Historical Notes on the "Ukrainian Nationalist" Organizations in Western Ukraine

Following the victory of the Great October Revolution, the counter-revolutionary forces in Western Ukraine began to play their role together with all the forces of imperialism and reaction against the new. Western Ukraine was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From 1917 right up until the collapse of the Soviet Union, the "Ukrainian nationalists" based in Western Ukraine and later from their bases in Europe, Canada and the U.S. aggressively opposed the October Revolution and worked for the dismemberment of the Soviet Union. These forces occupied Kiev and declared themselves the "supreme government" or Rada of the Ukrainian National Republic. On December 25, 1917, the All-Ukrainian Congress of the Soviet Ukraine declared the Rada unlawful. After other short-lived attempts to establish its government in Galicia (Western Ukraine) Eastern Galicia was placed under Polish military control by the Supreme Council of the Four Powers. The Polish-Ukrainian war ensued in July 1919.

Civil War in the Soviet Union and the Ukrainian Rada

The Soviet Civil War was a war of the workers and peasants of the nations of the Soviet Union against foreign and domestic enemies of the Soviet power. Following the Great October Revolution, Great Britain, France, Japan and the U.S. landed troops in the Soviet Union without any declaration of war. Germany had signed a peace treaty with Russia, and while Germany did not openly take part in this intervention, it signed a "treaty" with the Ukrainian Rada, and brought German troops into Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan. The defeat of Germany in 1918 began a new period in which the new Soviet Union could now wage military and political struggle openly for the liberation of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Byelorussia, Ukraine and Transcaucasia from the yoke of Germany imperialism.

In 1920, Poland and the Ukrainian directorate under Simon Petliura signed a treaty of alliance against the Soviet Union. Petliura agreed to abandon the claim to Volynia/Wolyn and Eastern Galicia, and their combined forces attacked the Soviet Union. This was a disaster for the reactionary forces and the Polish army was pushed back to the gates of Warsaw by the Red Army.

Polish Gentry Attack Soviet Union; General Wrangel's Campaign; Failure of the Polish Plan; Rout of Wrangel; End of the Intervention

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), writing about the events of 1920, noted:

"Notwithstanding the defeat of Kolchak and Deniken, notwithstanding the fact that the Soviet Republic was steadily regaining its territory by clearing the Whites and the forces of intervention out of the Northern Territory, Turkestan, Siberia, and the Don region, the Ukraine, etc., notwithstanding the fact that the Entente states were obliged to call off the blockade of Russia, they still refused to reconcile themselves to the idea that the Soviet power had proved impregnable and had come out victorious. They therefore resolved to make one more attempt at intervention in Soviet Russia. This time they decided to utilize both Pilsudski, a bourgeois counter-revolutionary nationalist, the virtual head of the Polish state, and General Wrangel, who had rallied the remnants of Denikin's army in the Crimea and from there was threatening the Donetz Basin and the Ukraine.

"The Polish gentry, and Wrangel, as Lenin put it, were the two hands with which international imperialism attempted to strangle Soviet Russia.

"The plan of the Poles was to seize the Soviet Ukraine west of the Dnieper, to occupy Soviet Byelorussia, to restore the power of the Polish magnates in these regions, to extend the frontiers of the Polish state so that they stretched 'from sea to sea,' from Danzig to Odessa, and, in return for his aid, to help Wrangel smash the Red Army and restore the power of the landlords and capitalists in Soviet Russia.

"This plan was approved by the Entente states."[1]

In April, Poland invaded Soviet Ukraine and seized Kiev. The Red Army counter-offensive led to the recapture of Kiev while the Polish warlords were driven out of Ukraine and Byelorussia. "The impetuous advance of the Red troops on the Southern Front brought them to the very gates of Lvov in Galicia, while the troops on the Western Front were nearing Warsaw. The Polish armies were on the verge of utter defeat."[2]

Despite this, Trotsky's disastrous actions and orders led to withdrawal of the Soviet troops. While the Polish gentry were forced to abandon their claim to the Ukraine west of the Dnieper and to Byelorussia, by the Treaty of Riga signed on October 20, 1920 Poland retained Galicia and part of Byelorussia.

Ties between German intelligence and the Nazi Party and the Ukrainian "nationalists" began at this time, when Jary, Colonel Andrij Melnyk's second in command and later Berlin liaison for the OUN-Bandera faction, established links with leading Nazis including Alfred Rosenberg and Herman Göring. (Alfred Rosenberg, condemned at Nuremberg and hanged as a war criminal, was a major Nazi ideologue and served as Reich Minister for the Occupied Germany Territories. Göring, also condemned to death by hanging as a war criminal at Nuremberg, was commander of the Luftwaffe and Hitler's designated successor.)

