches of the officers and non-commissioned officers. The commanders of the company had undergone training and gained battle experience in a number of different armies. For example, company commander "Chornobryvyi" had been a lieutenant in the Polish army; the platoon leader of the second platoon, "Pertenko", a lieutenant in the Red Army; the leader of the first platoon, "Brodiaha", a non-commissioned officer in the German army; and the leader of the third platoon, "Kalynovych", a non-commissioned officer in the Polish army. Equally diverse were the backgrounds of basic training, and them training as non-commissioned officer.
At the end of September, the Germans learned where the "Trembita" camp was located and sent two battalions of the Bavarian mountain Schutzpolizei against the company. However, the company found out in advance about the Germans' plans and prepared for defense. On September 27, the company withstood an attack by the Schutzpolizei that lasted almost a full day, them retreated into the depths of the Carpathian forests. During the battle, only one soldier from the company was wounded, while the Germans had over a dozen killed, among them the major was commanding the operation. The insurgents were led in the battle by platoon leader "Brodiaha", because company commander "Chornobryvyi" was ill. The author gives a detailed description of the battle and the retreat of "Trembita" company.
On the following day, "Petrenko's" platoon carried out an ambush on a Schutzpolizei battalion that was heading for Dolyna by narrow gauge railroad. The battalion was completely routed: about 200 Germans were killed and many were wounded. Although the author did not take part in the ambush, he describes it in detail, basing himself on accounts of participants.
During the time of these German operations, "Trembita" company stayed for a short time in the camp of another UNS company, "Siromantsi", at the foot of Mount Syvulia. "Siromantsi" was commanded by Dmytro Karpenko ("Iastrub"), a former lieutenant of the Red Army. He later gained renown in numerous battled with Germans and the NKVD and become commander of the UPA battalion. The author describes "Trembita" company's stay in the camp of "Siromantsi" and provides some sketched of "Siromantsi" officers and soldiers.
As a result of his success in leading the battles against the Germans, "Brodianga" was named commander of "Trembita" company. He reorganized the staff and named the author leader of the first platoon. The company continued its training until November 1, 1943. On that day, the anniversary of the establishment of the Western Ukrainian national Republic, an oath-taking ceremony took place. Several people arrived to take part on the ceremony, Captain Vasyl Sydor ("Shelest"), who would later by commander of UPA-West, and Iaroslav Melnyk ("Robert"), OUN leader of Stanyslaviv oblast. The author gives a detailed description of the ceremony.
After the oath-taking, "Trembita" company moved from the Carpathian to the western part of Lviv oblast, where it was broken up and its men quartered in Novosilky, Liashky and Tuchapy, Ianvoriv county. They were to spend the winter underground and continue their training. However, at the beginning of February, 1944, the company was ordered to move to Sokal county, where it was disbanded. Its members were sent as non-commissioned officers to UPA companies that were just being formed, or as cadres to new UPA companies.
Page 240. 'Zbruchanskyi': My brief experience in the UPA
The author of this personal account writes about the brief period he spent in the Volyn UPA company led by "Topolia" during the spring of 1944. At that time, "Topolia's" company and the company led by "Bystryi" found themselves operating inside the Soviet battle zone in the Pidvolochyska district of Ternopil oblast. Although the area lacked forest cover and the Soviet military presence was strong, these companies attracted a large number of volunteers. The commanders tried to take the new recruits out by night into more thickly wooded territory in Volyn, behind the Soviet lines, where they could be given military training. However, in the Liubianskyi forest on the Volyn border the insurgents were obliged to do battle with the Red Army, in which the UPA sustained serious losses. the author does not tell us the outcome of the battle, because during the fighting he became separated from his company. However, his account is valuable because it provides information about events taking place during this time behind the front lines, about which no other documentation exists in the West. Here, them is a brief resume of his account.
In mid-March, 1944, the author's village of Rozhyska in the Pedvolochyska district fell for the second time under Soviet occupation. No one from the village joined the Red Army, in spite of pressure from the Soviet administration and the campaigns by the NKVD to round up able-bodied men. the villager his out wherever they could and the police round-ups had little success. The resistance by the inhabitants of the village to Soviet forcible mobilization was directed by the OUN, which had a well-organized armed underground.
On June 1, the local OUN leadership announced that volunteers were being sought to enter the UPA. About 40 men from the village came forward; among them was the author of this account. The volunteers, who brought their own infantry weapons and other battle equipment, went off to the Medobory forest in the Skalat district. There they joined the companies led by "Topolia" and "Bystryi" and with them, moved further northward. The next day there was a welcoming ceremony for the new recruits. Those who were sick or poorly dressed or armed were sent back home by the commanders of the companies. At this time, the two companies numbered about 500 soldiers, of whom about half were untrained recruits. Most of the soldiers were wearing Soviet uniforms, which they had taken two days earlier during a skirmish near the village of Kalaharivka. The companies had about 30 wagons of supplies and equipment; with them were also a few women, who were serving as nurses and doing reconnaissance.
