Page 33. North-West Ukraine - the armed self-defense of the ukrainian people
This report is the earliest underground document known to exist which gives an account of the rise of the UPA and its struggle in Volyn' and Polissia. The report was written at the end of May, of beginning of June, 1943. It was published in the eleventh issue of the underground journal Visnyk of the Ukrainian Information Service. The report is a compilation of notices issued by the political information department of the OUN SD regional (Krai) executive in Volyn' and the UPA information and intelligence branch. It was written by Volodymyr Makar ("Vadym"), a member of the underground in Vynnyky near Lviv. The report exists as a typewritten manuscript copied from the eleventh issue of the Visnyk of the Ukrainian Information Service.
The UPA began its armed struggle in Ukraine mainly in response to the terroristic policy of the German occupational regime and the similar policy of the Soviet partisans. During 1942 the Soviets sent a massive parachute force into Polissia and the forested parts of Volyn' to engage in diversionary work. The Soviets' numbers were strengthened by escapees from German prisons and Ukrainians, Poles, Jews and Gypsies fleeing German persecution. In the area between the Buh and the Dnipro Rivers, there began to operate a force of 10-15,000 Soviet partisans. Their sabotage of the railroads led to German reprisals against the Ukrainian population - villages were burned and their inhabitants massacred, The Soviet partisans also waged terror against but in same cases, against entire settlements. For that reason, as early as 1943 Ukrainians began to organize small armed units inorder to wage a self-defense and to protect their settlements. During the winter of 1942-43, those units grew into large military formations and took on the name the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
The UPA began overt operations against the Germans in February and March, 1943. Between March 15 and April 10, 1943, almost the whole of the Ukrainian police force and the Ukrainian auxiliary units of the German army (Schutzmanschaft) crossed over to the UPA. Early in the spring, the UPA disbanded the German administrative centers. During the rime covered in the report, the following German district centers were smashed: Volodymyrets', Stepan', Vysots'k, Dubno, Kovel', Luts'k and Horokhiv; it did the same in the concentration of camp in Liubachivka, the prisoner-of-war camp in Kovel' and a camp of forced workers headed for Germany in Kivertsi. The report mentions a number of battles fought with the Germans at or near the following towns or villages - Chudne, Derazhne, Ivanova Dolyna, Berezdova (Zhytomyr oblast), Postiyne, Lapolot' and Velyka Liubasha. It also speaks of battles against the German division sent to fight the UPA in Verba, Shums'k, Ostrih, Myzoch and Kremianets'. The UPA also fought Soviet partisans in the Stolyn and Sarny counties and Polish partisans hostile to the UPA near Zdolbuniv, Torchyn and Derman'. The article gives information about the UPA program, the organization of its support network, the general situation existing in the area and other matters. It stresses that the UPA was struggling for an independent Ukraine and suggests optimistically that that goal might well by reached. Up to the time the report was written, UPA detachments had gained control of western Volyn' and Polissia, exceop for some heavily-wooded areas in Polissia, where Soviet partisans had entrenched themselves. A battle was being waged for control of these areas, which were well-suited of partisan activity. The UPA's operations were spilling over into Easter Ukraine. However, the report states that in that part of the country, the Soviets had wiped out all Ukrainian activists during the 1930s; the people there were poorly organized and tended to be passive. More effort was required to organize the insurgent movement there and thus gain control of the area. In the part of Ukraine where the UPA was active, an underground administration had been organized, which was directing the economic and cultural life of the region.
When the UPa first appeared, the Germans failed to take it seriously. They would set out against the UPa in jocular mood, as though going out for sport. However their expeditions usually ended in tragedy. In the region of Kremianets' and Ostrih, the Germans sent a whole division against the UPa. The division sustained serious losses without inflicting much damage on the UPa. With that, the German attitude changed to one of panic. The German troops entrenched themselves in their positions out of fear for their safety. Soldiers returning from the front were sowing the seeds of disillusion among the German troops - they no linger believed in a German victory. The Germans began to plunder villages for food and these attacks often ended as bloody massacres. In the towns there were massive arrests and executions, in particular of Ukrainian intellectuals. Prominent citizens, especially members of the clergy, were pressured to take part in anti-UPA propaganda.
In May, the Germans decided to take advantage of the traditional Ukrainian-Polish antagonism and put Polish police units into battle with the UPA. They transferred larger units of the Polish gendarmerie to Volyn' and recruited local Poles to the police force. The more sober-minded Polish citizens tried to stop their countrymen from taking part in these actions, but their warnings went unheeded. Many Poles entered the German police units and participated in the Germans' anti-Ukrainian operations. The report provides detailed information about the German police forces in the Luts'k area and describes the activities of individual units. At the military post in Luts'k there were about 500 Germans - an army garrison and various police units; about 1700 Poles - the gendarmerie and euxiliary police; about 100 Ukrainians - the Schutzbatalion and about 150 men whose national identity is not specified (probably of various background) - the Schytzmanschaft.