In 1922, a terrorist campaign against Poland (the Second Republic) began. German military and intelligence trained members of the Ukrainian nationalists forces in espionage before their recruitment into the Polish army. Germany continued to offer military training, with an officers' school in Gdansk which graduated 110 active Ukrainian Military Organizataion (UVO) members.

Chronology of the Association of Ukrainian Nationalists

In 1928, fascist Ukrainian organizations which emerged in Italy, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Galicia coalesced. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was founded in Vienna in 1929 from the merger of the UVO and several nationalist student associations – the Group of Ukrainian National Youth, the League of Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Union of Ukrainian Nationalist Youth. The UVO became the military arm of the OUN.

In the interwar period, the OUN carried out terrorist attacks including assassination of political personalities, state officials as well as its opponents within the Ukrainian population and acts of sabotage. Polish government and state officials and the attache at the Soviet consulate in Lvov were amongst the those assassinated. In 1934, its leading activists were arrested, including Stepan Bandera, the head of the Western Ukrainian Territorial Executive. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment and Bandera and other leaders remained in prison until the outbreak of World War II. They were released from prison when Germany invaded Poland in 1939.

Andrij Melnyk became the head of the OUN at its second congress convened in Rome under Mussolini's protection in 1939. In the period from 1939-1941, the factions of the OUN literally fought a war against each other for power and split into two factions -- the OUN-M headed by Andrij Melnyk and the OUN-B headed by Stepan Bandera. In 1940, both factions met with Hans Frank (a high-ranking Nazi sentenced to death at Nuremberg) and swore loyalty to the Third Reich.

The OUN under German Occupation

The OUN was active in the preparations for war against the Soviet Union, and was utilized by German military intelligence. Following the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, the Germans welcomed the OUN into the German-occupied General Government, and then began to recruit them as saboteurs, interpreters and police, organizing a training camp near Krakow. In the spring of 1941, the Wehrmacht also developed two Ukrainian battalions with the approval of the Banderites -- one code named "Nightingale" (Nachtigall) and the other code named "Roland."

The OUN organized the appropriate welcome of the German occupying forces in Lvov, who they hailed as "liberators" and carried out the first pogroms against Jews in Western Ukraine. The OUN leaders had grandiose ideas of becoming the rulers of a united Ukraine, which included Soviet Ukraine as well as Western Ukraine, and which they conceived as part of the new fascist order in Europe. To this end, the day following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, the OUN-Bandera declared an independent Ukrainian State in Lvov. The "independent Ukraine" of the OUN was to be an ethnically cleansed territory, where all non-Ukrainian inhabitants were to be either driven out or killed. One of the slogans they later gave was "Long live a greater independent Ukraine without Jews, Poles and Germans; Poles behind the River San, Germans to Berlin, and Jews to the gallows."

Nazi Germany had no interest in the independent Ukrainian state declared by the OUN. In this clash of two fascist agendas, the megalomania of the OUN leaders was not to be tolerated. For Nazi Germany, Western Ukraine was not only source of food, raw materials and slave labour, but would provide "lebensraum" (living space) in a "Greater Germany" and German settlers were sent to colonize Volynia/Wolyn.

All the factions of the OUN considered the victory of fascism to be necessary for the establishment of the Ukrainian state. However, while they continued to declare allegiance to Hitler, they maintained their demands for an independent Ukrainian state. For their impertinence, Stepan Bandera and other OUN leaders were placed under house arrest and later sent to Zellenbau, a section of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where political personalities including the Chancellor of Austria were imprisoned. More of their leaders were imprisoned and their forces came under direct German command while the leaders were held in reserve until they might again be needed. That time came after Stalingrad when the tide of the war turned. During the period in which the OUN leaders were in prison, the OUN forces were organized into police units and late military formations under direct German command. At no time during their imprisonment did the OUN leaders direct their followers to cease their service to Nazi Germany. Mykola Lebed, who evaded arrest, became the de facto leader of the OUN-B, and in 1942 he formed the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).

