World War II in Ukraine:

Did Hitler or Stalin Kill More Ukrainians in World War II?

Andrew Gregorovich

Did Hitler or Stalin Kill More Ukrainians in World War II?

German army executing Ukrainians in Sumy region, July 1942.

Both Hitler and Stalin saw the Ukrainian nation as an obstacle to their plans and goals. Hitler wanted Ukraine as German Lebensraum and Stalin feared that Ukrainian nationalism and an independent Ukraine would wreck the Soviet Russian Empire. Both were guilty of war crimes and genocide in Ukraine on such a massive scale that they are virtually unequaled in history. We are not speaking here of thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of tousands of victims of mass murder. We are talking of millions of Ukrainians killed by both Hitler and Stalin.

The great puzzle is: Did Hitler or Stalin during WW II kill the most Ukrainians? Hitler's crimes in Ukraine have been better documented and are better known. Stalin once said that history is written by the winners. As a victor, Stalin's USSR was able to hide its genocide of Ukrainians. After the war Stalin said that 7 million Soviet citizens died but we know he was concealing the true higher figures. Nikita Krushchev in 1961 set the death toll in the USSR at 20 million and this seems to be a credible and accurate statistic. Recently Moscow has quoted figures of 25 and 27 million. These new figures are either sheer propaganda or are based on new information about Stalin's genocide of Ukrainians and other Soviet citizens during the War.

No documentary evidence exists of Hitler's order to eliminate all Jews in Europe but we know this is true. Likewise, we have no Hitler order to annihilate the Ukrainians. But we do have the evidence: 1) Millions of civilian victims perished which could not be "accidental". 2) Documentary evidence of the wholesale executions of Ukrainians. 3) The order to execute up to 100 innocent Ukrainians for one German soldier shot by the partisans (and 460,000 German soldiers were killed by partisans and guerillas). 4) The Ostarbeiter Ukrainian slaves were to be "worked to death" in Germany. 5) Millions of prisoners of war were intentionally starved to death in concentration camps. 6) Ukrainian cities were starved to death according to plan. 7) Nazi leaders said that Ukraine as the Lebensraum of Nazi Germany would be colonized by German population and some Ukrainians would be used as slave labor. What about the other Ukrainians? 8) As late as 1943 Hitler refused status to Ukraine and when Ukrainians offered to form an army against the USSR it had to be named Galicia Division until the very last few minutes of the war in 1945 when it was renamed the Ukrainian National Army. 9) Ukraine's disproportionate civilian losses compared to military also indicates a special Nazi German campaign.

It would be naive to think that Adolf Hitler and the Nazi German government was not bent on destroying as many Ukrainian Untermensch as possible in view of the statements which prove it.

For example, Reichmarshal Goering, who was next to Hitler in power said: "This year between twenty and thirty million persons will die [in Ukraine and] and Russia of hunger. Perhaps it is well that it should be so, for certain nations must be decimated." -- Hermann Goering, Nov. 24-27, 1941 (Dallin p. 123).

Today all over independent Ukraine there are discoveries of mass murder graves in the suburbs of cities (such as Bykivna in Kiev), and near all the KGB (NKVD) secret police stations throughout Ukraine. The Ukrainian victims of Stalin's Soviet Russia number in the millions. Many Ukrainians are also buried in the mass graves of Siberia. It is unknown how many of these Ukrainian victims of the Soviet system perished during the war years.

The German army and Gestapo hanged huge numbers of Ukrainians during World War II. Often they left them hanging from city balconies for many days to terrorize the Ukrainians. This photo is from Kharkiv, February 1943.
Ukrainian farmers being led to execution by German soldiers, March 1944.

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Copyright © 1995 Andrew Gregorovich

Reprinted from FORUM Ukrainian Review No. 92, Spring 1995

since March 1st 1997