Page 65. The non-aggression pact between the UPA and the Hungarian army (captain Andriy Dolnyts'ky)
In 1943 the author, Captain Andriy Dolnyts'ky, was the Chief of Intelligence for the UPA' Southern Military Region, which stretched southward from the town of Rivne. In that capacity Captain Dolnyts'ky, was drawn into discussions between the UPA and Hungarian army of occupation on Ukraine. The discussions concluded with an agreement concerning non-aggression and military co-operation. In time the author was appointed liaison officer between the UPA Supreme Command and the Hungarian army. He organized contacts between them in Volyn' and later, in the Carpathian Mountains. After the end of the war he participated in the Hungarian anti-Soviet resistance movement until he came out of the West in 1946. In the memoir published here he speaks of the contacts that took place between the UPA and Hungarian army in Volyn' in 1943.
The Hungarian occupation troops were stationed along railway lives and roads between Kiev and Lviv and Kiev and Kovel'. In the first period of UPA activity, the Germans tried to include Hungarian garrisons in their operations against the UPA and their pacification of Ukrainian villages. But the Hungarian army command objected. The Hungarians did not want to be implicated in the pacification of the Ukrainian resistance and preferred to make a secret pact with the UPa concerning non-aggression. The Hungarians' talks with the UPA were begun sometime in August, 1943, by the commander of the Hungarian garrison in Kiniushky, near Zdolbuniv. UPA company commander "Kruk" had ordered him to lay down his arms. In reply the Hungarian officer asked for a meeting with a representative of the UPA high command. The UPA officer who arrived for that meaning was Andriy Dolnyts'ky. The Hungarian representatives concerning peaceful coexistence.
Tree days later, Andriy Dolnyts'ky, his deputy "Paliy" and company commander "Kruk" met with the representatives of the command of the Hungarian division in Dubno, Captain Buric and First Lieutenant Zasluzh. The two sides agreed not to fight each other. The Hungarians promised not to take part in German operations against the UPA and the civilian population, and the UPA agreed not to attack Hungarian outposts or the communications lined and other positions held by Hungarian troops. The agreement was to remain secret. Any points of disagreement were to be resolved by UPA and Hungarian army headquarters. The agreement outlined was subject to approval by the headquarters of both armies.
In the Kremianets' raion Dolnyts'ky met with "Holubenko", chief of staff of the UPA' Southern Military Region. "Holubenko" was decidedly opposed to the agreement, because the Hungarians troops were an army of occupation in Ukraine and several years earlier they had occupied Carpathian Ukraine. But when Petro Oliynyk ("Enei"), the commander of the Southern Military Region arrived a few days later, he sided with the author. He regarded the neutralization of the Hungarians a great gain for the UPA. However, he lacked the authority to conduct discussions with representatives of foreign powers. So he issued a temporary order banning UPA soldiers form attacking Hungarian posts and sent Dolnyts'ky on to the UPA Supreme Command in Polissia to get a decision on the matter.
The author describes the deliberations held by the UPA Supreme Command. The participants in the discussion, were the then Supreme Commander of the UPA, Dmytro Kliachkivs'ky, Rostyslav Voloshyn, Iosyp Pozychaniuk, Omelian Lohush and Iakiv Busel. They declared the temporary peace with the Hungarians a positive step and one that was worth extending into a wider pact of non-aggression and military co-operation. They decided, however, that any political agreements with Hungary, particularly regarding such matters as the status of Carpathian Ukraine, the borders between the two countries and the like were to be made only after the end of the war, by the governments of both states. Omelian Logush was chose to carry on further discussions with the Hungarians. he traveled from Polissiya to the Kremianets' raion, where the headquarters of the UPA's Southern Military Region were located.
The next meeting between the UPA and the Hungarians took place in Myrohoshcha. The Hungarian delegation was made up of Lieutenant-Colonel Padany, the Corps chief of Staff, Major Wechendy and First Lieutenant Veig, the translator; The Ukrainians were O. Logush, a. Dolnyts'ky and "Palyi". At this meeting the non- aggression pact was defined precisely and extended to apply to all Hungarian troops in Ukraine. The Hungarians promised to supply the UPA with some weapons, ammunition, medications and food. Once the discussions were completed, Logush traveled with Lt. Col. Padany and Maj. Wechendy to Lviv. from Lviv a Ukrainian delegation went to Budapest, to meet Hungarian government officials. In the delegation were Vasyl Mudryi, Ostap Luts'ky and Evhen Vretsiona. The author dies not tell us what agreements this delegation concluded.
At the beginning of December, Lieutenant Colonel Marton, representative of the Supreme Headquarters of the Hungarian Army, arrived from Budapest. As agreed during discussions with the Ukrainian delegation in Budapest, he was to inspect UPA detachments and report to headquarters about their organization and military quality. The author was assigned to escort Lt. Col. Marton. He describes Marton's conversations with UPA representatives and his inspections of military detachments, underground hospitals and other establishments. When Marton met with the UPA Supreme Command, Dolnyts'ky was designated the UPA's liaison officer with Hungarian headquarters. He went to join the Hungarian headquarters in Kremianets'. At the end of his memoir, the author describes a few conflicts that erupted between the UPA and Hungarian units, which he helped resolve during his stay in Kremianets'. In mid-March the Hungarian headquarters moved to Lviv and the Author went with them.
