Last spring, Canadian television aired SS in Britain produced by Julian Hendy of Yorkshire Television Ltd. It is about Ukrainians allegedly committing crimes as officers and men of the 14th Galician Waffen SS Division, in suppressing the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944 and Slovak National Uprising in the spring of 1944. Among other things, the documentary claims that Ukrainian combatants killed men and minor children in the Slovak village of Nizna Boca.
Since not many readers are likely to be versed in the history of this Ukrainian military formation, I will point out that the Halychyna Division (later known as the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army) was formed in April 1943, manned by young men from Western Ukrainian territories within the General Gouvernement, as the Germans called what was left of occupied Poland. As part of the Wehrmacht (German Army), it fought the Red Army supposedly for the sake of some future Ukrainian state. The reader should be further reminded that the Wehrmacht operating in Ukraine at the time included two regular Slovak divisions and no one has since thought of accusing the survivors of war crimes. In the Battle of Brody (June 17-22, 1944) the Halychyna Division was routed and in September-December 1944 the survivors were transferred to Slovakia for replenishment and reorganization. Several books and hundreds of articles have been written about the Halychyna Division and none mentions any Ukrainians taking part in acts of aggression against the civilian population during the Warsaw and Slovak uprisings. I by no means intend to justify those Ukrainians joining the Nazi armed forces, although many did so harboring lofty ideals, wishing to receive professional military training and weapons, in order to subsequently use both in their struggle for an independent Ukraine. Almost all of them were disillusioned, because Hitler had altogether different plans concerning Ukraine, such that the breadbasket of Europe was to become a colony of the Third Reich and the Ukrainians added to the Untermenschen (subhuman) labor pool of inferiors, along with the Russians, Poles, and other Slavs.
The British documentary offered “fresh evidence” concerning alleged purges by Ukrainian soldiers of the civilian populace at Nizna Boca. This so-called evidence, however, is very biased, as Ukrainians are attributed criminal acts they could not have perpetrated simply because they never took part in that particular combat mission. Thus, the narrator says a Ukrainian unit of the SS Halychyna Division entered the village of Nizna Boca in October 1944, and we see two old women residents of the village sharing their memories. They speak Slovak and we hear off-screen translation. One of them says that they (members of the punitive detail — Author) first burst into the local tavern and began to drink. The other adds that they searched village homes and locked all the men in the school. Five captives, among them 15-year-old Zagradnik, were kept there until morning. The first woman says those detained were shoved around and beaten. The other says the men were interrogated, sentenced to death, and shot. Zagradnik was just a boy. The first says he cried and called for his mother. He cried at the school, shouting mother, dear mother, you will never see me again. The other woman interjected that the boy was crying with despair. What did he do to deserve it? He was not even a soldier. And he cried so! He was led out of the school, taken to the bridge and shot there. He fell from the bridge into the water (we see the bridge and hear the water splashing). The first exclaims that the whole thing was horrible and that no one would ever forget it.
After these emotional and sincere words the narrator again declares that, according to German documents, Wittenmeyer’s unit of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizien entered Nizna Boca that same day. One of the documents has it that Ukrainian volunteers with the 14th SS Division took part in hostilities and fought the rebels with utmost cruelty. If, until now, the audience did not know who the war criminals were as mentioned by the two women from Nizna Boca, after the above commentary everything is clear. They were Ukrainians. And an old woman adds to the commentary (which she never heard or saw) that they found no partisans and that her and other women’s husbands had to pay for this with their lives.
The British commentator goes on to say that the Nazis dispatched 40,000 troops, including two divisions, to crush the Slovak national uprising. To this Prof. David Ceaserani confidently adds that the Slovak uprising was a bloody violent conflict, killing tens of thousands of civilians without mercy from either side. Assuming that Ukrainian units did take part in suppressing the Slovak Uprising (he says), they could not have avoided involvement in that brutal ruthless campaign. In other words, what was earlier presented in the documentary as an actual fact, albeit retouched by the old women’s emotional eyewitness accounts, is referred to by the professor and expert in his field as an assumption; he has no documentary proof of Ukrainian participation in such massacres. Supposing that the authors of the documentary are in possession of such evidence, it stands to reason that those Ukrainians were indeed brutal and ruthless. In fact, this concept dominates the televised film, alternating authentic Slovak statements with the narrator’s biased anti-Ukrainian commentary. To enhance the factual aspect of the production, we are shown the school in which the civilian victims were interrogated, graves of those shot, and a memorial in Nizna Boca with the names of those killed in the massacre.
Among others, we see and hear Jan Stanislav, director of the Slovak National Uprising Museum, author of numerous papers dealing with the subject. In one of his works, Fascist Reprisals in Slovakia (Bratislava, 1989), he maintains that a total of 3,965 persons were killed during the Slovak National Uprising and buried in 186 mass graves. He lists dozens of Sonderkommando, including Wehrmacht, police, and the Slovak Hlinka Guard punitive units as taking part in the massacre. Not a word about any Ukrainian units. Now in the British documentary he allegedly refers to the Halychyna Division war criminals, saying that arson, terror, plunder, and vengeance were the basis of their craft. Being an unbiased researcher, he could not have referred to the Ukrainians. He certainly referred to the German punitive units. And the old women interviewed could not have ascribed mass shootings of innocent civilians to Ukrainians. From the British documentary it follows that the Ukrainian officers and men of the SS Halychyna Division were the most ruthless [war] criminals when crushing the Slovak National Uprising.
To verify the alleged facts provided by the British producers, I traveled to where the on-location shooting had been made. I spoke with Jan Stanislav, director of the SNU Museum, staff archivist Maria Cemanova in Banska Bystrica, the two elderly women featured in the documentary: Pavlina Begmerova (b. 1921) and Etela Begmerova (b. 1917), Nizna Boca Village Elder Marcela Gerichova, et al. All confirmed that no Ukrainians of the SS Halychyna Division took part in suppressing the uprising at Nizna Boca. They further said that the statements they had made for the British documentary referred to Nazi SS-men and Hlinka Guard punitive units doing the shootings at the village. This part of the statements was edited out of the film. What the women had spoken about before the camera had nothing to do with Ukrainians, but everything to do with the Nazis and Slovak fascists. In other words, their truthful eyewitness accounts had been tampered with and deliberately made anti-Ukrainian by the producers, something the Slovaks featuring in the documentary would even dream of.
While in Nizna Boca, I photographed a memorial plaque and two memorials of NSU victims. They make it perfectly clear that residents of that village had been shot by “German fascists [i.e., Nazis] and members of the Hlinka Guard punitive division.” The village chronicle written immediately after the uprising was crushed, bearing the village council’s seal, has several pages dealing with the shootings, stressing time and again that the innocent villagers were shot by the Germans and Slovak fascists. The chronicle makes no mention of Ukrainians and the document was made available to the camera crew.
Both women interviewed in the documentary were positive that no Ukrainians took part in suppressing the uprising at the village, although both had been prompted to testify to the contrary by the authors of the film; they had been asked whether any of the Sonderkommando men spoke Ukrainian or Polish, whether any sported the tryzub [trident, the Ukrainian national emblem] as part of their insignia, and so on. And both women said no time and again, stressing that they were all Germans and Slovak Hlinka Guards. I taped their testimonies.
I spoke with Jan Stanislav, manager of the NSU Museum in Banska Bystrica, and he also resolutely denied any Ukrainian involvement in or with the shootings of Nizna Boca insurgents.
Incidentally, Julian Hendy, the producer of SS in Britain, promised to send copies of the documentary to the museum and Nizna Boca. He never did, for reasons best known to himself. In other words, the people figuring in the film learned what it was all about from me. They were outraged by the politically manipulated story it presents.
A detailed account of my trip tracing down the British documentary in Slovakia was carried by the Visti Kombatanta (Toronto - New York, 2000, No. 4, pp. 85-94). The television company mentioned was commissioned to translate it into English. Meanwhile, the BBC played SS in Britain in London, on Christmas Eve, Eastern Orthodox style (January 7, 2001). That same day the biased British production was transmitted by other European channels, also in Poland. This caused an international scandal and outrage not only among Ukrainians in Great Britain but the world over. It was highlighted by the media. In particular, Radio Liberty broadcast a special 40 minute program on January 18 in its regular Ukraine and the World series (moderator: Marian Drach). The Warsaw-based Ukrainian newspaper Nashe slovo (2001, No. 3, p. 2) described the documentary as “another anti-Ukrainian psychosis” and the Supreme Administration of the Association of Ukrainians in Poland sent a letter of sharp protest to the management of Polish television, reading in part, “It is a generally known and repeatedly stressed fact that there were no SS Halychyna Division units deployed in Warsaw. The fact was mentioned, among other things, by the Polish expert Richard Torzecki. Taking part in suppressing the uprising were German units composed of other nationals. Among them were individual soldiers of Ukrainian parentage, but the 14th Halychyna Division was routed in July 14, at Brody... We were surprised to learn that Polish television officials resorted to an anti-Ukrainian propaganda scheme despite the articles and research papers published on the subject definitively explaining the matter.”
