The First “ShukhevychFest”: The Lvov Pogrom of 1941

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard

30/06/2017 1/2

Organised for June 30th to July 2nd, 2017, the so-called “ShukhevychFest” in Lvov (which may have already taken place at the time of reading) is devoted to the 100th birthday of one of the organisers of the pogrom described below – the schutzmannschaft and commander of UPA Roman Shukhevych. 

In the beginning, as is known, there was a word, then there was an act. And the word was such:

“Moscow and Jewishness are the biggest enemies of Ukraine and are carriers of the corrupting Bolshevist international ideas. Considering the main and decisive enemy is Moscow (and not Jewishness), which actually kept Ukraine in captivity, nevertheless the indisputably harmful and hostile role of the Jews in helping Moscow to enslave Ukraine should be evaluated. That’s why I stand in the position for the extermination of Jews and the reasonableness to transfer to Ukraine the German methods of exterminating Jews, avoiding their assimilation”

Yaroslav Stetsko (the closest associate of Stepan Bandera and active figure of OUN (b)

The same man on June 25th, 1941, specified to Stepan Bandera in a letter report: “we create the police, which will help to remove Jews”.

So, it’s extremely simple and clear – “to remove Jews”. So Ukrainians were prepared to become the executioners of those whose extermination became world history under the name Holocaust or “the final solution to the Jewish question”

…Before the war, from 135,000 (taking into account refugees) to 150,000 Jews lived in Lvov, and after the liberation of the city from Nazis, only 823 Jews survived, (Filip Friedman “Death of the Lvov Jews”). It was a city where it was precisely the “police” – created by Ukrainian members from OUN(b) and also ordinary Ukrainian inhabitants – laid the foundation for the extermination of Lvov Jews.

By July 3rd, 1941, on the city streets about 4,000 Jews were killed. And this was only the first blood…

A woman stripped to her underwear is being chased by a uniformed boy with a stick as well as by an adolescent. The action is taking place near Zamarstyniv street prison, on a street then called Pompierska. Now that street is called Vesela, that is, Happy Street.

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 telling the uncle: “Come, you old Jew”.

She wanted to live

In his memoirs published twenty-six years later, Stetsko categorically denied that the militia which his government set up was involved in any antiJewish actions. Yet the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

Dozens of eyewitness testimonies identify militiamen as prime actors during the pogrom. For example, Ryszard Ryndner wrote that “the Ukrainian militia seized Jews on the streets [and] took them to various assembly points, where they were mercilessly beaten”.

The crowd is hungry for their blood

“For what???”

Monsters… Pay attention to where the beast hits the woman

Humiliated and abandoned

Felicja Heller remembered that when the Germans came, “Ukrainian nationalists organized ‘a Ukrainian police’”, which seized Jews from their apartments and took them to clean streets and work at the prisons.

READ:  The Crisis in the US Is a Catalyst for Events in Ukraine

Matylda Wyszynska, who was taken to Lontskoho during the prison action, was actually released by a Ukrainian militiaman at the scene whom she knew personally.

Sometimes the eyewitnesses did not specifically identify the militia, but mentioned the blue and yellow armbands, worn on the left arm, which served as the militia insignia (except for those militiamen, already mentioned, who had uniforms).

Janisław Korczyński, for instance, saw “a group of Ukrainians with yellow and blue armbands” taking about seventy Jews to the Zamarstyniv street prison.

The crowd of beasts mocks a woman

The eyes

A stick in the hand of one of the torturers

Professor Maurycy Allerhand noted in his diary on the day of the pogrom that he witnessed twenty or so Ukrainians beating Jews with sticks and whips: “That they were Ukrainians was evident not only from the blue and yellow armbands on their left arm but also from the curses directed against the Jews in the Ukrainian language.”

Tamara Branitsky, then nineteen, saw Ukrainian guards, armed with rifles and wearing blue and yellow armbands on their left shoulders, forcing their way into apartments, eventually into hers as well; the Ukrainian guards slapped her mother and took her and her sisters to be beaten and humiliated at the prison at Łąckiego.

A certain Gold recorded that a “man with a ribbon in Ukrainian colours” demanded to see his passport, determined that he was a Jew, and sent him off to exhume bodies at Brygidki. There are a number of other related testimonies.

  Later on in this material you will see the passport of one of these beast-sadists

Another “guilty” person

Witnesses in denaturalization proceedings against alleged Ukrainian policemen who immigrated to the US made reference to Ukrainian militiamen active in the violence in Lvov in 1941.

One of them, Chaim Shlomi, remembered the seizure of Jews from their apartments: “[…] the Ukrainian Police that began the organization in the beginning there—they were still civilians without uniforms; they only had a blue and yellow band—they also began to remove Jews from the houses and to catch them on the streets”.

When Abraham Goldberg was asked how he knew that those who arrested him were Ukrainian police, he responded: “They […] wore bands that were blue and yellow, which were Ukrainian symbols. They had a rifle and they spoke Ukrainian.”

