The OUN, the UPA, and the Nazi Genocide in Ukraine
In Mittäterschaft in Osteuropa im Zweiten Weltkrieg und im Holocaust / Collaboration in Eastern Europe during World War II and the Holocaust, Peter Black, Béla Rásky, and Marianne Windsperger (Eds.). New academic press, Vienna, 2019, pp 67-93.
31 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2019
Date Written: July 15, 2019
The issue of the political rehabilitation and heroization of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) became one of the central political issues in Ukraine after the “Orange Revolution.” It provoked major political and historical controversies and debates in Ukraine and other countries. Former President Yushchenko, nationalist parties, and many Ukrainian historians attempted to recast the OUN-B and the UPA as parts of a popular national liberation movement that fought against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and to present the OUN-B and UPA leaders as national heroes. They denied, minimized or justified the involvement of the OUN-B and the UPA leaders and members in the mass murder of Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians.
The analyses of biographic publications, historical studies, and archival documents show that the majority of the OUN-B and UPA leaders and a very large proportion of members collaborated with Nazi Germany, mainly in the beginning of World War II. A significant percentage of the leaders and members of these organizations served in various police formations. They assisted the Nazi occupational authorities in implementing genocidal policies towards the Jews, Ukrainians, Russians, and Poles by helping to carry out mass executions and create conditions intended for the psychical annihilation of the entire Jewish population and significant numbers of Ukrainians, Russians, and Poles, specifically in Volhynia. The fact that many police commanders and large numbers of policemen in various locations and formations followed orders from the OUN-B by deserting en masse from their service, in particular in Volhynia in the spring of 1943, and forming the basis of the UPA shows that these commanders and police members were de facto controlled by the OUN-B.
Keywords: Ukraine, Genocide, Holocaust, World War Two, Fascism, Politics, History, Conflict, Violence
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