The present collection, The UPA’s Military Okruha “Lysonia”: Documents and Materials, 1943–1952, features instructions, orders, directives, reports, and correspondence, which contain data on the activities of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army on the territory of today’s Ternopil’ oblast and adjacent areas.
The volume includes an archeographic introduction, a brief overview of the activities of VO (MIlitary Okruha) “Lysonia”, documents, materials and addenda. The documents and materials published here are grouped in the following thematic chapters: 1) orders and instructions of the command staff; 2) reporting and informational documents of the command staff; 3)individual subunits; 4) the Organizational and Mobilizational (military) Section of the OUN; 5) documents pertaining to the activities of VO “Lysonia”. These documents and materials are grouped according to type, appurtenance or localization.
The collections of the following archives were used in the preparation of the volume: the Central State Archive of the Highest Organs of Government and Administration of Ukraine (TsDAVO Ukrainy), the State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine (HDA SBU Ukrainy), the archive of the Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in Ternopil’ oblast (USBU Ternopil’ oblast), and the State Archive of Ternopil’ Oblast (DATO). Some documents and materials are from the Mykola Lebed’ Collection stored at the archive of the Centre for Research on the Liberation Movement (TsDVR). Some materials are reprints of underground publications. Each document has been identified according to the relevant fond, list, file, and folio. The main principle governing the selection process was the fullest possible presentation of documents and materials for a fitting and multifaceted elucidation of the UPA’s activities on the territory of VO “Lysonia.”
It should be noted that until the recent past documents pertaining to the UPA were practically not published, and the preponderant majority of those that have appeared concern the territorial network of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). For example, Volodymyr Serhiichuk1 published a number of underground reports that were produced in Ternopil oblast/Podillia Krai of the OUN2, and Nestor Myzak3 published archival materials from the OUN’s Borshchiv raion,4 whose provenance may be traced to an archive that was discovered in the village of Babyntsi in Borshchiv raion. Documents and materials pertaining to underground activities in the Ternopil’ region are featured in a number of volumes of the Main Series of Litopys Ukrains’koi Povstans’koi Armii (abbr.: Litopys UPA). The activities of the Security Service (SB) Section in the krai are reflected in volumes 43, 44, and 46, and of the underground network, in volumes 11, 49, and 50 of this series.5 Volumes 8 and 186 of the New Series of Litopys UPA contain a substantial number of reports on the socioeconomic situation and the activities of insurgent subunits in the OUN’s Kam’ianets’-Podil’s’ka okruha.7
Individual documents and materials generated by UPA subunits and the military headquarters of VO “Lysonia,”8 published in volume 12 of the Main Series of Litopys UPA, pertain to the activities of this military okruha,9 as do volumes 46 and 49 in this series, and in volumes 1210 and 18 of the New Series of Litopys UPA. Brief biographical data on a substantial number of the soldiers, non-commissioned officers, and officers of VO “Lysonia” and the armed underground of Ternopil’ okruha are published in volume 11 of Litopys UPA.11
For the longest time information on the raids and battles fought by “Siromantsi” Company in the 1940s did not disappear from the pages of underground newspapers and journals.12
Data on the activities of VO “Lysonia” are also featured in a number of other volumes of this publication.13 In particular, a considerable number of documents produced by Soviet government bodies and directorates are published in volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 714 of the New Series of Litopys UPA, while volumes 9 and 1515 of this series contain extracts from archival criminal files that were opened on members of the OUN and the UPA who were arrested and convicted by the organs of Soviet power. It goes without saying that the documents and materials on the Ternopil’ region published in these volumes are valuable historical sources for the study of the functioning of the OUN underground movement and the activities of UPA subunits. However, the data listed in Soviet party and state reports and documents are not always reliable, and they contain major inaccuracies and exaggerations. For example, in a document published in the New Series of Litopys UPA, the secretary of the Ternopil’ oblast