Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
In honor of Independence Day [of Ukraine – ed] the solemn laying of a capsule at the place where the Museum of the national fight for liberation named after the General of SB OUN Mykola Arsenich will be constructed will take place in the Ternopol region. The Soviet authorities tried to erase the memory of the “legendary” General, but today Arsenich comes back to us – streets [in Ukraine – ed] are named after him, and a monument to him was erected in his homeland.
In 1939 Arsenich, like other OUN activists, gathered in Krakow, where the Abwehr organised military courses for them. The “Nachtigall” and “Roland” battalions were subsequently created from its students. In 1941 Arsenich himself already was a teacher on these courses.
In Krakow OUN marching groups were formed with the assistance of Arsenich, and they entered Ukrainian cities together with the Germans and formed municipal authorities, police, and auxiliary police. Under their direct leadership numerous Jewish pogroms took place there in June – July, 1941.
The SB developed instructions for members of OUN that spoke about the need to exterminate Jews and Poles. Besides Jews and Poles, it was also engaged with political enemies. Arsenich successfully fought against opponents from the competing OUN of Andrey Melnik. According to different estimates, Banderists killed more than 4,000 of Melnik’s brother-in-arms.
For a better understanding of what Arsenich was engaged in, it is possible to look at the notes of an employee of the SB OUN that are stored in the Rovno state archives. The notes were written in July, 1943 – in the midst of the national fight for liberation: “everyone who shelters kikes and Poles will be shot”. “The territory must be cleansed of Poles before July 20th”.
Not only Poles were killed, but also Ukrainians. In January-October, 1945 the Volyn local SB alone liquidated 889 people. Among them there were also members of OUN. The memories of how the General and his colleagues carried out the fight for Ukraine have been preserved:
“…The interrogator sat at the table in front of the interrogated, onto whose neck a short lace with a wooden garrotte – held in the hand of the SB employee – was thrown. After interrogation, following the prompt of the interrogator, this SB employee holding onto the lace instantly twisted it, ripping apart the throat of the interrogated”.
In 1947 bodies of the NKVD found the bunker in which Arsenich was hiding along with his wife, security guard, and the messenger of Shukhevych. The head of the SB shot the woman and then himself.
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