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Symon Petliura   Appeal to Ukrainian Army   27Aug1919   To sow discord among us
Let the death sentence overtake the perpetrators of pogroms and provocateurs.  I demand the strictest discipline from you so that not even a hair of an innocent's head be touched.

Appeal of the Commander-in-Chief,
Petlura,
to the Ukrainian Army.


Soldiers of the Ukrainian Army!

The Ukrainian Republican People's Army of the Dnieper and Dniester territories, now united into one army, is advancing victoriously, is crushing the enemy, gaining each day new territories of the Ukraine to liberate them from the Bolshevist brigands, bringing with them freedom to the Ukrainian people as well as the certainty of happy days of living in a peaceful and orderly state.

The Bolshevist anarchy and maladministration, the horrible Red terror, the tyranny of the extraordinary inquiry commission [the Cheka] and of other criminals for whom there is nothing sacred in life have sapped our people's strength to the utmost and have flooded our steppes with human tears and with streams of blood of the innocent.

Amidst a peal of church bells, with bread and salt, with flowers and tears of joy the weary, oppressed and pillaged Ukrainian people are greeting you, their valiant warriors, as liberators from the yoke and from Bolshevist atrocities, as flesh of their flesh and blood of their blood.

A might national enthusiasm has seized our people at your entry into villages and towns, and everywhere a festive reception is awaiting you and all this has been brought about by you, officers and soldiers of the Ukrainian army!

You are living now through glorious and never to be forgotten moments of your life, and together with you all peoples inhabiting the Ukrainian territory are experiencing the same enthusiasm.

The holy crusade for the liberation of the oppressed, regardless of their nationality, for the rule of law and order under freedom and democracy and the independence of our republic these are the ideals in this struggle.

The union of all democratic forces of all nationalities in the Ukraine, standing for the independence of our Republic, and their participation in the reconstruction of the state will warrant our victory over our enemies, and will guarantee to us an independent life subject to no one.

Our enemies, however, are not sleeping but only watching our every step in order to sow discord among us in one way or another, and thus to frustrate the immediate realization of our people's efforts.

The Bolshevists themselves consider the Ukraine Moscow's inheritance with the difference that formerly it was the heritage of black Moscow, now of a Red one.

They see that the end of their rule in the Ukraine is already approaching because the Ukrainian people themselves have risen against them: but they do not give up yet their hope of subjugating the Ukrainian masses.  By provocations for which they are spending enormous sums of money they want to divide us from within, hiring criminal elements who are inciting our soldiers to all sorts of outrages and pogroms against the innocent Jewish population; in this way they want to stamp our soldiers as pogrom-mongers, although these soldiers are bringing liberty to all peoples of the Ukraine.

Our enemies intend thus to split the Ukrainian and Jewish laboring masses whose ways, in fact, have been bound together by three hundred years of Russian tsarist yoke.

Our national army must bring equality, brotherhood and freedom to the Ukrainian as well as the Jewish citizens who are also supporting actively the government of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic.  All their parties, i.e.: Bund, Obyednantsi, Poalej-Zion and People's Party are standing on the principles of the independence of the Ukraine, and are participating in the reconstruction of the republic.

I know myself how the representatives of the Jewish population have helped our army and supported our legal republican government.

The enemies of our state, the Bolshevists, are shooting down not only the Ukrainian but also the Jewish people, depriving the others of the barest means of living.

I have the highest esteem for the sacrifices made during this war upon the altar of the fatherland by the Jewish population.

From the reports by the commanders of our brave divisions and corps as well from reports by State Inspectors I have already learned that the Jewish population brought help to our wounded and sick soldiers, in the hospitals which had been built hastily 3-5 kilometers behind the battlefronts.

I have been touched deeply by tears of thankfulness in the eyes of our soldiers for the loving care and human aid given them by Jews, and I have noted with satisfaction how the soldiers of our army were standing guard at the shops and stores of Jews in order to protect them against plunderers.

The restoration of a bridge at Starokonstantyniv which had been destroyed by the Bolshevists by the Jewish population in an exceedingly short time, as well as their help with foodstuffs and underwear testify also to the loyal conduct of Jews in relation to our army.

I am convinced and I ardently hope that in the future such help on the part of Jews will occur ever more frequently and that they will continue to further the cause of peace in our country.

The Minister for Jewish Affairs has by a series of measures already exercised some influence upon the Bolshevist circles of Jews so that many of them no longer support Bolshevism, since they consider it now to be their ruin.

Together with you I call upon the Jewish citizens to go with us and to support wholeheartedly our army and our government; then we shall be able to affirm that the government of the Ukrainian Democratic Republic and you, its army, will finish that great responsible work which you are now doing destroying the power of the Bolshevists and building up our independent republic in which each nationality enjoys full rights and a peaceful life.

Officers and soldiers of the Ukrainian Army!  The Ukrainian-Jewish laboring masses see in you their liberation, and future generations will not forget your services rendered to them; history will with pride record on its pages your achievements in this struggle.  Beware of provocations, and have no mercy on provocateurs or on those who execute pogroms, or incite the weakest among you to this action.

Let the death sentence overtake the perpetrators of pogroms and provocateurs.  I demand the strictest discipline from you so that not even a hair of an innocent's head be touched.

Bear in mind that you are the elite sons of your great nation which wants to live its independent life and to be subjugated by no one, and therefore keep an unflinching watch on its interests as well as on the interests of all those who help you and are well-disposed to you and to the liberation of your people.

Those who are guilty before the Ukrainian people and before the republic, no matter what their nationality, shall suffer the severest punishment according to law prevailing in the territory of the Ukrainian republic; to the innocent, however, you must bring liberation from the hated Bolshevist yoke.

The Republic's and my own cordial thanks to and high esteem for your martial bravery, devotion, and self-sacrifice which your offer upon the altar of the fatherland, while liberating our Ukraine and the nationalities living there including the Jews from the Bolshevists.

May God help us in the great and sacred cause of liberating the nations from the heavy yoke of the Bolshevists!

 
August 27, 1919
Commander-in-Chief: Petlura.
(Ukraina, September 2, 1919.)


F. Pigido (ed.), Material Concerning Ukrainian-Jewish Relations during the Years of the Revolution (1917-1921): Collection of Documents and Testimonies by Prominent Jewish Political Workers, The Ukrainian Information Bureau, Munich, 1956, pp. 70-72.

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