The author of this article presents a general overview of UPA's activity in Volyn' during 1943. He was Chief of the Operational Section of the Staff for Volyn' activities.
The article opens with an analysis of German occupational policy in Volyn'. The first months of the occupation were relatively peaceful and Ukrainians themselves organized and ran local administrative units. This situation changed very drastically with the arrival of German civilian administrative personnel. What ensued was rising economic exploitation, large-scale forced deportation of the young labor force to factories in Germany, arrests and brutality. Horror came in the summer of 1942 with the genocide of the Jewish population and mass executions of Ukrainians, predominantly members of the leading professions. Large number of people went into hiding, while the general population was growing progressively angry and started to organize itself for self-defense.
The author does not provide a detailed description of the origins of the UPA, except to state that by March 1943 its units were able to act freely on a broad scale. They attacked fortified enemy positions, jails, supply depots; set military ambushes in major roads, and fought German police units which began "punitive" massacres of civilians and indiscriminate burning of villages. As a result of these actions German control of the area was limited to the bigger cities, fortified by large garrisons, and to heavily guarded major highways. Villages, small towns and the rest of the countryside were controlled by the UPA long time before the Germans retreat from Volyn'.
Units of the UPA also engaged well-equipped Soviet guerrilla forces whose objective was to gain control of Volyn', and to liquidate the Ukrainian independence movement. The UPA was able to liquidate, however, most of the base camps of Soviet parachutists forcing them out to more northern and eastern areas. Units of the UPA succeeded in stating raids far into neighboring territories of the Zhytomyr (Zhitomir), Kiev and eastern Podillya regions, where Soviet guerrilla units were already established.
The author gibes a detailed breakdown of the organizational structure of the UPA in Volyn'. It includes military and territorial organization, the methods of supply and the means of support. The material support being provided by the local population.
The UPA's officer cadres were composed of Ukrainians from Soviet, Polish and German armies, while some of the older officers served in the Ukrainian army during 1917-1920. Some non-Ukrainians were also active in the UPA, mainly members of Soviet-dominated Caucasian and Asiatic nations. The several short-term military courses were organized periodically, such as the "Druzhynnyky" officer school which graduated 120 officers in October 1943. Separate medical services had to be organized as well. Thus medical facilities, together with the training of personnel, were set up deep in inaccessible terrain. There was a lack of qualified medical doctors and non-Ukrainians helped to fill these positions, These were mostly young Jewish doctors who had escaped death or who were smuggled of the ghettos.
The types of weapons used by soldiers of the UPA were of various origin. Basic weaponry consisted of what a volunteer brought himself, whatever could be collected from the population or the weapons captured from the enemy. Generally speaking, however the units of the UPA were well armed with the light infantry weapons - rifles, machine guns and grenade launchers. At times, however, there was lack of ammunition, of explosive material and of weapons necessary for assaults on fortified positions. The use of the radio and the telephone was not available, except in rare cases. The communication as rather primitive, primarily by horse wagon or on foot. There were difficulties in obtaining medications, clothing, footwear and other such supplies, which were generally lacking in all of Volyn'. Some of these and other necessities were supplied by the economic division of the OUN underground network.
In the opinion of the author, in 1943 the UPA had twenty thousand active members in Volyn'. He does not project the power-base of this army into numbers and weapons, but underlines its importance in the area of moral principles and politics. The UPA, through its ideas and organization encompassed the whole area of this region, and in the eyes of the population - it as the protector and a leading force in the fight for freedom.
page 54An historical outline of the UPA struggle
The author gives a brief sequence of historical events which provoked large segments of the Ukrainian population in Volyn' and Polissya to take up arms. This they did on order to protect themselves against the barbaric acts and inhuman intentions on the part of Nazi Germany, and in order to curtail the roving and plundering Soviet guerrilla forces. In time these Ukrainian insurgents, organized in the main by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), crystallized into the Ukrains'ka Povstan'ska Armya (UPA) which came to control large areas in Volyn' and Polissya. Known as "republics" these self-governing districts served the UPA as staging areas for military operations and provided protection for the local inhabitants both from physical destruction and from forced German collection of farm products.
