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История ОУН и УПА (history of OUN-UPA)


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John-Paul Himka. The Lviv Pogrom of 1941. Part 1
uglich_jj wrote in oun_b
The Lviv Pogrom of 1941
John-Paul Himka
Paper for ASN Convention, April 2011

The role of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (hereafter OUN) in the Holocaust has beenhotly contested, especially since former Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko declared the head ofOUN’s largest faction, Stepan Bandera, a hero of Ukraine in January 2010.1 There were those who argued that it was wrong to glorify the memory of a group that was responsible for the murder of many ten thousands of members of national minorities, particularly Poles and Jews, as well as of tens of thousands of Ukrainians, whose political or religious orientation or even place of birth it disapproved of.




Others,the defenders of the nationalist heritage, have denied OUN’s involvement in crimes against humanity. Inparticular, they have contested the participation of OUN units in the bloody pogrom that took manyJewish lives in Lviv on 1 July 1941. Here, I would like to explain the course of the Lviv pogrom as well asadduce the evidence that it was the OUN militia that spearheaded it.

It used to be believed that the nationalist legion Nachtigall, connected with OUN-Bandera(hereafter OUN-B) and serving with the Wehrmacht, had been the main perpetrators of the Lviv pogrom.But this version of events has proven to be a Soviet falsification intended to undermine the governmentof Konrad Adenauer in the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1959-60 the Soviets were behind an effort toconvict one of Adenauer’s ministers, Theodor Oberlander, of war crimes. He was tried in absentia in anEast German court for his role as the German liaison with Nachtigall and found guilty of abetting thepogrom. A West German court looking into the evidence exonerated Oberlander and Nachtigall andindicated that there were Soviet fabrications. Ivan Patryliak, a specialist in the history of OUN and sympathetic to the organization, has provided a good review of the basic issues in his book of 2004.2


A former member of Nachtigall, Myroslav Kalba, has also written much to defend his unit’s reputation.3 Animportant argument that Nachtigall did not take a role, or at least a prominent role, in the Lviv pogrom isthe argument from silence. If it had, then this fact would have been mentioned in pre-1959 accounts of the persecution and extermination of Lviv’s Jewish population, such as in works by Philip Friedman,4Eliyahu Yones,5 and Tadeusz Zaderecki.6 The matter was basically settled in early February 2008 whenthe Security Service of Ukraine released into wide circulation KGB documents that detailed how they hadbeen fabricating the case.7 It is true that Nachtigall executed Jews in the area of Vinnytsia,8 but seemsnot to have taken part, at least as a unit, in the Lviv pogrom or executions. Although there are a fewtestimonies taken before 1959, when systematic falsification began, that state that members ofNachtigall participated in the Lviv pogrom,9 Nachtigall’s responsibility is not being argued here.

Instead,this study demonstrates that it was the militia set up by the OUN government on 30 June 1941 thatperpetrated the pogrom on the following day. Indeed, Nachtigall veteran Kalba, in arguing the innocencehis battalion during the Lviv pogrom, cited an alleged order from battalion commander RomanShukhevych: "Do not commit any crimes or retaliation against our enemies, whether Poles or Jews,because it is not our task to deal with them." In the opinion of Patryliak, if the order did indeed exist,then the meaning of Shukhevych’s words is that Nachtigall was to serve as one of the nuclei of aUkrainian army, whose main task would be to fight at the front, while the destruction of enemies from the civilian population was the responsibility of others, namely "special German groups, the Banderitesecurity service, the militia, and so forth."10

In the polemics over OUN involvement in the Lviv pogrom, champions of the OUN often point toa document, ‘To the Beginning of The Book of Facts,"’ which was also released by the Security Service ofUkraine together with the evidence about KGB fabrications with regard to Nachtigall.11 The "Book ofFacts" document purports to be a chronicle of OUN activities in early 1941 and states that the Germansoffered OUN the opportunity to engage in a three-day pogrom, but it refused, considering this aprovocation.12 However, this was not a document from 1941 at all, but a document composed after thewar, since it states that the nationalist leaders were held in prison throughout the war. This inconvenientfact was not mentioned in the deceptive release of the document by the Ukrainian security services,although it could be discovered by a close examination of the document itself.13 In fact, this documentshould be linked to an OUN leadership directive of October 1943 that called for the preparation ofdocuments that would exonerate OUN from participation in the pogroms.14 All ‘The Book of Facts" reallyproves is that OUN took steps to "correct" an embarassing historical record, as did its latter dayadvocates in the Ukrainian security services, following President Yushchenko’s strongly pronationalist
OUN’s admirers sometimes base their denial of its participation in the pogroms by referring to aresolution taken by the organization at its "grand assembly" in Krakow in April 1941:15

The Jews in the USSR are the most devoted support of the ruling Bolshevik regime and theavance guard of Muscovite imperialism in Ukraine. The Muscovite-Bolshevik governmentexploits the anti-Jewish moods of the Ukrainian masses in order to divert their attentionfrom the real source of evil and in order to direct them during the time of uprising intopogroms against Jews. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists struggles against theJews as the support of the Muscovite-Bolshevik regime, at the same time making thepopular masses aware that Moscow is the main enemy.16
This resolution, which repudiates pogroms as a method of revolutionary struggle, fits well withOUN’s distrust of spontaneity. It had to be revised, however, in light of developments on the very eve ofthe Germans’ attack on the USSR. Richard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office, was theprime German mover behind a series of pogroms that encompassed the Baltic states as well as WesternUkraine. On 17 June 1941 dozens of SS and police personnel gathered for a special meeting in Berlin thatconveyed Heydrich’s instructions regarding the encouragement of so-called "self-cleansing" actions.17Heydrich’s message was later summarized in a telegram he sent to Einsatzgruppe leaders on 29 June:

One should not put any obstacle in the way of efforts at self-cleansing arising inanticommunist and anti-Jewish circles on the territories to be newly occupied. On thecontrary, one should provoke these, leaving no traces, intensify them if necessary, and directthem on the right track, but in such a way that local "self-defense groups" would not later beable to cite orders or political promises made.18

There is no direct confirmation that OUN was informed of Heydrich’s intentions, yet it is reasonable toassume that it was. From Patryliak’s research it is clear that OUN was able to coordinate its militaryactivities with the Germans in the second half of June 1941,19 so it could also have coordinated withthem about pogroms against and executions of Jews. A convincing indication that OUN was coordinatingthe pogrom with the Germans is a letter that Yaroslav Stetsko sent to Bandera on 25 June: "We aremaking a militia which will help to remove the Jews (zhydiv usuvaty) and protect the population."20 OUNhad laid plans for the militia already in May, but now it specifically identified a primary task as removal ofthe Jews. The dating hardly seems coincidental: on 17 June Heydrich called for pogroms; about a weeklater Stetsko reported to Bandera about the anti-Jewish task of the militia; and about a week later thatmilitia played a leading role in the Lviv pogrom.

Other arguments put forward by the defenders of OUN are perhaps not worth discussing. Zenon Kohut, for example, argued that since Bandera was not even in Western Ukraine during the pogroms, hecould bear no responsibility for them.21 Arguments justifying the pogroms because "the Jews" were overrepresented in Soviet security organizations22 are based on the principle of ethnic collectiveresponsibility and simply perpetuate the reasoning of the murderers. Let us turn now to an account ofthe pogrom.
The city of Lviv was multinational on the eve of World War II, with the Ukrainians in the city adecided minority. In 1931 Polish speakers formed the majority (198,000 of a total population of 312,200,i.e., 63 percent), followed by Yiddish and Hebrew speakers (75,300 or 24 percent) and Ukrainianspeakers (35,100 or 11 percent). By religion a slight majority of the population was Roman Catholic(157,500 or just over 50 percent), with a substantial Jewish minority (99,600 or 32 percent) and a smallerminority of Greek Catholics and Orthodox (50,800 or 16 percent).23 This national composition of the citychanged radically during and as a result of the war: the Jews were murdered, the Poles deported, andnumerous Russians immigrated.

The pogrom in Lviv occurred against the background of the proclamation of a Ukrainian state inthat city on 30 June 1941. The head of the government was Yaroslav Stetsko, a prominent lieutenant ofBandera’s and an eliminationist antisemite.24 The proclamation, known by Ukrainian nationalists as theAct of 30 June 1941, contained the following passages:
By the will of the Ukrainian people, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists under theleadership of Stepan Bandera proclaims the renewal of the Ukrainian State, for whichwhole generations of the finest sons of Ukraine have paid with their lives….

The renewed Ukrainian State will collaborate closely with National Socialist GreaterGermany, which under the leadership of Adolf Hitler is creating a new order in Europe andthe world and is helping the Ukrainian people liberate themselves from Muscoviteoccupation….
Long live the Sovereign Complete (Soborna) Ukrainian State, long live the Organization ofUkrainian Nationalists, long live the Leader of the Organization of Ukrainian NationalistsStepan Bandera!
Glory to Ukraine! To the heroes glory!25

The Germans did not recognize this state and only tolerated its proclamation for a few days. Then theyarrested nationalist leaders, including Stetsko and Bandera.26 Even before the arrest of the leaders, on 2July 1941, that is two days after the proclamation and one day after the Lviv pogrom, the Germanssubordinated the nationalist militia set up by the Ukrainian state to the SS.27The nationalists hoped theGermans would reconsider, and OUN-B (i.e., the Bandera faction of OUN) held a series of meetingsacross Galicia to petition the Germans to recognize Ukrainian statehood and release the nationalistleadership. At these meetings it was stressed that resurgent Ukraine would take its place among thefascist states of the new Europe.28

The Bandera faction of OUN had a clearly enunciated program of "Ukraine for Ukrainians," whichwas the actual heading of a poster that OUN members pasted on walls all over Lviv as of 30 June. OUNhad begun to plan ethnic cleansing as soon as it became aware of the likelihood of a German attack onthe Soviet Union. Already when planning its militias in May 1941, OUN gave them instructions to cleansethe terrain of hostile elements: "In the time of chaos and confusion it is possible to permit the liquidationof undesirable Polish, Muscovite, and Jewish activists, especially supporters of Bolshevik-Muscoviteimperialism."29 The instructions devoted a special section to "minorities policy." Nations "inimical to us -Muscovites, Poles, Jews" were marked for "destruction in the course of struggle." The head of the OUNunderground, Ivan Klymiv (Legenda), prepared leaflets before the outbreak of the German-Soviet warthat were distributed or affixed in public spaces in Lviv on the day of the pogrom. One of themannounced revolutionary tribunals with almost unlimited powers that were to punish enemies of theUkrainian movement, applying "family and national responsibility for crimes against the Ukrainian Stateand Ukrainian Army."30 Another proclaimed: "Nation! Know! Moscow, Poland, Hungarians, Jews31 areyour enemies. Destroy them."32