Thus the British documentary (several ethnic Slovaks took part in the production process) is a deliberate falsification of the facts, aimed at discrediting Ukrainians in the eyes of the international community. One can only guess at its political objective.
1. It is an established fact that in 1947 several thousand former SS Halychyna Division combatants were transferred from POW camps in Villach (Austria), Bellaria, and Rimini (Italy) to Great Britain where they formed several organizations to help free Ukraine from its Russian Soviet shackles. After Ukraine proclaimed independence in 1991 they have been active participants in its development, something those advocating Great Russia cannot stand, doing their utmost to discredit Ukrainian nationalists, by resorting to blatant lies.
2. Slovakia’s modern foreign policy strategy is aimed at the country’s membership in European structures (e.g., the Council of Europe, NATO, etc.). Certain extremist nationalist and chauvinistic Slovak organizations (especially those abroad) are determined to whitewash fascist Premier Jozef Tiso of Slovakia (he was tried, sentenced to death, and executed). They want to prove that he was not responsible for crushing the Slovak National Uprising, and not even the Germans, but only Ukrainians. And the proof offered is the village of Nizna Boca. There are eyewitnesses still alive and they can refute this falsehood, but they could die shortly and then the lies would become truth. Apparently, this is what the producers of the anti-Ukrainian documentary count on.
In any case, I believe that Ukraine as a sovereign state should voice its sharp protest against the demonstration of such slanderous documentaries, because if it remains silent there will be an increasing number of such provocations, and they will by no means contribute to Ukraine’s positive international image.
No. 8 March 05 2001 «The Day»
By Julian HENDY, Director of the film, SS in Britain
When we considered the allegations against the Ukrainian SS division, we were received with incredible hostility from some sections of the Ukrainian community, including an attack by Professor Mushynka in The Day (No. 8, March 6, 2001). The professor accused me of using distortion and inaccuracy in my film SS in Britain.
I would have thought that any ‘academic’ investigation of my film would have, at the very least, considered the documentary evidence we produced.
At one point in his article Professor Mushynka says that if we did have the evidence of the involvement of members of the SS Galician Division in war crimes then, “it stands to reason that those Ukrainians were indeed brutal and ruthless”. So what is the evidence?
Following the outbreak of a popular anti-Nazi uprising in Slovakia in August 1944, (which was actively supported by all the Allies), units of the 14th SS Division Galizien were sent to help quash the rebellion. Various divisional battle groups (Kampfgruppen) were formed to actively search out and destroy the Slovak partisans.
Former members of the division and their defenders have always stated that they enjoyed good relations with the Slovak population at the time and that they committed no crimes whilst on Slovak territory.
But is this point true? Did the Ukrainian SS men enjoy good and friendly relations with the Slovaks?
The evidence does not look good.
In the German Federal Archives in Koblenz, we discovered numerous police and SS (SD) intelligence reports which consistently reported serious problems between the Ukrainian SS men and the local population. According to one such report of December 1944, “In general much is currently being said amongst the Slovak population about the Ukrainian soldiers now stationed in Slovakia. It can be taken from these discussions that these soldiers in general are not much liked. In Slovak circles, hostile to Germany, they are considered mercenaries, who are not fighting for the ideals of a new Europe, rather simply for personal enrichment through robbery and plunder. Even circles friendly to Germany complain passionately about this formation... It’s also said about these Ukrainian soldiers that they’ve no longer any interest in the war and have already obtained civilian clothing in order to desert.”
Another report said, “The Slovaks in general complain about the Ukrainians, that they are a bunch of crooks who are responsible for numerous misdeeds. According to reports from many Slovaks we have learned that the Ukrainians complain about the Bolsheviks and always say that they are much more trouble than the Germans. Some of the Ukrainians, according to the Slovak statements, are particularly unreliable and it’s said that they are even doing deals with the Partisans. Slovak circles, particularly amongst farmers have reacted with great relief to the news that all of the Ukrainian military forces will be withdrawn from Slovakia and replaced with Hungarian soldiers. The population in the countryside would be very pleased, as they say that the Hungarians are much more reasonable, that is more humane, than the Ukrainians...”
We found other evidence of considerable problems with the divisions ill discipline and misconduct from other sources. The divisional commander even requested powers to shoot his men without trial because he considered their conduct to be so bad.
But bad conduct, theft, and disciplinary problems are not war crimes. So is there any convincing evidence that Ukrainian SS men of the Galicia Division were involved in war-crimes and atrocities?
An article by the Canadian critic Sol Litmann, in 1993 indicated that members of the 14th SS division may have committed war crimes during their service for the Nazis in Slovakia. Although he produced no documentary evidence in support of this claim, he did refer to research at the Slovak Military Historical Institute in Bratislava.
During the initial research for our film we contacted the director of that Institute, Col. Dr. Jozef Bystricky and received a detailed reply from Dr Jan Korcek, the institute’s special authority on Nazi forces active during the Slovak National Uprising. He detailed some nine separate incidents where Slovak researchers held the 14th SS Division Galizien responsible for crimes against the Slovak population.
Dr Korcek helped us gain access to the Slovak State Archives in Bratislava, where we found useful background material. He recommended further that we seek additional information from the Museum of the Slovak National Uprising and its Director Dr Jan Stanislav in Banska Bystrica.
Dr Stanislav confirmed Dr Korcek’s information in a lengthy interview for our film and was able to provide some documentary evidence from the museum’s own archives.
Despite what Dr Stanislav may have subsequently told Prof. Mushynka, his testimony was that some members of the division (not all of them) particularly those of the Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer of the Galician Division were certainly involved in killings and reprisals against the civilian population. Our film reported what he told us fairly and accurately.
Dr Korcek, Dr Stanislav and the village chronicle all confirmed that the Wittenmayer unit was involved in an attack on the village of Smrecany, burning down the village as a reprisal for allegedly helping the partisans.
Dr Korcek and Dr Stanislav also confirmed an attack by the same unit on the village of Nizna Boca, where the Ukrainian SS men stormed into the pub, interrogated the men folk and then executed 5 villagers as alleged partisans. One of them, Cyril Zahradnik, was just 15 years old and died calling out for his mummy. He was arrested for having a Russian coin in his pocket.
We discovered additional material in the Nizna Boca village chronicle, which confirmed that those responsible were SS troops along with Hlinka Guardists. The Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer was, of course, an SS unit of the 14th SS Division and wore SS uniform.
Additionally we found two surviving witnesses who were able to testify to what happened in the village that day. It’s important to realise that it is not surprising that these witnesses, who were frightened and in hiding when then atrocities were committed, are not able, after more than 50 years, to identify precisely which individual SS unit (out of some 30 divisions) was attacking their village and killing their menfolk.
But they don’t need to identify which unit committed the crime because we know from other crucial evidence. Evidence written at the time by the Germans themselves. Evidence, which was curiously ignored by Professor Mushynka.
The most compelling evidence for the Wittenmayer unit’s involvement in the massacre at Nizna Boca is contained in documents now held in the Czech State Archives in Prague. We discovered the extremely detailed German military situation intelligence reports sent daily from Bratislava to the German military command in Prague during the course of the Slovak uprising and its aftermath.
These daily reports enabled us to plot with exceptional accuracy the precise movements of the Wittenmayer unit throughout their anti- partisan campaign.
The captured German documents were unequivocal.
The only Nazi unit in Nizna Boca on the day of the massacre was the Wittenmayer unit. On the very day the civilians were massacred the report stated, “Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer in process of occupying Nizna Boca (10 km S of Krl. Lehota). Road between Rosenberg and Poprad therefore now free of the enemy. The Ukrainian volunteers of the 14 Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS used in the operation fought excellently.”
These documents paint a consistent picture.
We have found considerable evidence that some units of the Galician Division in Slovakia did commit war crimes during their service for the Nazis and that there were serious problems with their discipline and conduct during their suppression of the Slovak National Uprising.
I know that many different people joined the SS Division Galicia for very many reasons. Our film clearly stated that not everybody in the Division was involved in war crimes. But we did show convincingly that there is considerable evidence that some of the Galician units were involved in terrible atrocities throughout their existence, in Brody district, in Poland and in Slovakia. These men have never been adequately investigated and there is some significant evidence that some of them may have escaped justice and settled in Great Britain and the West after the war.
I can understand that after years of disinformation it must be difficult for some people to come to terms with the fact that there were a minority of people in the Galicia Division who committed war crimes.
But in my view, to deny this evidence and to defend this minority of SS criminals as somehow representative of the wider Ukrainian community does a severe injustice to the memory of the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who really suffered at the hands of the Nazis. It prevents a true understanding of the tragic history of Ukraine in the twentieth century. We should debate the actual evidence and not ignore it.
