Damn “Galicia”. As division of the SS defeated the Ukraine

The brigade commander of the Waffen-SS and commander of the division talks with Galician volunteers. 23.07.1944. © /

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Western Ukraine celebrates the sacred date for yourself: the 75 anniversary of the 14th infantry (Waffen-Grenadier) division SS “Galicia”, better known as the SS division “Galicia”.

Spring 2018: an exhibition in honor of the SS in Lviv

Celebrations in honor of the Ukrainian SS in Lviv and other cities of Western Ukraine, dated to April 28, the day of Foundation of division, were regularly carried out since the nineties. Every year the activities were organized with increasing size, reaching a peak after the coup of 2014.

Official Kiev authorities are trying to keep from happening in the side, because in Europe not all ready to endorsements the expression of sympathy like “heroes”.

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Other business — regional level. The city government to perpetuate the memory of the SS division “Galichina” I do not regret forces and means. April 18, in the center of Lviv, near the monument to V. Chornovil, has opened an exhibition of weapons and uniforms of the SS. However, in order to Refine some of what is happening, Lviv authorities announced that the event is dedicated to the 73 anniversary of the First Ukrainian division of the Ukrainian national army.

The fact that on 18 April 1945, the SS division “Galicia” formally came under the control of the Ukrainian national Committee, headed by General Pavlo Shandruk.

This Committee was created and recognized by the Nazis in March 1945. Actually nothing of UNK not supervised, he was just trying to create favorable conditions for the surrender of the Ukrainians who fought on Hitler’s side, captured by the Western allies. This problem has largely been solved.

Ukrainian realities: children draw SS on the instructions of adults

But back to modern lions. Exhibition of weapons is not the only event in honor of “Galicia”.

As reported the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Eduard Dolinsky, Lviv Department of science and education has announced a drawing competition among teenagers on the SS division “Galicia”. To participate Teens aged 14 to 18 years

Dolinsky posted in social networks advertising, a poster contest, noting: “the Awarding will be held on April 28, during a March, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Waffen-SS division”.

Against this background occurred the story with toasts in honor of the Fuhrer, which is published in Lviv teacher and member of the Mariana Batiuk. This is hardly an isolated case, rather a real reflection of the prevailing sentiment.


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“Galicia”: how it all began

The idea of creation of the Ukrainian SS division of the Nazis has arisen not at once. The first foreign SS units began to form in 1940, when the office of Heinrich Himmler in search of recruits came into confrontation with the Wehrmacht. In the end, Himmler sought to expand the Waffen SS, gave the order to recruit Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans living in other countries) occupied by the Third Reich territories.

Over time an acute shortage of manpower forced Himmler to reconsider its racial priorities. In 1943 it was given “good” on the formation of SS units of the Slavs, including Ukrainians.

Neither of which are creating a prototype of the Ukrainian national army out of the question and could not go: all overtures in this direction were rigidly suppressed by the Germans in 1941. But the Nazis valued nationalists due diligence when carrying out punitive actions against the civilian population of the occupied territories and the guerrillas.

In Berlin approached the question carefully. In Eastern Ukraine, successfully operated large partisan connections, and the local people showed no loyalty to the invaders.


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The district of Galicia: the most loyal to the Fuhrer

Other business — the district of Galicia: an artificially created region that included the territory of modern Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions. The local population were considered loyal to the Third Reich, and the head of the district, Otto wächter was one of the main initiators of creation of the Ukrainian SS units.

In March 1943, in the papers of the district, signed by Otto Wechter was published a “Manifesto to the capable youth of Galicia”, which stated that the Galician Ukrainians for their dedication to the führer and the Third Reich provided the highest part: the right to form a new SS division.

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The formal right of creation of the SS division “Galicia” was in effect transferred “under the wing” Idea, the Ukrainian Central Committee, headed by Volodymyr Kubiyovych. A little later the so-called Military Council of the SS division “Galicia” was placed in the hands of the Abwehr Colonel Alfred Bizantsa.

