Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Writer Ulas Samchuk was practicing Nazi propaganda
Ukraine celebrates those we used to consider to be collaborators, accomplices of Hitler. No, we are told in Kiev, these people fought for Ukraine’s independence, they fought with the Bolsheviks, and Stalin’s regime… So, where is the truth? Who were they – criminals or heroes? To understand this, old newspapers will help us.
On 1st September in Russia and some other Republics of the former USSR, the Day of Knowledge was celebrated. In Ukraine this day is also considered festive. School children went back to their desks, and the youngest of them for the first time crossed the boundary of the school. Little children are like clay. Not only their future professional success, but also a system of values, notions of good and bad, will depend on what the teachers will plant in them. “What is good and what is bad?” is the first question the answer to which the school must give to the child.
New times – new heroes. This academic year, the pupils of 7-11 grades in the schools of Ukraine will study the work of the Ukrainian “writer” and part-time Nazi collaborator during the Second world war Ulas Samchuk. Until recently, the name of this writer was widely known only in narrow circles of the Ukrainian Diaspora in the USA and Canada. It is difficult to judge the artistic merits of his creations not knowing the Ukrainian language. However, the fact that Samchuk had the opportunity to freely publish them in the West (after the war he lived for nearly 40 years in Canada), but nevertheless they did not attract much attention of the international literary community, which speaks for itself. I think that if there was even the slightest chance to promote this hostile-to-Soviet Union writer, it would certainly have been done. But the level of talent did not allow Samchuk to be on a par with such stars of the literary emigration as Bunin, Solzhenitsyn or Brodsky.
But the sense is not in the literary talent of Samchuk or in its absence, but in some juicy details of his biography. 75 years ago, on September 1st, 1941, in occupied-by-German Nazis Rovno, the first issue of the newspaper “Volyn” with a large portrait of Hitler on the front page appeared. Editor-in-chief of this newspaper was the same Ulas Samchuk, whose works will now be taught to Ukrainian children. Being one of the leaders of the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, banned in Russia), “writer” arrived in Rovno in a German convoy, consisting of the so-called “Melnik’s marching groups of OUN”. (Melnikists and Banderists were supporters respectively of Andriy Melnik and Stepan Bandera, and competed between each other until the murder of the wing inside the OUN.) In the first issue of the newspaper, in addition to a portrait of Hitler, Samchuk placed a laudatory article in honor of the Fuhrer, as well as printed with his own portrait (which removes all doubt regarding his personal responsibility for the newspaper’s materials). After the liberation of Ukraine by Soviet troops, the future guru of today’s Ukrainian “patriots” had to leave the “motherland” and escape to Germany together with the Nazis. He died in Canada of old age in 1987.
What was this edited-by-Samchuk newspaper “Volyn”?
“Practically in every major city of Ukraine, which included the Germans, the Goebbels division “Propaganda-Staffel” entered, at first tried to manage the production of collaborationist newspapers, and to open society “Prosvita” (“Enlightenment”) for Ukrainianization of the local population and incitement to inter-nation hatred,” says historian and political analyst Vladimir Kornilov. “Their main aim was to drive a wedge between Ukrainians, Russians and, of course, Jews. As in central and especially in the Russian-speaking Eastern Ukraine, their occupiers had an obvious lack of collaborationist staff, the Germans brought with them in carts from Germany and Galicia.”
Vladimir Kornilov for several years engaged in the study of newspapers published by Nazi propagandists in the occupied territory during the war. These are truly unique documents. Many materials testify to: the affirmation by Kiev propaganda about the alleged struggle between Ukrainian nationalists and the Nazis doesn’t correspond to reality. Moreover, for anyone who became familiar with these publications, it becomes clear that in fact the OUN collaborated closely with the Nazis.
“As soon as these newspapers in the late 80’s were declassified and withdrawn from the special depositories, I got into the archives and shovelled a mountain of Nazi newspapers published during the occupation of my native region — Donbass,” says Vladimir. “At this time I was still a student. But already I became interested in the close cooperation between Ukrainian nationalists and German Nazis, and I wrote several scientific articles on this subject. Back then, the archives still had no copiers or scanners.