No.21 July 16 2001 «The Day»
The Day continues to discuss Prof. Mykola Mushynka’s article “Lies Cloaked as Truth” published in Slovakia about the British documentary SS in Britain directed by Julian Hendy, accusing a number of Ukrainians living in Great Britain, former servicemen of the Waffen SS Division Galizien, of war crimes in Slovakia during World War II, specifically during the Slovak uprising in 1944. Mr. Hendy responded by insisting on his vision of the issue. The Day carried his article and now gives the floor to a Ukrainian author.
Proceeding from what Julian Hendy wrote, one can arrive at the only obvious and undeniable conclusion. The first prerequisite is that Mr. Hendy is, without doubt, of sound mind and fully aware of what testimony is all about; that it must be demonstrable; what syllogism actually means: one, two, and conclusion. We further proceed from the postulate that Mr. Hendy is a balanced individual possessing sufficient moral and ethical virtues.
Thus we will try to use the above assumptions to consider what the British film director presents as official evidence and proof of some of the SS Halychyna Division men taking part in the suppression of the Slovak uprising. To begin with, his article does not contain a single fact corroborating that any of the “SS-men” of the battle group Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer allegedly committing war crimes, shooting peaceful civilians (e.g., suspected guerrillas or partisans), were Ukrainians. There is no such evidence, period. Neither Dr. Stanislav, nor any of the other witnesses quoted by Mr. Hendy as sources of first and secondhand information offer testimonies indicating that the war criminals under study were of Ukrainian parentage. Moreover, Pavlina and Etela Begmerova are not sure which of the thirty SS divisions raided their village and killed its inhabitants.
The British film director mentions captured Nazi documents which he describes as “unequivocal,” indicating that the Wittenmayer unit was “in [the] process of occupying Nizna Boca... The Ukrainian volunteers of the Fourteenth Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS used in the operation fought excellently.” Granted, the said Kampfgruppe was used in that operation, yet this does not mean that it was the only such battle group on the mission. Likewise, it is anyone’s guess whether Fourteenth SS Halychyna Ukrainian volunteers took part in the shooting of civilians, contrary to what Mr. Hendy infers from the Wittenmayer unit being “in [the] process of occupying Nizna Boca...” In fact, I am amazed at the British producer’s naivete and gullibility). It stands to reason to assume that the Nazi documents contain misinformation meant to conceal the actual involvement of German- Hungarian or other SS-men or even Slovak Nazis in the massacre. Father Jozef Tiso’s men also fought the partisans? Even more interestingly, Mr. Hendy writes, “I know that many different people joined the SS Division Galicia for very many reasons.” What makes him so convinced that the Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer men allegedly taking part in the atrocities were Ukrainians? There is no supporting evidence whatever.
More alleged evidence provided by the British producer, which he considers undeniably condemning, is the opinion voiced by Jozef Bystricky, director of the Slovak Military Historical Institute in Bratislava: “He detailed some nine separate incidents where Slovak researchers held the Fourteenth SS Division Galizien responsible for crimes against the Slovak population.” Unfortunately, no details are given, leaving the whole issue ambiguous. One can only wonder why Mr. Hendy believes that the Halychyna Division was entirely made up of Ukrainians. He says there were people of different ethnic origin and with varying convictions among the volunteers. He further maintains that “misconduct” is at least indirect evidence of complicity in war crimes. An amazing statement, to say the least, considering that such information comes from German sources. One such source reads, “The Slovaks in general complain about the Ukrainians, that they are a bunch of crooks... even doing deals with the Partisans.”
Mr. Hendy further points out that the Slovak population, particularly farmers “reacted with great relief to the news that all of the Ukrainian military forces would be withdrawn from Slovakia and replaced with Hungarian soldiers.” Was it because the Hungarians would be doing no deals with the Slovak partisans? “It’s also said about these Ukrainian soldiers that they’ve no longer any interest in the war and have already obtained civilian clothing in order to desert.” Some SS-men, some Nazis! The British producer quotes from a Nazi intelligence report stored in the German Federal Archives (Koblenz, FRG): “In Slovak circles, hostile to Germany, they are considered mercenaries, who are not fighting for the ideals of a new Europe, rather simply for personal enrichment through robbery and plunder.” In other words, the Ukrainian soldiers were considered ill-disciplined, bent on wrongdoing and “personal enrichment.” It is further stated that even circles friendly to Germany complain about these people who are “doing deals with the Partisans.”
Hence another inference, which Mr. Hendy believes to be a most convincing proof of the Slovaks’ unfriendly attitude to the SS Halychyna Ukrainian men: “According to reports from many Slovaks we have learned that the Ukrainians complain about the Bolsheviks and always say that they are much more trouble than the Germans.” All this is proof, indeed, that the Ukrainian “SS-men” cared nothing about the tasks set them by the Germans. Moreover, the testimonies quoted earlier would seem quite sufficient for a positive view on those SS-men, people bitterly disillusioned about the Germans and their goals. The British producer, nevertheless, is eager to convince the reader that their conduct, even if not to be qualified as that of war criminals, serves to prove that those Ukrainian soldiers did take part in “killings and reprisals against the civilian population.”
To begin with, any connection between the two assumptions is totally unclear. It is not just a group of Ukrainians; they are consciously set off against people of other ethnic origin. Could there be a slight touch of xenophobia? The author obviously enjoys citing what we consider offensive testimonies: “...the Hungarians are much more reasonable, that is more humane, than the Ukrainians...” What made them more humane? Were the Bolsheviks more to their liking than the Germans? Or maybe they were less inclined to desert and make deals with the partisans? All this is hard to understand unless the author is a Ukrainophobe, God forbid. It is difficult and at the same time easy to grasp the world outlook of the author of this odious documentary. Likewise it is hard to comprehend the connection between the Kampfgruppe Wittenmayer (more on it further on) and the Ukrainians. After all, a division is a large military unit made up of a great many servicemen. The author snatches out and focuses on separate acts committed by separate men, as attested by Nazi (sic) sources, and believes this sufficient evidence of those Ukrainians being criminals. Incidentally, the officers and men of the Halychyna Division were replaced so often that, by the time it had reached Great Britain, it was anyone’s guess who had fought in Slovakia or Italy whence it would be transferred to Great Britain and interned. What made the British producer title his documentary, SS in Britain?
And then the British producer’s story becomes totally confusing. He sites examples, one about a boy shot in Nizna Boca because he had a Russian coin (he was “just 15 years old... arrested for having a Russian coin his pocket”). A Russian coin? In 1944? A coin dating to tsarist Russia could have well been brought by a Russian ÎmigrÎ. Or was it a Soviet coin? All the examples cited by Mr. Hendy are remarkably disarranged and logically unsupported. In a word, the evidence provided by no means suffices to infer that any of the men of the Fourteenth Grenadieren Waffen SS Division Galizien settling in Great Britain are war criminals.
In addition, I am surprised to note the author’s interestingly purposeful selection of incriminating testimonies portraying Ukrainians as war criminals. Doing a project concerning World War II events, he should know, of course, that a large part of the Halychyna Division men had close and distant relations suffering from atrocities perpetrated in 1941 by retreating Stalin’s troops in Western Ukraine, particularly in Volyn, Halychyna, and nearby territories. Stories and eyewitness accounts of that period are truly horrifying, but apparently Mr. Hendy is not interested.
And consider the hundreds of Ukrainian villages plundered and burned down, mostly by Nazi and partially by Hungarian troops (possibly involving Slovak or Italian units)? Considering the British producer’s argumentation, anything is possible. He focuses on several servicemen allegedly of Ukrainian parentage, who are supposed to be war criminals. This is simply atrocious. What about the Ukrainians being a people that has suffered the world’s greatest losses at the hands of the Nazis and the Communist totalitarian regime? Perhaps this means only much ado about nothing to the British producer as a humanist and antifascist?
Mr. Hendy is an educated man, so he must know that it all started with the Ukrainian intelligentsia being annihilated in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in the 1920s-1930s, followed by 5-6 million villagers killed by the Holodomor Manmade Famine in 1932-33. I mention this because I am sure that Mr. Hendy has no right to forget any of this, or that 10% of the residents of Western Ukraine were exiled to Siberia, ad infinitum, in the early postwar years.
Ukrainians that found themselves under the Nazi occupation were later considered contaminated by the Nazi spirit; some would be left to starve to death in 1946-47, others packed in boxcars in Central Ukraine and sent to GULAG death camps on charges of unfulfilled work quotas and perish.
Who but Ukrainians waged a heroic struggle against Communist totalitarianism in 1943-53, defending the free world, Britain included, with Europe shuddering in anticipation of Stalin’s armored hordes pouring in?
I am especially impressed by what I can only describe as Mr. Hendy’s antediluvian naivete. He accuses “Ukrainian SS-men” of murdering five civilians, never mentioning the Churchill-Stalin pact, with the British premier giving formal consent to the deportation of several hundred thousand former Soviet POWs, civilians, among them young men and women, Don and Kuban Cossacks, people that had never been Soviet citizens, leaving them at Stalin’s mercy, subjecting them to inhuman tortures and execution, as most would be sent to GULAG camps and never return.
