Collaboration and collusion

In June 1941 the Nazi army entered Lviv, capital of the Western Ukraine. In its vanguard came the German-uniformed Nachtigall Battalion of Ukrainian Nationalists. During the first three days of July the Nachtigall Battalion slaughtered seven thousand Jews in the vicinity of Lwow. Non-Jewish writers, intellectuals and professionals known to be hostile to Nazism were also killed. In the first 8 months of Nazi occupation 15% of Galician Jews – 100,000 people – were slaughtered by the joint actions of the Germans and Ukrainian nationalists. Many thousands of Nationalists who fled to Germany and elsewhere in the wake of the retreating Nazi armies had to cover up their personal and collective guilt in the holocaust and betrayal of their country. Anti-semitic and fascist themes run deep through the history of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Leaders of the Ukrainian Nationalists were on the payroll of the Nazi party before Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. Ukrainian Nationalist battalions were trained in Germany before the war and some were used in the invasion of Poland. The Nachtigall and Roland Ukrainian volunteer detachments fought with the German army and in late 1941 were reorganised into a Police Battalion and employed in Byelorussia. Despite this being well known, the famine genociders portray the nationalists as having fought against both Hitler and Stalin and somehow on a par with the French resistance. Similarly distorted is the role of the 14th Waffen SS Galizien Division (also known as the Halychyna Division). Formed in 1943 its main function was brutal anti-partisan work. Even after German withdrawal from the Ukraine, nationalists stayed behind and continued to harass Soviet supply lines. Nationalist troops served Hitler in Ukraine, Poland, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Ukrainian collaborators assisted in the murder of hundreds of thousands in death camps like Treblinka, Sobibor, Yanowska and Trawniki. Such were the “anti-Nazi” credentials of those who nationalists today would present as “national liberation fighters”, “heroes of the Ukrainian people” and “patriots who struggled for a free Ukraine”.