The author stayed with his company for only three days. The night after the welcome, the companies crossed the main Pidvolochyska-Ternopil road; this was not easy, for many Soviet troops were traveling along that road. The insurgents spent the following day in the village of Korshylivka. They were in a state of great tension, for the area was unforested and many Soviets were present in neighboring villages. The author tells us what measures the UPA companies took to protect themselves and to get through the day. some shooting took place in the village, for a soviet heavy truck drive in and did not want to stop. However, the presence of the insurgents was not uncovered, and at night they moved further north to the Liubianskyi forest in the Zbarazh district. The next morning, they came upon a Soviet supply column and a battle began which, with some interruptions, lasted almost the whole day in different parts of the forest.
The author's squadron was assigned patrol duty and thus did not take part in the early stages of the battles. later, it tried to rejoin the companies, but came upon the Soviets and broke up into smaller groups. The author was left with three other soldiers, of whom two were men from his village. As the Soviets advanced, they escaped into some fields and hid in the grain until nightfall. They decided during the night to try to get home. However, in the NKVD district prison in Nove Selo. They did not reveal that they were UPA members and were placed by the Soviets in the Red Army. With the Red Army, they went to Germany. From there, the author escaped to the West, while his companions were killed in the battles for Berlin.
Page 249. Andriy Halaibida ('Bir'): Memoirs of a local underground leader of the village of Siltse
The author of this account was the local leader of the underground, in the village of Siltse Bozhykivske, Pidhaitsi county, in 1942-44, just at the time when the Ukrainian armed anti-German resistance was gaining momentum. The village is close to thick forests and was quite distant from German administrative centers; for that reason, it became an important center of underground activity and a center of supply for UPA units, which were quartered in the neighboring forests. The author tells us what was happening in his village during these troubled times. The account is valuable because it describes the work of the Ukrainian underground at the lowest level of underground administration.
The author begins with a brief description of his activity up to the middle of 1942. Right from his youth he was involved actively with the OUN. In 1942, he became a local OUN leader. At this time, the OUN's activity increased significantly and the organization prepared for armed battle with the Germans. Military training was introduced for youth; underground activists arrived in the villages and they had to be provided safe places to stay and conducted from one hiding place to another. This part of the underground's work increased particularly in 1943, when the UPA made its appearance in Volyn. Volunteers were sent at that time to join the UPA, and later some were sent out to the Carpathian Mountains to join the Ukrainian People's Self-defense (UNS), the name under which, for purposes of disguise, the UPA operated in Halychyna.
The first armed unit to appear in the author's county was a battle group led by "Kok", who came from the neighboring village of Slaviatyn. It became active in 1942 and consisted at first of a single squad, then, of a platoon; when necessary, it took on additional volunteers and grew into a company. During the summer, "Kok's" unit struck several German-run estates and took cattle and grain to provide food for the underground. A smokehouse was established by the author in his village and there all kinds of meat products were turned out, both for immediate consumption and for storage. Later, two butchers and several assistants were permanently employed in the smokehouse. The village also became the site of a hospital for wounded and sick underground members.
During the fall of 1943, "Kok's" platoon became a company, and two more UPA companies were organized, commanded by "Chornyi" and "Voron". These companies quartered in forests near the village of Siltse, so the task of supplying them with food fell to the author. At the same time, many activists, who held various posts in the underground administration, arrived to stay in the village. The author describes in detail how the supplying of the UPA units was organized and other underground work carried out. He also tells us what was happening in the area around the village at this time; for example, he describes battles of UPA units with Germans and with Soviet partisans.
In the spring of 1944, the German-Soviet front moved close to the author's village. Shortly after that, German reserved units arrived and quartered in the village. The UPA units moved further west, behind the German lines, and the underground activists who had been staying in the village moves to other villages. In spite of the danger, the author remained in his village for some time. Ten he signed up for the "Halychyna" Division and traveled to Lviv with legal documents. Just at that time the front moved to the Vistula River in Poland. The author finally ended up in the West with other refugees.
Page 260. Petro Kuzma ('Kamin'): My work in the underground at the time of the formation of the UPA
The author came from a poor family in the village of Pleskivtsi, Ternopil county. Even as a youth, he belonged to the OUN; during the German occupation, he entered the Ukrainian armed resistance. After the return of the Soviets to the area, he was arrested by the NKVD and sent to a concentration camp in Saratov, on the River Volga. After his trial, he was entered into the "punitive" battalion of the Red Army and sent to the Baltic front. He escaped from the army into Poland, them eventually to Denmark, where he still lives today. In this personal account, he describes his activities in the underground, particularly during the years 1943-44, when he was an active member of the anti-German armed resistance.