I remember visiting Canada in 1990 and meeting with former Kyiv residents who shared their dreadful experiences from the 1930s; even sixty years later they shuddered at the memory. They spoke of trainloads of Soviet citizens returning to Stalin’s lair. Now and then trains would stop, some of the doors open by accident, showing the bodies of suicides. People would take their own life rather then head for the GULAG and the living hell of the Communist empire. Why not make a film about those crimes against humanity, Mr. Hendy? You are a British subject, have you still no pangs of conscience? No desire to do something to redeem your fault toward all those people, among them quite a few Ukrainians? Are you at peace with yourself? Again, considering that you are a person of sound mind (personally, I have no doubt whatever!), a highly cultured and well-educated individual, I find it hard to believe that you can take seriously all that “evidence” which you have provided. Could it be a consciously anti-Ukrainian stand?
We know that there are anti- Ukrainian sentiments in the West, and that such feelings more often than not are the result of public opinion tampered with in the 1930s, 1940s, and especially 1950s by Left and Communist-Stalinist propaganda. Ukrainians in general, and in particular those struggling against the totalitarian Soviet empire, were portrayed — and the idea was painstakingly inculcated by the Soviet propaganda — as bandits, turncoats, and Nazi collaborators. Add here the Leftist intelligentsia worshipping Moscow until the XX Congress of the Soviet Communist Party. Some believed they had to fight everything directed against the “progressive anti-imperialist” Soviet Union and did so until the Red empire fell. Many of these have vociferously denounced Ukraine’s liberation and democratic efforts by force of habit, simply because such activities were anti-Soviet.
Assuming that Mr. Hendy was not governed by any self-interested considerations, he must have fallen prey to such brainwashed public opinion, at best. It is also true that an anti-Ukrainian bias remains in numerous Western so-called progressive circles. I witnessed it in the 1990s, visiting Canada and Great Britain. It is now clear that this irrationality does not serve the understanding among nations.
In conclusion, I would like to cite the following example to illustrate this biased stand. I was on an official trip in Canada, in 1990, when I heard Comrade Kuras (then a top-level Communist functionary in Ukraine) on Kyiv Radio. He declared that the Communist Party of Ukraine acknowledged the fact of the Holodomor manmade famine of 1932-33. The news was received with the greatest joy by those very people we knew as “bourgeois nationalists,” courtesy of Soviet propaganda, because they had always known the truth, that the Holodomor had been engineered by the Communist leadership to exterminate the Ukrainian peasantry. It was an act of genocide, by UN standards. I asked them what made them so happy, for they had known it all along. They replied, “We are so happy because no one has believed us here in Canada. They thought we were traitors and collaborators casting aspersions on our Fatherland, because they were convinced no government could have acted that way against its own people.”
This is what happens when mass Communist propaganda comes into play. As for Mr. Hendy’s motivation, the issue remains open. Be it as it may, we will not follow in his footsteps, furnishing shaky evidence like the found in his documentary. After all, an unprincipled, biased, and cynical homo or even animal sapiens may well maintain that the author has produced a garbled version to distract the public from the suffering experienced by the Ukrainian people under the Nazis and Communists, thus to prevent the Western intelligentsia from repenting after covering up horrible Communist atrocities, including the death of six million Ukrainian peasants in the heart of Europe.
The kind of logic and demonstrability of evidence shown by the British producer in his article allows one to assume that, since some of the Halychyna Division men joined the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, remaining until 1953 in the vanguard of the struggle waged by the Free World during the Cold War against Communist totalitarianism, the documentary under study is meant to discredit those champions. Another possibility is that the producer invented all those stories about Ukrainian Nazi war criminals to use such negative information about Ukraine to vent his xenophobia, so he chose the most vulnerable object: a handful of old ethnic Ukrainians living in Great Britain. However, we will not follow this course, bearing in mind sapienti sat and noblesse oblige: a clever person will understand anyway and one’s status imposes certain obligations, which holds true all over the civilized world. We do hope that Mr. Hendy will find an opportunity to make amends to the people he has so undeservedly insulted.
No. 22 September 04 2001 «The Day»
The government is to be asked to investigate new evidence from records of the SS which links a retired academic living in London with two massacres of Jewish civilians during the Second World War.
Documents from German archives captured by the army of the former Soviet Union name Mychailo Fostun as one of a detachment of Nazis sent to the Warsaw ghetto in 1943 to put down an uprising by the Polish capital's Jews.
SS roster lists also indicate that Mychailo Fostun was present at the suppression of a similar uprising in the Jewish ghetto in the Polish town of Bialystok. More than 60,000 Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered as a result of both operations.
An investigation by The Telegraph has established that Mychailo Fostun is the same person as Dr Swiatomyr Mychailo Fostun, a 78-year-old resident of Wimbledon, south-west London. Dr Fostun also admits to having been part of the 14th SS Division Galicia.
Dr Fostun last night admitted that he was the man named in the documents but denied that he had been in Warsaw or Bialystok or taken part in any massacres.
Lord Janner, the former secretary of the House of Commons All-Party War Crimes Group, and the chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, called last night for an investigation. He said he would table a question in the House of Lords this week calling for Dr Fostun's background to be investigated.
"If these allegations are substantiated then the Government must take immediate action," said Lord Janner. "If Fostun is a British citizen then immediate steps must be taken to strip him of his nationality. He should either be prosecuted here or deported for prosecution."
The call for an investigation has been prompted by new evidence uncovered by Julian Hendy, a television producer and Holocaust researcher. This shows that Mychailo Fostun trained at the SS camp at Trawniki, where 6,000 Jewish people were incarcerated.
When first approached by The Telegraph, Dr Fostun's family denied he had been at Trawniki. Later, he told us that he was there "for a short period, eight months up until September 1943".
He said: "I do not deny I was at Trawniki. Firstly as a private soldier and then I was selected for training for a non-commissioned officer group. The training was very hard indeed."
He denied being at Warsaw or Bialystok, however, and said the documents must be "false records".
"Then I went home and joined the Ukrainian underground movement and fought the Germans," he said. "Then in June 1944 I was grabbed from my bed by the Germans but they found no weapons so did not shoot me as a partisan."
Dr Fostun said the Nazis gave him three choices: becoming a labourer in Germany, joining the German army or becoming part of the SS. He chose the latter. "It is very complicated and the people in the West do not understand. After the war I have been subjected to propaganda by communists for many years," he said.
Records suggesting that Dr Fostun could be Mychailo Fostun were first discovered in the 1970s, but it is the release of former Soviet papers that has enabled Mr Hendy to make his claims that Fostun was present at the atrocities in Warsaw and Bialystok.
Dr Fostun is the general secretary of the Association of Ukrainian Former Combatants in Great Britain, which is the old comrades group of the 14th SS Division Galicia. That unit has been linked to atrocities in the Polish villages of Huta Pienacki and Chlaniov.
Dr Fostun joined the 14th SS Division in 1944, rising to the rank of corporal.
Days before the end of the Second World War, the division changed its name to the 1st Division of the Ukrainian Nationalist Army and surrendered to the British.
Following the end of hostilities, Dr Fostun, 78, is understood to have lived in West Germany, America and Canada before settling in Britain. He now lives in Wimbledon.
It is not known exactly when Dr Fostun, who said that he obtained a doctorate in international law from a US university, arrived in Britain, but he is understood to have lived here for several decades. He has worked in London for a Ukrainian newspaper. He has a wife, Luba, who lives with him but no children.
The massacre of the population of the Warsaw ghetto is one of the notorious events in history. Jurgen Stroop, the SS commander present, testified later that his men had "apprehended and destroyed" more than 56,000 Jews. A further 6,929 were sent to Treblinka and gassed on arrival.
The Jewish community at Bialystok was "liquidated" over five days; 15,000 were sent to camps, among them 1,200 children who were killed at Auschwitz.
Mr Hendy said his findings should be looked at. "The documentation linking Dr Fostun to the massacres appears quite compelling and should be properly investigated."
Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into allegations that an elderly academic living in south London trained as a Nazi SS guard and was present at two of the worst civilian massacres during the Second World War.
The inquiry, handled by detectives in the Anti-Terrorist Branch - which deals with war crimes allegations - was prompted by an article in this newspaper a fortnight ago concerning the war record of Dr Swiatomyr Fostun.
A detective visited The Telegraph offices last week to take statements. A joint investigation by this newspaper with Julian Hendy, a television producer and Holocaust researcher, had suggested that Dr Fostun could be implicated in war crimes.
German archives seized by the Soviet Union at the end of the war, now revealed to the West, triggered the initial investigation. They showed that Dr Fostun, then known by his middle name of Mychailo, trained as a guard for the Nazi death camps.
Records of military rosters obtained by this newspaper also indicate that Dr Fostun was sent in 1943 to the Jewish ghettos in Warsaw and Bialystok in Poland to help with the "liquidation" of their civilian populations. More than 60,000 men, women and children were killed.
Dr Fostun has denied that he went to either city, claiming that the documents must be "false", although in 1944 he joined another SS unit, the 14th SS Division "Galizien", which has also been accused of carrying out atrocities.