Page 93. In the ranks of the UPA in the Kostopil' region (Captain V. Hrabenko)
In 1943 the author served, first, as an instructor in a school for non-commissioned officers, then, as an UPa company commander in Volyn'; from 1944-48 he was an officer and battle commander of an UPa Military district (TV) in the Lviv Military Region ("Buh") in Halychyna. In the memoir published here, he writes of his activities on the UPA in Volyn' in 1943.
The author went to Volyn' at the end of march, 1943, with Mykhailo Duda ("Hronenko"), who later became a company commander in the UPA's Peremuchl battalion, and Dmytro Korda ("Kinash"). Korda was later a company commander in the Dubno region. For a brief period, the author and Duda trained the unit guarding the UPA Supreme Staff headquarters. The unit was led by "Uzbek".
Later the author and Duda traveled to the Kostspil' county, where they became instructors in the UPA's "Druzhynnyly" school; for non-cmmissoned officers. The commander of the school was Lieutenant Fedir Poliovyi ("Pol"); the instructors included "Bereza", "Hrab", Levyts'kyi ("Mikado"), Captain "Chiaka", Brylevs'kyi("Bosyi") and some visiting instructors. Also given at the school were training courses for nurses. These courses were run by doctors under the direction of Dr. "Enei", who was the chief physician of the UPA. The courses were given on the premises of the UPA hospital. The UPA Supreme Staff, headed by Col. Leonid Stupnyts'kyi ("Honcharenko"), was also quartered there and was frequently visited by Dmytro Kliachkivs'kyi (Klym Savur), Supreme Commander of the UPA. The author gives a detailed view of the activities at this center, particularly those of the non-commissioned officers' school. He tells us about his fellow-instructors and visitors and describes the situation prevailing at that time.
In the summer, Col. Stupnyts'kyi turned the school for non-commissioned officers into an officers; training school. The author was assigned the task of organizing an UPA company to guard the staff headquarters, officers' school and hospital. Although the company would form part of the Kostopil' battalion, it was to answer directly to Col. Strupnyts'kyi. The author tells how he organized company of about 180 men over a period of several weeks and describes its armaments and its command staff. He also gives some general information about the Kostopil' battalion, which was led by battalion commander "Ostryi". The author's company underwent training for several moths' at the same time, it carried out guard duty.
In that autumn, the author's company began to take part in battle operations and staged several raids. The author briefly describes its battles and its meetings with other UPA companies and battalions - units led by Ivan Klymyshyn ("Kruk"), "Rubashenko", "Shavula", "Tsyhan" and "Kvatyrenko". Late in the fall, the author's company staged an extensive raid into the Korets' district, on the border with the Zhytomyr oblast. There the author met his friend Petro Gudzovanyi. Gudzovanyi was in "Kvatyrenko's" battalion, which was staging raids through the Zhytomyr and Kiev oblasts. The author had discussions with his friend and with the commander of the UPA's Eastern Military Region about the UPA's activities in those oblasts.
At the beginning of winter the author went back to the Kostopil' region. There the UPA was preparing for the arrival of the Soviets, for at that time front had moved across the Dnipro River. The UPA's larger hospitals were being decentralized; some of the cadets at the officers' school were hurried through their training; others were sent into the Carpathian Mountains; stores of supplies and hiding places were being prepared in the woods. soon large detachments of Soviet partisans - regiments and even divisions - began breaking through into UPA territory. They were sent into interrupt the German supply lines, as well as to fight the UPA. In one skirmish with Soviet partisans, the author was wounded in the chest and arm. he was sent off for treatment and the command of his company was taken over by Chaikovs'kyi.
Undergoing treatment at UPA medical stations, the author ended up at a farmstead near Kovel'. There he was surprised by a German patrol and taken away to Kovel', to a German "Wehrmacht" hospital. The Germans suspected he was an UPa officer, but they did not arrest him, for at that time the "Wehrmacht" headquarters was seeking to make contacts with the UPa; the Germans wanted to use the UPA in their battle with the Red Army. A captain in German intelligence talked with the author, but the author did not admit to any connection with the UPA. The captain left him, giving him time "to think it over". Shortly afterward, some Red Army units appeared near Kovel', so the author and other wounded were moved further West, to Zamistia. There the author underwent treatment in a wagon at the train station along with wounded soldiers from the Vlasov army. Early in the spring, when the wounded were being transported to Germany, the author jumped out of the train near Rava Rus'ka in Halychyna. From there he made his way to his home region, south of Lviv.
