Armed Ukrainians in L’viv: Ukrainian Militia, Ukrainian Police, 1941 to 1942

in Canadian-American Slavic Studies
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Who were the Ukrainians who participated in the exterminatory violence that swept eastern Galicia following the German invasion of the USSR in June 1941? Records show that they represented diverse political and demographic strata. Those most distant from nationalist roots, however, demonstrated the highest lethality and greatest willingness to serve as disciplined agents of Nazi genocide. The cycles of violence in German-occupied Galicia were far from uniform in character. The victims and German perpetrators alike rarely differentiated among the Ukrainians doing the violence. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) “task groups” first entered Galicia to establish Ukranian nationalist authority and in Lemberg participated in a few days of blood-letting until disbanded by the SS. A new, better controlled Ukrainian militia likewise proved unreliable except in self-actuated violence, and was disbanded. Finally, in late July 1941 a standing Ukrainian Auxiliary Police force – different in structure, membership, subordination, and motivation – came into being. It participated centrally in the rendering of Lemberg as Judenfrei, as security and civil authorities orchestrated the murder of Lemberg’s 150,000 Jews over the following two years.

Armed Ukrainians in L’viv: Ukrainian Militia, Ukrainian Police, 1941 to 1942

in Canadian-American Slavic Studies




Reuben AinszteinJewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe (London: Elek1974) p. 252.


The salient exception is Dieter PohlJudenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941–1944. Organisation und Durchführung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens (Munich: R. Oldenbourg1997) particularly Sect. II. Pohl’s interest in German institutions of persecution however leaves ample room for further consideration of armed Ukrainians in German planning a step that Mick (“Incompatible Experiences”) has taken.


DyukovMinor Enemy p. 69 believes the “Ukrainian police” [militsiia] was “by [mid-August 1941] under the total control of the Ukrainian nationalists” although in L’viv this conclusion does not stand up to scrutiny. German security forces had begun to restrict the activities of Bandera’s OUN-B leadership (Stets’ko had already enjoyed brief imprisonment) and in early August the Abwehr informed OUN-B that it would no longer receive support.


Kost’ Pan’kivs’kyyRok nimets’koi okupatsii (1941–1944) (New York: Zhyttya i mysli1965) p. 403. Pan’kivs’kyy’s assertion that the later Ukrainian Auxiliary Police [Ukrains’ka Pomichna Politsiia] was a professional extension of the nationalist militia organization is fanciful. Pan’kivs’kyy though nationalist was not OUN but a Socialist Radical Party member.


TsDIA-L spr. 7696Governor Dist. Galicia Announcement of the formation of a Jewish residential district in Lemberg November 8 1941 (placard).


Of 536 men who were serving in spring 194349 percent were born in 1917 or later; 43 percent between 1907 and 1916; and just 8 percent before 1907: see Anmeldungskarten prepared by the Social Insurance Office Lemberg: DALO R-345 and rosters of the UP in Lemberg DALO R-12 / 1 / 66a of 1. KommissariatUP [KUP] (ark. 21–24) 2. KUP (ark. 10–12) 3. KUP (ark. 7–9) 6. KUP (ark. 3–5) 10. KUP (ark. 32) and 11. KUP (ark. 1); R-12 / 1 / 2 of 5. KUP (ark. 2–4) 9. KUP (ark. 1); and R-16 / 1 / 37 of 7. KUP (ark. 44–46). One former OUN member Ivan Nebola (born 1911) served as a UP 1st lieutenant and the 1st commissariat commander; he had served as commissariat commander in the militia. While in the UP he signed reports about his men’s performance in the late-March 1942 anti-Jewish operation in which ca. 15000 Jews were seized and transported to Belzec (see these reports in DALO R-12 / 1 / 37). Nebola disappeared from UP records a few weeks before the August 1942 Grosse Aktion in L’viv.


Bodgan Musial“Konterrevolutionare Elemente sind zu erschiessen”: Die Brutalisierung des deutsch-sowjetischen Krieges im Sommer 1941 (Berlin/Munich: Propylaen2000) made this argument (among others) sparking vigorous disagreement from the German historical community. See most recently Agnieszka Pufelska Die “Judäo-Kommune”: Ein Feindbild in Polen. Das polnische selbstverständnis im Schatten des Antisemitismus 1939–1948 (Paderborn/Munich/Vienna/Zurich: Schöningh 2007) for a strong corrective. The number of Jews among Soviet security personnel in L’viv in mid-1941 was far lower than the number of Russians and eastern Ukrainians.


PohlJudenverfolgung p. 385.

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