When confronted with the evidence, the 78-year-old Dr Fostun confessed to The Telegraph that he had served "briefly" as a guard at the infamous Trawniki SS camp in Poland during the war.
In the past four years, prosecutions against several other men who served as Trawniki guards have been pursued in America. The most well- known is that of the Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk, the American car worker who was released by the Israeli courts in 1994 after being wrongly identified as "Ivan the Terrible", the notorious Nazi death camp murderer.
Demjanjuk was stripped of his American citizenship last year for lying about his past as a Trawniki guard. Dr Fostun, who holds a doctorate in international law and has written books on the literature of the Ukraine, his country of birth, now lives with his wife, Luba, in Wimbledon, south-west London.
Lord Falconer, the Minister of State for Criminal Justice, confirmed that The Telegraph's revelations were being investigated. He said: "The Metropolitan Police are currently investigating the allegations against Dr Fostun, and will submit a report to the Crown Prosecution Service should sufficient evidence come to light."
Scotland Yard has launched Britain's biggest-investigation into war crimes following allegations that former Nazis living in this country collaborated in massacres of civilians during the Second World War.
Officers from the anti-terrorist branch are using NHS patient records to find out how many of the 7,100 SS troops who were allowed to come to Britain in the late 1940s are still alive.
All of those identified - estimated to be about 1,200 people - will be investigated either as possible war criminals or as witnesses to atrocities carried out by their former SS colleagues.
The 7,100 people on the list were Ukrainian members of the 14th SS Division, which operated in eastern Europe during the Second World War. They came to Britain in 1947 after spending two years as prisoners of war in the Italian coastal town of Rimini.
Most of those allowed to enter Britain were not questioned about their wartime activities. Details of names held on the so-called "Rimini List" have never been publicly released and successive British governments have refused requests by lobby groups to investigate the backgrounds of all those on it.
Attempts within the past decade by the American authorities to help track down war crimes suspects have been consistently rebuffed by Britain. However, in 2001 a television documentary, The SS in Britain, sparked a police investigation after uncovering new evidence suggesting that former SS members now living in this country had participated in two horrific massacres in Poland.
The atrocities involved the murder of about 800 inhabitants of the village of Huta Pieniacka in February 1944 by members of the 4th SS Galizien Volunteer Police Regiment and the suppression of the Warsaw uprising in the same year by an associated unit called the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion. Both units became part of the 14th SS Division, which formed in 1943, two years after the invading German army overran Galicia, the area formed by south-eastern Poland and western Ukraine.
The police investigation was given added impetus earlier this year when The Telegraph revealed that Dr Swiatomyr Fostun, a Ukrainian-born academic now living in south London, had served as a Nazi death camp guard and that army rosters listed him as having been present at two notorious massacres.
Dr Fostun admitted to this newspaper that he was a guard at the infamous Trawniki camp "for a short time" and went on to join the 14th SS Division.
The anti-terrorist branch began an investigation and officers have since visited the United States to check SS records there. That investigation has now been widened to establish the fate of every person named on the Rimini List. Officers are cross-referencing the list against NHS, social security and pensions records.
No Scotland Yard spokesman was available for comment. A spokesman for the Department of Health said that it was up to the Strategic Health Authority to liaise with police investigations but declined to comment further.
A Government official close to the case said: "This inquiry has been a very long time coming but it is now going to be completely comprehensive. Officers are doing a lot of travelling and if at all possible there will be charges."
Lord Janner, the former secretary of the House of Commons All-Party War Crimes Group and chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said that he was delighted at the news.
"It is about time too," Lord Janner said this weekend. "I hope that they will move fast and with swift efficiency to see that justice is done."
The decision to order the NHS to release confidential medical records has outraged civil liberties groups, however.
Simon Davies, director of the pressure group Privacy International, said: "This is an extraordinary exercise and it sounds like a dangerous precedent to me. This would appear to be a violation of article 8 of the Human Rights Act, which protects privacy."
British officials were very uneasy about the decision to allow an entire Ukrainian SS division to settle in the UK in 1947, newly released files show.
The papers from Britain's National Archives deal with 8,000 Ukrainians who had been recruited by the Nazis to fight the Soviet Union.
"What little we know of their war record is bad," commented Beryl Hughes, an official at the UK Home Office [in 1948].
Police are investigating some of the former SS men for alleged war crimes.
The Ukrainians had fought in eastern Europe and surrendered in Austria. They were being held in British camps in Italy.
When in 1947 the Italian government signed a treaty with the USSR, that meant the soldiers could be repatriated.
But the UK Foreign Office was anxious to thwart their repatriation, fearing massacres or rioting if the Ukrainians tried to resist.
Initially the home secretary decided they should not be given refuge in the UK, the BBC's Sanchia Berg reports.
But a year later he had accepted that they could stay, arguing that they were good workers and there was a labour shortage in agriculture. It was also far more difficult now to send them home.
The Home Office has confirmed that police have identified several hundred members of the SS division who may still be alive and investigations into possible war crimes are continuing.
The US Justice Department believes some of the veterans may have been guards at a notorious labour camp and that some may have been involved in the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto.
The Polish government believes some were involved in a massacre there, while the Slovak government has questions about wartime atrocities on its territory.
Ukrainian SS Division: Reporter Sanchia Berg explores the decision of Britain's Home Office in 1947 to admit to Britain as civilian refugees an entire SS Division -- 8,000 Ukrainians -- after they had spent two years as prisoners of war in Italy. And Labour MP Andrew Dismore, a member of the All-Party Parliamentary War Crimes Group, criticises current police investigations into possible war crimes committed by the Ukrainian SS, which included members of the 4th SS Galizien Volunteer Police Regiment, accused of murdering about 800 inhabitants of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka in February 1944. (BBC Radio 4, Today, RealPlayer 7min)
Date: Aug. 09, 2005
I am using your internal Email system to complain about two recent Ukrainophobic articles disseminated by the BBC. Namely,
UK 'didn't want' Ukrainian Nazis; news.bbc.co.uk, 02Aug2005; BBC News, and
Ukrainian SS Division; BBC Radio 4 Today, 02Aug2005; Sanchia Berg.
The disinformation and hate mongering in these articles seems to have originated with the infamous "SS in Britain" in the Dec. 24, 2000 issues of the Sunday Times and Sunday Express, as well as an ITV documentary aired on Sunday, Jan. 07, 2001. It was echoed by Lord Janner of the Parliamentary War Crimes Group, as well as Jack Straw via his private secretary, Mara Goldstein, of the Home Office. This scurrilous attack on Ukrainians was refuted at that time.
After a 17 month respite following the 9/11 episode in New York, the attacks resumed in the Daily Telegraph owned by Conrad Black with articles dated Jan. 26, Feb. 09, and June 22, 2003.
I would have expected better from the BBC. The word "Nazis" in the headline of the first article is deliberately misleading. Let me assure you that no Ukrainian that came to Britain was ever a member of the National Socialist Deutsche Arbeit Party (NSDAP). And very few, if any, of them supported the policies of the NSDAP, which relegated Ukrainians to untermenschen status.
Referring to these people as SS men is disingenuous and does not reflect the role of the 38 Waffen-SS divisions created by Heinrich Himmler to harness foreign nationals (including British) to fight against Bolshevik forces. Referring to the US Justice Department ignores the fact that the Office of Special Investigations perpetrated fraud upon the court to facilitate the denaturalization and extradition of John Demjanjuk to Israel. Similarly, references to the Polish and Slovak governments appear to be a deliberate attempt to cause dissension between these countries and Ukraine.
The 7 minute audio article highlighting a report by Sanchia Berg is even worse. Ms. Berg uses such inflammatory and leading terminology as shameful episode, Nazi collaborators, Waffen-SS reunions. She excerpts comments by David Cesarani, who was deeply involved in supporting the defamatory "SS in Britain" documentary.
This audio item concludes with an interview of Labour MP Andrew Dismore of Lord Janner's group, who proposes, in addition to Ukrainians, a witch hunt for war criminals amongst all East European immigrants to Britain following WWII. In response to the interviewer's question as to the sensible use of scarce resources in light of present-day Al Qaida terrorism, Mr. Dismore responds that the real question is "Should we ever allow these people to sleep easy in their beds?" He claims that he is getting a very positive response from the Home Office and proposes that more resources be assigned to the task.
This is hate mongering at its worst! If Mr. Dismore is truly interested in war crimes from the WWII era, he should demand an examination of the involvement of British personnel in the forcible repatriation of Ukrainians, Cossacks and Yugoslavians back behind the Iron Curtain. Even after repatriation had officially stopped, British personnel were involved in kidnapping and delivering particularly "nationalistic" Ukrainians into the clutches of the NKVD repatriation commissions still terrorizing the inhabitants of the DP camps. And as for the modern era, Mr. Dismore need look no further than the involvement of British citizens in war crimes in Iraq and Israel-Palestine.