Page 135. V. Novak: the UPA's North-Western military region "Turiv"
The author was a political officer, company commander and finally, radio communications officer in the UPA's North-Western Military Region in Volyn'. The territory of that military region corresponded roughly to the present-day Volyn' oblast. During his time in the UPA he served in the Luts'k UPA battalion, which was commanded by Stepan Koval' ("Rubashenko") and the Kovel' UPA battalion, commanded by "Holobenko" (also known as "Ostriz'kyi"). He also carried out various special assignments in the Kamin'-Koshyrs'kyi, Volodymyr Volyns'kyi and other counties. In his memoirs he recounts his experiences in the UPA and describes operations of UPA detachments and other events known to him. He also provides valuable information about the organization of the UPA in the North-Western Military Region "Turiv", the officers who served there, armaments, supplies of provisions and the like.
The author begins his account with the period before his entry into the UPa, when he was a non-commissioned officer in the Economic battalion in Luts'k. The members of that battalion were Ukrainians, but it was organized by the Germans in order to train workers for the administration and state-owned estates. The battalion was not armed, but it was organized in a military fashion. It was led by German officers, but it had a parallel Ukrainian command and Ukrainian instructors, who lectured the recruits on topics relating to agriculture. The author belonged to the underground OUN organization, which was organizing a resistance movement against the Germans and was trying to gain control of the battalion from within, in order to use it for the Ukrainian nationalist cause at the opportune moment. The Germans became aware of this. As a result they carried out arrests, arranged the killing of one whole squadron of recruits and tried in other ways to neutralize the influence of the OUN. The author describes a number of events from that period and shows how tensions were growing berween the Ukrainian recruits and the Germans. At the end of march, 1943m when armed struggle broke out in the region between the UPA and the Germans, the whole battalion crossed over to the UPa.
Command of the battalion was given to Stepan Koval' ("Rubashenko"), who had previously served as company commander. During the author's time in the battalion, Koval' carried out a number of actions in the Luts'k county. Because there were many educated and militarily-trained people in Koval's battalion, the UPA command transferred many of its members to other UPA detachments. When a special battalion was formed to carry out raids into the Dnipro region of Ukraine, many was formed to carry out raids into the Dnipro region of Ukraine, many officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers from Koval's battalion went to join it including company commander Volodymyr Lukashchuk ("Kropyva"), Iakiv Iakivliv ("Kvaryrenko") and Volodymyr Kryveniuk ("Roman"). Lukashchuk was later well-known as an UPA battalion commander and eventually became Chief of Staff of the UPA's Southern commander and eventually became Chief of Staff of the UPA's Southern (Kremianets') Military Region. Iakovliv also became a battalion commander and his name is of ten found in notices about UPA battle operations. In the place of those who left Koval's battalion new recruits were brought in. They had to be trained and , at the same time, the battalion had to carry out operations against the Germans and Soviet partisans, who arrived at that time in the forests of the Tsuman' district. The author describes battles that took place in April and May, 1943. On May 23, the author was slightly wounded during a skirmish with the Germans and went away for medical treatment.
After undergoing treatment, the author was names company commander in the Koval' battalion, which was commanded by "Holubanko". As a member of this battalion, the author took part in the UPA action against Soviet partisans in the Manevychi, Rafalivka and Kamin'-Koshyrs'k district in July, 1943. The purpose of this operation was to clear the area of Soviet partisans who were vandalizing Ukrainian villages, while their NKVD forces were wiping out the most nationally-conscious and active citizens. From there the battalion went back to the Kovel' region, in order to defend the villages there. It was harvest time and the Germans were sending large numbers of police troops of grain and cattle from the peasants, to send to the "hungry Reich". The author describes some of the battles that took place with the Germans. The biggest of these occurred near Radovychi, in the Triys'k district.
In the fall of 1943, the author was assigned to build a secret camp in the swampy forests of Polissya, in the county of Kamin'-Koshyrs'k. The camp was to house a hospital and the headquarters of the UPA's North-western Military Region. He recounts how his company built the camp. Later he attended a three-week officer training session, designed to increase the participants' theoretical knowledge of partisan tactics and prepare them for battle under conditions of Soviet occupation. At the time the front was getting closer to Volyn'. Once he completed his training , the author was named deputy to Porfir Antoniuk, battalion commander in the Volosymyr Volyns'kyi county. He set out for the Volodymyr Volyns'kyi county at the end of January, 1944, accompanied by Oleksiy Shum ("Vovchak"), deputy commander for the military region. At that time a division of Soviet partisans commanded by P. Vershyhora had broken through into the region. The partisans had some clashed with local UPA detachments, which caused the UPA to withdraw to other territories. The author has some difficulty in making contact with Porfir Antonuik, so he was assigned to a special group led by "Omelko", a member of the command staff if the north-Western Military Region "Turiv". As a member of that group, the author traveled to various places and had an opportunity to familiarize himself with UPA detachments in other counties in the region.
