Ukrainian Insurgent Army

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Emblem of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army
Flag of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. It symbolizes the red blood of the Ukrainians, which was shed on the black ground.

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army ( Ukrainian Українська Повстанська Армія / Ukrajinska Powstanska Armija in short UPA , also called Ukrainian Insurgent Army translated) was a Ukrainian guerrillas and the military wing of the " Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists " (OUN, Bandera faction OUN-B). It was founded in 1942 and existed until around 1956. During World War II , the UPA collaborated with National Socialist Germany for a time and fought the Polish Home Army . After the war she fought against the Soviet Union in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic for another five years .

According to estimates, it comprised between 30,000 and 200,000 fighters. The members were mostly men from the peasantry between the ages of 18 and 22. The UPA also consisted of numerous non-Ukrainian members such as Azerbaijani , Uzbeks , Georgians , Tatars , Belarusians and also Russians .


Foundation and Second World War

The UPA was founded on October 14, 1942 as the military wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and was mainly active in western Ukraine. In 1943 Dmytro Klyachkivskyi became the commander of the UPA. In early 1944, Roman Schuchewytsch took over the office until his death in 1950. The last commander in chief was Wassyl Kuk.

During the Second World War , she collaborated with National Socialist Germany, from which she hoped in vain to support an independent Ukrainian state. During this time the UPA was involved in the killing of Jews. At the same time, however, Jewish fighters and doctors were also represented in the UPA.

Since the German occupiers did not allow an independent Ukrainian state, the UPA turned against the Wehrmacht . In the summer of 1943 there were serious clashes between the UPA and the German armed forces in Volyn Oblast , in which, according to Viktor Korol, around 3,000 German soldiers were allegedly killed by UPA fighters. On the UPA side, 1,237 people died in these fighting. In the autumn of the same year 1,500 German soldiers were killed by the UPA. For a time the UPA allied itself with Soviet partisans against the Germans.

At the same time, the UPA fought the Polish Home Army , the army of the Polish underground state . The territorial disputes ended in the Volhynia and Eastern Galicia massacres , in which nearly 100,000 Polish civilians were murdered. The UPA also claimed areas of Belarus and Czechoslovakia , which led to individual fighting there as well.

Post-war period and dissolution

After the war, the UPA continued its fight against the Soviet Union. From 1945 to 1946, the UPA managed to bring half of Ukraine under its control. In 1947 the Soviet Union , Poland and Czechoslovakia signed a secret agreement to fight the UPA together. The UPA dissolved over time and operated more and more in smaller groups.

In 1947 the Polish People's Army carried out the Vistula campaign , during which around 150,000 Ukrainians were expelled from their homeland, which was now part of Poland. The UPA tried to prevent this resettlement and fought against the Polish armed forces. In 1950 Roman Schuchewytsch , the most important commander in chief in the history of the UPA, was killed. In 1954 the UPA was finally crushed by troops of the Soviet Army and the MGB .


Peter Oliynik, UPA South Commander

The UPA consisted of two military units, the southern and the northern. These had up to 15,000 men each and were in turn divided into battalions ("cures") of 500 men each. One cure consisted of

Historical classification and assessment

The UPA's assessment plays a major role in the Polish-Ukrainian conflict . The classification is made more difficult by the different views of the states concerned.


The Polish state regards the UPA as a “criminal organization” and responsible for a “ genocide against the Polish population ” in Volhynia and parts of eastern Galicia . The Polish population only survived in the big cities, but there were sometimes serious riots here too. The provincial population, on the other hand, was mostly exposed to the UPA without protection. Between 1942 and 1944, an estimated 35,000 to 60,000 ethnic Poles were murdered in Volhynia alone, and possibly up to 100,000 including the rest of the Ukraine. If you include the number of estimated refugees, the total number of Polish victims is likely to have reached around 300,000.


Monument to the UPA fighters in Bukhach

Since independence in 1991, the UPA has been worshiped in western Ukraine in particular. In Ukraine there is no consensus on the assessment of the UPA, and large parts of the Ukrainian population refuse to recognize the organization. In some eastern parts of the country, memorial plaques and memorials have been erected to commemorate the victims of the UPA. At the beginning of April 2015, the Ukrainian parliament decided to recognize UPA members as independence fighters.



