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References to the NKVD Lviv Massacre

While the movement to the East was taking place, the NKVD carried out mass arrests and executions, chiefly of Ukrainians especially those who tried to avoid evacuation.  In the jails most prisoners whose period of imprisonment was more than three years were shot; others were evacuated if possible.  In several cities the NKVD burned prisons with prisoners in them.  (Volodymyr Kubijovyc, editor, Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1963, Volume I, p. 878, Vsevolod Holubnychy and H. M. wrote this section)

The Bolsheviks succeeded in annihilating some 10,000 political prisoners in Western Ukraine before and after the outbreak of hostilities (massacres took place in the prisons in Lviv, Zolochiv, Rivne, Dubno, Lutsk, etc.).  (Volodymyr Kubijovyc, editor, Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopaedia, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Volume 1, p. 886)

Before fleeing the German advance the Soviet occupational regime murdered thousands of Ukrainian civilians, mainly members of the city's [Lviv's] intelligentsia.  (Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Volume 3, p. 222)

The Soviets' hurried retreat had tragic consequences for thousands of political prisoners in the jails of Western Ukraine.  Unable to evacuate them in time, the NKVD slaughtered their prisoners en masse during the week of 22-29 June 1941, regardless of whether they were incarcerated for major or minor offenses.  Major massacres occurred in Lviv, Sambir, and Stanyslaviv in Galicia, where about 10,000 prisoners died, and in Rivne and Lutsk in Volhynia, where another 5000 perished.  Coming on the heels of the mass deportations and growing Soviet terror, these executions added greatly to the West Ukrainians' abhorrence of the Soviets.  (Orest Subtelny, Ukraine: A History, 1994, p. 461)

When the German attack came on 22 June the Soviets had no time to take with them the people they had locked up.  So they simply killed them.  Thousands of detainees were shot dead in their cells by the retreating Soviets.  (Simon Wiesenthal, Justice Not Vengeance, 1989, p. 35)

Right after the entry we were shown 2,400 dead bodies of Ukrainians liquidated with a shot at the scruff of the neck at the city jail of Lemberg [Lviv] by the Soviets prior to their marching off.  (Hans Frank, In the Face of the Gallows, p. 406)

In Lvov, several thousand prisoners had been held in three jails.  When the Germans arrived on 29 June, the city stank, and the prisons were surrounded by terrified relatives.  Unimaginable atrocities had occurred inside.  The prisons looked like abattoirs.  It had taken the NKVD a week to complete their gruesome task before they fled.  (Gwyneth Hughes and Simon Welfare, Red Empire: The Forbidden History of the USSR, 1990, p. 133)

We learned that, before the Russian troops had left, a very great number of Lemberg citizens, Ukrainians and Polish inhabitants of other towns and villages had been killed in this prison and in other prisons.  Furthermore, there were many corpses of German men and officers, among them many Air Corps officers, and many of them were found mutilated.  There was a great bitterness and excitement among the Lemberg population against the Jewish sector of the population.  (Erwin Schulz, from May until 26 September, 1941 Commander of Einsatzkommando 5, a subunit of Einsatzgruppe C, in John Mendelsohn, editor, The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes, Garland, New York, 1982, Volume 18, p. 18)

On the next day, Dr. RASCH informed us to the effect that the killed people in Lemberg amounted to about 5,000.  It has been determined without any doubt that the arrests and killings had taken place under the leadership of Jewish functionaries and with the participation of the Jewish inhabitants of Lemberg.  That was the reason why there was such an excitement against the Jewish population on the part of the Lemberg citizens.  (Erwin Schulz, from May until 26 September, 1941 Commander of Einsatzkommando 5, a subunit of Einsatzgruppe C, in John Mendelsohn, editor, The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes, Garland, New York, 1982, Volume 18, p. 18)

Chief of Einsatzgruppe B reports that Ukrainian insurrection movements were bloodily suppressed by the NKVD on June 25, 1941 in Lvov.  About 3,000 were shot by NKVD.  Prison burning.  Hardly 20% of Ukrainian intelligentsia has remained.  (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 10, July 2, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 2)

    Location: Lvov
    According to reliable information, the Russians, before withdrawing, shot 30,000 inhabitants.  The corpses piled up and burned at the GPU prisons are dreadfully mutilated.  The population is greatly excited: 1,000 Jews have already been forcefully gathered together.  (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 11, July 3, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 4)