The author devotes two chapters to a description of the organization of UPA detachments in his military region. He cautions the reader that the data he provides are not complete. However his account is full of new information about UPA detachments and officers in that armaments and day-today activities of UPA detachments are also very useful. In addition, he tells us about the UPA court martial of battalion commander Porfir Antoniuk for his collaboration with the Germans and the death in battle of O. Shum, deputy commander of the military region. The account ends with a description of how UPA detachments crossed the front-line. To get behind the Soviet army, and their activities at the rear of the Soviet army.
Page 161. The UPA's pidhaitsi company in Volyn' (Stepan Soroka)
In October, 1943, the author joined the Pidhaitsi UPA company as a volunteer. The company had been organized in secret in the Pidhaitsi district of Halychyna, and was transferred to Volyn' for general military and combat training against German police troops and Soviet how it moved to Volyn'. Further, he speaks of his stay in the UPA unit mid-winter, 1944. The memoir is full of information about organization, armaments and the daily routine of insurgents units. It also tells us how the civilian population lived in conditions of partisan warfare.
The Pidhaitsi company was organized and headed by company commander Petro Goi (pseudonym "Shum") and platoon leaders V. Lebuts'kyi ("Moroz"), V. Mykhals'kyi ("Sokil") and "Sirko". They were assisted in their work by underground OUN activists in the Pidhaitsi district - P. Shkafarobs'kyi, A. Kushniryna, P. Basarab and I. Nakonechnyi. By November 1, the company was ready, armed and supplied, so it set out for Volyn'. The company was composed of 120 soldiers organized into three platoons of three squadrons each. Each squadron had a light machine gun and horse-drawn vehicle.
In the Brody district the company crossed the Halychyna-Volyn' boundary and pushed further north through the Krenianets' and Dubno districts to join the UPA Supreme Command which would assign it its duties. When it got near the town of Zbolbuniv, the company was ordered east, and placed under the command of "Vereshchaka", the Commander of the UPA's Eastern Military Region, who was directing activities in the northern parts of the Khmelnyts'kyi and Zhytomyr oblasts. At that time the Pidhaitsi company was led by V. Levyts'kyi ("Moroz"). The previous company commander, P. Goi, was assigned to other duties. The author remained with him.
In time author was assigned to the local UPA company in the Zdolbuniv district, which was undergoing training and escorting UPA transports across railroad lines and highways guarded by German troops. The commander of this company was "Buria"; his deputy was "Triasylo". Also in the company were warrant officer "Berkut" and platoon leaders "Chornyi", "Kozats'kyi" and "Lyman". The author provides details about the company's daily life, its expanses while escorting UPA transports, and its skirmishes with the Germans. He also describes a Christmas celebration in the village of German in the Zdolbuniv district. When the front came nearer, the author was sent home, where he was to join the local UPA detachment that was being organized there.
Page 194. In the struggle for freedom in Volyn' (Stepan Novyts'kyi)
The author was part of a group of UPA armorers who collected hidden weapons from the civilian population, repaired them if necessary, and turned them over to the UPA. After a year of this activity, in the spring of 1944, he was named platoon leader in the UPA's so-called "territorial company", whose soldiers were spread out through villages, where they carried out various assignments and come together for training and battle operations. When the front moved to where this company was operation, the Germans succeeded in arresting the author. In mid-July, 1944 when the front moved back to the Vistula River, he was taken to Germany. In his memoir the author describes his experiences in the UPa and tells of events that took place in the Volodymyr-Volyns'kyi (and to some extent, the Horokhiv) district of the Volyn' oblast.
The account begins with the period of Soviet occupation, 1939-41. At that time the author was director (kushchevyi) of the underground OUN network in several villages of the Poryts'k raion (a part of the former Volodymyr-Vlyn's'kyi district). The author focuses on the NKVD arrests of nationally-conscious Ukrainians, among them members of the OUN. When the German-Soviet was broke out in June, 1941, the NKVD shot all the prisoners - several thousand people in all - held in the Luts'k oblast jail before retreating eastward. The author describes the symbolic funeral held for those who had been executed. Among them were some of his friends.
At first during the German occupation, the author helped organized the Ukrainian administration. But by October, 1941, the German civilian administration had arrived. The regime it imposed was no less harsh than that of the Soviets. So the author turned to organizing the anti-German resistance movement. His memoir provides many details about the events of that period. During the winter of 1942-43, the German regime became particularly sever. There was a massacre in the Poryts'k raion. In the village of Ianevychi the Germans shot fifteen peasants, among them women and children. The author recounts how after that event UPA units and village self-defense groups began to be organized in the Volodymyr district. On April 1, 1943, the author volunteered for the UPA. He joined the group of armorers commanded by "Yurko".
At first the armorers were with the UPA battalion commanded by "Slavko", which was staying in the Zavydivs'k forest, on the boundary between the Volodymyr and Horokhiv districts. In addition to recounting his personal experiences from that period, the author describes the massacre in the village of Kniazhe, in which the Germans killed 105 peasants, that attack by company commander "Moskalenko" on a German post in Koniukhiv and other events. he gives a detailed description of the day-long battle of "Slavko's" battalion with a German police regiment in July, 1943. Battalion leader "Slavko" was killed in this fought, as were company commander "Moskalenko" and more that 90 insurgents. The German losses were about three times as high.