War Crimes of the OUN

In July-August 1941 alone, the OUN participated in the murder of over 13,000 Jews in Volynia/Wolyn in northwestern Ukraine, then a Polish province, alone. The genocide against the Jews in Volynia/Wolyn was an SS operation, but the main force carrying it out consisted of Ukrainian police in the service of the Nazis. An estimated 150,000 Jews were killed in 1942. In the end, more than 98 percent of the Jewish citizens of Volynia/Wolyn perished.

The OUN served as a source of concentration camp guards, ghetto guards and after 1943 as members of the auxiliaries of the SS. Trawniki, an SS labour camp, was established as a training centre for concentration camp guards. They were also the major guard forces at other camps such as Sobibor, Treblinka, Belzec, Trawniki and others.

In 1941 the OUN reached an agreement with the Wehrmacht to organize Ukrainian legions and two OUN-B regiments, Nachtigal and Roland are organized; they were later dissolved and joined the ranks of the UPA. Both the OUN-B and OUN-M formed and trained groups whose task was to follow on the heels of the Germany army in the invasion of the Soviet Union. They were the collaborators whose role was to set up local administrations, militias and the auxiliary police, organize OUN cells, attempt to recruit new members and "combat Jews and communists." Bandera's group was also permitted to engage in political activities in Western Ukraine. Germany also recruited the Ukrainian nationalists into its armed forces and paramilitary organizations.

The UPA which was formed in 1943 and the closely associated SS unit, the SS Galizien, whose formation was endorsed by the OUN-M, played a thoroughly insignificant role as a regular army. The OUN/UPA and the SS Galizien each participated in one recorded battle with the Red Army and on both occasions their forces were decimated. According to Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, there were about 25,000 Ukrainians in the Waffen SS Galizien in 1944. They engaged the Red Army only once at Brody in Western Ukraine from July 13-22, 1944. In this battle, the combined German- Ukrainian force was decimated. Those surviving were reorganized and fresh volunteers added, while others deserted and joined the UPA.

The SS Galizien and the UPA were very closely intertwined. Wasyl Veryha, a former member and the historian of the SS Galizien, who lived in Toronto until his death in 2008 stated: "While recalling the fairly well known facts that the personnel trained in the [SS Galizien] division had become the backbone of the UPA, it should be mentioned that the UPA command also sent groups of its people to the division to receive proper military training."[3]

The main role played by the UPA was not engaging the Red Army, but the murder and genocide of civilian populations. This included acts designed to kill or remove the entire Polish and Jewish population from Western Ukraine, as well as the murder of Ukrainians who had joined the partisans to fight the Nazis, and attacks on partisans from Soviet Ukraine. Testimony of survivors and documents from many sources, including the German and Polish archives, Holocaust archival sources and the OUN's own records identify that among the reasons for the killing of people of Ukrainian nationality by the OUN/UPA were membership or former membership in the Communist Party, joining the partisans, refusal to participate in massacres, refusal to join the OUN/UPA, rendering assistance to Poles, "intermarriage" and refusal to kill their Polish wives and children.

Numerous documents from the Wehrmacht and the Abwehr reporting the meetings conducted with representatives of the UPA note that Germany repeatedly demanded that the OUN give full loyalty in respect to German interests. The OUN was very significant in the genocide against the Jewish population, in fighting the partisans, carrying out collective punishment against entire villages who aided the partisans, etc. But the wholesale genocide of Polish villagers and destruction of their villages, who were needed as forced labour or to provide their quota of agricultural products, was considered counterproductive. This was a sticking point for the UPA, who objected to limitations on their program of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

The Advance of the Soviet Forces

Raids by Soviet partisans against the Nazi forces in Western Ukraine began as early as 1942. After Stalingrad, more Ukrainian Soviet partisans moved into Volynia/Wolyn. The week following the February 2, 1943 victory at Stalingrad, the Ukrainian Partisan Movement ordered new operations in Volynia/Wolyn. The tide was turning. It was at this crucial moment, when the tremendous sacrifice of the Soviet people had put the German army in full retreat, that the OUN-B announced the formation of the UPA.

The forces under OUN influence or direction had been the backbone of the German occupation. The entire civilian administration in Rivne, the headquarters of the Ukraine Reich Commission, numbered only 252 people and the Ukrainians led by the OUN had played a crucial role in administration and subjugation of Western Ukraine on behalf of Nazi Germany.