Furthermore, the Banderites were convinced that Jews were the main supporters of thecommunists and particularly responsible for repressive actions against Ukrainians. The May 1941instructions told OUN propagandists who were to work on Red Army soldiers to emphasize theJewishness of communism: "Marxism is a Jewish invention…Stalinist and Jewish commissars are the firstenemies of the nation!"33 The identification of Jews with the Bolsheviks became particularly explosive inthe summer of 1941, because the NKVD had massacred almost four thousand political prisoners in Lvivafter the Germans invaded the USSR and before they reached Lviv. Many of those murdered wereUkrainian nationalists.


OUN was not only ideologically prepared for anti-Jewish violence in the summer of 1941, it also had the organizational capacity to implement it. A number of previous investigators have identified the Ukrainian National Milita established by OUN-B as the leading Ukrainian force behind the pogroms and violence of the summer of 1941. The first thorough attempt to investigate the anti-Jewish actions in Lviv on 30 June and 1 July 1941 were undertaken by the state prosecutor of the German Federal Republic in38 1959. The conclusions of the investigation clearly implicated the militiamen as well as Ukrainiancivilians. Later, after the opening of the former Soviet archives, several German historians came to thesame conclusion,34 as did the Russian historian Aleksandr Diukov.35

The memoir of a Ukrainian activist, Dmytro Honta, written in 1947 indicates that the militia inLviv was set up by the Bandera movement in a semi-conspiratorial manner. Honta related that most ofthose who volunteered for it were students. They were given an armband in the national colors to wearon their left arm. Honta, who had served in the army some twenty years previously, also tried to sign up,thinking his military experience could prove useful, but he was discouraged from joining. First, a youngman from the countryside told him, that "we’re in charge here," but did not explain who the "we" were.

Then some men who clearly were in charge told him to find something else to do — younger peoplewould serve as militiamen. He took off his armband and later that day served the Ukrainian movementby printing nationalist leaflets.36
We can obtain an insight into the mindset of some of the militia leadership from their testimonyin early July before a German commission investigating the NKVD murders in Lviv. Omelian Matla hadbeen incarcerated at the Zamarstyniv street prison and Brygidki. At Brygidki he was particularlymistreated. A fist to his face knocked out four teeth. He was beaten all over his body with a rubberbaton. Frequent beatings left blood in his urine even after his release. Usually two men worked him overthoroughly as they interrogated. They would find what caused him the most pain and repeat that againand again.

Often they would hit him with a fist under the chin and at the same time kick him in the groin.After the war broke out, the NKVD went on a rampage of murder, killing about 280 persons. Matla saidthat he was one of only about twenty-six who managed to survive. The perpetrators of these murders,he said, were for the most part Jews.37 Another prominent militiaman, Bohdan Kazanivsky, gave histestimony on 8 July. Recounting his experiences, he said he was beaten unconscious with the blunt edgeof a cavalry saber, later with fists and pistol stocks by five NKVD-men at once, deprived for days of foodand water. He told of disgusting sanitary conditions in a temporary holding pen, actually a stable, inwhich prisoners were forced to defecate without taking their pants off. In the NKVD prison in Sokal, Lvivoblast, he was taken to a dungeon, laid on a table, and tortured. The torture included waterboarding,which was a standard method of Soviet secret police interrogators. He managed to escape from Brygidkibefore the murders began.38 Kazanivsky had nothing to say about Jewish involvement in these outrages,however.

The two militiamen’s description of the horrendous conditions of the Soviet prisons andinterrogations may have been somewhat exaggerated, but it does not diverge radically from what weknow of Stalinist interrogation practices.39 Clearly, their experiences in the prisons would have generateda great deal of anger. In other contemporary pogroms former prisoners of the Soviets played animportant role.40


On Monday 30 June, when Nachtigall and then the Germans arrived in the city, thousands ofcorpses of political prisoners were found in prisons evacuated by the NKVD; and these corpses wereretrieved from the prisons and laid out for public display. The corpses of the NKVD victims were found inthree prisons: the Zamarstyniv street prison; the Brygidki prison, near the major thoroughfare of ul.Kazimierzowska (today vul. Horodots’ka); and the prison on Lontskoho, near the citadel. These three prisons were the main stages of pogrom activities. The Zamarstyniv street prison and Brygidki werelocated near the Jewish quarter of Lviv.

A German military report from the late afternoon of 30 June already reported that thepopulation of Lviv was taking out its anger at the NKVD murders "on the Jews living in the city, who hadalways collaborated with the Bolsheviks."41 Already on this day, Jewish men were pressed into labor inthe so-called "prison action," i.e., exhumating and carrying out corpses from the prisons. Jews werepressed into labor on that day and on subsequent days for other work as well. The impressment of Jewswas a commonplace during pogroms and anti-Jewish incidents in Nazi-occupied Europe.