committee of the CP(B)U, I. Kompanets’, presenting data on insurgent activities on the territory of Ternopil’ oblast, sent the following report dated 29 August 1944 to the CC CP(B)U: “On 19 August 1944 bandits, storming into the village of Hnyl’che, Pidhaitsi raion, in the daytime, suggested that all the Ukrainians should leave for the forest (only Poles remained), and during the night of 20 August 1944 bandits fired on the village with machine guns; as a result of the firing, the remaining population (Poles) scattered, the bandits looted the entire village and then burned it down.”16 But, according to the reminiscences of local residents and research on this incident by the regional historians Ivan Smikh and Vasyl’ Savchuk, the operation was carried out by a subunit of the Polish militia (so-called “strybky,” members of an extermination squad) from the village of Panovychi, which was in the service of the Soviet government. In point of fact, it was the Ukrainian residents of this village who were massacred and their homesteads destroyed.17
By now, a significant number of reminiscences supplementing the contents of the above-mentioned documents on the activities of VO “Lysonia” have been published. The most important memoirs are by Mykhailo Nebola, commander of “Holky” Company18; Kostiantyn Himmel’raikh, commander of “Kyi’s” Company19; Ivan Shvak-“Orlyk,” pharmacist of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Chortkiv okruha20; Illia Oberyshyn-“Stets’ko,” nadraion leader of Skalat (Zbarazh)21; Bohdan Dopira-“Tsiapka,” rifleman, “Siromantsi” Company22; Petro Kekish-“Roman,” radio operator of a VO detachment23; Mykola Klishch-“Yar,” squad leader of “Rubachi” Company24; Oleksii Trach-“Pidkova,” machine gunner of “Poltavtsi” Company25; Mykhailo Kovba-“Lysko,” courier of the Chortkiv-Berezhany okruha26; Bohdan Mykhal’chuk-“Mak,” an insurgent from the Chortkiv area27; Mykhailo Buhera-“Karpo,” rifleman, “Chornomortsi” Company28; and others.
Also worth mentioning are the memoirs of the commander of VO “Lysonia,” First Lieutenant Omelian Poliovyi-“Ostap,” which have never been systematized and published. A conversation with Poliovyi about the main stepping-stones of his life, recorded by Petro Kekish-“Roman,” was eventually published in his book of memoirs. Overseas, this information was highlighted in an article by Stepan Goliash.29 Members of the editorial board of the oblast-based Book of Memory published only a handful of fragments from the commander’s memoirs.30 Poliovyi offered the most reliable information on his activities in the OUN and the UPA to the journalist H. Hreshchuk, who published an article based on these data.31
UPA activities in the Ternopil’ region have not been adequately researched. Publications on this subject are mostly the work of regional historians. However, they do not cover the entire territory of activities of VO “Lysonia,” but pertain to individual areas. Nestor Myzak has described the activities of the OUN underground and UPA subunits in Borshchiv, Chortkiv, Zalishchyky, and Buchach counties of Kozova raion,32 and in collaboration with Vasyl’ Horbatiuk, has written about OUN and UPA activities in the Kam’ianets’-Podil’s’kyi region.33 On the basis of documents stored in the archives of the Soviet secret services, Iuliia Poliova has examined the activities of Kam’ianets’-Podil’s’ka okruha in the early 1950s.34 The Ukrainian underground in Vinnytsia oblast in the 1940s and 1950s is examined in the collective work of Vasyl’ Huryn, Kostiantyn Zavaliuk, Oleksandr Petrenko, and T. Stetsiuk.35 Bohdan Savka highlights the activities of the Ukrainian underground in the Chortkiv and Kopychyntsi areas.36 Vasyl’ Burtnyk has published an outline of the national liberation struggle in the former county of Terebovlia.37 Petro Tvardovs’kyi examines OUN and UPA activities in the Pidhaitsi and Berezhany areas.38 The insurgent struggle on the border between Halychyna (Galicia) and Volyn’, specifically the intersection of Zboriv,39 Brody, and Zolochiv counties is the subject of an article by Stepan Goliash.40 The insurgent movement in the Rohatyn area is examined in a work by Vasyl’ Mel’nyk41 and in a number of articles published in the 1990s and 2000s in the newspaper Povstanets’ (The Insurgent), the mouthpiece of the Rohatyn raion board of the Brotherhood of the OUN and UPA. Roman Pasternak examines OUN and UPA activities in the Peremyshliany area.42 Volodymyr Khanas, Mykhailo Khanas, I. Ternopil’s’kyi, and others43 have published articles on the activities of Ukrainian insurgents in the Ternopil’ and Skalat areas. Also worth noting is an essay on the OUN’s Ternopil’ okruha by Ievhen Shtendera,44 which traces the early developmental stages of UPA subunits, as well as their activities and eventual disbandment.