In the summer the armorers went over to "Sich", the UPA center in the Svynars'k forest near Volodymyr, which was under the command of battalion commander Porfir Antoniuk ("Sosenko"). The center included a school for non-commissioned officers of the UPa. a hospital, locksmith workshop and other such establishments. The author describes the center. He also provides details about the training and activities of his group of armorers and his own personal experiences.
In the fall, the Germans were preparing of raids on the Svymars'k forest, so the "Sich" command ordered an evacuation. The armorers moved to the village of Vladopil', about thirty kilometers north of Volodymyr. At the end of January, 1944, they returned to the forest because a division of Soviet partisans, led by P. Vershyhora, had units in the Svynars'k forest, at the "Sich" center. The author describes the battles that tool place. while the author's group of seven insurgents were retreating it fell into a Soviet ambush. Most of the insurgents were killed and the author was taken prisoner. That he regained his freedom was nothing short of a miracle, for at that time the Soviets were killing not only insurgents, but totally innocent people.
The memoir ends with an account of the organization of the UPA's so-called "territorial company" in the Poryts'k raion and the events that took place in the spring of 1944. The front moved close to the company's area of operations. This made all activity very difficult, for the company was surrounded by German troops. Then the Germans changed their tactics toward the UPa. Their headquarters sought to make contact with the Germans, for it was felt that any such move would politically compromise the UPA. Battalion commander Porfir Antoniuk ("Sosenko") disobeyed these orders and an UPA court sentenced him to death. While the author's company was preparing to move further behind the German line he was captured by German police. Three days later the Soviet army launched its July offensive and the front moved to the Vistula River in Poland.
Page 220. The Matiyiv district in Volyn' under German occupation (Mykhailo Lebid)
The author of this memoir was head of the Matiyiv district administration in the Kovel' region of Volyn' during the period of German occupation, 1941-44. His accounts contains a number of interesting details about the administration, German policy in Ukraine and the more significant events of that time.
The account begins in 1939, with the fall of Poland, when the Red Army arrived in the area. At first the local communists established a municipal government in Matiyiv. but not long afterward Soviet officials arrived, relieved the local communists of their posts and took over the administration. With them came the NKVD. At first the Soviet administration was reasonably humane, although event in the first few months it "nationalized" estates and industrial concerns. But during the winter , the NKVD began to show its in hand. Whole families were arrested and transported to Siberia. At first the arrests and deportations were carried out "in secret", by night; the victims were mainly the wealthier members of society (landowners and merchants), Polish refugees and officials and certain Ukrainian political activists. Then came mass deportations, mainly of Polish refugees and colonists. These also took place by night. At the end of 1940, collective farms began to by organized, heavy taxes were levied on churches and peasants and Ukrainian activists, priests and wealthier peasants were taken off to Siberia. People threatened with arrest would escape beyond the Buh river, to areas under German occupation, or enter the underground. The NKVD brought in the equivalent of martial law; citizens could travel only with special permission.
In June, 1941, the German-Soviet was broke out. A few days later, the Germans arrived in Matiyiv. with permission from the German military command, representatives of the communities of the Matiyiv district elected a district governing body, which was headed by the author. the district was made up of 57 communities, with a total population of 66,000. At first the Germans did not meddle in the activities of the Ukrainian administration; it was left free to run the economic and community life of the district. Under this regime the cultural and educational activities of the communities quickly got back to normal - there were reading rooms, choirs and amateur theatrical "communists" and the author was obliged to intervene on behalf of innocent people who had been arrested. Furthermore, the persecution of Jews had begun. The Germans set up a Judenrat and placed the Jewish population directly under the authority of the German "Ortskommandantur".
In the fall of 1941 the so-called civil German administration arrived. At that time the "Reichskonnissarial Ukraine" was created, with Erich Koch at its head. German officials, Gestapo, SD and police came in and took all power into their own hands. In Kovel' the German administration proceeded to arrest Ukrainian activists. In Matiyiv Landwirt Makkentum arrived and took all power and control of all storehouses in the area. The author still held the title "head of the district administration", but he was stripped of all real power. He remained just the chief of the Ukrainian officials.
The first jolt of the German occupation was the mass execution of about 250 Jewish men, who were supposedly called out to register at the monastery building which housed the police station. Later Jews were driven into a "Ghetto" and by 1942-43 they were being openly transported out of the town to be shot. The peasants of the district were saddled with enormous demands for grain meat, mild and other businesses worked for the Germans and employees were paid very low wages. A further cause for complaint was the transport of young people to work in German factories . At first there were people willing to go. But when it was discovered that Ukrainian workers in Germany were being kept behind barbed wire, as though in prison, nobody more wanted to go. Erich Koch's administration banned all Ukrainian cultural activity and closed all schools except for the first four grades. The author gives many examples of how these and other barbaric regulations were brought into effect . he describes how the urge to resist gradually grew among the population and how the Germans resolved their conflicts with the people . He also writes of his visit to a camp of Red Army prisoners-of-war in Kholm, where thousands of people were starved to death by the Germans.