In Lviv about ten Jews were forced to help with Ukrainian nationalist printing operations on 30 June. German troops made Jews repair Lviv streets damaged from bombardment. Jewish survivors speak of being made toclean houses and toilets as well.42 Sometimes the impressment for labor turned deadly. CzeslawaBudynska, her sister, and a neighbor girl were taken by the Germans to clean up battle sites. They werebeaten and pushed while performing their tasks. Others were put to work as well, including men, abouta hundred fifty persons all together. Later the Germans made the men go into a nearby swimming pond,forcing them to go in deeper and deeper. One of the Germans had a boat hook and used it to drownthem. The women witnessed this, but there was nothing they could do.43

On Tuesday 1 July the situation changed qualitatively, and this is the day that witnessed a full¬blown pogrom. Also on this day the violence took on a more ritualized form, drawing on the experienceof other pogroms and anti-Jewish incidents that had broken out under Nazi inspiration in 1938 and after:Jews, men and women, were made to clean the streets; Jewish women were singled out for humiliation;and Jews were made to perform various rituals that identified them with communism. 1 July was a hotsunny day, and such weather is conducive to public eruptions.

Just as in Vienna in March 1938 and in various localities in Poland in September 1939, in LvivJews were forced to clean the streets. The point was to make Jews, who were prominent in the freeprofessions and in business, engage in demeaning physical work. As a Jewish survivor remarked: "What aterribly debasing feeling it was when doctors and professors cleaned the streets with shovels in their hands…." According to a teenage girl, Germans and Ukrainians made a neighbor get her toothbrush toclean the street. They also made a Jewish man clean horse manure from the street by putting it in his hat.44 Judging by photographs, gentiles in Lviv found the Jewish cleaners amusing.45 To some extent, thepogrom was a carnival.

One of the characteristic features of the pogrom on 1 July was the maltreatment and humiliationof Jewish women. The scenes at Zamarstyniv street were photographed by a German camera crew;there is also a film of the abuse.46 There were some precedents for this in pogroms in Nazi-occupied land. Women were forcibly undressed in Krakow in December 1939, and many members of OUN,and particularly those who were to form the backbone of the Bandera movement, were in Krakow atthat time, waiting out the Soviet occupation of Western Ukraine. In the Easter season pogrom in Warsaw in 1940 teenagers preyed on women, especially to rob them. In Lviv women were shoved, kicked,beaten in the face and elsewhere with sticks and tools, pulled by the hair, and tossed from onepogromist to another. Many of the women were stripped naked and exposed to the mob. Some werechased through the street.47

Rose Moskowitz had a school friend who had become an active communist.A gang caught her, cut off her hair, and ran her down the street, naked, screaming. The girl went homeand killed herself.48 A Polish rescuer saw "a boy like Hercules" beating a twelve-year old Jewish girl witha chain. Not surprisingly, rapes were also reported. Pregnant women were hit or kicked in thestomach. The pogromists stripped a twenty-year-old Jewish woman, lodged a baton in her vagina, andmarched her past the post office to the prison action at Lontskoho.49 The women were robbed as well.50
Roza Wagner said she even saw prostitutes with their pimps requisitioning shoes and other items ofapparel from the Jewish women.51 The victims were chosen at random, as long as they were Jewish.


Roza Wagner and a neighbor were arrested by a teenager simply because they were together on theporch of a building near the Zamarstyniv street prison. Wagner’s sixteen-year-old sister was also taken.52
That the pogrom of 1 July was intended as a spectacle is also indicated by the rituals in whichJews were forced to take part. Larysa Krushelnytska, the well known Ukrainian intellectual andmemoirist, remembered the gigantic poster with a portrait of Stalin near the main post office. She andher mother watched as it was taken down. She was then about thirteen and remembers that peoplewere happy there because the Soviet horror had ended. The German newsreel on the liberation ofLemberg shows this very scene, and a large crowd is indeed shown cheering and applauding.

Afterwards,Krushelnytska remembers, everyone began to stomp on the poster. A ten-year-old Jewish girl was alsoat the post office on the same day and remembered the scene there quite differently: "In front of thepost office people stood with shovels, and Ukrainians beat them and shouted ‘Jude! Jude!"’ Each girlregistered an impression reflective of her own position and perspective. The German newsreel alsoshows a few scenes in which Stalin statues are being toppled or destroyed. In one a group of men in suitsis shown pulling the statue down — clearly, they are Jews. A Pole remembered that Jews in Lviv weremade to walk four abreast, sing Russian march songs, and shout praise to Stalin.53

A Jewish witness,Alizia Rachel Hadar, corroborates: she saw a crowd surrounding a group of two to three hundred youngJewish men and women who, with raised hands, were forced to sing "the Russian Communist song, ‘MyMoscow.’" Another witness, a Ukrainian woman, remembered seeing Ukrainians near the citadelescorting about a hundred men with their hands in the air, making them shout "We want Stalin!" Suchrituals were conducted elsewhere that summer. In Kolomyia, the statues of Stalin and Lenin weredestroyed. Ukrainians forced a Jew to stand on one of the empty pedestals while other Jews were madeto shout: "Stalin, you are an idiot!"54

Jews were collected for the pogrom activities on 1 July by Ukrainian militiamen. To get Jews forthe Zamarstyniv prison and Brygidki, they went from house to house in the Jewish neighborhoods.55 Torecruit Jews for exhumation and abuse at Lontskoho, the militiamen arrested Jews on the streets. Thearrests on vul. Kopernyka, which leads from the center of the city and the post office towards Lontskoho,are well documented photographically.

