[LITOPYS UPA: Chronicle of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army]

Medychna opika v UPA [UPA Medical Services] redaktor Modest Ripetskyj, Toronto: V-vo Litopys UPA, 2000 584 p.: ill., 24 cm.(Litopys Ukrains'koi Povstans'koi Armii; t. 32)Includes bibliographical references. ISBN: 0-920092-46-2 (book 2)


In this second volume of "The UPA Medical Service", we continue to present material on this subject, first addressed in Litopys UPA, Volume 23. The introduction to the first volume provided, in brief, the history and structure of the UPA medical service and the underground Ukrainian Red Cross. Most of the materials presented in the first volume pertained to the period 1942-1944, when the insurgent struggle was at its height. There were also some documents and materials from 1945-1947, the post-World War II period when the entire territory of Ukraine came under Soviet Stalinist occupation or that of the satellite countries.

The material and information used to compile the first volume came mainly from sources outside Ukraine. The published memoirs were by underground participants who lived abroad after the war.

In this, the second volume of "The UPA Medical Service", we present, in addition to material by authors living outside Ukraine, some supplementary material covering the period 1942-1947 which was obtained from Ukraine. This volume also contains documents, memoirs and articles pertaining to the most critical period for provision of medical care to wounded and sick insurgents, 1948-1950. By this time, UPA units had already been disbanded and were obliged to operate in total secrecy. Enemy terror had reached its peak and included not only physical destruction of underground members and arrests and forced deportation of the population, but also underhanded provocations against the underground and the innocent population.

In conditions of such brutal terror, professional medical personnel became completely helpless. Caring for the sick was left to medical students with limited education, hastily trained paramedics and nurses and at times, practitioners of folk medicine. Sometimes, ill insurgents were cared for by individuals who had no medical knowledge, but simply, good hearts and a love for their people.

The materials published in this second volume of "The UPA Medical Service" are organized into six chapters.

The first chapter deals with the Ukrainian Red Cross (UChKh). Some articles, memoirs and sketches on this subject were published previously, in the first volume. These include articles written by Liudmyla Ivchenko about the Ukrainian Red Cross (UChKh) in Kyiv and Dr. Toma Vorobets about the UChKh in Lviv; a memoir by Sofia Stepaniak about Dr. Kharytia Kononenko and the UChKh in Volyn and a memoir by Iryna Savytska about the organization of the underground UChKh in Western Ukraine.

In this, the second volume, we publish a longer article by Halyna Viun, "Under the Mark of the Red Cross in Poltava", in which she supplements the information provided by the authors mentioned above. Until the outbreak of war, Halyna Viun worked as a bookkeeper in Poltava. With the arrival of the Germans, on August 18, 1941, she and several other local activists undertook the task of organizing the Ukrainian Red Cross society (UChKh) in the Poltava region. She served as head of this society until August 1, 1942, when the German occupation authorities officially disbanded the Ukrainian Red Cross.

The first task facing the UChKh was helping Red Army prisoners of war who were living in horrific sanitary conditions and suffering inhuman brutality from the occupying Germans. UChKh workers also began to provide care for widows, orphans and all victims of Soviet terror.

The UChKh society in Poltava became a centre around which gathered the nationally conscious and creative elements of the Poltava population, including members of the underground OUN.

When the Gestapo began a wave of arrests, torture and physical annihilation of Ukrainian patriots, Halyna Viun made fairly successful efforts to save them. After the final disbanding of the Ukrainian Red Cross, it became very difficult to continue providing medical and humanitarian help in Poltava. Some activists, among them Halyna Viun, managed to escape arrest by the Gestapo. Some of the most active underground members entered the UPA in Volyn.

The following participants document the activities of the underground UChKh in Western Ukraine:

Other authors whose memoirs are published in the next four chapters of this volume provide additional information about activity in the underground UChKh.

Chapter II contains materials about the UPA medical service in Volyn and Polissia. The struggle against the Nazi German occupation and the formation of the first UPA units on this territory began in late 1942. The most active period for the UPA and its rear line, in terms of combat and military-administrative activity, was 1943-1944.

This development of national liberation activity required a simultaneous expansion of the system of medical care both for UPA soldiers and the local population.

Until now, it has not been possible to recreate the events of this period in detail and support this accounts with underground documents. The reports, orders and instructions related to UPA military and administrative activity were, for security reasons, carefully concealed in underground bunkers or destroyed.

Now that access to Soviet state archives has opened up in Ukraine, it has become possible to research the history of the Ukrainian national liberation movement using underground sources which had been seized by Soviet security organs.

collection of such documents is Litopys UPA, new series, volume 2, Volyn and Polissia: the UPA and the Rear Line, 1943-1944.

This collection contains 319 documents, which also include orders, reports and instructions pertaining to the area of medicine and health. Reprints of these documents, with additional information and explanations, are presented in Chapter VI of this volume.