Thanks to the support of the Ternopil’ oblast council and administration, Volodymyr Pukach and Ihor Oleshchuk published a popular book about the UPA in Ternopil’ oblast, which was aimed at a wide readership.45 Using archival materials, the writer Oleksandr Esaulov wrote a novel about the national liberation struggle on the territory of Ternopil’ oblast.46
The armed conflict between the Ukrainian and Polish undergrounds, specifically the UPA and the AK, on the territory of VO “Lysonia” has been studied by the researchers O. Haidai, Bohdan Khavarivs’kyi, Volodymyr Khanas, Serhii Tkachov, Grzegorz Motyka, Ihor Il’iushyn, and Volodymyr V’iatrovych.47 The latter edited and published a two-volume collection of documents of the Ukrainian underground on Polish-Ukrainian relations during the Second Polish-Ukrainian War. Many of these documents and materials are extracts of reports on the Ternopil’ region prepared by the UPA and the OUN underground.48
Units of VO “Lysonia,” which were comprised of former soldiers of the DUN (Legion of Ukrainian Nationalists), Galicia Division, and other Ukrainian subunits of the German army, are discussed in the works of Nestor Myzak, Myroslav Kal’ba, Roman Kolisnyk, and Andrii Bolianovs’kyi.49
The last several years have seen the publication of a number of biographical sketches of UPA commanders and OUN leaders who operated in the Ternopil’ region. Sketches devoted to the following figures deserve mention: Omelian Poliovyi-“Ostap”50; Petro Khamchuk-“Bystryi”51; Vasyl’ Shepeta-“Chornyi”52; Halyna Dydyk-“Anna”53; Yaroslav Pochyhailo-“Kruk”-“Boiaryn” and Pavlo Myhal’-“Yar”54; Hryhorii Goliash-“Bei”-“Bul’ba”55; Volodymyr Zobkiv-“Kosa”56; Stepan Koval’-“Kosach”57; Oleksii Domchuk-“Petrenko”58; Osyp Bezpal’ko-“Ostap,”59 and others.
Questions pertaining to the detailed study of the activities of VO “Lysonia” have been addressed in the works of the UPA historians Lev Shankovs’kyi,60 Ievhen Shtendera,61 and Petro Sodol’.62 The latter’s work, in particular, contains a list of commanders ranging from platoon leaders and personal bodyguards of UPA companies to top-ranking leaders of the underground in the territory; concise biographical data on the staff members of the VO’s military headquarters and commanders of tactical sectors and battalions; a list of publications issued by underground printing houses in the VO (periodical publications and brochures); and information on the structure of the VO during various periods of its operations.
In Soviet historiography, the Ukrainian people’s national liberation struggle in the Ternopil’ region in the 1940s–1950s is examined only episodically, and such works contain provocative and false information ripped out of context from documents pertaining to the military activities of UPA subunits and the OUN underground.63
In the form of general monographs on the history of the OUN and the UPA, The historians Anatolii Kentii, Yurii Kyrychuk, Mykola Lebed’, Petro Mirchuk, Anatolii Rusnachenko, Serhii Tkachenko, Lev Shankovs’kyi, Nestor Myzak, and other researchers have published general monographs on the history of OUN and the UPA, which examine the military activities of UPA units in VO “Lysonia,” but not in any concerted fashion..64
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This collection of documents and materials contains a brief overview of the UPA’s VO “Lysonia.” Focused on the creation, development, and activities of units attached to the Third Military Okruha, it describes the processes governing the acceleration of the activities of the OUN’s military network and the period in which the first subunits of the UNS (Ukrainian People’s Self-Defence) and the UPA were created in Ternopil’ oblast, and the VO’s period of operations from 1943 to 1952.