It is not only the large quantity of such testimony that makes it difficult to dismiss. It is also that this testimony has been collected in many different localities and at different times over a period of more than sixty years. The eyewitness testimony includes Jewish survivor accounts recorded by the Jewish Historical Commission in Poland right after the war, as well as videotaped interviews collected all over the world by the Shoah Foundation in the 1990’s and 2000’s.

READ:  Ukrainian Murderers Took the Lives of Civilians in Volnovakha

In addition to testimony in these two large collections, other Jewish memoirs and testimonies, written or recorded in different times, places, and circumstances, confirm that Ukrainian militiamen were playing the leading role in the Lvov pogrom.

There are also Polish witnesses to the role of the Ukrainian militia. Understandably, Ukrainian memoirs are silent on the point of militia participation in the Lvov pogrom.

What is said in the testimony is confirmed by photographic evidence. A film of one of the exhumations and prison actions shows a militiaman, recognizable by his armband, beating a Jewish man.

A freeze-frame from a film that is now largely deteriorated shows a uniformed militiaman pulling a partially undressed woman by the hair at the Zamarstyniv street prison.

The crowd tormented the Jews as militiamen marched them through the street and held them prisoner in the courtyards of the prisons. As depicted by Jewish survivors, the people in the crowd were motivated by blood lust and base instincts. The pogrom was an orgiastic experience…

…The organizers of the pogrom played to the crowd, allowing it to perform its rituals and live out its riotous carnival in the interstices of their more systematic arrests and executions.

The crowd also built off its own fury and lust, expanding the space and time for its particular interests, as many of the testimonies already cited make clear.


Dragging a beaten Jew

The pogrom participants and their victims

Embroidery, Lenin, and a Jew

On the road

Another Jew caught… Bastards rejoice…

The executioners and their victims

The dead

Humiliation and mockery. Something like “cleaning the sidewalk”. Notice how one of the beasts is smiling. She likes it…

Market Square

Herded and guarded

Put on their knees

And the identity of some of the beasts from the “Ukrainian police”:

The trident, as a symbol of the pogrom participants…

Please note the name. The document below indicates where this beast went to further serve..

Here is an “oil painting”…

 Then and now:

The territory of the Lvov ghetto is another page from the history of the extermination of Jews in Lvov

The heirs of the pogrom participants and murderers:

Burning the flag of victory

Whatever personages are on the banner, every one of them are bastards. Petliura, for example, was killed by the Jew Schwartzbard in 1926 in Paris, remembering the Jewish pogroms in Ukraine. By the way, the French court’s jury acquitted him. And something else – Petliura traded Ukraine when in April, 1920, he gave a part to Poland, but that’s another story…

READ:  "My Son Is a Traitor, the Country Must Punish Him"


“The Germans created the conditions for the outbreak of the pogrom. At the very least, they tolerated it, but it is more likely that they had encouraged it in the first place. Although it was others who mainly arrested Jews and made them the objects of a violent carnival, it was the Germans who lined them up and shot them, both during and after the pogrom.

It is probable that more responsibility for encouraging the pogrom and executing Jewish men lay with the SS, including Heydrich himself, than with the Wehrmacht.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists under the leadership of Stepan Bandera provided the engine of the pogrom. It set up a short-lived government in Lviv on 30 June 1941 headed by a vehement anti-Semite.

OUN simultaneously plastered the city with leaflets that encouraged ethnic cleansing. It also formed a militia that assumed a leadership role in the pogrom. Militiamen went from apartment to apartment in Jewish neighbourhoods to arrest Jewish men and women for pogrom activities at two of the prisons; they arrested Jews on the street for a third prison that was more distant from where the Jewish population of Lvov was concentrated..

They conveyed the Jews to the prisons and were also present there at the maltreatment and execution of Jews. The day after the pogrom they began to work directly for the Einsatzgruppen, again arresting Jews for execution by the Germans.

OUN co-operated with the Germans in these antiJewish actions primarily because it hoped such collaboration would facilitate German recognition of its state.

OUN’s anti-Semitism made assistance in antiJewish violence palatable, but it is unlikely that it was an independent factor in the decision to stage a pogrom.

As to the crowd, which is what made the pogrom a pogrom, its interest was in carnival.

The crowd relished role reversal, upturning the social hierarchy—Jewish professionals on their hands and knees cleaning streets.

Those who were perceived as having been in charge during the Soviet occupation were now humiliated and forced to admit their guilt in ritualistic spectacles. The stinking corpses of murdered political prisoners seemed to justify an apocalyptical revenge against the perceived perpetrators, namely the Jewish population.

A particular conjuncture of high politics allowed the urban crowd to act out an uninhibited script of robbery, sexual assault, beating, and murder, demanding these actions and delighting in them.”

Source – John-Paul Himka: “The Lviv Pogrom of 1941: The Germans, Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Carnival Crowd”. He is a professor of history of Eastern Europe of Albertsky university (Canada).

Copyright © 2022. All Rights Reserved.