In Lviv, as elsewhere in Galicia in the first days of the German invasion,56 Jewish men wereforced to exhume the corpses of NKVD victims and were maltreated and even murdered in the process.The corpses in Lviv began to be exhumed and put on display already on 30 June, and this continued on 1 and 2 July. Although eyewitnesses differ in their dating, my reading of their testimony is that the prisonactions lasted three days, but the public pogrom took place on a single day, 1 July.
Jews were beaten as they were escorted to the prisons on 1 July. A Jewish girl witnessed boys beating Jews they were taking to Brygidki with brooms, carpet-beaters, and stones.57

Tamara Branicka said that she and her family had to keep their arms in the air as they walked the ten or fifteen minutes to Lontskoho prison. As they marched through the street, people would run in front of them and hit them on the head with sticks. The mob was also ripping stones out of the pavement to throw at them and shouting obscenities. No one tried to help us, Branitsky remembered; on the contrary, the crowd seemed to derive great pleasure from this.58 A number of eyewitness accounts mention, and photographs show, that some of the Jews taken to the prisons were made to crawl on their hands andknees. Leszek Allerhand said that several hundred people were crawling on their hands and knees threekilometres to Brygidki prison, kicked and beaten on their way.59


Although some accounts say that only Jewish men were taken to work in the prisons, others say that women and children were there as well. The general gist of the testimonies is that able-bodiedmen were actually put to work in the exhumation, while most women and the elderly were simplybrought to the prisons for abuse. Women were also employed, however, to clean corpses. Youngchildren were usually, but not always,60 spared.

There is a photograph in the collection of David Lee Preston that shows the situation very well.
We do not see any faces, but a man is dressed in a suit, with street shoes, and he is digging out a body with a pick. He has obviously been taken right off the street. Next to him is a man with proper boots and pants; we see only his legs, but probably he was in uniform. On the back of the photo, taken privately by a soldier, is the inscription: "A Jew at the exhumation of blood-victims." Two films from Brygidki show Jewish women with wet branches brushing off the corpses.
Many of the Jewish men recruited for work at the prisons were murdered after they performed their task. There are a number of photographs that show the victims of the prison action, although they have sometimes been misinterpreted as photographs of NKVD victims.

We can use as an example onethat shows the Brygidki courtyard from the collection of David Lee Preston. Unlike the corpses from theNKVD murders, which were laid out in neat rows, the corpses in the Preston picture are piled up everywhich way in a heap. The clothes in the Preston photograph are fairly bright — particularly striking are thewhite shirts, while the clothes in photographs of the NKVD victims are dirty and greyish. One of thefigures in the foreground of the Preston photo is wearing suspenders — if he had been an NKVD prisoner,these would have been removed. Also in the Preston photo are the long poles and tools that the Jewish victims used to exhume the bodies of the NKVD victims.

A certain Gold, who recorded the events in Lviv after the Germans arrived, heard that at about
1:30-2:00 pm on the afternoon of 1 July, about thirty people were executed at Brygidki. Herman Kacsaid that he was lined up to be shot there. He was number forty-eight; forty-seven had already beenexecuted; a German soldier was taking aim at him when an officer came up and said, "Enough for today."He and other survivors were forced to dig the grave for those executed.61

Kurt Lewin has left a detailed account of his experience at the Brygidki prison action.62 Hedescribed savage beatings by both Germans and Ukrainians. One Ukrainian particularly carved himselfinto Lewin’s memory. He was elegantly dressed in a beautiful embroidered shirt and beat the Jews withan ironclad cane. Strips of skin flew with every blow, sometimes an ear or an eye. When the cane broke,he found a large charred piece of wood and smashed a Jew’s skull, sending brains flying in everydirection, including on Lewin’s face and clothing.

Lewin witnessed the Germans shoot a large number ofJews. He even watched helplessly as they executed his father, a rabbi. Germans photographed the brutalscenes continually, which he found humiliating. He saw a general shoot a very young-looking nineteen-year-old and then announce that "the action is over." What he meant was that no more victims were tobe brought that day to Brygidki. The Ukrainian militia went home, but the Gestapomen continued tomaltreat the Jews. One of the Germans told them that "revenge on the Jews was sweet." SomeGestapomen went around the site shooting the wounded. Then, he wrote, "soldiers of the UkrainianBandera legion" (i.e., Nachtigall) arrived and began to beat the Jews again with fresh energy.

Around9:00 at night those who remained alive were expelled, with kicks and blows, from the Brygidki premises.They were told to return for work at 4:00 am the next morning. "From two thousand people not quite eighty were left." From Lewin’s apartment building, thirteen men had been taken; only three returned.

Lusia Hornstein lived right next to Brygidki prison; in fact, it bordered on her back courtyard andher family could see into it. On 1 July Lusia and her mother saw Germans and Ukrainians in uniform onthe prison grounds. They could hear Jews being shot, but could not see it from their house. LusiaHornstein said the shooting and the screaming lasted through the day. Her father and brother had beentaken to Brygidki for the exhumation. In the evening her father came home, looking terrible. He hadhidden in a bathroom or another small room. From his hiding place he could see them bringing waveafter wave of Jews. First they brought them to take all the bodies out, but when they they no longerneeded more people to do that, they took them into a corner and shot them. Lusia realized that her brother was among those shot.