The first thematic chapter sheds light on the various directions of the activities of VO “Lysonia’s” leadership. It contains the orders issued by the commander and the military headquarters between 1944 and 1950, which pertain to the diverse activities of the UPA on the territory of the military okruha. It should be noted that orders and instructions dating from the second half of 1946 to 1950 mostly concern awards and nominations issued to riflemen, non-commissioned officers, and officers attached to VO “Lysonia.”
The documents of the Political Training (V²) Department of the VShVO (Military Headquarters of the Military Okruha) included the “Program of Political Instruction for UPA and UNS Fighters,”65 which contains an order issued to political instructors of units to develop topics of talks together with riflemen.
The “Instruction on the Work of Political Instructors in UPA Units,” dated 3 June 1946 and signed by the head of the (V²) Department of the VShVO, “Bohdanovych” (Iliarii Skazins’kyi), lists the principles and methods for conducting training and educational work among riflemen in units and carrying out propaganda work among the population.
Chapter 3 features publications and reports issued by the headquarters of VO “Lysonia” signed by “Stepanovych,” the commander of the VO, and “Stryis’kyi,” the chief of the VShVO. Also included are report-type materials of the VO headquarters, such as a “Description of UPA Units’ Battles against NKVD Troops on the Territory of the Ternopil’ Region,” “Brief Descriptions of UPA Battles,” and other documents that illuminate the period of the greatest activity of UPA units between late 1943 and August 1945. First and foremost, they contain information about armed clashes, larger battles, raids, and other military operations undertaken by individual subunits attached to VO “Lysonia.” The document “Brief Descriptions” was published in an earlier volume of Litopys UPA.66 Today, however, there are three extant versions of this document. The present volume features the first version, which contains important differences, addenda, and clarifications that are missing from other versions of this document, including the one that was published in volume 12 of Litopys UPA. The chapter also contains documents on the negotiations between the command of German units and the insurgents, which took place in the OUN’s Berezhany okruha. It is highly likely that these local negotiations, which were initiated by the German command, were represented on the UPA side by Omelian Poliovyi, commander of VO 3 “Lysonia,” who operated under the pseudonym “Omelian Vykhor.” Other valuable documents are reports containing information on units that were based in this area between November 1944 and summer 1945. They indicate the locations where UPA units were based, as well as the numerical and command composition of battalions, companies, and (occasionally) platoons.
Some documents pertain to the officer personnel of the military okruha, represented here by a document signed by “Hordiienko,” the head of the Organizational-Personnel (Mobilizational) Department (²V), concerning the transfer of Second Lieutenant “Arpad” to another military okruha. Particularly noteworthy are lists of officers attached to VO “Lysonia” dating to 1 January 1948 and late 1950, announcing officer promotions and indicating the seniority of UPA commanders as of the date when the documents were prepared. These documents also list functional positions; occasionally, the real names and surnames of officers, the awarding of distinctions to insurgent, etc., are indicated. These materials also include information about members of VO “Lysonia” who received medals and other distinctions, including the pseudonyms of individuals who were awarded UPA Crosses of Military Merit, stars, and medals for “Fighting in Exceptionally Difficult Conditions” from 1946 to 1950, inclusively.
The second part of this chapter contains six reports of the Political Training (V²) Department of the VShVO covering the period from July 1944 to July 1945, which are signed by “Arkhyp” and “Kryha.” They describe the state of the political training apparatus, the political training activities of the headquarters and UPA units, and the organization of the VO’s Political Training Department, political training schools (courses), etc.