To conclude, I would urge the BBC to retract these articles and apologise to your readers and listeners for publishing them. In the future, please do not allow the BBC to be used as a forum for such hate mongers.
Will Zuzak; 2005-08-09
Up to 100 soldiers who served in the Nazi’s notorious Galizien division are living in Scotland, according to a leading Holocaust researcher.
Dr Stephen Ankier, a renowned Nazi hunter, is urging Scottish police to launch an investigation to identify any war criminals among the former SS men and bring them to justice.
His call comes in the wake of newly released government documents which reveal that 1,500 members of the unit -- responsible for horrific war crimes in Ukraine and Poland -- were brought to Scotland in 1947 and imprisoned in camps at Dalkeith, Midlothian, and Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire.
The following year they were released and allowed to resettle locally with their families.
The government papers, released under the Freedom of Information Act following pressure from Nazi hunters, show that the Home Office was deeply unhappy that the soldiers were allowed to enter Britain. However, the Foreign Office argued that the men, who had fought against Stalin, would be persecuted if they were returned to communist-ruled Ukraine.
Local people were told that the former SS men were refugees, brought over to plug the post-war labour shortage. But some are believed to have been recruited as spies by MI6 for use in anti-Soviet operations.
The Ukrainian Galizien division of the 14th SS division was formed as part of a programme of creating foreign formations of the Waffen SS to fight on the Soviet front. The division committed atrocities and took part in the final liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in 1943.
Survivors of the massacres also claimed that the division murdered 800 civilians in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka, pouring petrol on inhabitants and burning them alive.
It is also claimed that three years earlier, members of the Nightingale battalion, a Ukrainian police unit that merged with the Galizien division, descended on the town of Lvov and massacred thousands of Jews, including children whose bodies were left fastened to trees with barbed wire.
Ankier, whose Jewish parents fled from Poland to Britain in 1936, said: “Of the 1,500 Ukrainians who were brought over to Scotland, some may have now died, many moved on to Canada and some to other countries. I would say there would probably be between 50 and 100 left in Scotland.
“The authorities in Scotland ought to be trying their best to trace these individuals and if there is evidence that they committed war crimes then they should be brought to court.
“Many of these people would now be in their seventies and early eighties, are still fit and healthy, and there is no reason why they should not be prosecuted.”
Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wisenthal centre in Jerusalem, said: “It is true that this unit participated in various atrocities. The whole notion of bringing them to Britain was extremely strange and it raises a lot of questions about the people who made that decision.
“The British government is currently investigating this unit and the Scottish authorities should certainly conduct their own investigation.”
Lubomyr Mazur, president of the Association of the Ukrainians of Great Britain, said there was no evidence that any of the former soldiers who had moved to Britain had been involved in war crimes.
“However, all Ukrainians would want anyone who was guilty of that kind of offence to be brought to justice,” he said.
Scotland Yard said the Metropolitan police Crimes Against Humanity unit had been passed a list of people suspected of having been involved in war crimes and an investigation was continuing.
The Crown Office said: “If allegations were received that an individual had been involved in such criminal activity, it would consider such allegations carefully and, if necessary, make further inquiries.”
Sunday Times - Scotland
124 Portman Street
Glasgow, Scotland G41 1EJ
Date: August 18, 2005
Via Email: [email protected]
Dear Les Snowdon, Editor:
Re: Nazi SS war criminals 'are hiding in Scotland'
Sunday Times - Scotland, Aug. 14, 2005; Kathleen Nutt
I would like to lodge a complaint with respect to the article indicated above. Allow me to use point form.
(1) The title has obviously been crafted to be as misleading, defamatory and sensational as possible.
- None of the Ukrainians, who sought refuge in Scotland, were members of the Nationalist Socialist Deutsche Arbeit Party (NSDAP) as implied by your use of the term Nazi.
- The role of the 38 Waffen-SS divisions created by Heinrich Himmler was to harness foreign nationals (including British) to fight against Bolshevik forces.
- To refer to these refugees as war criminals is slanderous. The Galicia Division has been screened multiple times in Italy, Britain and Canada. Charges of war criminality against members of the Division have never been substantiated. In Canada, the original charges appear to have originated with Samuel Bronfman of the Canadian Jewish Congress on July 04, 1950.
- To suggest that these Ukrainian refugees, who worked, paid taxes, married, raised children, became British citizens and participated fully in Scottish society for the past 58 years, 'are hiding in Scotland' is devoid of reality.
(2) The disinformation and hate mongering in this article seems to have originated with the infamous "SS in Britain" in the Dec. 24, 2000 issues of the Sunday Times and Sunday Express, as well as an ITV documentary aired on Sunday, Jan. 07, 2001. The issue has been revisited periodically since then. A great deal of background information has been archived on my website at
via the "SS in Britain", "SS2" and "SS3" links in the right hand column. The article in question and my complaint shall be archived at
as items 11 and 12.
(3) The Jewish Warsaw Ghetto Uprising occurred Apr. 19 - May 16, 1943. The Galicia Division was created in the fall of 1943. It was decimated in its first Battle of Brody against the Red Army on July 22, 1944 with over 60% casualties. By the time it was reconstituted in the fall of 1944, the Germans were in full retreat. The Division deliberately engineered their surrender to the Western Allies in the naive hope that, after the defeat of Germany, the Americans and British would facedown Stalin and aid in the establishment of an independent Ukraine.
(4) Rather than Ukrainians massacring Jews in the city of Lviv after the German invasion on June 22, 1941, it was the Bolshevik NKVD that massacred thousands of Ukrainian political prisoners in a final fit of savagery before they escaped east. Several good accounts are available at the Ukrainian Archive
(5) Efraim (or Ephraim) Zuroff has been a charter member of the Holocaust Industry for many years. Since defaming 29 innocent Canadians of being war criminals before the Deschenes Commission in 1986, he has continued to make irresponsible accusations against individuals and organizations with complete impunity. Presumably, Stephen Ankier is following in his footsteps.
(6) That a journalist, fully aware of her responsibilities, would concoct this monstrosity of innuendo and half-truths is simply incomprehensible. In the Sunday Herald, May 28, 2000, Kathleen Nutt lectured on journalistic integrity as follows:
"Of course, that freedom brings with it certain responsibilities which are also central to the way the press operates. It is our duty to make sure that stories are factual and that no person or body is harmed by inaccurate, irresponsible or fanciful reporting."
Rather than allowing herself to be used as a pimp for the Holocaust Industry and using anonymous "sources within the Crown Office", I would advise Ms. Nutt to follow her own directives and do appropriate background checks of the material about which she is writing.
In conclusion, I feel that an apology and retraction of the article would be in order.
Will Zuzak; 2005-08-18
From: mozuz [[email protected]]
Date: Thursday, September 01, 2005 11:37 AM
To: Nutt, Kathleen [[email protected]]
Cc: Will Zuzak
Subject: Re: Article 14/8/05
Dear Ms. Nutt:
Thank you for your Email letter of Aug. 23, 2005 (appended below), even though you decline to issue an apology or retraction of your Aug. 14, 2005 article in the Sunday Times Scotland newspaper.
One wonders how a nice Scottish lass, especially one who seems to be particularly sensitized to the ongoing Lockerbie saga, got involved in the Galicia Division story?
To bolster your claim that the article was accurate and properly and fully researched, perhaps you could list the sources you did consult. In your article, you mention Stephen Ankier, local people (anonymous?), survivors of the massacres (anonymous?), Efraim Zuroff, Lubomyr Mazur, Scotland Yard (anonymous?), Crown Office (anonymous?). Could you please list the date, time, method of contact (in person, telephone, letter, Email, other) of these interviews? Presumably, you also tried to contact other people and/or discussed the article with colleagues, friends and acquaintances. Please list these.
There are a number of books on the Galicia Division and thousands of hits via the various Internet search engines. Could you list such sources used for the material in your article?
I will be pleased to post your response on my website. Thereafter, we could enter into a discussion of journalistic integrity, if you so desire.
Will Zuzak; 2005-09-01
----- Original Message -----
From: Nutt, Kathleen
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2005 11:04 AM
Subject: Article 14/8/05
Dear Mr Zuzak
Thank you for your letter referring to my story on the SS Galician which appeared in the Sunday Times Scotland on Sunday, 14 August,.
I regret that you have a number of complaints, but I would point out that the article was properly and fully researched and was neither inaccurate nor misleading.
It did not contain any anonymous sources, as you suggest, and I also made a point of reporting the views of Lubomyr Mazur, the president of the Association of Ukrainians of Great Britain.
In these circumstances I do not believe an apology nor a retraction would be appropriate.
Newly released British archival documents are prompting calls for the Canadian government to investigate whether previously unidentified war criminals were sent to this country in the 1940s.
Home Office officials in London tried to "get rid of" certain "less desirable" Ukrainian prisoners who had fought with a notorious Nazi unit during the Second World War.
The documents, brought to light by British amateur historian Stephen Ankier while researching the Holocaust fate of his Jewish relatives in Poland, illuminate a fierce internal battle between British government departments over the postwar handling of some 8,000 Ukrainian prisoners of war who had served with the SS Galician division of the German army.
