16.03.2014. The Bandera Militia and Lviv Pogroms of 1941

The Bandera Militia and Lviv Pogroms of 1941

The following is an English translation of the text of the original document published March 5, 2014 on the Russian internet site “Live Journal”. The original Russian online version with photographs may be found at: http://foto-history.livejournal.com

Note: During the coup in Kiev in February 2014, a leading role was played by the neo-Nazi Political Party Svoboda. Its original name was the “Social National Party of Ukraine” cleverly reversing the National Socialist name of Hitler’s party. It used as its symbol the “Wolfsangel” symbol utilized by the SS, but cleverly turned it upside down.

On its web site during the coup Svoboda proudly proclaimed that “Svoboda’s ideology stems from... a book written by Yaroslav Stetsko, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists” (OUN). Stetsko, a close associate of Bandera, was installed by the Third Reich as head the Ukrainian puppet state in the when the Nazis invaded.

The junta that took power in Kiev through the use of violent street terror led by neo-Nazi militants, and was recognized by the US and NATO states, installed one of the founders of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy, as head of its Security and National Defense Committee, and another leader of Svoboda, Ihor Tenyukh, as Defense Minister. Svoboda neo-Nazis head several ministries.


Jewish pogroms in Lviv of 30.06.-2.07.1941 during the first days of Nazi occupation are an inconvenient issue for today’s Ukrainian nationalists who follow Bandera’s and Shushkevich’s legacy. They dislike it and try to avoid the subject. It’s easy to understand why: right after Hitler’s army occupied this big ancient European city, Jewish pogroms followed. Assaults, executions, marches on knees, street stripping and other humiliating treatment continued for 3 days. Two to seven thousand people died, according to different estimates. Germans shot videos and took pictures of their crimes. German propaganda presented it as “popular revenge” for the executions of inmates in NKVD prisons before the Red Army had withdrawn from the city.

Meanwhile on the first day of occupation of the city (June 30, 1941) Ukrainian nationalists from Bandera’s faction of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) had declared Ukraine’s independence. So independence started with pogroms and slaughter. Simultaneously, Bandera’s people created the “Ukrainian People’s Militia” (UPM). UPM involved militants wearing white or Ukrainian flag-colored armbands. At first they wore civilian clothes, later – a black uniform with special peaked mazepinka caps, which was typical for UPA.

On 1 July 1941 the OUN’s “People’s Militia” was officially subordinated to the SS. The UPM existed in the city until 13 August 1941 and helped Germans as much as it could. The Lviv UPM was a key participant in the pogroms of 30 June - 2 August 1941 and also in the pogrom on “Petliura days” of 25-27 July 1941 with more 2000 victims. On 13 August 1941 the Germans dissolved the UPM and created Lviv “Ukrainian Auxiliary Police”. The latter was formed by Germans and notoriously participated in anti-guerrilla terror, ghetto elimination etc. On March 1942 the Lviv police consisted of around 500 gunmen, 122 of which (1 in four) had been members of the OUN “popular militia”.

For example, during March 1942, 15,000 Jews have been deported into the Belzec, Poland death camp from Lviv. Local militants were the ones who had carried out the deportation. Every forth was a member of the OUN-based UPM. Precisely in March 1942 the town of Belzec (a notorious “motor operator” Ivan Demjanjuk worked there) started operating at full capacity, so militants had a tough time. The Germans gave orders, the OUN “Ukraine’s heroes” got thousands of victims into carriages, and the “motor operator” waited for them in Belzec.

Such was the “independent” Bandera state. That Bandera’s people supposedly struggled against the German invaders is a lie. What would “struggle against invaders” look like, if newly-created Bandera’s “militia” participated in pogroms in the city from the first days? A militia that officially becomes SS unit of 2 July 1941? 1 in 4 of the 500 Lviv policemen was from OUN’s “popular militia”. How should we call people who helped SS terrorize civilians and execute them? The answer is – they were occupants’ aides. How should we call people who helped deport victims to the death camps? Occupants’ aides. This is why modern Bandera followers refuse to do anything with the “great deeds” done by their heroes in Lviv. They say that their militia wasn’t there, that the witnesses were false, and the very photographs untrue.