When German defeat appeared inevitable, like rats leaving a sinking ship the OUN-B gave the call to desert the German police units and join the newly formed UPA. It was at this time that it engaged in a few skirmishes with retreating German units to seize weapons, actions which it later would claim prove that the OUN had "fought both the Nazis and the Red Army." The OUN was desperate to stop Ukrainians from joining ranks with the Soviet partisans. The OUN had achieved its dominant position over the Ukrainian population in Western Ukraine not through popular support but as the collaborators of the occupiers. It had resorted to terror against the Ukrainian population and its command over the people was in no way secure. It may also have engaged in some of these minor skirmishes in order to try to convince the people that it was "fighting the Nazis." The OUN/UPA played a double game, sometimes issuing anti-German propaganda to try and gain credibility amongst the peasants while continuing to pledge their allegiance to Hitler and the new fascist order in Europe.

The UPA now proceeded to use the experience it had gained in organizing mass murder and unleashed it against the Polish population. OUN leader Mykola Lebed proposed the removal of all non-Ukrainians from the entire territory of Volynia/Wolyn. In late April 1943, a summit of the OUN replaced Lebed with Roman Shukhevych as leader and a central command was established for all the UPA forces under Shukhevych, with about 40,000 men. The assault on the Polish citizens of Volynia/Wolyn soon began. The OUN/UPA forces killed at least 50,000, forcing the rest to flee. UPA soldiers would surround colonies and villages, burning the houses, shooting or forcing back inside to be burned alive those who tried to escape.

Polish victims of a massacre committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the village of Lipniki, Wolyn (Volhynia), 1943.

Partisan units waged a heroic fight against the UPA. These partisan units included Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish partisans, including Jewish survivors of the destruction of the ghettos who had been sheltered by peasants in the countryside or survived in the woods.

On July 27, 1944, the Soviet army liberated Lvov. Despite the desertions from the SS Galizien and formation of the UPA, cooperation with Germany continued. In September 1944 the UPA requested and received arms, supplies and radio equipment from the Nazis. They used these arms and supplies in ambushes of officers and soldiers of the Red Army and the continued mass murder of Poles and anti-fascists of all nationalities, including Ukrainians. The OUN/UPA later made fantastic claims of the enormous number of Red Army troops which had to be deployed to deal with these ambushes, but it appears that these were stories intended to impress the U.S. and improve the terms of sale of its services to a new master.

Germany finally released all of the leaders of the OUN from the concentration camps in the fall of 1944 to assist the rapidly deteriorating German war effort. At this point all of Eastern Poland had been liberated by the Red Army. The SS Galizien was ordered to Czechoslovakia to fight the partisans there, and later to Yugoslavia.

The OUN/UPA Following the Defeat of Fascism

Members of Waffen SS Galizien transferred
to England, 1947.

As the victory over fascism became imminent, all the major nationalist leaders were called to Berlin in the dying days of the Third Reich. The SS Galizien surrendered to the British and were imprisoned in Italy. In 1947 they were permitted as an entity to immigrate to Britain and later to Canada. Substantial numbers of OUN-UPA members also immigrated to Canada and the U.S.

This was not the end of the campaign of terror organized by the OUN/UPA. Their campaign of ethnic cleansing, burning villages, massacring Poles and terrorist attacks against public officials, members of the armed forces, members of various political parties and industrial sabotage continued from 1945 right through to 1947, now backed by the U.S. as a crucial part of its plan for war against the Soviet Union.

Notes: Fascist Outlook of the OUN/UPA

Second Congress of the OUN-B, April 1941 – from the OUN Archives:

"The Jews in the USSR constitute the most faithful support of the ruling Bolshevik regime in the vanguard of Muscovite imperialism in the Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik government exploits the anti-Jewish sentiments of the Ukrainian masses to divert their attention from the true cause of their misfortune and to channel them in time of frustration into pogroms on Jews. The OUN combats the Jews as the prop of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime and simultaneously renders the masses conscious of the fact that the principal foe is Moscow."[4]

From the German archives (Einsatzgruppen reports, July 16, 1941), a note signed by the OUN-B group:

"Long live a greater independent Ukraine without Jews, Poles and Germans; Poles behind the River San, Germans to Berlin, and Jews to the gallows."[5]

Re: OUN/UPA Collaboration with Nazi Germany, from the German Archives, an excerpt from Ridna Zemlia – an OUN-M publication from Lvov, July 16, 1944:

"The war will last until the Germans will be victorious together with all of Europe, until the dark forces perish, until Bolshevism together with Anglo-American imperialism falls to pieces...The enemy will not break the spirit of Germany and Europe!... We Ukrainians must take our example from the German nation, from its spiritual determination to survive until the last battle, the last victory. Away with all hesitation, away with all doubts, away with all resignation! Only the complete dedication to the task at hand will lead to full victory."[6]