Units of the UPA were predominantly Ukraine although there were Uzbeck, Tatar, Azerbaidzhan and other detachments composed of former German prisoners of war.
The UPA attacked jails to free inmates, staged raids into neighboring German-controlled territories and repulsed both German and Soviet plundering details. The German command organized large-scale "punitive" operations, including bombing missions, against the UPA but these did not prove successful. When in late autumn and winter of 1943-1944 the front lines shifted west, the UPA units caught on these territories, had to cross the front to the rear of the Soviet Army.
While the UPA was active in Volyn' and Polissya - the region of Halychyna (Galicia) remained relatively calm and served as staging and supply area for the insurgents. In 1943, however, German authorities intensified their occupational regime, draining the land of material and human resources by means of strict police control, mass arrests and executions. In addition, later that summer Soviet guerrilla groups led by Kolpak were advancing towards the Carpathian Mountains. These and other factors led to the organization of the Ukrayns'ka Narodna Samooborona, the UNS (Ukrainian People's Self-defense). Numerous units of the UNS, supported by local inhabitants, engaged the Soviet guerrillas in frequent battles and succeeded in driving them further to the west. Eventually, units of the UNS turned increased their terror campaign in the civilian population and mounted numerous large-scale military operations against the UNS. Early in 1944 the UNS changed its name and became part of the UPA, known as UPA-Zakhid (UPA-West). A military school was established in the Carpathians to provide trained officers for its forces.
The skirmishes which the UPA-Zakhid waged with the German forces and Soviet guerrillas centered on he control of the forested terrain. The UPA's activity in Halychyna thus became overt characterized by open attacks in German military centers and German police units. Some conflicts also arose between the UPA and the Hungarian army along the Carpathians, but these were terminated following the secret negotiations between the respective army commands. Of linger duration was the armed conflict between UPA and the Polish underground armies especially as the latter refused to acknowledge the right of Ukrainians to self-determination.
When in August 1944 Soviet armies advanced further to the west and the front had stabilized some units of UPA -Zakhid found themselves on the Soviet side of the front line and immediately resumed their activities against the new occupier. The UPA's military school, which was located in the Carpathians, remained temporarily on the German side of the front.
page 110Time does not wait; several remarks about the military force
The policy of the Ukrainian liberation movement required an immediate development of her own armed forces, independent from control of any neighboring country. There was general belief that both the German and the Russian empires were close to collapse. This situation called for an functioning Ukrainian army ready to secure order on Ukrainian territories and to protect Ukraine's borders from her enemies. The creation of an army was to be taken seriously. This task called for a great organizational effort in a very short span of time. The UPA in Volyn' and the UNS in Halychyna were organized precisely with these purposes in mind: Every Ukrainian, therefore, had the duty to support the growth of this army as a precondition of liberation.
At that time the UPA and the UNS formations were undergoing extensive training and, therefore, their operations were largely, although not exclusively tied to offering the protection for the civilian population against the terror and plunder if German occupational forces and of Soviet guerrillas.
page 115In the footsteps of the princes' detachments
The author discuss military virtues and proper soldierly behavior which should be practiced by members of the UPA, tracing these traditions back to the times of the Kievan princes and their armies. He quotes speeches of princely warriors as recorded in ancient literary manuscripts and echoes their call fir bravery, dedication, self sacrifice, endurance and readiness to face the hardships of military life. The author feels that these examples taken from antiquity should be emulated by the UPA.
page 121Military field obstacles
The author provides a list with concise description and broad classification of various military barricades and obstacles. Each type is clearly described, giving its purpose, construction and ease of transportation. The article does not aim for a thorough study of the topic - it provides only a brief summary to be used by an instructor or to give the reader some general knowledge. The author focuses on those types of barricades and obstacles which might be of practical help in offensive and defensive operations by units of the UPA.
page 130The political declaration of the UPA
The document titled "What is the UPA Fighting For?" is in fact a revised edition of the document "What is the Revolutionary-Liberationist UPA Fighting For?" The original version which was signed by the OUN leadership, was aimed at the general public and explained the UPA's political platform. Even though this version contained, on the whole, UPA's own basic political views, it was revised substantially by the Political Section of the UPA's Command, and published with the original ending excised. This improved version constitutes the political platform of the UPA and is known under the heading "What is the UPA Fighting For?" This document was reprinted frequently in various UPA publications and underground brochures.