The third thematic chapter contains data on actions undertaken by individual UPA subunits, namely, battalions led by commanders “Bystryi,” “Ostap,” and “Roman” and by “Burlaky,” “Kubantsi,” “Orly,” “Rybolovtsi,” “Chornomortsi” companies, etc. Among the documents issued by the battalion led by Commander “Roman” are three reports on battles and raids, for the period of August 1944, signed by “Kryha” (Iliarii Skazins’kyi), the political instructor of “Kryhy” Battalion. The largest number of subunits is represented by reports on the crossing of the front in July 1944, which were compiled by the political instructors of “Burlaky,” “Lisovyky,” “Orly,” “Poltavtsi,” “Siri Vovky, and “Chornomortsi” companies. “Kubantsi” Company is represented by a report written by Platoon Commander “Prychepa,” which contains information on the unit’s rout in 1944. The combat history of “Lisovyky,” “Poltavtsi,” “Rybolovtsi,” “Rubachi,” and “Kholodnoiartsi” companies is featured in chronicles of their activities dated 1947. The data in the chronicles are organized on the basis of daily orders and individual descriptions of battles and raids issued by political instructors of units, and in 1946–1947 they were systematized in chronological order by Iliarii Skazins’kyi-“Bohdanovych,” the head of the Political Training Department of VShVO “Lysonia. The history of “Buini” Company (1943–1944) is represented by the reminiscences of the company’s Warrant Officer “Kolos” (Kas’ian Brykailo), which were published in 1948 in the form of a “chronicle” in the “Tarniv” underground center. “Rybolovtsi” Company is represented, in addition to a chronicle, by daily orders issued to the unit led by the company’s Warrant Officer “Vodopad” (Yaroslav Khrebtak). A significant number of documents pertain to “Rubachi” Company. In addition to a chronicle covering the period from late 1945 to the first half of 1946, these include lists of killed, wounded, and abandoned riflemen (dated 1944) and reports prepared by squad commanders in 1946–1947. The letters and reports of Squad Commander “Doroshenko” (Fedir Maksymiv) and squad leaders for the period from July 1946 to March 1947 are considered the last documents to record the military-propaganda activities of UPA units on the territory of Ternopil’ TV (Tactical Sector) “North.”
The OUN’s Organizational-Mobilizational (Military) Section, the documents of which comprise the fourth thematic chapter, is represented by orders issued by the section’s head “Ostap” (Omelian Poliovyi) in February 1944 and “Hordiienko” (Ivan Yatsyshyn), the head of the oblast security department, and by reports drawn up by the military command of Chortkiv okruha. In one such report “Petrenko” (Oleksii Domchuk), the leader responsible for organization and mobilization, describes the state of the military network in the Chortkiv area and the self-defence kushch units that were created on the territory of the okruha. A considerable number of these documents were seized by the NKVD during the liquidation on 5 January 1945 of “Dnipro” (Yaroslav Kachurivs’kyi), the security head of the OUN okruha’s Military Section in the Chortkiv area, including instructions issued by the heads of the OUN oblast leadership, questionnaire-style reports prepared by the personnel of the Intelligence Department, etc.
Documents that were not included in the above-listed thematic groupings comprise the final chapter of the present volume. Among them are documents of the SB OUN, correspondence of OUN underground leaders in the PK (Podillia krai), às well as documents concerning medals and promotions awarded to UPA insurgents. The chapter also includes several reports and announcements about OUN leaders and UPA commanders killed in battle, as well as a handful of reports illustrating the struggle of the UNS and the UPA in 1943–1945 on the territory of Ternopil’ oblast/Podillia krai of the OUN.
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All the documents and materials in this volume were reproduced in full, in complete correspondence with the originals. Each bears a title created by the compilers. The titles indicate the type of document, addressee (if known), contents, date, and office number. If the date when a particular document was created is not known, it is dated according to content, accompanying documents, etc. In this case, the provisional date appears within square brackets, for example: [August 1945].
Omitted, illegible, or damaged parts of document texts are indicated by square brackets […]. Incomprehensible passages are marked thus: (õõ*). Authorial underlinings are not indicated. Reprints of documents and materials from other publications are indicated in the document description.
The lexicon and authorial and editorial features of the original sources have been preserved to the utmost degree. Personal names and geographic place-names were not changed. In keeping with current standards, punctuation was corrected, as well as the use of quotation marks. The texts of documents and materials are presented in accordance with current rules governing the publication of historical documents. Spelling mistakes were silently corrected, and the use of the apostrophe was standardized. Spelling mistakes that distort meaning are indicated in the footnotes. Handwritten additions to a text (e.g., individual words, etc.) are marked thus: (à-õõ-à). Cryptonyms are listed according to a given text.