The experience at Lontskoho has been described in some detail by Tamara Branitsky. What shesaw when she arrived there was Jewish women, older men, and children standing in a corner under thewall. On the other side of the yard were mounds of dead people, and Jewish men were sorting them.They had to move them from one place to another. Inside the yard there were SS and Gestapo. She andher mothers and sisters were kept there for about an hour, although it seemed to them an eternity.Eventually her mother worked up the courage to approach an officer and ask in German what theyintended to do with them. He responded: We will put you all under the wall and shoot you.

However,later, high-ranking Gestapo officers came and told all the women and children to go home. As they wenthome, the people on the sidewalk continued to throw rocks at them. Her mother extended an arm toprotect her sister — she was hit by a rock and blood gushed from her arm. Eventually they made their way home. Matylda Wyszynska and her family also experienced Lontskoho. Her father was taken first.He was brought home a day and a half or two days later completely unconscious. He stank of corpses. He remained unconscious for a long time, nervous movements and screams being the main signs of life. Sheand her stepmother were also taken. They were saved by a Ukrainian militiaman at the scene who wasthe brother of a school friend.63 Those with the power to do harm also have the power to save.


According to a Jewish source, a German officer put a stop to the mob violence at Lontskoho. AGerman noncommissioned officer tried to protect the Jewish laborers while the crowds on the rooftopsdemanded their death. The mob was quelled only when a German officer intervened and shouted withindignation: "We are not after all Bolsheviks."64 At Zamarstyniv street prison, according to one Jewishman who was forced to work there, a machine gun was brought to the site, and Jewish men were madeto line up against the wall several times. But each time higher Gestapo functionaries prevented the execution.

The Wehrmacht suppressed the pogrom on the evening of 1 July, although isolated violentincidents continued for the next few days.Who were the perpetrators? Some Jewish testimonies identify the pogromists as Ukrainian thugs or a Ukrainian mob. It was indeed the norm in such pogroms elsewhere in Europe for lumpen elementsto join in the violence. The identification of the perpetrators as riff-raff (the term usually used inUkrainian literature is shumovynnia) is even more common in Ukrainian memoirs and interpretations.65That the Ukrainians involved in the pogrom were merely thugs, marginal social elements, is theexplanation favored by those who are concerned to uphold the reputation of the Bandera movement.This view of the Lviv pogrom might be called the spontaneous combustion theory. The atrocitiescommitted by the Soviet secret police, the incitement by Germans, and the presence of criminalelements resulted in a violent conflagration without the involvement of any particular organization.66

There are, of course, serious problems with this view. The coordination of actions aroundthe three prisons and throughout the city bespeaks some overall planning. Inquiry into otherpogroms under Nazi occupation by Tomasz Szarota has shown that the modus operandi of theGermans was always to work with some organized local group, which would spearhead eachincident.67 Paul R. Brass, a political scientist who has studied riots and pogroms in a wide-rangingcomparative perspective, but particularly in South Asia, believes that "the kinds of violence thatare committed in ethnic, communal, and racial ‘riots’" are largely the work of "specialists,"including "local militant group leaders." He largely discounts what he terms the "’riff-raff’ theory,"while pointing out that these violent incidents can often involve heterogeneous social elements.
He also discounts the idea of total spontaneity in ethnic violence. "In practice," he writes, "thereare virtually always some elements of organization and planning before riots as well as pogroms.Moreover, much of the organization and planning which does go on is designed both to give theappearance of spontaneity and to induce spontaneous actions on the part of the populace."68

OUN itself opposed genuinely spontaneous outburts and believed that its task was to "takecontrol of the revolutionary spontaneity of the masses."69 Two films of the arrests of Jews in Lviv on 30June give the strong impression that there are certain leaders who act in concert and know exactly whatthey are doing.70 It is difficult to imagine that the 0UN militia, which was definitely on the scene in Lviv,would have let these outrages occur if they did not at least approve of them.
Moreover, there are dozens and dozens of eyewitness testimonies identifying militiamen asprime actors during the pogrom. For example, Ryszard Ryndner wrote that "the Ukrainian militia seizedJews on the streets [and] took them to various assembly points, where they were mercilessly beaten."71Felicja Heller remembered that when the Germans came, "Ukrainian nationalists organized ‘a Ukrainianpolice’" which seized Jews from their apartments and took them to clean streets and work at theprisons.72 Lusia (Lisa) Hornstein said "the Ukrainians, police or militia or whatever they were," wererounding up Jews and came to her family’s apartment.73 Matylda Wyszynska, who was taken toLontskoho during the prison action, was actually released by a Ukrainian militiaman at the scene whomshe knew personally.74

Sometimes the eyewitnesses did not specifically identify the militia, but mentioned the blue andyellow armbands, worn on the left arm, which served as the militia insignia. (Some militiamen in Lviv,however, had dark blue uniforms.)75 Janistaw Korczynski, for instance, saw "a group of Ukrainians withyellow and blue armbands" taking about seventy Jews to the Zamarstyniv street prison.76 Prof. MaurycyAllerhand noted in his diary on the day of the pogrom that he witnessed twenty or so Ukrainians beatingJews with sticks and whips: ‘That they were Ukrainians was evident not only from the blue and yellowarmbands on their left arm but also from the curses directed against the Jews in the Ukrainianlanguage."77