Briefly summarized, these are the basic principles expounded in it.
In the sphere of international relations, both Russian and German forms of imperialism as well as all the other imperialistic conceptions are rejected. It stands for the recognition of the right of every nation to independence and self-government on its ethnographic territories. In the area of socio-economic organization it rejects the existence of any privileged classes, based either on the principle of ownership (landlords, capitalists), or those originating in a party membership (exemplifies by the party elites in the USSR and in Nazi Germany). In a free Ukraine large industries, banks, trade and commercial enterprises are to remain nationalized; enterprises of a medium size are to be run by co-operatives, while small business establishments are to be in private hands. Similar plans are made for agriculture, although peasants are to have free choice between individual or co-operative ventures.
Other provisions of this declaration guarantee workers their rights (conditions of work, wages, social security, the right to belong to unions, to strike, etc.), proclaim the equality of women, offer freedom to the professions and guarantee the care for the young the elderly and the disadvantaged. Additional provisions guarantee equal rights to all citizens, freedom of speech, the press, freedom of ideas and beliefs, freedom to one's own personal conscience and the right of minorities to freely develop their cultures. But in general, it aims towards radical democratization of existing legal and social structures in the Ukrainian SSR and emphasize those principles which guarantee individual freedoms and a just socio-economic system.
page 155Military orders issued by the UPA command in Volyn':
This section contains reprints of original orders issued by the UPA Headquarters in Volyn', the Supreme command of all the UPA forces at that time. By the end of 1943, the UPA had grown active in other provinces and the Supreme Command Headquarters was reorganized while the Volynian UPA Command was renamed the Command UPA-North.
The orders here listed were issued between August 27 and October 28, 1943. The first document belongs to source series No. 8, dated August 27, 1943, while the remainder are numbered No. 8 to 13 inclusive and No. 17. Two of these, Nos. 10 and 17, carried the signature only of Klym Savur (Col. Dmytro Kliachkivs'kyi), the Commander of UPA, while the other were co-signed by the Chief of Staff, Col. Honcharenko (a presudonym of General Leonid Stupnyts'kyi).
"Order to the UPA Forces" dated August 27, 1943 regulates ranks and insignia for soldiers of the UPA in the infantry, air force and in the navy. As noted in its introduction, the nomenclature of ranks chosen was one which continued traditions of the UNR Army (Ukrans'ka Narodna Respublyka - the Ukrainian People's Republic) and of UHA (Ukrayins'ka Halyts'ka Armiya - the Ukrainian Army of Halychyna) - both active in 1917-1920 on Ukrainian territories. The responsibility of bestowing non-commissioned officers ranks was entrusted entirely to regimental commanders. Officers ranks, however, were to be established only by a duly constituted government (non-existent at the time). Order No. 13, dated September 4, 1943, affirms the order of August 27, adding, however, that all individuals who obtained officer rank either in Ukrainian or in any other regular army have the right to their rank on the basis of a documented proof, confirmation by tow witnesses and a recommendation by their commander in chief. It further establishes the Examination Qualifying Commission attached to UPA's Supreme Command with a purpose of granting officer rank or of promoting to higher ranks. Similar commissions were to be established by regimental commanders to screen those of lower ranks.
Orders Nos. 8 and 11 give tactical directives on self-defense measures to the civilian population in case of German attack. The order No. 8 gives a detailed plan of defense to be employed by village inhabitants in case of an attack by German police-units. The order No. 11 states that the UPA's bases and areas of operations are to be kept free of enemy incursions by means of natural and man-made obstacles, and by an organized plan of defense. The Germans, at the same time, were to be forced as much as possible to remain within their own bases and enclosures. The inhabitants of the villages are advised to hide their possessions, to build well- stocked emergency shelters, while the UPA members are given instructions in camouflage, etc.
