Home     Sign In     Help     About Us     Search  
 The website of the chronicles of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
My Account
My Library
My Cart (0)
Óêðà¿íñüêà ìîâà
Home News Books Catalogue Online Library Search Help About Us Links Login/Register

 

SERIES Item details and ordering
· Main series
· New series
· Litopys UPA - Library
· Series "Events and People
· The graves of insurgents
· Other related books
· The 100 Book Catalogue Summary
 
Book search  
Site search  
   
   

Name: The UPA in Lviv and Yaroslav regions. Memoirs and documents of UPA soldiers in tactical sector 'Roztochchia' 1943-1947
Volume: 31
Editor in Chief: P.J. Potichnyj
Editor(s): I. Lyko
Sponsors: Ivan Harvas
Publication Year: 2001
ISBN (Canada): 0-920092-44-6
Pages Count: 324

Order Book
Quantity Format Price
Hard Copy $ 25.00
E-book $ 25.00
Add to Cart

Description

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

    * memoir by Zynovii Sokoluk ("Zenon Semeniv");
    * brief memoir by First Lieutenant "Spartak";
    * memoir by Antin Katchala ("Shuhai");
    * memoir by Ivan Laluk ("Kaminnyi");
    * brief memoir by senior liaison officer "Myrnyi";
    * brief memoir by Petro Bizok ("Voin");
    * two brief memoirs by unknown authors.

***

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

    * nine combat activity reports by Commander "Bryl", for the period 10.XI.1945 to 25.VI.1946;
    * sixteen combat activity reports by Commander "Hamaliia", for the period 10.XI.1945 to 10.VII.1946;
    * two combat activity reports by leaders of the territorial underground network, Raion leader "Tref" and Raion leader "Zelenyi";
    * report by "Dovbush" on the fight near Horaiets;
    * information (report) by SB Raion leader "Troian";
    * two letters from "Roztochchia" Military District (TV) Com- mander "Uhrynovych" to "Sian" Military Region (VO) Commander "O"[rest - Myroslav Onyshkevych] and to Commander "Lemish";
    * letter from Commander "Roman" to Commander "Bilyi".

***

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

    1. "Bashta", which included city of Lviv, Military District (TV) "Roztochchia" and polygon, Commander "Khmara".
    2. "Buh" - Lviv oblast: Commander "Iarema" - Ostap Lynda (1943 - 1944); Commander "Voronyi" - Vasyl Levkovych (1944 - 1946).
    3. "Lysonia" - Ternopil oblast.
    4. "Hoverlia" - Stanyslaviv (Ivano-Frankivsk) oblast, Commander "Hrim" - Mykola Tverdokhlib.
    5. "Makivka" - Drohobych oblast.
    6. "Sian" - Peremyshl and the Ukrainian ethnic territories of Poland:
      * Commander "Udarnyk" ("Kulia", "Mushka") - Iakiv Chornii (1943 - 1944),
      * Commander "Orest" ("Bilyi", "Oleh") - maj. Myroslav Onyshkevych (1944 - 1947).
    7. "Suchava" - Bukovyna.
    8. "Sribna" - Transcarpathia.

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

    1. "Bashta" (VO 1) was incorporated into "Buh" (VO 2).
    2. "Lysonia" (VO 3) was not affected by changes.
    3. "Hoverlia" (VO 4) has absorbed "Makivka (VO 5), "Suchava" (VO 7) and "Sribna" (VO 8).
    4. "Sian" (VO 6) was not affected by changes.

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

    * 11 - Zolochiv, 12 - Sokal, 13 - Lviv, 14 - Horodok and Rohatyn.

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

    * Commanders of Military District "Roztochchia" were: "Hrad", "Tymish" and "Uhrynovych".
    * Commanders of 1-st battalion "Kholodnoiartsi" were: "Hrad", "Tymish" and "Hlukhyi" - Volodymyr Hul, former Commander of "Kholodnoiartsi 2" company.

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

    I. "Lemko" (TV 26), Commander maj. "Ren" - Martyn Vasyl Mizernyi.
    II. "Bastion" (TV 27), Commander "Zalizniak" - Ivan Shpontak.
    III. "Danyliv" (TV 28), Commander "Iahoda" - Antin Sydoruk, Commander "Prirva" ("Zorianyi") - Ievhen Shtendera, and Commander "Berkut" ("Voron") - Volodymyr Sorochak.