Therefore, I keep many materials handwritten, in a mass of notebooks. With the development of nationalist and neo-Nazi ideas in Ukraine, this topic has become more important than ever. But, when recognizable-to-me personages, who in the Nazi press were shown as the most ardent collaborationists, began to be openly glorified in Ukraine, I decided to go back to my records, and expand the range of the studied press — now I’m familiar not only with Donbass ones, but also with Ukrainian specimens of Goebbels’ propaganda. What this will result in, I still don’t know yet. Right now, it’s just a project on the Internet dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Great Patriotic War. Each day of war – new publications about the collaborationist newspapers. I post them in chronological order and so I hope to reach the day of liberation of Ukraine.
To what extent were these publications controlled by the Germans, and to what extent were they fruits of the self-initiative of the Ukrainian executants?
“All newspapers at the time of occupation were subject to severe censorship by the Goebbels propaganda department. This affair was churned out, every media was supervised in the field, locally, and from the central bodies of Reich propaganda, every newspaper quickly and purposefully was supplied with this “exemplary” materials glorifying Hitler and the power of German arms.”
In Ukraine, the view that Ukrainian nationalists during the war did not collaborate with Hitler, but in contrary fought on two fronts — against the Germans and the Reds, is now actively imposed.
“I can cite a mass of examples of collaboration of all OUN and individual leaders of the Ukrainian nationalist movement with the Nazi regime. In most cases the editors of these papers and active authors were activists of the OUN, they were brought by Germans in the already-occupied-by-them town in their carts. I repeat: OUN not only fought with the German occupiers, but actively cooperated with them, being the Ukrainian Department of Goebbels’ propaganda department. And these newspapers are additional confirmation of it.
That is, the role distribution was as follows: Germans are clients, inspirers, supervisors, and censors. Executers were OUN: Banderists and Melnikists. In accordance with Nazi ideology, every nation in united-under-German-sensible-supervision Europe was destined to its own fate. Ukrainians, as other Slavs, were attributed by the ideologists of the Third Reich to the “inferior race”. Slave labor or death awaited them in the future. Ukrainian cities were to be destroyed, and the deserted lands of Ukraine populated by German farmers. Only the fact that Ukrainian Ostarbeiters were subject to the death penalty for sexual contacts with the German population, speaks volumes about the Germans consideration of Ukrainians as animals. Carts with these Ostarbeiters were already going to Germany. In the occupied territories, mass executions were carried out. However, there was a need to sedate the alertness of the herd, driven towards a massacre, and to create a semblance of a normal life. It was for these aims that these newspapers edited by the Ukrainian collaborators were serving. There were many of these newspapers.
The newspaper “Stryisky Visti” for September 4th, 1941. This newspaper also was edited by the Goebbels propaganda department. The appeal of the OUN was published in it, which states that “soon the whole of Ukraine will be liberated from bloody Moscow.” And the statement ends by saying: “Glory to the invincible German Army! Death to the executioners of Ukraine! Glory To Ukraine! Glory to heroes!”. From this publication it becomes clear how bravely OUN was at war with Hitler.
One of the founders of OUN, Osip Bodnarovych, was during the occupation the managing editor of the Nazi newspaper “Lvov Visti”.
September 3rd, 1941, the newspaper published the article titled “Come in, dear guests”. “Dear guests” is the German occupiers. The newspaper wrote about how joyfully the Galicians welcomed the Germans, “with flags, flowers, triumphal arches, the Ukrainian population welcomed in every village the heroic German army. Even though it was the time of hot field work, in some localities, the villagers waited for hours for guests from the West on the tidied squares near the Churches. And after waiting, they received guests with everything they had, and greeted them as dear brothers”. After that, overjoyed by the occupiers, the population allegedly started organizing “Ukrainian police”, which “cleaned the village from bandits and Jewish-Bolshevik elements, took back stolen state property, collected weapons and gave them to the German authorities.” Evidence of the fight with Hitler’s Nazis!”