Tamara Branitsky, then nineteen, saw Ukrainian guards, armed with rifles and wearing blueand yellow armbands on their left shoulders, forcing their way into apartments, eventually into hers aswell; the Ukrainian guards slapped her mother and took her and her sisters to be beaten and humiliatedat Lontskoho prison.78 A certain Gold recorded that a "man with a ribbon in Ukrainian colors" demandedto see his passport, determined that he was a Jew, and sent him off to exhume bodies at Brygidki.79There are a number of other related testimonies.80

Witnesses in denaturalization proceedings against alleged Ukrainian policemen who immigratedto the US made reference to Ukrainian militiamen, usually calling them policemen, being active in theviolence in Lviv in 1941. One of them, Chaim Shlomi, remembered the seizure of Jews from theirapartments: "…the Ukrainian Police that began the organization in the beginning there — they were stillcivilians without uniforms; they only had a blue and yellow band — they also began to remove Jews fromthe houses and to catch them on the streets."81 When Abraham Goldberg was asked how he knew thatthose who arrested him were Ukrainian police, he responded: ‘They…wore bands that were blue andyellow, which were Ukrainian symbols. They had a rifle and they spoke Ukrainian."82

It is not only the large quantity of such testimony that makes it difficult to dismiss. It is also thatthis testimony has been collected in many different localities and at different times over a period of oversixty years. The eyewitness testimony includes Jewish survivor accounts recorded by the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland right after the war83 as well as videotaped interviews collected all overthe world by the Shoah Foundation in the 1990s and 2000s.84 In addition to testimony in these two largecollections, other Jewish memoirs and testimonies, written or recorded in different times, places, andcircumstances, confirm that Ukrainian militiamen were playing the leading role in the Lviv pogrom.85There are also Polish witnesses to the role of the Ukrainian militia.86 Understandably, Ukrainianmemoirs are silent on the point of militia participation in the Lviv pogrom.

What is said in the testimony is confirmed by photographic evidence. A film of the exhumationand prison action at Brygidki shows a militiaman, recognizable by his armband, beating a Jewish man.87

A still from a film that is now largely deteriorated shows a uniformed militiaman pulling a partiallyundressed woman by the hair;88 this was at the Zamarstyniv street prison. Another photo shows auniformed militiaman with his armband on his left upper arm taking part in the arrest of Jews on a Lvivstreet.89 In addition to these photos of militiamen in uniform and/or with armbands, plainclothesmilitiamen have been identified at Zamarstyniv street by Jeffrey Burds.90
In the women’s action of 1 July, memoirs and photographs show the perpetators as mainly grown men, but also teenagers and even children.91

A ten-year-old Jewish girl witnessed six-year-old boys near Brygidki prison pulling out women’s hair and old men’s beards.92 Maria Gesiola remembers that while she and her aunt were negotiating with the Ukrainians who came to their apartment about leaving her uncle alone, a nine-year-old boy stepped forward and settled the issue by saying to the uncle:128  Come, you old Jew. Certainly, some of these children simply joined the pogrom for adventure, butothers, and I think probably most, were child soldiers of the national revolution. Szarota’s comparativeanalysis of pogroms in Nazi-occupied Europe shows that youth and even children were involved inpogroms elsewhere, e.g., in Warsaw and Paris, and that usually they were recruited from right-radical youth groups. In Western Ukraine, youth associated with the Bandera movement were the most likelychild and adolescent perpetrators. In Galicia, the best organized and most numerous youth organizationactive in the immediate aftermath of the Soviet withdrawal was the OUN-B youth group (iunatstvo),which had seven thousand members in the underground in April 1941.93

Ukrainian memoirists emphasize that there was a large Polish participation in the violence. KostPankivsky said that since Poles made up the majority of the lumpen population of Lviv, it was naturalthat they were the ones who were beating Jews in the streets.94 One Jewish memoirist spotted thebrother of a Polish classmate among the pogromists. Both Pankivsky and levhen Nakonechnyi wrotethat Polish pogromists would often don yellow-and-blue armbands, but they could be recognized by how feebly they spoke Ukrainian.95 It may well be true that Polish criminals used the occasion of the pogromto rob Jewish apartments/96 but it is significant that they chose to disguise themselves as Ukrainianmilitiamen.

German soldiers were also present. Wolf Lichter remembered that the Jews who were beingtormented by Ukrainians hoped that the Germans would restore order, but the majority of Germanseither joined in or just passed by. During the humiliation of women on 1 July Roza Wagner and otherJewish women asked German soldiers walking by the Zamarstyniv street prison courtyard to intervenewith the pogromists on their behalf. ‘That is the revenge of the Ukrainians," they replied, with evidentapproval of the violence. A German film crew took photos of the naked women which they said wouldappear in Der Sturmer (but never did).97 German soldiers were involved in impressing Jews into forced labor of various kinds, including the exhumation of the NKVD victims. A Jewish survivor said that Germans went house to house with a list of communists to arrest.

Separate from the pogrom as such were the systematic murders perpetrated a few days later by the Germans, perhaps even at Hitler’s direct order. The German Einsatzgruppe-soldier Felix Landauwrote in his diary on 3 July 1941 that he took part in the execution of five hundred "defenseless men -even if they were only Jews."98

Edward Spicer was caught in the roundup of Jews for execution. Whatfollows is a slightly condensed and edited version of his testimony:
[Days after the pogrom] I was caught by a group of Ukrainians not too far from where I lived,and we were taken to a place near the railroad station. First they were beating us all theway, then they pushed us down the staircase, until we were piled up one on top of anotherfive-six high. We lay there for an hour or so, then they asked us to go back up the staircase.
They lined us up, they were beating us, and then they marched us to…a large place; I think itwas a hockey arena.