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

    I. Lemko battalion, Commander "Ren" - Martyn Vasyl Mizernyi.
    II. Peremyshl battalion, Commander "Konyk" - Mykhailo Halio (1944 - 1945), Commander "Baida" - Mykola Savchenko (Petro Mykolenko), 1946 - 1947.

Lemko battalion was composed of four companies:

    * "Udarnyky 94", Commander "Veselyi" - Danylo Svistel, Commander "Didyk", and Commander "Brodych" - Roman Hrobelskyi.
    * "Udarnyky 95a", Commander "Khrin" - Stepan Stebelskyi .
    * "Udarnyky 96", Commander "Nychai", Commander "Buryi", and Commander "Bir" - Vasyl Shyshkanynets.
    * "Udarnyky 96b", Commander "Stakh".

Peremyshl battalion was composed of four companies:

    * "Udarnyky 95", Commander, Capt. "Hromenko"- Mykhailo Duda.
    * "Udarnyky 94a", Commander, Second. Lt. "Burlaka" ("Staryi") - Volodymyr Shchyhelskyi.
    * "Udarnyky 96a", Commander "Iar" - Mykhailo Kucher (October 1945 - July 1946), Commander, Second Lt. "Krylach" - Iaroslav Kotsiolok.
    * "Udarnyky 94b", Commander, Second Lt. "Lastivka" - Hryhorii Iankivskyi.

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

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

    * "Mesnyky 1", Unit 97, Commander "Shum" - Ivan Shymanskyi, and Commander "Kalynovych" - Hryhorii Mazur;
    * "Mesnyky 2", Unit 98, Commander "Bis", Commander "Balai", and Commander "Tucha" - Mykhailo Semashyn;
    * "Mesnyky 3", Unit 97a, Commander "Shum" - Ivan Shymanskyi;
    * "Mesnyky 4", Unit 98a, Commander "Iar";
    * "Mesnyky 5", Unit 97b, Commander "Kruk" - Hryhorii Levko.

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

***

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

Ivan Lyko


Summaries

Page 116. Summary

The main subject of the memoirs of Ivan Harvas (“Soia”) is the armed conflict between Commander “Hlukhyi’s” company and Soviet NKVD units in Western Ukraine and later, between Commander “Bryl’s” company and Polish army units in the Zakerzonnia region (literally, Beyond the Curzon Line), the Ukrainian ethnic area in eastern Poland.

Harvas begins his account “My First Days in UPA Ranks” with a brief description of how, during the summer of 1943, the UPA battalion commanded by “Gonta” quartered for several months in a forest near Lviv. It was there that the author, a youth at the time, volunteered to the UPA. The account then skips to the time of renewed Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine. After the movement of the German-Soviet front in summer 1944, training of new recruits took place daily in the forest. Harvas describes the conditions of insurgent life: how the battalion, consisting of a thousand soldiers, was equipped with weapons, provided with food and made contacts with the civilian population. As a result of reports to the NKVD by secret informer Petro Seletskyi, from the village of Rokytno, one day in summer 1944, the battalion’s camp was surrounded by Red Army detachments. While fighting its way out of the encirclement, the battalion had five men killed and two seriously wounded. The wounded were captured alive and taken by the Soviets to Rokytno, where they died under terrible torture. On the Soviet side, many were wounded and over 30 were killed.
...

Page 174. Summary

The memoirs of Zynovii Sokoluk (“Zenon Semeniv”), who served as political officer in Commander “Hlukhyi’s” company, and later, Commander “Bryl’s” company, are reprinted from Ukrainian newspapers in the free world, in which they were published in 1948 – 1957. We reprint these materials with some minor abridgements of non-essential content, such as, for example, descriptions of nature.

In the account, .Goodbye, Friends., the author describes the killing by an UPA platoon of seven Soviet parachutists, including one woman. The Soviets were dropped from a plane in an unspecified location in the “Roztochchia” Military District (TV) before the westward movement of the German-Soviet front from Eastern Ukraine. During intense combat with the parachutists, which lasted for more than half an hour, squad leader “Morozenko”, of Commander “Bohdan’s” company, and private “Orikh” were killed. A final salute to these two fighters was given by two insurgent companies and the staff officers of the Military Region (VO).