Revelations about the row between Home Office and Foreign Office bureaucrats -- and the apparently weak screening of the Ukrainian soldiers -- has already prompted a fresh probe of some of the 8,000 men by Britain's Crimes Against Humanity directorate.
"A dedicated team of Metropolitan police officers will be deployed to carry out the task of checking this list against existing material," British Immigration Minister Tony McNulty promised last month, referring to a confidential list of 75 of the PoWs passed to police by Ankier and Labour MP Andrew Dismore as possible war crimes suspects.
And police in Scotland, where about 1,500 of the men eventually settled, have been urged by the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, a leading Nazi-hunting organization, to conduct a parallel investigation.
"It's now clear that there were serious apprehensions" about the would-be immigrants in the 1940s, the centre's director, Efraim Zuroff, told CanWest News Service. "And it's not clear how much effort was made to screen these people."
Zuroff said it also appears that Britain "wanted to fob them off on Canada," and that, depending on what the documents yield, this country "should immediately launch a series of investigations because time is running out."
The Galician division, also known as the 14th Waffen SS, is believed to have been responsible for sending thousands of Polish Jews to their deaths in the Holocaust. In one horrific incident in 1944, the division is accused of rounding up an entire village of about 800 civilians, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire.
The Ukrainian unit was eventually captured by Allied forces in Austria and sent to a prison camp in Italy.
But in 1947, with the unit facing repatriation to Eastern Europe and possible persecution under Soviet rule, the Foreign Office in the U.K. decided to ship the prisoners to Britain, mainly to become agricultural workers to help solve an acute labour shortage.
The immigration plan angered Home Office officials responsible for integrating European refugees and ex-prisoners into British society in the turbulent aftermath of the war.
"Every possible expedient should be adopted for disposing of this body of Ukrainians otherwise than by conversion into civilian status in the United Kingdom," the Home Office initially ruled, according to one of the released documents.
One of the Home Office's main handlers of the issue, Beryl Hughes, complained at the time that asking Britain to absorb the entire unit of ex-Nazi soldiers was like "buying a pig in a poke," and she expressed her "apprehensions" about the wartime actions of the would-be immigrants.
"What little we know of their war record is bad," she said, adding that the idea of naturalizing such a huge number of "undisputed volunteers to the Wehrmacht seems to me the height of absurdity."
But the documents also show that Hughes and other British bureaucrats were hopeful many of the ex-prisoners could be sent to Canada, including about 80 who were believed to qualify for expedited immigration because they already had relatives living in this country.
"We are still hoping to get rid of the less desirable Ukrainian PoWs either to Germany or Canada," Hughes states in one handwritten note in 1948.
It's believed most of the ex-prisoners eventually stayed in Britain. It isn't clear how many of the 8,000 ex-Galician soldiers ended up in Canada.
"Over 6,000 of the men would prefer to emigrate to such countries as Canada, the United States and the Argentine rather than remain in the United Kingdom," one memo states, "but it does not seem likely that more than a few hundreds can in fact be disposed of in this way. . .."
CanWest News Service
© The Edmonton Journal 2005
I find it surprising and a bit disturbing that the Edmonton Journal would print an article based on unproven allegations toward an identifiable group of war veterans, as they did in "Did Ukrainians who fought with SS end up in Canada", August 17, 2005. The quarter page article filled with war crime allegations is produced based on the research of an "amateur historian" (meaning someone's hobby) and a generic handwritten comment by a British Home Office bureaucrat in 1948. These accusations have little basis of evidence. They have already been thoroughly investigated and dismissed by Canadian Federal authorities.
The article alleges that veterans of the Waffen-SS Galicia division of the German Army are suspected of war criminality. Moving from allegations to facts, The Canadian Government's Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes led by the late Justice Jules Deschenes, responded to this allegation when it released its report on December 30, 1986.
For the record, quoting directly from page 261 of the report:
The Commission accordingly FINDS that:
56- The Galicia Division ( 14. Waffengrenadierdivision der SS [gal. Nr. 1]) should not be indicted as a group.
57- The members of the Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada.
58- Charges of war crimes against members of the Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission.
59- Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.
60- No case can be made against members of the Galicia Division for revocation of citizenship or deportation since the Canadian authorities were fully aware of the relevant facts in 1950 and admission to Canada was not granted them because of any false representation, or fraud, or concealment of material circumstances.
61- In any event, of the 217 officers of the Galicia Division denounced by Mr. Simon Wiesenthal to the Canadian government, 187 (i.e., 86 per cent of the list) never set foot in Canada, 11 have died in Canada, 2 have left for another country, no prima facie case has been established against 16 and the last one could not be located.
Since the release of the Deschenes Commission Report, the Federal War Crimes Unit has not found any evidence that disputes any of the above points.
The August 17, 2005 article contains very serious allegations. These allegations have been made before and have been discredited in the late 1980's by the Canadian Federal Government Commission. Anybody can make an accusation. I am puzzled that, based on such weak evidence, this article was run in a respected newspaper like the Edmonton Journal.
Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association -
There is no compelling evidence of "Nazi war criminals" hiding in Canada, quite in contrast to the far more likely presence of some Soviet war criminals and Communist collaborators in our country. While I have not seen the recently released documents, the archival evidence I am familiar with from the British archives confirms that members of the Division "Galicia" were vetted not only in Italy, where most were held for over a year after the end of the Second World War, and again in their subsequent internment in the UK, without any evidence of wartime misbehaviour being found and that at a time when the evidence should presumably have been fresh, witnesses available. While unfounded allegations were raised about the alleged wartime crimes of some men from the Division, those charges were dismissed by the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals headed by the late Mr Justice Jules Deschenes (1986) and by other investigators in the post Soviet period, who had access to even more extensive archives.
More interesting than this "new" story is the question -- who keeps raising allegations about the alleged war crimes of Ukrainians without bothering to provide any corroborative evidence? Should not those who are so apparently intent on raising this "issue" every few months or so not get on with it and publicly identify the alleged villains and provide evidence for our criminal justice system? Then the truth of their convictions could be properly tested in a criminal court of law with the appropriate consequences for anyone engaged in public mischief.
I am troubled by the tone of your article of Aug. 17, 2005 concerning the Galician Division of the German army. With seeming regularity, the allegations continue to resurface despite no evidence of any wrongdoing. The 14th Galician Waffen-SS division was created in late 1943/early 1944 as a purely military unit. It has been repeatedly maligned by Soviet disinformation, and appears to continue to suffer this fate. The most authoritative history of the Division was written by now retired US Army Colonel Michael O. Logusz. The jacket of this 558 page tome states: "In 1943/1944 a determined group of young men and women in Galicia volunteered to serve in a combat division destined for eastern front combat. Their goal: to engage and destroy the Soviet hordes menacing their homeland, and to counter Nazi Germany's subjugation of their country. Although initially Galicia's volunteers would serve in a German sponsored military formation, in actuality the volunteers of the Galicia division wanted to engage all hostile ideologies -- both from the east and west -- in order to secure a free and independent Ukraine."
None of its members were Nazis, as you claim in the article. Their goal was purely to fight for an independent Ukraine. The division was initially deployed in the area of Brody, Ukraine where it was essentially decimated suffering 60% casualties against the vastly superior Soviet forces. Withdrawn from action and reorganized, the division retreated through Slovakia and then Slovenia surrendering to the western Allies in the hope that the West would stop the westward expansion of the Soviet empire (as General George Patton had wanted to do) and liberate Ukraine.
The allegations against the 14th Galician Division were subjected to a lengthy and exhaustive Royal Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals, led by justice Jules Deschenes. The findings were published on 30 December 1986. The report stated:
"The commission accordingly finds that:
56. The Galicia Division (14.Waffengrenadierdivision der SS (gal. Nr. 1) should not be indicted as a group.
58. Charges of war crimes against members of the Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed before this commission."
Furthermore, the conclusion of the Deschenes report was later ratified by yet another judicial investigation by the then Minister of Justice, Anne McLellan, in 1998.
It is very curious that Ms. Lovett of the War Crimes Section at the federal Department of Justice is so eager to investigate these allegations, all the while ignoring admitted Soviet NKVD/KGB war criminals (of which four are known to be living in Canada and openly admitted and even boasted to the torture and murder of Ukrainian partisans).
The vast majority of Canadians agree that war criminals must be sought out and punished based on their individual deeds. The policy, however, must extend to all groups, not just convenient scapegoats.
Walter Salmaniw, MD.
Six years after Britain's only Nazi war crimes trial, police are once again investigating claims Nazis involved in World War II are living in the UK. Scotland Yard said its crimes against humanity unit launched an inquiry earlier this year.
It said the material to be investigated included a list of names passed to police by an MP.
Anthony Sawoniuk, a British Rail ticket collector, was found guilty in 1999 of murdering 18 Jews in Belarus.
Andrew Dismore, a Labour MP for Hendon in north London, told the Press Association news agency he had given "various names" to the police.