How in reality did the population of the Western regions of Ukraine greet the Germans? I asked Vladimir Kornilov.
“No one region of the USSR, occupied by the Germans, met the Nazis so noisily, joyfully, and so sumptuously as Galicia. And this is an indisputable fact!” affirms the analyst. “I frequently hear the offended voices of Galicians, saying that everywhere had its own collaborators. Yes, of course there were. But you won’t find in other regions any photos of such solemn mass greetings to the Nazis, which were held in the towns and villages of Western Ukraine. Neither in Poltava or in Mirgorod, nor in Zaporozhye, for sure not in Donbass, were the Germans met in this way. And by the way, in these regions, the local population didn’t stage violent jewish pogroms, as was done by Ukrainians in Lvov and other settlements in Galicia in June-July 1941. That’s why we have to divide Ukrainian and Galician collaborationism – by its scope, meaning, ideological content – it was not at all identical phenomena. Besides this, we must not forget that, in connection with the shortage of staff in the East of Ukraine, Germans often brought collaborators there from Galicia.”
Did these newspapers contain calls for the physical extermination of Russians, Jews, Poles, Gypsies, etc.?
“Well, even in Nazi Newspapers in Germany you will not find direct appeals for mass murders, for the gas chambers and the extermination of entire peoples. However, German, as well as Ukrainian Nazi media, was united in praising the Aryan racial theory. In many Ukrainian (especially Galician) newspapers you will find a lot of articles that emphasize the differences between Ukrainians and Russians and proved the idea of “the inferiority of Moskals,” their “savagery” and “barbarism”. And of course, in contrast, the idea of “European integration” of Ukraine was provided. Many of these theses you will find now in the modern Ukrainian press. In many articles, pleasure from the Nazis’ solution to the “Jewish question” in the occupied territories was expressed. And, of course, there was a lot of openly hateful remarks about Poles.”
Is there confirmation that in these newspapers there were expressions of anti-Semitism?
“Is it possible to doubt that it was anti-Semitic newspapers if in almost every one of there issues it was possible to read words like “Jude” or “Judeo-Bolshevism”, and cartoons were published depicting the Soviet leadership with “Jewish” noses, published ads obliging Jews to wear identifying marks and to be subject to special regulations?
It is worth emphasizing that these ideological, according to the current Kiev authorities, “fighters against Bolshevism” fought not only against Bolshevism but with “Jewish Bolshevism”, about which is written in practically in every issue of these newspapers.
Always the same newspaper “Volyn”, published in Rovne and edited by the writer Ulas Samchuk, in September 1941, wrote: “All the elements that live in our cities, whether it be Jew, poles, must disappear. The Jewish question is currently being solved, and its solution will be part of the plan for the total reorganization of Europe.”
On 4th September 1941, the first issue of the newspaper “Kamienski Visti” appeared. It was issued in Dneprodzerzhinsk, which was renamed by the Nazis in Kamyanske. The title on front page reads: “The Ukrainian people must have firm faith in the Creator of a new Europe, Adolf Hitler; everything that this person does is appropriated and blessed by God.” This paper was supervised by Germans appointed by the appointed-by-Germans mayor of the city, the Ukrainian nationalist Alexei Samoilenko. He later fled to the West and became a prominent figure of Ukrainian emigration under the name of Olexa Kalinik. In 1953 he published in Munich a book called “Communism is the enemy of mankind”, then he lived in the United States, organizing the Union of Ukrainian youth, and died in new York in 2001 at the age of 92 years.”
What collaborationist organizations of that time were revived in Ukraine after it gained independence?
“Yes, almost the names of all those Ukrainian organizations that were used during the occupation years, were revived in the late 80’s – early 90’s. “Prosvity” [enlightenment – ed], Unions of Ukrainian youth (SUM) appeared as well as officially registered OUN — now it’s a party, as well as the name of the battalion fighting against Donetsk people. Perhaps, the only organization of those times that wasn’t revived today because its “untimely” name is the Union of Ukrainian Fascists (which, by the way, was one of the co-founders of OUN). Instead of this, the modern Ukrainian Nazis created the Social-National party (as you understand, it sounds like the National Socialist Party (NSDAP), and it’s not by accident). However, later this party changed its name and became known as “Svoboda.” Yes, yes, the same “Svoboda” of Oleg Tyagnybok.”