In the last part of his story, the author recounts the events of 1943, when the UPA began its armed struggle against the Germans in the Matiyiv district. He describes the general conditions in the area, tells how the Germans reacted to the insurgent movement and speaks of the activities of Cossack, Lithuanian and Polish auxiliary police units who fought with the Germans against the UPA. he gives a detailed account of the UPA's rout of a German police battalion in the Loboml' district. He also tells us how the Batiyiv Ukrainian auxiliary police and the Ukrainian battalion organized in Matiyiv by the Germans crossed over form the side of the Germans to the UPA. The memoir also describes the German terror and other events.
The author left Matiyiv when the Soviet front approached, in mid-January, 1944. He and his family ended up in camps for displaced persons. From there they went to Montreal, Canada.
Page 250. Ukrainian women in German prisons in Kremianets' and Rivne (Sophia Stepaniuk)
On July 16, 1943, the author and her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Hanusia were arrested by the Gestapo in the town of Kremianets' in Volyn'. In this memoir the author describes her stay in prisons in Kremianets' and Rivne. She tells of the terrible conditions that existed in the prisons, and the tortures and executions of political prisoners. At that time the Gestapo was carrying out mass arrests of Ukrainian intellectuals throughout Volyn'. Some of those arrested were executed, particularly those who had been denounced as UPA collaborators. Others were sent to concentration camps in Germany, where many of them perished.
On the day of the arrests the author learned that her brother, Mykola, and brother-in-law, Markil Geletsins'kyi, had been picked up by the Gestapo, who were also inquiring after her husband, Arsen. Taking her two-year-old daughter, Hanusia, with her, she ran to the factory where her husband worked to let him know about the arrests. Her husband had already managed to hide, so in his place the Gestapo took the author and her daughter. At first the author was kept in a separate prison cell; them she was moved to a larger cell, with 26 other female prisoners. All the women feared they would be shot, for there had already been executions of prisoners in Kremianets' in March, 1943. The author was most concerned about her daughter, for she had heard tell that during German massacres of Ukrainian villagers even small children had not been spared. During her interrogation, on the fourth day of her stay in prison, Hanusia was taken from her. the author grew calmer that evening when she learned that the child had been given to her mother.On the fifth day of her arrest the author was taken with 26 other prisoners to Rivne. The prisoners were escorted under heavy guard. They included the most eminent citizens of Kremianets', among them professors I. Vlasovskyi and A Kotovych, cooperative activist N. Sahaidachnyi, the veterinarian V. Papara, the wife of the artist Iakymchuk, A. Semeniuk, Nina Barabol' and others. Also among the prisoners were the author's brother, Mykola, and brother-in-law, M. Geletsins'kyi. The arrested were packed like sardines into a closed van. They were barely able to breathe, especially when the Gestapo left the van out in the heat outside their headquarters while they went inside to eat. At first the prisoners assumed they were being taken to be shot. They agreed they would attack the Gestapo and go down fighting. But then they realized they were being taken to a different prison.
In the Rivne prison the author was placed in cell 45, which had been intended for about six prisoners, but now housed 50 women. They all sat packed together on the floor; there they slept as well. The cell was unbearably close and quite dark, for it had only two small windows near the ceiling. All the prisoners were hungry, for they were very poorly fed. The guards were very brutal and all the women lived in terror on interrogation and execution. Women were often brought back from interrogations beaten and unconscious. almost every night armed Gestapo took prisoners away for execution, striking terror in all.
In cell 45 there were, at first about 30 Ukrainian women, 17 Jews and several Poles. The author tells us what happened to a number of the prisoners. Among the women she writes of were Hanna and her daughter Tamara Martyniuk, arrested for collaboration with the UPA; Vira Baryshchuk from Kiev, Raisa Trofimchuk from Derman, Paraskeva, a peasant, and Maria Fedoruk and her mother, all from the Kostopil' region, a woman whose name was not known from Poltava, who was murdered along with her child, and others. Of the Jews the author got to know Sonia, the daughter of a businessman. Sonia was later shot. The author describes what happened to five young girls from the Dnipro region who were raped by the Gestapo. She gives a detailed account of Dr. Khrytia Kioninenko, a woman's activist, who was shot by the Germans on October 15, 1943. Dr. Kononenko came from the Poltava region. She completed her studies in Czechoslovakia and was active in the Ukrainian women's movement in Canada, Czechoslovakia and Ukraine, particularly in the Carpathian region, Halychyna and the Kholm region. During the war she traveled to Rivne, where she worked with the Ukrainian Red Cross. That organization was headed by Colonel Leonid Stupnyts'lyi, who was later Chief of Staff of the UPA Supreme Command. when the Germans banned the Ukrainian Red Cross, Dr. Kononenko headed the social service of the Rivne municipal administration. She assisted many victims of the war, especially refugees and Red Army Prisoners-of-war. As a result of her intervention and those of Colonel L. Stupnyts'kyi, the Germans had freed many Ukrainian prisoners-of-war, in the early days of the occupation. During their interrogation of Dr. Kononenko, the Gestapo believed that as far back as 1941 she had been laying the ground for the UPA's activity; that was why she had worked for the release of the greatest possible number of Red Army officers and non-commissioned officers from German prison camps.