The account begins with a brief description of the first Soviet occupation of 1939-41. At the beginning, the Soviets distributed the lands of large landowners to poor villagers, but a year later they began to impose heavy taxes in the form of product quotas on the villagers and to force them into collective farms. At the same time, they started to arrest nationally-conscious villagers and depart whole families to Siberia. Adding to the general misery was the lack of such essential goods as salt, kerosene, soap and clothing. At this time, the author joined the OUN, which was them very active. Many OUN activists had managed to avoid arrest by the NKVD and went underground. The local villagers did not want to join collective farms and they supported the OUN actions, which led to even greater repression by the NKVD. This tense situation was interrupted by the breakout of war between the Soviets and the Germans and the arrival of the Germans in the summer of 1941.
The local population and the OUN activists pinned high hopes on the German-Soviet war, believing that it would not only free them from the soviets, but also create conditions for the revival of an independent Ukrainian state. However, the German turned out to be just another occupying power, not much different from the USSR. The OUN made use of the period of the war for collecting weapons and other military equipment left behind by the retreating Soviet army. During the first phase of German occupation, the activity of the OUN declined, increasing again only after the middle of 1942, because of the Germans' plunder of the villagers and increasing police terror. In 1943, after the formation of the UPA in Volyn, the OUN began to prepare for similar armed activity in Halychyna (Galicia).
The author provides a lot of information about his village and the surrounding area and his activities during these years. During the first Soviet occupation, he served as an OUN courier, carrying mail to neighboring villages and acting as a guide for members of the underground. During the retreat of the Red Army, local OUN activists made plans to attack the district center of Velykyi Hlybichok. However, the NKVD learned of their plans and routed the activists in the Holosiyivskyi forest. Nevertheless, village OUN battle groups continued to disarm small groups of Red Army soldiers. The Germans arrived and, immediately after arresting the members of Ia Stetsko's newly-created government in Lviv, turned against the OUN. During this period, the author was occupied with the storage of captured Soviet weapons, trying to keep them from rusting or falling into German hands. In 1942, he became a youth organizer in his village, directing military and political training. During the summer of 1943, he volunteered for the UPA in Volyn. However, there were too many volunteers and the sub-district OUN leader, Hrytsko Tsviakh, asked him to continue his work in the underground. At that time, the OUN had built up its underground administration and was preparing for armed battle. the author was charged with such duties as collecting supplies from the local populace, building underground warehouses and hiding places, directing liaison between underground members and others.
According to the author, the fall of 1943 saw the beginning of large-scale anti-German action in the northern part of Ternopil oblast. The direct impetus to this action was the arrival in wooded area of the region of Soviet paratroopers and remaining members of Kovpak's detachment, who were returning from the Carpathian Mountains. the Soviet launched some attacks on German strongholds, but, in most cases, concentrated on robbing villagers, capturing OUN couriers, and , in general, hunting for OUN activists in the villages. In response, the OUN organized self-defense units in the villages to battle the Soviet paratroopers. After a time, the Soviets left and the OUN's battle groups turned against the Germans. Masking themselves as Soviet paratroopers, they carried out such actions as attacking German-controlled estates and other institutions and disarming German soldiers along roads. The author himself took part in several such operations; he describes these as well as some other that he was told about by participants. The aim of these operations was to shake the German administration and to secure weapons, military equipment and food.
During the fall of 1943, the first local UPA units were created. The author did not know very much about them , for the insurgents were encamped in larger forests, about 30 kilometers to the west of his area of activity. However, he provides a detailed description of the underground hospital that was organized in his village. The nurses were village girls who had undergone a short period of training. There was no doctor; only a dentist came by for visits. He was a Jew who was living in hiding with his family in a neighboring village.
During the winter of 1943-44, German troops quartered in the author's district. They were preparing a line of defense along the Seret River. Among the Germans were many soldiers from Vlasov's army, form whom the underground was able to secure a lot of weapons and ammunition in exchange for home brew and pork fat. In mid-March, 1944, the village in which the author was staying was taken by the Soviets. They quartered there for quite some time, for it was only them kilometers from the front. The author hid out in an underground bunker; nevertheless, in April, he was captured by the NKVD.
In addition to describing his own experiences, the author also provides information he has gathered about the UPA and armed underground activities that took place in his district in later years. Some members of the underground remained active there until 1956, when they came forward for the Soviet amnesty. Later, however, all these people "disappeared"; in other words, the KGB secretly did away with them.