What forces and personages nowadays in Ukraine are involved in writing “alternative” history?
“Ukraine in recent years is busy whitewashing their collaborators and the heroisation of them. Almost every historical and propaganda establishment is now occupied with this task. But the head of this process, without any doubt, is created under Yushchenko’s Institute of National Memory. After the victory of Maidan this institution was headed by overt Bandera apologist Volodymyr Vyatrovych, notorious in Ukraine in connection with frankly pseudo-historical fakes on the topic of UPA and the famine of the 1930’s.”
It is said that manuscripts do not burn. But I think if someones needs it to burn, they burn just fine. Is there a danger of the destruction of archives in Ukraine with documents that expose Banderists?
“You know, I have serious concerns about the fact that some “inconvenient” documents are already gone forever. Because Vyatrovych held the position of head of the SBU archive, which still contains non-disclosed cases of Nazi collaborators. But many documents are already digitized and available online, or were sold to private collections and archives. Ukrainian Internet is simply overdosed with these materials. The fact that modern Ukrainian nationalists are already not only ashamed that their ideological forerunners actively collaborated with Hitler’s Nazis, but they are also very proud of it. If more recently they still shared these documents amongst themselves, and tried not to publicize these facts, but now in Ukraine books are openly published about it, TV shows are produced, and even billboards and city lights (as in the case of the heroisation of the SS division “Galicia”) are installed. So these manuscripts will not burn…”
“Riot” on the knees
In the biography of Ulas Samchuk, one chapter, according to “brainwashed” historians, doubts the fact of his collaboration. In 1942, after the publication in the “Volyn” newspaper of “anti-German” articles “It was like that, it will be like that”, Samchuk was arrested by the security service and placed in Rovne prison. For a whole month (!) a future classic of Ukrainian literature languished in jail, and after was released through the intercession of his longtime benefactor, a certain Hermann Blume. This strange friendship between the future and prominent functionary of the Reich and the Ukrainian Gastarbeiter (Samchuk one time worked in Germany as a farmhand) was born already in the 1920’s, and Blume sponsored the studying of his friend at University. In 1942, the comrade of Samchuk, as his biographers wrote, worked in Rovno in the high post of the chief of the civil police of Reichskommissariat of Ukraine. We can assume that the words “civil police” means formed from the local population, the so-called auxiliary service of the police order. This “remarkable”-in-every-sense police, headed by Samchuk’s friend, by this time already succeeded to be noticed in many significant events. In particular, already at the end of autumn 1941, 150,000-200,000 Jews in Ukraine were exterminated. And also many Gypsies and Communists. He was like that, this remarkable friend of the heroic fighter for the bright future of the Ukrainian people.
After the miraculous rescue from prison, the brave Ukrainian dissident continued to serve the Germans. And after he left for Germany with the occupying troops. Perhaps his famous article was not so “anti-German”? “Samchukologists” note that it was written in an “Aesopian language”. The language was so Aesopian that even vigilant German censorship did not immediately notice the subversion. The Germans only found it only a week later, destroying part of the already printed edition of the newspaper. If they considered it as a serious matter — the edition would have been destroyed along with the author. But this careful unprincipled opposition on the part of the fully necessary and useful employee didn’t present a big danger for them.
Samchuk’s “rebellion” is very easy to explain. In early 1942, the Ukrainian collaborationists experienced a “big fiasco”. It turned out that the German “liberators from the Jewish Bolshevik yoke” were not going to allow any Ukrainian state. The Nazis started, little by little, to shoot the most brazen collaborationists. Including also the friends of Samchuk. It couldn’t not disturb him. Like other Ukrainian nationalists, he probably harboured illusions that he will be able to use the Germans to his advantage. But, in reality, being, together with his newspaper, a part of Goebbels propaganda machine, he himself was used by the Germans.
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