Below you can find eyewitness testimony of the Lviv pogroms from 30 July-2 August 1941 and also some photos and video snapshots that illustrate what the witnesses described.

1. Witness Felicja Heller

(source: Archiwum Żydowskiego Instytutu Historycznego (AZIH), Warsaw, Poland), archive record 301/3510.

When Germans came, Ukrainian nationalists had created a police force that compelled Jews out of houses, so that they would wash roadways and work in prisons.

2. Witness Anna Maria Peiper (AZIH, 301/4626):

Ukrainian police seized Jews in their flats and forced them to work in prison.

3. Witness Renata Braun (AZIH, 301/1160):

She and her mother were seized to work in prison.

4. Witness Leszek Allerhand

(USC Shoah Foundation Institute – the biggest archive of video-interviews with the Holocaust victims, records of the achieve 27779 (Shoah Foundation)):

Ukrainians, wearing yellow-blue armbands, had arrested his father (Professor Mauricio Allergrand) and himself, aged.9, on the street soon after Germans came. They were beaten nearby Roman Catholic Cathedral, trampled down, spit upon, and then made to crawl on their knees along the street for around 3 km to the Brigadki prison.

5. Witness Lilith Stern (AZIH, 301/1181)

The main pogrom-makers were Ukrainian militia with yellow-blue armbands on their left hands.

Here’s the roadway washing in downtown Lviv:

One of the “knee marches” next to prison on Lontskogo Street. Bandera’s arm-banded “policemen” bullies a young woman and makes her crawl along the street with her hands up.

Excavations in Brigadki prison’s yard

While men are digging, women clean decomposing bodies

A Bandera “policeman” with armband is spotted at the excavation site

A “policeman” (second from the left) urges Jews on with a stick during their work in prison

An armband is seen on the left hand of Bandera’s man

He beats someone with a stick

6. Witness Ryszard Ryndner (AZIH, 301/18):

Ukrainian militia seized Jews in the streets, beat and brought them to the executions.

7. Witness Lusia Hornstein (Shoah Foundation, 14797):

Ukrainian militia stormed flats and seized Jews.

Her father and brother were taken to work in Brigadki prison, and only father came back while her brother was killed during tortures in prison.

8. Witness Chaim Shlomi

(U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), USHMM RG-06.09.01*43, Box 45, case of George Theodorovich, 8 March 1985,652.):

The pogrom was organized by the Ukrainian police; they were civilians without uniform, wearing yellow-blue armbands. They started forcing Jews out of their houses and seized them in the streets.

9. Witness Leon Berk (Shoah Foundation, 1339):

Ukrainian militia assaulted him and threw into the prison on Lontskogo Street.

10. Witness Salomon Goldman (AZIH, 301/1864):

During the first days of occupation, Ukrainian militants with yellow-blue armbands drove Jews together to clean prisons on Lontskogo and Zamarstinovskaya Streets.

11. Witness Janistaw Korczynski (AZIH, 301/1809):

Ukrainians with yellow-blue armbands were driving some 70 Jews into the prison at Zamarstinovskaya Street.

12. Witness Jacob Gerstenfeld-Maltiel

(Jacob Gerstenfeld-Maltiel. My private war: One Man`s struggle to survive the Soviets and the Nazis. London.1993 ñòð.53-53):

Members of Ukrainian militia led the pogrom.

The images confirm the testimonies. Here is Bandera’s hunt for people on the city streets. Below is the photo of pogrom-makers who seized a Jewish man and dragged him along the street. Nearby is a “militant” with the armband.