April 28, 1943 in Lemberg (Lvov), in the administration building of the district of Galicia, a solemn ceremony of proclamation of the act of creation of the SS division “Galicia”.

Back for a moment in 2018. At the opening of the already mentioned exhibition in Lviv Deputy Chairman of the Galician Brotherhood of soldiers division “Galicia” Igor Ivankov said: “I am amazed by this figure: 83 000 volunteers. It’s people who by his heart responded in 1943, the call of the Ukrainian Central Committee. These guys walked with faith in the future of the Ukrainian state, they dreamed of becoming the nucleus of the future army of all Ukraine. None of the soldiers of division “Galicia” are not mired in betrayal, or a shameful act.”

As you can see, no force in the ranks of the SS, the Ukrainians are not driven to serve the führer (a sworn recruits brought personally to Adolf Hitler) they wanted themselves.

The Germans did not know Ukrainian, the Ukrainians did not know German

The ranks of the SS division were included as recruits, and seasoned executioners, for example, of the 201 battalion of the schutzmannschaft, shed a lot of blood while in the territory of Belarus.

All command of the division was German up to the level of battalions. The only exception was the battalion commander Yevhen Pobiguschy, once a fighter of the Ukrainian Galician army and later was part of the battalion “Roland” and the 201st battalion of the schutzmannschaft (“protective squad”, formed from local volunteers), where he managed to gain the trust of the Nazis.

Propaganda poster 1943 with a call to join the SS division “Galicia”. Photo: wikipedia.org

The level of training of younger command structure was tricky beans. Often they were former officers of the UNR army over 50 years of age, who did not know the German language and had no idea about the requirements of modern war.

Communication between the German commanders and the Ukrainian personnel was complicated by the fact that the latter weakly knew German. Officers, in turn, did not see the need to study Ukrainian.

The German attitude toward the “untermensch”

The General attitude of the Germans toward the comrades-in-arms was quite specific. First loss of the division was lower the rank Burlak. He was shot by sentence of a German Tribunal that a joke threw the blanket over the head non-commissioned officer. Despite the fact that the “victim” was not mad, the German command decided that such a transgression cannot be forgiven. Eighteen-year-old boy before his execution disbosom Catholic chaplain: “I wanted to fight for Ukraine”. But the Germans explained that we should not fight for Ukraine, and for the Fuhrer, and joke with this case is impossible.

Those whom such a fate is not touched upon, too, had hard times. The same Pobiguschy recalled that on the March, committed in the territories where the German population lived, sleep in the houses the Ukrainians were forbidden. In result I had to sleep in barns.

Training units were based at the drill, political education in the spirit of national socialism and the study of the elementary techniques of handling of weapons. In the end, the Ukrainian SS men often managed to take the life of themselves. For example, in the battle of Brody, which will be discussed below, a certain wolf decided to fire on a Soviet tank from bazookas. However, he did not pay attention to what is behind the brick wall. A jet of hot gas reflected from the walls, burned the hapless SS.

The Ukrainians complained: in the classroom, the Germans scoffed at them, often forcing them to March and sing Ukrainian songs in … gas masks. From a joyful life of “Galicia” even before the first battles began deserting.

Guta Penyatskaya

While there was the formation of the division as a whole, its individual regiments were thrown into the fight against the guerrillas in Western Ukraine, and in France, Poland and Yugoslavia.

28 Feb 1944 4-th police regiment of the volunteer division of the SS “Galicia”, under the command of SS-sturmbannführer Siegfried Julian Schuster along the Ukrainian auxiliary police destroyed the population of the Polish village of Huta penyatskaya, located on the territory of modern Brody district, Lviv region of Ukraine. The victims were about 1,000 civilians.

In the punitive action of the Ukrainian SS lost two people. Alexei Bobacka and Roman Andriychuk three days later, solemnly buried in Brody. It is unlikely that the participants of this funeral knew the burial service and at the same time the whole division.

By the summer of 1944 the supply and training of soldiers of the “Kremen” is a bit better. This is explained by the fact that Ukrainian members of the SS it was decided to use at the front in order to somehow try to hold back the onslaught of the red army.