From the diary of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (head of the German Military intelligence service, the Abwehr):

"I would have to make appropriate preparations with the Ukrainians so that, should this alternative (the incorporation of Galicia as a nominally independent state under the Third Reich) become real, the Melnyk organization (OUN) can produce an uprising which would aim at the annihilation of the Jews and Poles."[7]

Field Report from the Eastern Territories to Gerhard von Mende, director of the Department of Affairs in the Occupied Eastern Territories, Ministry of the Third Reich, November 2, 1944:

"In the interest in realizing its objectives, the UPA – beginning in 1944 – has launched a growing initiative to link its plans to the local units of the Wehrmacht. At the same time, orders were given to its units to support the activities of the Wehrmacht and to cease attacks on individual German soldiers or smaller units of the army for the purpose of obtaining firearms or other supplies. The adequate preparation of the groundwork among the Ukrainian population and the removal of the political obstacles in its military cooperation with the Germans have resulted in a unique type of general cooperation between the UPA and the Wehrmacht in August 1944.

"Regarding the extent and the means of conducting this cooperation, evidently serious contentions have arisen between the directorate of the OUN and that of the UPA because various military necessities arising from the battles with the Red Army did not always fit the politics of the OUN. That organization has kept itself in the background, and it matters a great deal to it that its military cooperation with Germany, and in particular with the Wehrmacht, does not come to light.

"Just as the relationship of the UPA to the Germans, so to have its relations to the Poles and the smaller nationalities of the Soviet Union remained under the influence of the political concepts of the OUN. A world war of extermination had been declared against the Poles because of the age-old tensions between these two nations, regarding other nationalities of the Soviet Union, a policy of coalition has been embarked upon based on the foundation of a mutual war of liberation to be waged against the Soviet Union, or rather, Russia, which found its expression also in the organizational phase (by incorporating individual units of these nationalities into the UPA)...

"The UPA conducted its activities on three levels: a) anti-German; b) anti-Polish; c) anti-Soviet.

"Under the battle-cry of 'revenge' for the Polish policy of extermination in the years 1918-39 and hostile disposition under first the Soviet and then the German occupation, the OUN-UPA began a campaign of annihilation of the Poles, which released all those instincts associated with vengeance stemming from age-old animosities and whose object was the wholesale physical destruction of all that was Polish in this territory. Irrespective of the stated reason for this war ('Poles are the Soviet agents of destruction,' 'Poles are setting the Germans against the Ukrainians,' and the like), one cannot deny that the objective of the OUN-UPA was to cleanse the Ukrainian territory of everything which was Polish, or at least to destroy that which the Poles had achieved in this territory in the years 1918-39. The canvas of the map of nationalities, and foremost in Wolyn, is bound to change fundamentally as a result of this war."[8]

Notes on the Leaders of the OUN/UPA

Andrij Melnyk

Leader of the OUN-M, Melnyk was an open supporter of fascism, writing in 1939, "Today...at our side stand other nations – Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan – whose victories aim at the final annihilation of the common enemy. In this battle the leading task falls to Ukraine. The quick conclusion of this battle depends on the strength and tenacity of the Ukrainian nation."[9]

After the war, Melnyk escaped to the West and lived in Luxembourg, West Germany and Canada. He remained politically active and headed a number of Ukrainian émigré organizations. He died in Clervaux, Luxembourg, at the age of 73 in 1964.

Stepan Bandera

Stepan Bandera was a leading member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and later leader of the Bandera faction of the OUN (OUN-B). He was arrested by the Polish authorities in 1934, and condemned to death for his role in the assassination of the Polish minister of the interior, but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. He was released from prison by the Nazis after the fall of Poland. He was arrested for his refusal to rescind the proclamation of Ukrainian independence issued the day after the German invasion of the Soviet Union began and remained in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from July 1941 to September 1944. The death of his two brothers at Auschwitz is often cited by the Ukrainian nationalists as proof that they "fought the Nazis." In fact the brothers were killed by Polish guards, likely in retaliation for the OUN ethnic cleansing campaign against the Polish citizens of Volynia/Wolyn.

He became head of the OUN abroad in 1947 (although factional divisions continued which challenged his leadership.)

Elected a member of the OUN leadership in 1945 and head in 1947, Bandera held consistently to the principles of what his followers came to refer to as "integral nationalism" – fascism by another name. In May 1953, he was elected leader of the sections of the OUN abroad.