Someone else is seized in the street. A German soldier (on the left) and a “militant” with an armband at the foreground are watching.

Scene nearby the prison on Lontskogo Street. Beating on the way to prison.

Also nearby the prison on Lontskogo Street. A group of Jews was driven together to excavate bodies. They are surrounded by the crowd of pogrom-makers. On the left in a dark costume you can see a “militant” with the armband.

Near the prison on Zamarstinovskaya Street. Two Jews, harnessed to the cart instead of horses, are taking corpses away. This is likely to be the bodies of those assassinated during the pogrom (the corpses do not look like they were just dug out of the ground).


13. Witness Tamara Branitsky (Shoah Foundation, 51593):

Ukrainians, yellow-blue armbands on, armed with rifles, broke into their house. One of them slapped her mother, then they were driven into the prison on Lontskogo Street.

Her family and she were ordered to hold hands up for 10-15 minutes when they were going to prison on Lontskogo Street. When going along the street, people were running in front of them and beating them with sticks. Also the crowd broke out the pavement stones to throw something at their victims, shouting insults. Branitsky recollects that nobody tried to help. On the contrary the crowd seemed to get pleasure from all of this.

In the prison yard there was a crowd of Jewish women, elderly and children, standing in the corner near the wall.

In the evening after work in prison, they were allowed to go home. Passerby continued throwing rocks at them.

14. Witness Stefania Cang-Schutzman (AŻIH, 301/1794):

Her sister, five months pregnant, was beaten on her belly, so she had lost her baby.

15. Witness Alfred Monaster (AŻIH, 302/58):

Pogrom-makers undressed a 20-year-old Jewish girl, put a stick in her vagina and made her march by the post office to her work in prison.

On the image below you can see a group of Jews with their hands up going along Kopernik Street (near prison on Lotskogo Street)


Under-18-year-old pogrom-makers throw rocks at a woman

A “militant” armed with a rifle and wearing the armband guards Jews driven together for execution

While some “freedom fighters” seized their victims in houses and on streets driving them to “prison actions”, others had fun with “sexual humiliation rituals against women”. One of them, Ivan Kovalishin, was spotted twice in street humiliation of women, and was even personally recognized by modern Holocaust researchers.



Another participant of street humiliation, Mykhailo Pecharsky, an OUN “militant” was also caught by a camera.

16. Witness Kurt Lewin

(Kurt I. Lewin. Przeżyłem. Saga Świętego Jura spisana w roku 1946 przez syna rabina Lwowa (Warsaw: Fundacja Zeszytów Literackich, 2006), pp .58-63.):

He and his father (Rabbi Iezekil Lewin) were seized by the Ukrainian militia and drove to the excavations in the prison Brigadki;

Jews were severely beaten by Ukrainians and Germans in the prison;

Lewin recollects one Ukrainian especially as he was elegantly dressed and beat Jews with an iron stick. With each punch pieces of skin, sometimes an ear or an eye flew up. When the stick broke, he found a big charred bludgeon and fractured a skull of the first seen Jew – brains smashed into pieces in different sides and hit Lewin’s face and clothes.

After a series of beatings and tortures a big group of Jewish diggers was shot at the same prison yard.

17. Witness Herman Katz (AŻIH, 301/2299):

Was driven to work in Brigadki prison on 1 July 1941;

After the work Germans put Jews into a line, counted 47 people and immediately shot them. Katz was the 48th so one of Germans aimed a rifle at him. But an officer who came there told the soldier it was enough for today.

Below is a photo from the collection of Yad Vashem Israeli museum. Lviv pogrom, 30.06 -2.07.1941. One of the courtyards at Brigadki prison. A group of Jews was lined near a wall before execution.

One more courtyard of the Brigadki prison. Jews’ bodies shot by Germans after excavations.