The author survived two "purges": of the Rivne prison. This was the term applied to mass executions of prisoners. The first time the prison was "purged", twenty six women from her cell were shot - seventeen Ukrainians, seven Jews and two Poles. Among the victims were Tamara and Hanna Martyniuk, Vira Baryshchuk, Raisa Trofimchukm, Maria Fedoruk and the Jewess, Sonia. The second time the prison was "purged" only a few women from the author's cell were taken.
The author got through her trial without being tortured because there was no denunciation against her and , perhaps, because she chanced upon a kinder investigating judge. however she was sentenced to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. At the end of September she was taken with fifteen other people destined for Auschwitz to a temporary transit camp at Rivne. Among her acquaintances in this group of prisoners were UPA courier Mariyka, from the Kostopil' region, and the veterinarian V. Papara, from Kremianets'. In the Rivne camp the prisoners were not confined to cells; they were able to breathe the fresh air. however the rations were even worse than in prison and the guards were very brutal. The author chanced to be in a group of prisoners who were taken to work in German barracks. From there she managed to escape She found some friends in Rivne who hid her away and helped her return home.
Page 258. A peasant women's experiences during the UPA struggle (Varvara Nykolaiuk)
In 1943, the author was living in the village of Bubly, Volodymyr Volyns'kyi county. She was twenty years old, married and the mother of a one-year-old child. In the spring of that year, her husband volunteered to the UPA. Not long afterwards, the author left Bubly, for fear of attacks by the Germans. She went to live in Revushky, a village in the forest that was located near a railway line defended by the German. In Revuchky, she was able to meet with her husband, fir his UPA detachment was billeted nearby. During the summer there were battles between the UPA and the Germans. In one of them, her husband's horse was killed. The author soon moved even further from home, to stay with her brother in the village of Myroslavka. The situation there was no better. The neighboring village of Mochulky was attacked and a battle broke out there between the UPA and the Germans. In the fall, the author's husband moved to Polissya, and she returned to her own village. She was pregnant and had a small child, so she was unable to lead a nomadic existence. In the winter she went back to Revushky, for Bubly was being attacked by Polish partisans. The author lived through the battles that took place between the UPA and Soviet partisans from P. Vershyhora's division at the end of January, 1944. In February, her husband came home in leave. The front moved nearer and for the sake of their small children's safety, they decided to flee to the West with the other refugees. They left home on February 22, 1944; while they were on the road their second child was born. The author's account centers on her personal experiences. It also provides descriptions of the general conditions prevailing at the time, the major events and day-to-day activities.
Page 278. The town of Korets' and Vicinity in the period of the UPA struggle (Vasyl Zahrava)
The author came from the town of Korets', a district center in the Rivne oblast' located near the border with the Zhytomyr oblast'. In 1943-44, the author served as courier for the Ukrainian resistance. In he volunteered to the so-called "penal" battalion of the Red Army. After some brief training, he was wounded and taken prisoner. The author tells of his experiences and describes the major events occurring in the Korets' district.
As early as the fall of 1943, people were hearing of the activities of Ukrainian insurgents in the Sarny district of Polissya. Food and clothing were gathered for them secretly in the villages. In the Korets' district UPA detachments began to appear in the spring of 1943. The author describes a few battles that he knew took place between the UPA and the Germans. He participated in the UPA's night attack on the German outpost in the village of Holovnytso. Most of the troops there were Cossacks. He tells how they had earlier murdered the family of one villager, Nina Kuz'much. When the Germans sent the Korets' Ukrainian police force, led by commander Bobrovs'kyi, to fright the UPA, most of its members crossed over to join the UPA. Those who returned without their weapons were sent off to "work" in Germany. The author describes the construction of underground storehouses in the forest and tells us how the UPA was preparing for the return of the Soviets.
The Soviet army occupied Korets' on January 1, 1944. Although the Soviets sent many NKVD troops against them, the UPA and the underground continued their activities. Furthermore, most of the peasants evaded mobilization into the Soviet army and hid away from the NKVD raids. The NKVD captured the author while he was unarmed. That was probably what saved him from torture and execution, or transport to Siberia. he ended up in the so-called "penal" battalion of the Red Army, which was undergoing training in Rivne. While traveling by train to Lviv, a large number of soldiers from that battalion overpowered their guards and fled. The author trained with the battalion's new recruits in Lviv, Stanyslaviv, and in Transcarpathian region. From there he was sent to the front, as a member of a company of submachine gunners, The memoir gives many interesting details about conditions in the penal battalion of the Soviet Red Army.