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The defeat at Brody

25 June 1944 the division was transferred at Brody at the disposal of the 13th army corps, where he took a second line of defense, located 20 km from the front line.

July 15, the German command used the “Galicia” for a counterattack on the advancing Soviet units. By the evening of the same day the offensive petered out, and by July 18, “Galicia”, together with other German units were encircled. Four days later it was all over: the division was utterly defeated. Total losses exceeded 80 percent. Survivors were collected and sent to the rear to re-form.

After the Red army demonstrated the combat the failure of the Ukrainian SS division, new attempts to use it as a full combat unit was not.

The soldier “Galicia” used to replenish other units, and also attracted to fight with the partisans in Yugoslavia and the suppression of the Slovak national uprising.

“We poles.” As the characters of “Galicia” renounced Ukraine

In the spring of 1945 the division was in Austria, where they tried to use in defensive battles. But the SS had a headache about something else: how to surrender to avoid responsibility? In may 1945 they were in the area of responsibility of the Anglo-American troops, after which he was disarmed and placed in a camp near the Italian front.

Members of the SS formations from the Western allies caused strong resentment and disgust. Besides Soviet citizens who were serving in the Nazi forces, according to the agreement, was extradited to the Soviet Union.

But first, for the “Galicia” interceded the Vatican: don’t forget, most Ukrainian SS men were Greek Catholics. This intercession would not be decisive, if not another character: Polish General Wladyslaw Anders.

About this dubious hero of Poland wrote Aephi. Arming by the government of the USSR to the Polish army in the first (most difficult) period of the war, Anders refused to fight the Nazis and took their parts to the middle East. Then a joke was born: “it is Easier to likening Hitler to surrender, than the Anders army to fight”.


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Liberated Poland and took Berlin other poles, but in the spring of 1945 Anders, too, dreamed of the laurels of the winner. Not waiting for such, he decided to help the Ukrainian SS to at least that again to annoy the hated Moscow.

Anders reminded that we are talking about the inhabitants of the Western Ukraine, whose incorporation into USSR was not recognized by the Western powers. So, we are talking about Polish citizens who cannot be extradited.

British researcher Gordon Williamson in his book “the SS — instrument of terror,” wrote: “the fact that the allies confused the status of these people, called Galicia, has allowed many of them to avoid forced deportation to the Soviet Union. Despite the fact that they had served in the Waffen SS, the Polish General Anders preferred to consider the situation from a pragmatic point of view and decided to forgive them for their past, given their potential usefulness as a true anti-Communists, supported by their statement that they are poles.”

They lived to revenge

Such are the interesting Ukrainian patriots served in the SS division “Galicia”, wearing German uniforms, Hitler oath, and at the end of the war was suddenly declared themselves citizens of Poland.

On Ukraine again, they will remember then. Settling in the West, establishing a network of migrant organizations, veterans “Galicia” will begin to rewrite history, trying to prove that Hitler had they not served and did not commit crimes.

Kharkiv process. The road to Nuremberg began in December 1943

A real hotbed of the Ukrainian SS was in Canada, where they feel at ease for decades. Only in the mid-eighties, the authorities formed a Commission of inquiry on war criminals in Canada. However, under pressure from the Ukrainian and Baltic diasporas, the Commission actually refused to consider evidence of crimes committed by war criminals in the Soviet Union and Eastern European countries, because of their alleged unreliability.

It is interesting that in the Soviet Union were many former soldiers “Galicia”. Some were captured, others returned after the war, deciding that life in exile is not for them. No mass executions did not happen: most of them, having served his sentence, and for many years led in the Lviv region the lives of ordinary Soviet citizens.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of independent Ukraine for the survivors of veterans “Galicia” came the Golden days. In honor of the SS created memorials, opening of the memorial plaque, they name streets and squares in their honor held torchlight processions.

The veneration of the SS “Galicia” has reached such proportions that a similar event in the Baltic States has long been eclipsed in the background.

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