It is important to note that during the Second World War, there was, in Volyn and Polissia, a serious shortage of medical and health personnel. The only school for field paramedics, which operated in Rivne during the Soviet occupation, was completely destroyed by the war in 1941. Some Ukrainian doctors who had practiced in Lutsk, Rivne and Volodymyr Volynskyi had left for the west in 1939-1940. When the Germans arrived, the Nazis removed Jewish doctors and Volyn was left almost without physicians.

In early September 1941, while Volyn was still controlled by the Wermacht and the German civilian administration had not yet taken over the local government, the leaders of the temporary Ukrainian county administration in Rivne made an appeal to physicians in Lviv. Alarmed by the critical situation of medical and health care in their region, they asked Lviv doctors to come to their aid and send at least a few physicians to Volyn.

The representatives of the Lviv doctors, in the persons of Dr. Osinchuk and Dr. V. Karkhut, with support from the chief of the German military health service, who was staying in Rivne at the time, managed to achieve some successes. Six Ukrainian doctors were sent to provide medical care to the Volyn population. Among them was Dr. M. Vasyliv-Kornyliv, who was named chief of the Volyn district health directorate, which was headquartered in Rivne.

The chapter "UPA Medical Service in Volyn" opens with an article by Dr. M. Vasyliv, who gives the history of the Rivne nursing school and emphasizes its role in providing medical personnel for the UPA. Dr. Dmytro Sahaiko, a surgeon and instructor at the nursing school, entered the UPA in spring 1943. He had served as director of the surgical hospital in Rivne and brought with him to the UPA the entire nursing staff.

Later, Dr. Sahaiko ("Enei", "Bravyi") became chief physician of the medical service of the "Zahrava" Military Region in Volyn.

Complementing the article by Dr. M. Vasyliv is the information provided by Tetiana Bak ("Yaryna"), the Nad-raion UChKh leader in the Kostopil region.

In her autobiographical account, she also provides information about Dr. D. Sahaiko and gives the names of his nurses and the pseudonyms of his co-workers in the underground hospital.

Following this account are memoirs written by nurses who worked in the UPA medical service or UChKh in the Kremianets region. These include memoirs and information authored by Larysa Tomchuk ("Topolia"), Antonina Mazurchuk ("Vyshnia") and Anna Bobrovska ("Nezabudka").

Chapter III contains memoirs and sketches authored by witnesses and participants of the UPA medical service or the underground Ukrainian Red Cross in Halychyna.

Oleksa Zeleniuk, an advanced student of medicine, performed the duties of a physician in the UPA, devoting himself exclusively to surgery. In contrast to other authors, he spends little time describing his personal experiences and the conditions of the UPA struggle and focuses more on professional medical concerns.

Oleksandr Bolekhivskyi worked as a field paramedic in an UPA unit in the Stanyslaviv region in 1943-1944. He was seriously wounded and thus had the experience of also being a patient. His memoirs are an interesting portrayal of his personal experiences while being treated underground by a UChKh nurse and subsequently, in a Hungarian field hospital.

The detailed memoirs written by nurses depict the very difficult conditions in which they performed their humanitarian work during their years in the underground. These memoirs also recount the fates that befell the nurses, including brutal NKVD investigations, imprisonment and deportation.

Yevheniya Hutsuliak-Andrusiak writes about events in the Chornyi forest region of Ivano-Frankivsk oblast. Yaroslava Romanyna-Levkovych, in her memoir "Beyond the Limits of the Possible", and her sister Yevheniya, in her memoir, "The Lace of Fate", describe the events that took place in Lviv oblast. Maria Levytska-Zahoruyko informs about the UPA medical service in the Zolochiv region.

Romana Simkiv describes the nursing course in the Dolyna raion.

One of the memoirs by Ivan Shvak-Shul ("Orlyk") presented in this chapter describes the activity of the UPA medical service in the Ternopil region. The other recalls Iryna Babuniak ("Nina"), an advanced student of medicine, who died heroically while providing medical care to wounded UPA soldiers during combat near Chortkiv.

Olha Klymtsiv writes, in fictional form, about Liuba Veres, a pharmacist, who was killed with a group of insurgents who blew themselves up with grenades in a bunker in the Rohatyn region.

Stepan Babiak ("Orlenko"), senior messenger and paramedic in the company commanded by R. Hrobelskyi ("Brodych") in the Lemko region, attempts to depict the work of an UPA paramedic with reference to episodes from his life. Bohdana Troshko ("Bohdana") describes how, as a hastily trained paramedic, she treated wounded insurgents as late as the 1950s; when she became seriously ill, she had to treat herself.