Bandera died in (West) Germany in 1959, apparently the victim of cyanide gas, which was attributed by West Germany to the KGB. His descendants, including his grandson, live in Canada and continue an ongoing campaign to defend him and to deny all changes of war crimes. His grandson was also an active participant in the "Orange Revolution."

Dmytro Dontsov

Dontsov was a fascist ideologue and a major influence in the ideology adopted by the OUN. He published a work entitled Natsionalizm in 1926. He was a follower of Mussolini and put forward a fascist conception of the Ukrainian nation. "The strengthening of the nation's will to live, her will to rule, her will to expand – these I have designated as the chief foundation of the idea of nationalism... The second foundation of the idea of a healthy nation should be the aspiration to war, the awareness of its necessity without which heroic deeds are impossible as is an intensive life or faith in it or the triumph of any new idea which seeks the change the face of the world."[10]

Dontsov left Ukraine in 1939. He emigrated to the United States in 1947 and then to Canada in 1948 where he taught Ukrainian literature at the Université de Montréal. In Canada he continued to write for the Ukrainian émigré press, mainly that of the Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). He died in Montreal in 1973 at the age of 90.

The Encyclopedia of Ukraine states: "Dontsov's writing is marked by passionate argumentation and a dynamic style. He quoted his ideological opponents somewhat freely. Dontsov changed his world view several times: he embraced socialism and then renounced it; he rejected religion and then extolled a militant church. All his work was directed clearly against Russia and against the idea of Ukraine's federation with Russia. In defending unconditionally the idea of Ukrainian independence, Dontsov attacked Russian imperialism in all its forms and made a decisive contribution to the undermining of Russophilism and the influence of Communist ideas in Western Ukraine in the 1920s. He pointed out that Ukraine was organically tied to the West and strongly condemned those tendencies among Ukrainians in the 19th and 20th centuries that weakened this tie. Influenced profoundly by the debacle of the Ukrainian struggle for independence (1917-20), for which he blamed its leaders, he idealized Cossack traditions and increasingly emphasized the importance of traditionalism and a ruling caste, and the necessity of militancy and activism among the younger generation. His ideology was built on the principles of voluntarism and idealism: irrational will, according to him, was the main force in the life of the individual and of society. Dontsov believed that ideas have played an increasingly important role in history; hence, he denounced Marxism and historical materialism, thus provoking bitter attacks by the socialist and especially Communist camps. Because of his brilliant style of writing and his oratorical skill, Dontsov's ideas had a great impact on the minds of many young Galician Ukrainians in the 1930s. Nationalism and idealism became a dominant ideology. Dontsov's theses were to a large extent the basis for the revolutionary underground activity of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in the 1930s. His ideology (Dontsovism) was opposed by Ukrainian democratic and Catholic circles, which condemned his antidemocratic, elitist ethic and his amoral justification (in his system of voluntaristic and pantheistic monism) of any deed that benefits the primacy of the nation. More than any of his contemporaries Dontsov was a figure of both adulation and vilification."[11]

Mykola Lebed

Mykola Lebed was a leading member of the OUN-B and the UPA. Lebed was jailed by the Polish government in 1936 for his role in the assassination of the Polish Minister of the Interior. Following the German attack he was released or escaped in 1939. He managed to evade arrest and therefore became the de facto leader of the OUN while other leaders were in prison. Lebed made his way to Rome and under the protection of the Vatican in 1945 with a treasure trove of names and contacts of anti-Soviets both in western Ukraine and in the displaced persons camps, the enticement he used to sell his services to U.S. imperialism. Lebed was smuggled from Rome to Munich in December 1947. He died in Pittsburgh at about the age of 89 in 1998.


1. History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course, p. 240

2. Ibid., p. 241

3. Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poland's Holocaust: ethnic strife, collaboration with occupying forces and genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947, 1998, p. 227.

4. Tadeusz Piotrowski, Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn, 2000, p. 177.

5. Ibid., p. 177.

6. Ibid., pp. 236-237.

7. Alexander Dallin, German Rule in Russia, 1941—1945: A Study of Occupation Policies, 2nd Ed., (London: MacMillan, 1981), p. 115.

8. Piotrowski, Op. Cit., Appendix C, Excerpts from Documents, pp. 213-14.

9. Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn, p. 214.

10. Ibid., p. 224.

11. "Dmyto Dontsov," Encyclopedia of the Ukraine.

(Hardial Bains Resource Centre)

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 8 - September 2023

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