...

Page 184. Summary

“Breaking Out of an Encirclement” is a brief memoir by a platoon leader from Commander “Bryl’s” company, First Lieutenant “Spartak”. It recounts how the UPA unit “Pereiaslavy I” broke out of an encirclement on the edge of the Krakovets forest on June 13, 1946 (in their memoirs published in this volume of Litopys UPA, Antin Katchala and Ivan Laluk, give the date as 1945).

The UPA detachment of 80 soldiers was surrounded on all sides and attacked by three and a half thousand NKVD men, who also placed heavy guards on all roads and other strategic points. But the “Pereiaslavtsi” held fast. After heavy fighting, the insurgents broke out of the encirclement to safety, although they did experience some losses . four men killed and five lightly wounded. On the enemy side, 37 were killed.

Page 198. Summary

Antin Katchala (“Shuhai”) recounts certain episodes from his life in the underground starting in the summer of 1943, when he joined the Ukrainian People’s Self-defense. The recruits were taught systematically how to use weapons, took part in military exercises, maintained underground communications, built bunkers and stored all types of goods. Once the Soviets arrived, conditions changed.

The author was first assigned to Commander “Dnister’s” company, where he underwent brief military training and took part in ambushes on enemy convoys. During one such ambush, the insurgents freed recruits who had been mobilized to the Red Army. Another time, they captured 50 cows and about 200 sheep, as well as mines and ammunition.

In the account .Enemy Counteraction., Katchala briefly describes a Soviet raid in the forest, near the village of Lypovets, in September 1944, against two UPA companies commanded by “Dnister” and “Petrenko”. The two companies experienced serious losses, including the death of Commander “Dnister”.

In December 1944, a group of insurgents (several squads along with some Local Self-defense detachments) freed 10-12 underground members who were trapped in a bunker during a siege by an unknown number of Soviets. The Soviets were killed and the insurgents also lost four men.

During the first five months of 1945, subunits of Commander “Bryl’s” company along with a Security Service combat group and soldiers from Local Self-defense detachments (about 80 men) conducted an action against an NKVD and anti-insurgent militia post in the village of Morantsi, during which they killed 12 NKVD and 4 militia members. At this time, because the territory was saturated with Soviet military units, “Bryl’s” company was broken up into smaller groups to allow them more easily to operate in secret. The small groups conducted various actions, organized ambushes and engaged in combat with the Soviets. On the third day of Easter, in the village of Nakonechne, the Soviets ambushed combat group commander “Verhun”, his brother, “Lysko” and three soldiers. All five insurgents were killed, but the Soviets also lost three men. In another fight with Soviets in the village of Sannyky, Commander “Bryl’s” detachment, together with “Sian’s” and “Smyrnyi’s” detachments, engaged in combat with the Soviets; after three hours of fighting, the enemy lost six men and had four wounded. The insurgents did not experience any losses.

In June 1945, Commander .Bryl.s. detachment conducted punitive actions against NKVD posts in the villages of Rohizno, Morantsi and Porudno, during which several NKVD men were killed and weapons and ammunition were captured. On June 13, the detachment, along with a Local Self-Defense detachment (about 70 men), was surrounded by a larger number of Soviets. The insurgents broke out of the encirclement, with a loss of five soldiers and with five wounded.

...

In the chapter “In a Security Service (SB) Combat Group”, Katchala presents some episodes from his later life as an insurgent, when he was transferred from his company to an SB combat group led by .Troian.. With this group, he took part in attacks on NKVD posts, mining actions, arrests of individual NKVD functionaries and ambushes on NKVD members.

Page 211. Summary

In his memoir, “Episodes from the Experiences of an UPA Member”, Ivan Laluk (“Kaminnyi”) begins by describing how he entered the UPA company commanded by “Dnister” as a new recruit on August 22, 1944. The events of his early days in the UPA were similar to those described by A. Katchala (“Shuhai”), who served in the same company.