  • Ignacy Blum: Udział Wojska Polskiego w walce o utrwalenie władzy ludowej. Walki z bandami UPA. Wojskowy Przegląd Historyczny, Warszawa 1959, No. 1
  • Franziska Bruder: Fight for the Ukrainian state or die! The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) 1929–1948 . Metropol, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-938690-33-8 (also dissertation at TU Berlin 2005).
  • J. Czapla: Działalność terrorystyczna kurenia UPA “Zalezniaka” i jego likwidacja (kwiecień 1944 - listopad 1947). praca magisterska (maszynopis), Biblioteka WAP, Warszawa 1961
  • Jan Gerhard: Dalsze szczególy walk z bandami UPA i WiN na południowo-wschodnich obszarach Polski. Wojskowy Przegląd Historyczny 1959, No. 3/12, pp. 305–335.
  • Józef Sobiesiak, Ryszard Jegorow: Ziemia płonie. II wyd., Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej, Warszawa 1967, 322 p .; Burzany, Ministerstwo Obrony Narodowej, Warszawa 1962


  • Jan Gerhard: Feuerschein in den Beskids (Polish original edition Luny w Bieszczadach ), 2nd edition Berlin ( German military publisher ) 1967, 1st edition 1964.


Web links

Commons : Ukrainian Insurgent Army  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  5. Ukrainian Insurgent Army: Myths and facts. In: October 12, 2012, accessed December 31, 2016 .
  6. ^ Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In: November 22, 1943, accessed December 31, 2016 .
  7. 5,000 people in Kiev commemorate the Ukrainian Insurgent Army UPA. (No longer available online.) In: October 14, 2014, archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; accessed on December 31, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  8. Kuk, Vasyl. In: Retrieved December 31, 2016 .
  9. The symbolization of the Ukrainian past: Stepan Bandera and the UPA. In: December 9, 2014, accessed December 31, 2016 .
  10. ^ Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the Encyclopaedia of the Holocaust, Israel Gutman, editor-in-chief. New York: Macmillan, 1990. 4 volumes. ISBN 0-02-896090-4 .
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  12. a b Viktor Korol, a historian, reveals truths about Ukraine in WWII. In: Accessed December 31, 2016 .
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  17. Ivan Katchanovski: Terrorists or National Heroes? Politics of the OUN and UPA in Ukraine . In: Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University . June 26, 2011 (English).
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  19. a b Grzegorz Motyka: Zapomnijcie o Giedroyciu: Polacy, Ukraińcy, IPN. Gazeta Wyborcza , May 24, 2008, accessed June 26, 2011 .
  20. Gunnar Heinsohn: Lexicon of Genocides . Rowohlt, Reinbek bei Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-499-22338-4 , p. 283 .
  21. Grzegorz Rossoliński-Liebe: Krytyka. Issues 3-4; 7-8; 9-10. H-Soz-u-Kult, 2010, accessed June 26, 2011 .
  22. Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe: Celebrating Fascism and War Criminality in Edmonton. The Political Myth and Cult of Stepan Bandera in Multicultural Canada. (PDF; 2.9 MB) Kakanien, 2010, accessed on June 26, 2011 (English).
  23. See Grzegorz Hryciuk: Poland from Volhynia and Eastern Galicia: Murder and Flight. In: Detlef Brandes , Holm Sundhaussen and Stefan Troebst (eds.): Lexicon of expulsions. Deportation, Forced Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in 20th Century Europe. Böhlau Verlag, Vienna-Cologne-Weimar 2010, ISBN 978-3-205-78407-4 , pp. 529-532, where the current state of research is reproduced. - With regard to the number of victims, the information in Józef Turowski, Władysław Siemaszko: Zbrodnie nacjonalistów ukraińskich dokonane na ludności polskiej na Wołyniu 1939–1945 is too high . Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce - Instytut Pamięci Narodowej , Środowisko Żołnierzy 27 Wołyńskiej Dywizji Armii Krajowej w Warszawie, 1990.
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  25. Ukraine prohibits advertising for communism and national socialism , Deutsche Welle dated April 9, 2015.