Chapter IV consists of biographical information about the physicians who were active in UPA medical units and the UChKh system. Owing to the difficulty of finding complete information about underground doctors, the biographies are presented in a variety of forms. The same is true of the biographies of leading members of the nursing and paramedical staff.

Included in this volume of "The UPA Medical Service" are biographies of the following physicians:

In addition to biographical information about the above physicians and medical students, this volume also contains brief biographies of those members of UPA and OUN medical and health units about whom it was possible to obtain information. Among them are Myroslav Hrebeniuk ("Barvinok"), Kateryna Havryliv ("Zelena"), Hanna Panashiy, Nadiya Savchak ("Khrystia", "Sonia") and Oleksander Vorobiy ("Halia").

Chapter V provides biographical information about doctors who practiced their profession legally and at the same time, co-operated with the Ukrainian underground. Many of them could not be identified. These doctors include:

Chapter VI presents documents relating to the activities of the medical and health service which are reprinted from Volume 2 of the new series of Litopys UPA, Volyn and Polissia: the UPA and the Rear Line, 1943-1944.

These documents come from the following collections: the Central State Archive of the Higher Organs of Ukraine (TsDAVOU) and the Rivne Oblast State Archive (DARO). Some information was also obtained from the Central State Archive of Non-governmental Organizations of Ukraine (TsDAHOU) and the State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine in Kyiv.

The documents are organized into three subchapters.

The first subchapter consists of orders issued by the UPA Supreme Command (HK UPA) in 1943-1944. During this time, the HK UPA was the highest sovereign authority and implemented a state of war on the territory of its activity. The UPA structure was organized in terms of the front and the rear line. The front included UPA combat units, while the rear line included OUNSD military and administrative activities. The military authority the UPA Supreme Command, headed by Dmytro Kliachkivskyi ("Klym Savur") and military Chief of Staff Leonid Stupnytskyi ("Honcharenko") governed the front and the rear line. Under the authority of the Chief of Staff came the following divisions: organization/operations, intelligence, communications and supply, training and the medical/health service. Under the authority of the rear line commander were the following sections: organization/mobilization, Security Service (SB), social/political, materiel management, communications, civilian administration and the Ukrainian Red Cross.

A good deal of information on medical/health matters is found in the following orders of the UPA Supreme Command:

All the above orders are signed by the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Dmytro Kliachkivskyi (pseudonym "Klym Savur", "Panas Mosur"). Order no. 16 is also signed by the military Chief of Staff, Leonid Stupnytskyi (pseudonym "Honcharenko"). Order no. 18 is also signed by the chief physician, Sydor Savchyk.

In addition to orders dealing with administrative and supply issues relating to the medical/health service, there are some that deal with professional medical matters, such as:

The second subchapter consists of orders issued by the UChKh Commander, including:

The third subchapter presents documents of Group Commands (Military Regions), nadraions, raions and local sections of the UChKh. They serve to supplement the documents of the UPA Supreme Command.

These documents include:

After these orders come documents no. 224, 226, 229, 243, 268, 281 and 301.The documentary materials mentioned below are found in Chapters 1 and 4 of this volume.A copy of the "Minutes of the Interrogation of P.P. Marchenko" and the "Information Note by the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Ukrainian SSR Riasnyi to the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine, D. Korotchenko, about the Discovery of the Nationalist Underground in the Poltava Region" are appended to the sketch by Halyna Viun "Under the Mark of the Red Cross in Poltava".

Documents obtained from Soviet collections are appended to the biographical information about Dr. Matviy Lotovych.

* * *

The style in which each memoir published here is written has been left unchanged, in order to reflect the author's personal approach to the reality he or she experienced. The language of the memoir reflects the author's intellectual and educational level, which heightens the documentary value of the account.

* * *

The Archive of Litopys UPA, Medical Sector, contains a large number of materials and documents which could not be published in the two volumes of Medychna Opika UPA. Here one finds unfinished memoirs of participants or incomplete information about physicians, medical men, nurses and other UChKH workers. All of these materials require scrutiny and supplemental information. An effort will be made to publish these materials in one of the future volumes of "Litopys UPA-Biblioteka", in order that they may be available to those researchers who are interested in this subject matter.

* * *

I would like to thank all those who helped in the preparation of this volume. Special thanks to all members of the UPA Medical Service and the Ukrainian Red Cross, who, in their memoirs and illustrative materials, left for us this picture of the unusually difficult conditions in which they were forced to practice medicine and care for UPA soldiers and members of the armed underground.

* * *

I am also grateful to Prof. Petro J. Potichnyj, the Responsible Editor of the "Litopys UPA" for his editorial advice, to my wife Mariika ("Oksana"), and sons Andrii and Yurii for cooperation in the preparation of this book, to Mykola Kulyk for help with adminstrative matters and Lesia Duk and Omelian Hrabets' for completing the editorial-technical tasks.

Modest Ripeckyj

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