    Location: Zviahel (Novograd-Volynski)
    ...
    Before leaving, the Bolsheviks, together with the Jews, murdered several Ukrainians; as an excuse, they used the attempted Ukrainian uprising of June 25, 1941, which tried to free their prisoners.
    According to reliable information, about 20,000 Ukrainians have disappeared from Lvov, 80% of them belonging to the intelligentsia.
    The prisons in Lvov were crammed with the bodies of murdered Ukrainians.  According to a moderate estimate, in Lvov alone 3-4,000 persons were either killed or deported.
    In Dobromil, 82 dead bodies were found, 4 of them Jews.  The latter were former Bolsheviki informers who had been killed because of their complicity in this act.  Near Dobromil an obsolete salt mine pit was discovered.  It was completely filled with dead bodies.  In the immediate neighborhood, there is a 6X15m mass grave.  The number of those murdered in the Dobromil area is estimated to be approximately several hundred.
    In Sambor on June 26, 1941, about 400 Ukrainians were shot by the Bolsheviks.  An additional 120 persons were murdered on June 27, 1941.  The remaining 80 prisoners succeeded in overpowerng the Soviet guards, and fled.  ...
    As early as 1939, a larger number of Ukrainians was shot, and 1,500 Ukrainians as well as 500 Poles were deported to the east.
    Russians and Jews committed these murders in very cruel ways.  Bestial mutilations were daily occurrences.  Breasts of women and genitals of men were cut off.  Jews have also nailed children to the wall and then murdered them.  Killing was carried out by shots in the back of the neck.  Hand grenades were frequently used for these murders.
    In Dobromil, women and men were killed with blows by a hammer used to stun cattle before slaughter.
    In many cases, the prisoners must have been tortured cruelly: bones were broken, etc.  In Sambor, the prisoners were gagged and thus prevented from screaming during torture and murder.  The Jews, some of whom also held official positions, in addition to their economic supremacy, and who served in the entire Bolshevik police, were always partners in these atrocities.
    Finally, it was established that seven [German] pilots who had been captured were murdered.  Three of them were found in a Russian military hospital where they had been murdered in bed by shots in the abdomen.  ...
    ...  Prior to their withdrawal, the Bolsheviks shot 2,800 out of 4,000 Ukrainians imprisoned in the Lutsk prison.  According to the statement of 19 Ukrainians who survived the slaughter with more or less serious injuries, the Jews again played a decisive part in the arrests and shooting.  ...
    The investigations at Zlochev proved that the Russians, prior to their withdrawal, arrested and murdered indiscriminately a total of 700 Ukrainians, but, nevertheless, included the entire [local] Ukrainian intelligentsia.  (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 24, July 16, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p. 29-33)

    Location: Pleskau [Pskov]  ...
    The population is in general convinced that it is mostly the Jews who should be held responsible for the atrocities that are committed everywhere.  ...
    As it was learned that the Russians before they left have either deported the Ukrainian intelligentsia, or executed them, that is, murdered them, it is assumed that in the last days before the retreat of the Russians, about 100 influential Ukrainians were murdered [in Pleskau].  So far the bodies have not been found a search has been initiated.
    About 100-150 Ukrainians were murdered by the Russians in Kremenets.  Some of these Ukrainians are said to have been thrown into cauldrons of boiling water.  This has been deduced from the fact that the bodies were found without skin when they were exhumed.  ...
    ...  Before leaving Dubno, the Russians, as they had done in Lvov, committed extensive mass-murder.
    ...  Before their flight [from Tarnopol], as in Lvov and Dubno, the Russians went on a rampage there.  Disinterments revealed 10 bodies of German soldiers.  Almost all of them had their hands tied behind their backs with wire.  The bodies revealed traces of extremely cruel mutilations such as gouged eyes, severed tongues and limbs.
    The number of Ukrainians who were murdered by the Russians, among them women and children, is set finally at 600.  Jews and Poles were spared by the Russians.  The Ukrainians estimate the total number of [Tarnopol] victims since the occupation of the Ukraine by the Russians at about 2,000.  The planned deportation of the Ukrainians already started in 1939.  There is hardly a family in Tarnopol from which one or several members have not disappeared.  ...  The entire Ukrainian intelligentsia is destroyed.  Since the beginning of the war, 160 members of the Ukrainian intelligentsia were either murdered or deported.  Inhabitants of the town had observed a column of about 1,000 civilians driven out of town by police and army early in the morning of July 1, 1941.
    As in Lvov, torture chambers were discovered in the cellars of the Court of Justice.  Apparently, hot and cold showers were also used here (as in Lemberg [Lviv]) for torture, as several bodies were found, totally naked, their skin burst and torn in many places.  A grate was found in another room, made of wire and set above the ground about 1m in height, traces of ashes were found underneath.  A Ukrainian engineer, who was also to be murdered but saved his life by smearing the blood of a dead victim over his face, reports that one could also hear screams of pain from women and girls.  (Operational Situation Report USSR No. 28, July 20, 1941, in Yitzhak Arad, Shmuel Krakowski, and Shmuel Spector, The Einsatzgruppen Reports: Selections from the Dispatches of the Nazi Death Squads' Campaign Against the Jews July 1941-January 1943, Holocaust Library, New York, 1989, p.38-40)


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