The next series of orders deal with a number of organizational and security matters. The order No. 9, dated September 1, 1943, addressed to chiefs of military regions, concerns itself with the use of proper coding procedure when reporting to higher command. It further requires that each chief establishes one cavalry unit of 126 soldiers and 132 horses. All chiefs are required to take stock of their radio-telecommunication equipment, the number of technicians, and to undertake measures to train additional qualified staff personnel. The order No. 10 stresses the need of preserving military secrecy, notes certain weaknesses in this regard and demands improvements. The order No. 12 requires each group commander to designate 30 candidates for the forthcoming officers' course and 15 candidates for a pyrotechnical and combat-engineering course at the latest by the 20 September, 1943. It also requires the chiefs of area units to organize sections of cartographers, and the units of military police and police detachments with a view of controlling the criminal elements.
The last in this group, the order No. 17, dated October 28, 19443, states the UPA's policy vis-à-vis multinational units of the German forces. The basic aims of the UPA are to avoid military conflicts with these "national" units, to neutralize them or to convince them to join UPA's fight against the two imperialisms - German and Russian. The document provides a number of practical suggestions and outlines responsibilities of individual commanders upon establishment of contacts with such units.
page 169Orders of the supreme command of the UPA
These orders were issued shortly after the organizational structure of the UPA was completed. The UPA-North, the UPA-South and the UPA-West, the three main military regions each with its own Headquarters, were placed under direct control of the UPA Supreme Command. Since the UPA had been mist active in Volyn', the orders of the Supreme Command were similar to those previously issued by the UPA's Command in that region, and reflected the situation found mostly in Volyn's UPA units.
The first of these documents - "Procedures and Functions for military Headquarters" (supplement to the non-available order No. 1/44), offers directives as to the location and staff composition of individual headquarters.
Order No. 2/44 lists all individuals who were promoted to officer rank, majority of them members of the UPA-North. The order lists also those who were promoted posthumously. From the text of the order it is clear that the Supreme Command of the UPA was allowed to grant only the field officer ranks i.e., second lieutenant, lieutenant, and captain. The higher officer ranks were the sole responsibility of the Holovna Vyzvlo'na Rada ( the Supreme Liberation Council), a short-lived political committee which was superseded by the Supreme Ukrainian Liberation Council - UHVR.
The last order - NO. 3/44 - establishes various military medals and decorations for the UPA soldiers. It institutes rank insignias for field commanders of all levels, and affirms proper procedures for awarding all decorations. A supplement to this order includes a sketch of the insignias.
page 174Documents issued by the chief of staff, political section of the UPA group "Zahrava"
These documents, issued by Ostap (pseudonym, real name unknown), the chief of the political section, relate to the establishment of public schools and medical care within the area of this group for the period 1943-1944. They appeared between August 20 and October 7, 1943.
Ostap orders all school instruction to commence on September 15, with a permitted delay until October 1, either, if no building was available, the building was in need of repairs, or there were no teachers (order Nos. 14 and 15). These orders further required that the schools be supplied with necessary heating materials, and that teachers be paid a salary, etc. Another group of directives set down regulations concerning school personnel. Orders Nos. 4 and 5, 34 and 35 provide for the appointment of a temporary regional school inspector and supporting staff. Additional orders require the school children to undergo a medical examination (order No. 14), and the local authorities to build public baths. The laconic wording order No. 19 was as follows: "Books are to be collected throughout the region and are to be delivered to the censors. To be destroyed by censors". This order was probably aimed at the anti-Ukrainian publications still in the region and simply followed the example set by similar Soviet "purges" directed at books, which took place during 1939-1940 in this region.
page 203Appeals to other nationals by the supreme command of the UPA
This series of appeals by the Supreme Command were issued in 1943 and were directed mainly at soldiers of various support units attached to German forces, which were composed of former prisoners of was from various nations in the USSR. One of the appeals was addressed to all - "Volunteers!" and one was aimed specifically at "Russians!" All appeals were written in Russian language, except for one directed to Belorussians which was in Ukrainian, while the one addressed to "Volunteers!" appeared in both Ukrainian and Russian. As a rule two appeals or two versions of an appeal were issued for each nationality. The appeals usually appeared on two pages of fine print, while a few covered only one page.