Between Laluk’s and Katchala’s descriptions, there are some differences in interpretations of events and combat actions and the results of these operations and even discrepancies concerning dates of described events. This is probably because the memoirs were written many years after the original events, which makes it difficult to recreate events accurately. For example, for the raid in the Lypovets forest, Laluk gives the date October 19, 1944, while Katchala says it happened on “a September day”. Katchala states that both companies experienced losses, while Laluk provides more detail regarding the losses, including that of company commander “Dnister”, who was wounded and shot himself. Also killed was battalion commander “Roman”, platoon leader "Fedorenko” and two soldiers and during the Soviet pursuit of the companies as they retreated, 10 soldiers were killed in the village of Budomyr. The total number of insurgents killed was 18.

On May 28, 1945, Laluk was subject to a surprise attack by 28 Soviets in his house in the village of Nakonechne. Under heavy fire, he succeeded in breaking out. He also describes engaging in combat and breaking out of a Soviet encirclement on June 13, 1945, near the edge of the Krakovets forest, during which action five soldiers were killed. This event is also mentioned by Katchala and First Lt. “Spartak” in their memoirs published in this volume.

When recalling the period July 15, 1945 to November 1, 1945, Laluk describes the detachment’s raids in the area, construction of bunkers, sabotage actions to disrupt elections to the USSR Supreme Soviet, attacks on NKVD posts, the killing of an NKVD chief named Chortov, his secretary and one soldier, attacks by Soviets on his detachment and other typical insurgent activities.

On April 5, 1946, Commander «Bryl’s» detachment crossed the Soviet-Polish border for the first time into the Zakerzonnia region, where they immediately disarmed a Polish militia post in the town of Siniava. They went back and forth across the border three times. Their final return to the Zakerzonnia took place on November 1, 1946. During this crossing, commander-trainer “Loboda”, squadron leader “Vitrak” and a 5-year-old girl, the daughter of the leader, “Inhul”, were killed on the border.

Laluk ends his memoir by telling the reader that Commander «Bryl’s» detachment was a special task unit, performing such duties as maintaining communication between the UPA Supreme Command – through Military District (TV) Commander “Uhrynovych” – and Commander “Zalizniak’s” battalion in the Zakerzonnia region.

Page 225. Summary

Petro Bizok (“Voin”), squad leader in Commander «Bryl’s» company, recounts how, on the order of leaders of the Ukrainian underground in the Iavoriv region, he performed his first assassination even before becoming a member of the underground. In the Iavoriv hospital, he shot with his pistol the former regional underground leader, whose pseudonym was “Shveiko”, because the leader had began an obvious collaboration with the NKVD.

“Surprised in a Bunker”, by sergeant «Myrnyi», recounts how, on March 1, 1946, a seven-man NKVD force found the entrance to a bunker in a field near the village of Nakonechne, where the author was hiding with three other soldiers, «Chornii», «Baska» and «Shuhai». In the fight near the bunker and during the NKVD pursuit of the insurgents, «Myrnyi» killed six NKVD men with machine gun fire. «Baska» and «Chornii» were wounded. (In the combat activity report for the period 25.II to 10.III.1946, Commander «Bryl» gives as the date of this event 2.III.1946 and says that three Soviets were killed).

In the account “Iron Curtain”, an unidentified author describes the crossing, on November 1, 1946, of the Soviet-Polish border by Commander «Bryl’s» detachment. This action is also described by Laluk, in his account “Episodes from the Experiences of an UPA Member”. The author describes in some detail the Soviet methods of border security and control. He says that it was not easy to cross the Polish-Russian border, which was guarded more intensely than any other border in the world. The enemy closely monitored even the smallest movements in the border zone, especially at night, and took many measures to make the border secure. Just in front of the border were erected listening and observation towers, which were manned by border guards. Between the towers were bunkers, which also had listening devices and telephone communications. In addition, there were electrified barbed wire fences linked to self-firing rockets. If anyone carelessly stepped on a wire, the Soviet rockets would fire automatically. About 100 meters behind the barbed wire fence was a strip of ploughed and harrowed land on which tracks would be visible if anyone crossed.

Another unidentified author recounts how a 13-man group from Commander «Bryl’s» former UPA company, commanded by “Dovbush”, set out on a raid through Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria to the British zone of occupation in Austria. While crossing the Lemko region in Poland, private “Budak” was killed, and in a skirmish with the Czech army in Slovakia, private “Chaika” was killed. Two soldiers left the group voluntarily during the night, and four left under other circumstances. Of the original group, only five reached the intended destination. During their travels, the Ukrainian insurgents were favourably received by the Slovak and Austrian people, who provided them with all types of assistance.