Very often this photo is presented as the evidence of “NKVD victims”, namely prisoners shot while Red Army’s withdrawal from Lviv. However, many of those killed are in clean clothes (unlike those who were really dug out of graves inside the prison), bodies are lying chaotically around the whole courtyard (during exhumation bodies were put in lines with a face up), some corpses have braces and belts, which are always taken from prisoners.

On this snapshot from the on-the-spot film you can see spades used by Jews for work during the “prison action”

A few words should be said about pogrom organizers from OUN. First of all, it was Jaroslav Stetsko who is responsible for the Lviv pogrom 30 June - 2 August 1941. He headed Bandera’s “government” in Lviv at that moment. When Germans dissolved this “government” and Stetsko was arrested, he wrote a Nazi-sponsored autobiography in which he stated that “Moscow and Jews are major enemies of Ukraine. That’s why I strongly support the idea of eliminating Yids, as well as the relevance of the use of German Jewry-depopulation-methods to exclude their assimilation”.

Stetsko’s words were in line with his deeds: on the first day, when an independent Bandera state in Lviv was declared (30 June 1941), the city saw “the use of German methods of Jewry depopulation” in Ukraine, accomplished at a good pace as more than 4000 were killed in 3 days.

Stetsko with his old masters, gives bread and salt to German invaders.

And after the war with his new masters…

The photo of Stetsko with George H.W. Bush is surely interesting. One of the most pro-Israeli US presidents greets in a friendly manner the one who led Ukrainian pogrom-makers, a man who stood for the idea of “elimination of Jewry” during WWII with “German methods of depopulation”.

Besides Stetsko, another organizer of pogroms and slaughters in Lviv was the head of Bandera’s militia, Ivan Ravlik, who at the same time had a position of deputy chief of the OUN-B’s Security Service. It was Ravlik’s people who humiliated and tortured women on the streets of Lviv, arrested 9-year-olds and made them crawl on their knees to prisons for executions. Ironically, when relations between the OUN-B and Hitler temporarily worsened, the Nazi Ravlik got into hands of his German colleagues from the Gestapo. They applied the very German methods of depopulation to him and his family.

Finally, a typical piece of a memoir by one of Bandera’s followers, Bogdan Kazanivsky. His memoir was published in the West after the war. During first days of occupation Kazanivskyi together with Ravlik co-founded Bandera’s militia in Lviv, then became a local liaison officer of the OUN. After the war he was able to emigrate to the West and published his memoir in London entitled “On the way of legend” in 1975.

Surely, his memoir is praising OUN and UPA. However, at that time Western media published eyewitness testimony about Lviv pogroms of 1941, in which OUN militia took active part. Once Kazanivsky had to explain the kind of “legendary way of the OUN-B” and where it led. Kazanivsky preferred the easiest variant: blatant lies.

He writes in the chapter titled “Was there a pogrom in Lviv?”:

“Early in the morning on 30 June, the Germans entered the city, and a number of Ukrainian militants headed by Roman Shushkevich marched to the St. Juryi. At his order a temporal group of Lviv was created, with Emeliyan Matla heading it. I didn’t have good clothes and joined that group and slept on my body’s side. Different people came to our group and told about the situation in the city. They said that Germans drove Jews together in Brigadki to take bodies out of basements and put them in lines in the courtyard. No one said a word about Jewish pogroms. One member of the Konek group, who drove a car around the city and protected city shops from vandals, also said nothing about pogroms.”

He tries to claim that during days of the pogrom in Lviv, a man who helped organize Bandera’s militia in the city, “slept on his bodyside”, and people joining this “group of Lviv” (i.e. Bandera militia’s HQ) “said no word about Jewish pogroms”.

Bandera-followers of the new generation today have the same state of mind. They behave as if the OUN-B had no connections with the Lviv pogroms in 1941 and the thousands of its victims. Generally, they go the same “way of legend” on the well-trodden route.

The real destination of that “way of legend” is seen at the photos of Lviv pogrom 1941 and in witnesses’ testimony.

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