The stamp is reproduced in the top right-hand corner of a document text. The stamp (vidpys) is not reproduced because its meaning is conveyed by the term (kopiia) noted in the descriptions of documents. Inscriptions on documents (addresses, resolutions, etc.), which concern their contents, have been preserved, and they appear as continuations of document texts. Other inscriptions were omitted.
Crossed-out words in documents were not reproduced. In individual cases, crossed-out passages are recreated in the text and graphically marked as <õõ> in order to reflect the contents of a document fully. Apart from generally accepted abbreviations, abbreviated words are recreated in full and marked thus: (õõ[õ]).
Original authorial signatures on documents are determined on the basis of a rule that was applied in UPA and OUN office work. Each document or material is accompanied by a detailed description noting the place of a document’s storage (abbreviated name of the archive, number of the fond, list, file, folio/s), and the authenticity of a document (original or copy) is indicated. The reproduction of documents and materials via printing is not indicated, with the exception of handwritten documents and materials and information about the prior publication or reprinting of a document; this information appears in the document descriptions.
In addition to documents and materials, the present volume contains photographs of the command personnel of VO “Lysonia” and the members of the OUN oblast/krai leadership, as well as photographs depicting scenes from the life of Ukrainian insurgents. The captions to the photographs indicate the highest functional and military ranks of commanders and leaders during the period of their activities in VO “Lysonia.” The captions to photographs portraying insurgent life contain information about the depicted scene and the date of the photograph. These photographic materials are stored in the digital photo library of the Litopys UPA Publishers.
The modified Library of Congress system of transliteration was used in the English-language texts in this volume.
Volodymyr Moroz and Serhii Volianiuk selected the documents, materials, and photographs for this volume and created the maps, diagrams, and tables.
The compilers are profoundly grateful to the staff members of the Central State Archive of the Highest of the Highest Organs of Government and Administration of Ukraine, the State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine, the archive of the Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in Ternopil’ oblast, the State Archive of Ternopil’ Oblast, and the archive of the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement for their assistance in locating and copying the documents published in this volume.
Sincere gratitude for providing materials and offering consultations is owed to the staff of the Ternopil’ Oblast Regional History Museum; the Historical-Memorial Museum of Political Prisoners in the city of Ternopil’; the Ya. Busel’ Museum of the National Liberation Struggle of the OUN and the UPA in the village of Byshky, Kozova raion; the Museum of the Liberation Struggle of the OUN and the UPA in the village of Slov’iatyn, Berezhany raion; the members of the Ternopil’ Oblast Youth Scholarly Research Society “Oberehy”; and the following scholars, regional historians, and veterans of the national liberation struggle in the Ternopil’ region: Mykola Klishch (squad leader of “Rubachi” Company, village of Holhoche, Pidhaitsi raion), Zynovii Serdiuk (riflemen in “Burlaky” Company, city of Ternopil’), Ihor Oleshchuk (senior scholarly associate of the Historical-Memorial Museum of Political Prisoners), Petro Kasinchuk (head of the Brotherhood of OUN and UPA Veterans of VO “Lysonia,’ Roman Pasternak (city of Peremyshliany), Mykhailo Podufalyi (village of Zhukiv, Berezhany raion), Mykola Protsiv (city of Berezhany), Oleh Zakharkiv (village of Lisnyky, Berezhany raion), Dmytro Prodanyk (city of Chernivtsi), Volodymyr Pukach (city of Ternopil’, Stepan Kolodnyts’kyi (city of Pidhaitsi), Volodymyr Birchak (director of the Historical-Memorial Museum of Political Prisoners), and many other individuals who helped prepare this volume for publication. We owe a special debt of gratitude to Oleksandr Vovk for his unstinting consultations and assistance in selecting documents and photographs reflecting UPA activities in the Ternopil’ region.
We are also indebted to the staff of the Litopys UPA Publishers, especially Mykola Kulyk and Prof. Peter J. Potichnyj, for their assistance in the preparation of this collection of documents.