All the appeals had certain features in common. The introduction sketched a short history of a particular nation with an emphasis on its past independent existence. It would then describe the nation's struggle for survival against Russia, and the Soviet Union, and would detail specific instances of political terror utilized by the Czarist and Soviet rulers against the people. The appeal would then offer comparisons between the Soviet and German imperialism with an emphasis on totalitarianism and its practices in both countries. The conclusion would stress the point that both imperialists were exhausted by war and were facing potential collapse, and therefor, the enslaved nations should organize into a common front to fight for liberation and independence. The appeal also provided a brief information about the struggle waged by Ukrainians and urged the reader either to join the UPA or to establish underground organizations in their respective national territories. Some appeals mentioned the existence of the non-Ukrainian units in the UPA. stating that in time they would return to their own countries. The shorter, single-page appeals digressed only very briefly into the history of a given nation.
Somewhat different in character was the leaflet addressed to Russians. It contained a more rational argument, stressing that the existence of both the Czarist and of Communist Russia were based on an imperialist ideology. In the meantime, however, the non-Russian nations had developed their separate national self-awareness to such a degree, that it would prove impossible to keep them in captivity. The policy of imperialism had enslaved and victimized also the Russians themselves. The only proper course to follow would by to reorganize the USSR into national independent states which would coexist in friendship and harmony. The Russians, therefor, should fight for the liberation also of other nationalities. The leaflet called specifically on the Russians living in Ukraine to cooperate with Ukrainian underground.
page 235Captive nations of eastern Europe and Asia
This section of the book contains reports published in the Visti, and Underground newspaper, about the "First Conference of Captive Nations of Eastern Europe and Asia", also its "revolutions", and official "declaration" and appeal by the "Revolutionary Committee of the Captive Nations of Eastern Europe and Asia" addressed to Soviet partisans. Included also is a so-called "Anthem of the Captive Nations of the Soviet Union", (in Russian and Ukrainian), a parody of the official Soviet anthem.
The conference took place November 21 and 22, 1943 attended by 39 delegates who represented 13 nationalities of the USSR. The organizers of the Conference were Ukrainian members of the UPA and OUN, while the non-Ukrainian representatives were mainly delegates from the separate ethnic units attached to the UPA . The Visti gives an account of the conference and a number of speeches, whose main ideas, edited by its resolutions committee, appear in the "Resolutions" and the "Declaration".
The resolutions characterized the war between the USSR and Germany as a "typical" imperialistic struggle. They further asserted that the bolshevism having been unmasked was now desperately casting for help, and was basing its hopes in Russian slavophile tendencies and on Russian chauvinism. The war had drained strength from both imperialists, and brought about the circumstances favorable to liberation movements of captive nations. The basic goal for all these movement was the establishment of independent nation-states, for only this could guarantee a proper development of each nation. The resolutions called for the establishment of a revolutionary committee with a view of preparing for a simultaneous revolution on all territories of the USSR and of coordinating military struggle on those territories. The resolutions further noted that contacts with the anti-German forces in the West were essential, that the non-German units attached to German forces if possible were to be preserved from destruction, and that non-Ukrainian already in the UPA were to be organized into their own national units.
Similar in nature was the "Declaration", although composed in a more popular vain. It criticized both forms of imperialism, spoke out against the horrors of war, underlined the significance of independence, and called on all to join in the fight for freedom. It contained separate appeals to soldiers of the Red Army, to non-German soldiers in the German Army, to workers in war-factories and to members of the intelligentsia. All were encouraged to establish contacts with the underground and to become members of the movement.
Somewhat different in formulation was the leaflet entitled "Red guerrillas!" Here, critique of the USSR was primarily on humanitarian grounds, exposing the system of terror, lawlessness, misery, and hunger. No special reference to "captive nations" was made. Nearly half of the leaflet concentrating the Soviet propaganda which presented the Ukrainian underground struggle from a strongly biased position. For example, the Soviet accused the UPA of German collaboration and of planning to hand over all lands and factories to landlords and capitalists.