He said the names included "unaccounted for SS [elite Nazi troops] who may be in the country, or people living in the UK who are worth investigating".
Mr Dismore said pursuing war criminals of the past was a good way to deter war crimes in the future.
"These people should never be allowed to sleep easy in their beds, they should know that one day there may be a knock on the door," he said.
Scotland Yard's crimes against humanity unit, formerly called the war crimes unit, was scaled down after lines of inquiry under the War Crimes Act 1991 had been exhausted.
A Met spokesman said: "When subsequent allegations are received appropriate inquiries are carried out."
He said the unit was talking to government departments to decide the best way of dealing with the investigation.
Anthony Sawoniuk, originally from Domachevo, Belarus, died in Norwich prison last November at the age of 84.
Hundreds of alleged Nazi war criminals living in Britain face deportation under tough new immigration laws.
An eight-strong team from Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist branch is examining files containing the names of more than 200 suspects understood to be in hiding or living under false names. They include at least 75 Auschwitz guards and former members of the 14th Waffen-SS Galician division, which has been blamed for atrocities.
Officers from the Metro-politan Police are expected to meet Home Office ministers next month to discuss their inquiry, launched after evidence was uncovered by an amateur historian. Police were handed a list of names, most from the Ukrainian-manned unit.
Six thousand of them were allowed to settle as contract labour in Britain at the end of the war and many emigrated, mostly to North America.
Historians say it is unlikely any of these men, now in their 80s, will be prosecuted because of a lack of evidence.
Only one man, Anthony Sawoniuk, has been prosecuted here for Nazi war crimes. He was sentenced to life in 1999 and died in prison last year, aged 84.
Scotland Yard has relaunched its search for war criminals almost seven years after its specialist Nazi-hunting unit was disbanded, the Guardian has learned. An eight-strong team from the anti-terrorist branch has been examining the backgrounds of British residents suspected of committing atrocities during the second world war.
The team is focusing on former members of a division of the Waffen SS which was recruited by the Nazis in the Ukraine and brought to Britain en masse to provide farm labour after the war. Home Office officials believe several hundred former members of the unit may still be living in the UK.
The Guardian has identified and located more than a dozen survivors of the Galizien division. Most still live in small clusters in the East Midlands, Yorkshire and East Anglia, a short distance from the PoW camps where they arrived almost six decades ago.
The new inquiry has been shrouded in secrecy since it was quietly resumed last year, and the Yard has even attempted to deny that it is under way again. Two senior officers have been assigned to lead the team of two detective sergeants, two detective constables and two civilian researchers.
A Yard spokesman confirmed that they are scouring old war crimes files and "liaising with other government departments, including the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, to establish the best way forward".
It is unclear whether statements have been taken from the former members of the unit, the 14th Waffen SS Galizien division. Scotland Yard is also declining to say whether any witnesses have been located in Poland, Slovakia or the Ukraine, the countries where the Galizien division operated, and where some members stand accused of participating in the massacre of Jewish and non-Jewish civilians.
Police are understood to be attempting to identify members of the Galizien division who attended a training centre for concentration camp guards as well as examining the war records of other surviving members. With the youngest former members of the unit now in their 80s, however, and with the memories of surviving witnesses fading fast, the chances of any successful prosecutions appear slim.
The decision to relaunch the hunt is thought to reflect a renewed appetite for war crimes investigations at the Home Office, and comes after continuing calls for action from a number of backbench MPs.
However, it is unclear how much enthusiasm there is at Scotland Yard for an investigation that could divert detectives from anti-terrorist duties at a time of mounting security concerns.
The Yard's specialist war crimes unit was disbanded in May 1999 after investigations costing an estimated pounds 6.5m resulted in just one conviction. Anthony Sawoniuk, a retired railway ticket inspector from south London, was jailed for life earlier that year after being convicted of two specimen charges concerning the murder of 18 Jews. He died in Norwich prison last November, aged 84.
Andrew Dismore, Labour MP for Hendon, who has been pressing for action against surviving war criminals, said the Yard deserves extra funding for the inquiry. "Making sure old war criminals can never sleep easy in their beds sends an important message to the would-be war criminals of tomorrow," he said.
But Professor David Cesarani, who was the principal researcher for the group of MPs which campaigned successfully for the introduction of the War Crimes Act 15 years ago, believes that men who could have been prosecuted at that time are now highly unlikely to face trial. "This has come 10 years too late," he said.
"The Home Office should be asking whether this is going to do more harm than good, and whether embarking on a judicial process, which will take years to come to fruition, is the best way to proceed. Regretfully, it may be that an inquiry by government historians will now be the best way to investigate what these people did, how they came to be here and why they have not been prosecuted before."
Hitler's Ukrainian SS division was created from the merger of many different units, including the Nightingale battalion, said to have participated in the massacre of thousands of Jews in Lvov, Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, accused of murdering villagers in eastern Poland.
Some Galizien troops are said to have played a part in the bloody suppression of the 1944 Warsaw uprising, while others are alleged to have murdered a number of British and American airmen who were being sheltered by partisans in Slovakia.
Its soldiers were Ukrainian nationalists, who later insisted that they had no love for Germany or the Nazis, but joined the German army to take up arms against the Russians, and against communism. Those who survive in Britain today deny any involvement in war crimes.
Few people noticed when they arrived in Britain in May 1947: one Labour MP, Barnett Janner, complained bitterly in the Commons that members of the Galizien division "murdered hundreds of people in cold blood", while a solitary letter in the London Evening News, signed with the correspondent's concentration camp number, 3399, complained that he or she had witnessed first-hand the "brutal, uncouth and bloodthirsty" behaviour of Ukrainian guards.
Most newspapers devoted just one paragraph to reporting the division's arrival, however. The men were dispersed among PoW camps. Over the next three years just eight "undesirables" were deported to Germany, while some emigrated to Canada, the US or Argentina.
A handful are now known to have been recruited by MI6 and parachuted back into the Ukraine, where they were betrayed by the double agent Kim Philby. Most remained in the UK, however, and were granted civilian status. Many married, started families and, by the 1990s, those who survived were British subjects.
Among the survivors of the Galizien division identified by the Guardian is Mykola Lehkyj, 84, who says he volunteered to fight for the Germans after they overran his home town of Rohatyn, in western Ukraine, in 1941. Although both his brothers served in the Red Army, Mr Lehkyj, then aged 19, volunteered to join the Ukrainian unit that the invaders were raising.
"We hated the Germans, but we wanted to fight the Russians more than anything," he said. "The Germans allowed us to make a Ukrainian army in German uniforms. Our aim was to join this Ukrainian army and create a Ukrainian nation."
After training in Germany, he fought with the rest of the Galizien division at Brody, where it suffered heavy losses. "We couldn't hold them. But fighting against the Russians was a pleasure, to be honest with you, because I was fighting on my own land."
Mr Lehkyj was then sent to Slovakia, where he fought partisans, and ended the war as a corporal. He remains proud of his service - "I have nothing to hide" - but denies that he took part in, or witnessed, any war crimes. "The Russians tried to blame us for everything. They say we killed children and women - it isn't true."
After being shipped to Scotland he was sent to a prison camp near Braintree, Essex, to work on farms, and has remained in the region ever since. Today he lives in Ipswich with Helen, the Englishwoman he married in 1953. They have four children, one of whom served in the RAF, and six grandchildren.
"I love this country," he said. "It gave me life. I call it Merry England: this is a country that will help any bugger."
Labour shortages in post-war Britain were so severe that few questions were asked when Hitler's Ukrainian soldiers were shipped here. With large sections of the British population still in the armed forces, most farms depended on German prisoners of war, despite forced labour being prohibited by the Geneva convention
The 8,528 officers and men of the 14th Waffen SS Galizien division had been languishing for two years at a prisoner of war camp near Rimini, on Italy's Adriatic coast.
Attempts to identify war criminals among them were promised by the Foreign Office, but they had had so much time to prepare cover stories that Fitzroy Maclean, a war hero and Tory MP who had been handed the task, complained that it was hopeless. He warned Whitehall: "We only have their own word for it that they have not committed atrocities or war crimes."
All concerns about the unit's war record were brushed aside during a series of cabinet meetings in March 1947. Foreign Office minister Hector McNeil reported that "United States opinion was sensitive" about continuing use of Germans as farm labourers.
Mr McNeil conjured up a deft solution: to meet the demand for labour by using displaced Ukrainians in place of the German prisoners. When Home Office officials complained that immigration rules were being waived to bring suspected war criminals into the country, they were told that the prime minister, Clement Attlee, had "decreed" that it must happen.
I was sent the following link from a friend in Ukraine: http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1702132,00.html
It seems that the Guardian is again propagating the same old lies. It's time to again write letters to the editor. Below is the email address of Emily Bell, editor in chief of Guardian Unlimited -- [email protected] I have also included a link to a host of other contacts within the Guardian.
I will finish my letter and engage the Guardian in discourse later today.
[To anyone not familiar with why this story is utter rubbish, please see