They made us lie face down on the ground. Someone kicked me in thehead. We had to lie there with our hands stretched out until the morning. During the night ifanyone made a move, they killed them with their rifle butts. There were only men lyingthere. The second day was a hot day. They didn’t give us any water. Anything to eat — forgetit. Then they got groups of people to go, supposedly, to work. They selected a group ofabout forty people. They were all lined up, and we were all jealous that they were going towork. In the meantime what we saw was just horrible. The Germans were beating thatgroup with their rifle butts. Ukrainian civilians were coming around the place just to help theGermans to beat us. They used heavy pieces of wood like baseball bats. Then they tookpeople away on trucks. We stayed one more night with our heads down, the same routine.
In the morning some more trucks came up. Some Ukrainians came in with shovels, with allkinds of things. I didn’t believe people could do this to people. I’ve never seen atrocities likeit. On the next day they were taking people again on trucks. I pushed myself forward to goon the truck, but a German SS officer grabbed me by the neck and wouldn’t let me go on thetruck. When he looked away, I tried to sneak in again. He still wouldn’t let me go on thetruck. Little did I realize that all of [those being taken away in the truck] were being shot.
And the Ukrainians were digging the ditches. From what I understand there were over twothousand hostages killed….
How did I get out? They stopped suddenly taking people away, and one of the guards told uswe were going to be released. But then he told us they were going to play with us a little bit:You’re going to have to rise up and fall down. Auf, lauf, hinlegen. Auf, lauf, hinlegen.99 ThenI saw a lot of Ukrainians, civilians, in that place. They made us run around in circles, andeach German and Ukrainian was beating Jews, and I could see a lot of them lying down,either dead or completely unconscious. I was lucky because I saw a German with a smallstick so I was running around him. He was hitting me but I really didn’t feel any pain. You become numb. Then they let us all out, out of this place. I was at that time twenty-two yearsold. I slowly, painfully made my way back home.100

The Ukrainians who cooperated in these executions with the Germans were, of course, members of themilitia. As of 2 July 1941 the Ukrainian militia in Lviv was operatively subordinated to the German SS.They were assigned "order duties inside the city," according to German official Hans Joachim Beyer, whowas serving as a high official of the Sicherheitsdienst in the city and was deeply involved in atrocitiesagainst Poles and Jews.101 Kost Pankivsky, who spent a lot of time with Beyer,102 also recalled thesubordination of the milita in Lviv to the SS as of 2 July and that "the Germans immediately began to usethe militia for their own aims, especially in what might be termed anti-Jewish matters."103

The detailed account of a Jewish survivor also explicitly identified the Ukrainians involved here as members of themilitia.104
The Lviv Judenrat estimated that two thousand Jews disappeared in the pogrom and executionsof the first days of July 1941,105 but an internal German security report dated 16 July said that "policecaptured and shot some 7000 Jews" at that time.106 Arriving at a reasonable estimate of victims in casesof mass murder is often difficult. In this particular case, we might posit that the Judenrat underestimatedthe number of victims, because they counted the number of Jews they knew to be missing; they couldhave overlooked some. The German shooters, however, might have inflated the numbers, showing howzealous they were in the performance of their duty. In any case, it is clear that thousands of Jewsperished in Lviv in early July.

It is necessary to add a few words about German sponsorship of the pogrom, aside from whatwas said about Heydrich at the outset. That Germans played an important role in the pogrom wasevident from their ability to turn the violence on and off. Yet, some of the German officers were horrifiedby the excesses.107 A particular form of German involvement was the filming of the anti-Jewish actions bycamera crews sent out by the propaganda ministry.108 The German photographers sometimes arrangedposes and scenes,109 and this is very evident in some of the Lviv photographs, which show perpetratorshamming it up for the camera.110 The Germans deliberately filmed Polish policemen in Warsaw111 andalso filmed the Ukrainian militiamen in Lviv.112 One reason for the filming was that the Germans wantedto place the blame for the pogrom violence directly on the local population.

Why precisely the Germans, or at least Heydrich, were interested in pogroms and "self-cleansing" actions is uncertain. Soon these violent and semi-spontaneous incidents were to besupplanted by systematic murder. Tomasz Szarota, who studied these events in a comparative context,has hypothesized that the Germans used the incidents to encourage Jews to accept ghettoization. Theycould present the ghettos to Jewish leaders as measures aimed at protecting Jews from the wrath of thelocal population.113

Indeed, Jews sometimes expressed a certain relief when pogroms came to the endand the Germans took over. Rose Moskowitz remembered how a relative calm was restored after theGermans stopped the rioting in Lviv. But, she added, they then issued their prohibitive laws against theJews.114

In sum, the Lviv pogrom was an action undertaken at German initiative, but carried out largelyby the Ukrainian militia set up by the Bandera faction of the OUN as the policing arm of the newlyproclaimed Ukrainian State. Mob participation supplemented the violence. The pogrom took place on 1July 1941, a day after Lviv was occupied by the Germans and the Ukrainian nationalists declaredstatehood. The pogrom itself probably took dozens or at most hundreds of lives, but systematicexecutions during the pogrom and in its aftermath took thousands. In the executions, OUN militia werealso active in the round up and beating of Jews, just as they had been during the pogrom preceding them.