Page 268. Reports by commander “Hamaliia”

Commander «Hamaliia’s» .Combat Activity Reports. for the “Pereiaslavy 2” subunit consist of bi-weekly reports for a period of eight months, that is, the period from 10.XI.1945 to 10.VII.1946. Commander «Hamaliia» gives in detail the dates of the break-up of the detachment into smaller groups and reintegration of the groups into the detachment as needed. In these reports, which also were taken from Commander Onyshkevych’s archive, Commander «Hamaliia» informs about the detachment’s raids in the area, organization of political meetings with the Ukrainian and even Polish populace and acts of sabotage and opposition related to preparations for elections to the USSR Supreme Soviet. The detachment also obtained and stored uniforms, weapons, ammunition and food, killed several informers, prepared premises for the winter, destroyed telephone and railway links, shot at buildings in which Soviets were quartered and mined bridges.

During the period covered by the reports, the detachment had nine men killed and nine wounded. During this same time, the Soviets were known to have lost 20 men and had 11 wounded.

Page 275. Summary

Also published in this volume is a report by Raion leader «Tref» for a period covering one month, 20.4 to 20.5.1946, which focuses on a single event, an armed action on an anti-insurgent militia post in the village of Husakiv. By chance, the insurgents captured the NKVD officer and militia commander (a single person). He was saved by another Soviet, who paid for this with his life. Not having found the anti-insurgent militia members at their post, the Raion combat group, along with Commander “Hamaliia’s” machine gunner group, seized 20 rifles, two semi-automatic rifles, 3 grenades and 120 rounds of German ammunition.

Raion leader «Zelenyi» reports on the activities of the local combat group in the Mostyska raion in two bi-weekly reports.

On 13.11.1945 three people, along with local group leader “Karmeliuk”, arranged an ambush against the Soviets without knowledge of the enemy’s strength. Although the Soviets numbered 12, they fled in panic. Two of them were wounded by the insurgents. Again, at 18:00 on 18.11.1945, .Karmeliuk. and two others broke into a train car at the railroad station and removed 20 rifles. This occurred without a single shot being fired, although the station was guarded by anti-insurgent militia.

In his “Report from the Action near Horaiets”, platoon leader “Dovbush” informs that on May 3, 1946, a platoon of insurgents from “Pereiaslavy 1” were surrounded in the forest. After manoeuvring for four hours, they had to break through the Soviet line. Four insurgents were killed, as were four Soviets.

In a report in letter form, dated 2.1.1946, Security Service Raion leader “Troian” informs an unnamed commander about the destruction with mines of an electric power station and the reasons for not destroying the bridge near Krakovets. During this action, two Soviets were killed, one of whom was a lieutenant. The insurgents, who numbered 16, did not have any losses.

Page 280. Summary

Of the documents taken from the archive of Commander Myroslav Onyshkevych (“Orest”) of the “Sian” Military Region (VO), we publish here two letters written by Military District (TV) Commander “Uhrynovych”. The first letter, dated 25.V.1946, speaks of letters of promotion for UPA officers, non-commissioned officers and senior soldiers of the “Roztochchia” Military District (TV).

The second letter, dated 24.9.1946, thanks Commander “Lemish” for assistance given to the commander M’s unit (probably commander “Mriia”) and briefly mentions different views regarding the expected duration of the UPA liberation struggle, the importance of preserving a nucleus of an army for the future and a possible visit by commander “Uhrynovych” to Commander “Lemish”.

A longer letter from Commander .Roman. to Commander “Bilyi” speaks about the subunit commanded by “Chavs”, couriers-communications personnel from the Zakerzonnia region and the transfer to “Bastion” territory (Iaroslav, Liubachiv, Tomashiv regions) of one .Pereiaslavy. subunit. The letter also criticizes Commander “Uhrynovych” for neglecting his duty to maintain contact with commander .Roman. and failing to send him reports. “Roman” also writes that he did not receive suggestions for promotions from “Uhrynovych” and says that during the winter, once there is snow, people (couriers) should not be sent to him.

 
back to top
back to catalogue
 
Copyright© LitopysUPA 2003-2012. All rights reserved. Visitors: 1022339