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The Lviv pogroms were two massacres of Jews living in and near in the city of Lwów, the occupied Republic of Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine), that took place since 30 June to 2 July and 25-29 July 1941 during World War II. According to Yad Vashem 6 thousands Jews were killed by Einsatzgruppen, Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian militia.

During the interbellum, Lviv had the third-largest Jewish population in Poland, which swelled further to over 200,000 Jews as refugees fled from the Nazis.

Contents

First pogrom

Immediately after the Germans entered the city, Einsatzgruppen with the participation of Ukrainian nationalists organized a pogrom in retaliation for the retreating NKVD's mass-murder of approximately 2000-10000[1] prisoners (including mainly Polish and Ukrainian intellectuals and political activists) at Lviv's three prisons (Brygidki prison, Łąckiego street prison and Zamarstynowska street prison). According to Ukrainian scholars most of these victims were Ukrainian[1]. Although Jews had also been among the victims of the NKVD, they were accused as a group by some Ukrainians of having cooperated with the Soviets. Before the massacre, the Germans and the Ukrainians spread rumors implicating the Jews in killing Ukrainian political prisoners. The Ukrainian rabble ran wild—assaulting, abusing, torturing, and murdering Jews, and raping Jewish women as German soldiers took pictures.[2] The Ukrainian milita (which later became the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police) hastily created by OUN after the occupation of the Lviv participated in the pogrom. During the four-week pogrom from the end of June to early July, 1941, it is alleged that nearly 4,000 Jews were murdered.[3]

Petlura days

A second pogrom took place in the last days of July 1941 and was labeled "Petliura Days" after the assassinated Ukrainian leader Symon Petlura.[4] This pogrom was allegedly organized by Ukrainian nationalist circles with German encouragement. On July 25, Ukrainian militants from outside the city, joined the Ukrainian militia (which later became the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police) and participated in acts of violence against Jews. This group assaulted any Jew whom they encountered with clubs, knives, and axes. Jews were taken to the Jewish cemetery and murdered brutally. Ukrainian police circulated in groups of five and consulted prepared lists. Some 2,000 people were murdered in approximately three days.[5] According to Richard Breitman 5000 Jews died as a result of this pogrom. In addition, some 3,000 persons, mostly Jews, were executed in the municipal stadium by the German military.[6]

Afterwards

The Lviv ghetto was established after the pogroms, holding some 120,000 Jews, most of whom were deported to the Belzec extermination camp or killed locally during the following two years. Following the pogroms, Einsatzgruppen killings, harsh conditions in the ghetto, and deportation to the Nazi concentration camps, including the Janowska labor camp located on the outskirts of the city, resulted in the almost complete annihilation of the Jewish population. When the Soviet forces reached Lviv in 1944 driving out the Nazi occupation, only 200–300 Jews remained.

Controversy on facts

Holocaust scholars attribute the killing to Ukrainians under the direction of the Ukrainian nationalists.[7][8][9][10]

Russian sources are quite specific with regard to the pogroms. The Russian historian Sergei Chuyev wrote: "That on June 30 in Lviv the German administration started mass repressions. The commander of the "Einzatzgruppen C" Dr. Rasch had incriminated the death of those incarcerated in the Lviv jails to the "Jews from the NKVD" which became the spark for the terror against the Jews and Poles of Lviv. In the bloody murder of the Jews the Einsatzgruppen under the command of brigadeerfuhrer SS Karl Eberhard Schenhardt took prominence. The sections of this group under the command of H. Kruger and W. Kutshman on July 4 murdered 23 Polish professors and their families. On July 11 two more were killed, and later the former prime-minister of Poland, professor Bartel. In the Autumn of 1941 a ghetto was formed in Lviv"[11]

The initial number of 4,000 deaths was originally the number ascribed to the Ukrainian and Polish political prisoners who were killed in their cells by the Soviets during the Soviets' withdrawal. It seems to have wandered over to the Lviv pogrom.

An international commission was set up at The Hague in the Netherlands in 1958 to carry out independent investigations. The members were four former anti-Hitler activists: Norwegian lawyer Hans Cappelen, former Danish foreign minister and president of the Danish parliament Ole Bjørn Kraft, Dutch socialist Karel van Staal, Belgian law professor Flor Peeters, and Swiss jurist and member of parliament Kurt Scoch. Following its interrogation of a number of Ukrainian witnesses between November 1959 and March 1960, the commission concluded as follows:

After four months of inquiries and the evaluation of 232 statements by witnesses from all circles involved, it can be established that the accusations against the Battalion Nachtigall and against the then Lieutenant and currently Federal Minister Oberländer have no foundation in fact.[12]

A valuable source of a detailed study of archival documents of this period is de Zayas' book The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945 [13] Sections regarding the investigation of the Lviv atrocities are available online [1].

In Autumn 1959 the Soviet press mounted a major disinformation campaign against the then minister in the West German Adenauer cabinet, Theodor Oberländer, who in 1941 had been commander of the Nachtigall Battalion made up of a couple hundred Ukrainian volunteers. The Soviets accused him and the Ukrainian battalion of participating in the SS murders in Lviv. On 1959 September the Radianska Ukraina newspaper wrote:

Eighteen years ago the fascists committed a horrendous crime in Lviv in the night of 29 - 30 June 1941. The Hitlerites arrested on the basis of prepared lists hundreds of Communists, Communist youth, and non-party members and murdered them in brutal fashion in the courtyard of the Samarstinov Prison.

These accusations were picked up by the Western press and eventually led to Oberländer's resignation. The investigation by the district attorney's office in Bonn, however, completely cleared him.[14] Notwithstanding, the accusations against Oberländer and the Nachtigall Battalion have kept resurfacing in Western outlets.

References

  1. ^ a b Nakonechnyj Ye. Shoa u Lvovi - Lviv 2006 p. 99
  2. ^ yadvashem
  3. ^ Grzegorz Motyka, Ukraińska Partyzantka 1942-1960, Warszawa 2006, p. 98
  4. ^ "Lwów". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?ModuleId=10005171. Retrieved 2006. 
  5. ^ "July 25: Pogrom in Lwów". Chronology of the Holocaust. Yad Vashem. 2004. http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_holocaust/chronology/1939-1941/1941/chronology_1941_18.html. Retrieved 2006. 
  6. ^ Richard Breitman. Himmler and the 'Terrible Secret' among the Executioners. Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 26, No. 3/4, The Impact of Western Nationalisms: Essays Dedicated to Walter Z. Laqueur on the Occasion of His 70th Birthday (Sep., 1991), pp. 431-451
  7. ^ Gitelman, Zvi. (2001). "The Holocaust". A Century of Ambivalence: The Jews of Russia and the Soviet Union, 1881 to the Present. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 115–143. ISBN 0-253-21418-1. "The facts remain that in Lvov, two days after the Germans took over, a three-day pogrom by Ukrainians resulted in the killing of 6,000 Jews, mostly by uniformed Ukrainian "militia," in the Brygidky prison. July 25 was declared "Petliura Day," after the Ukrainian leader of the Civil War period who was assassinated by the son of the Jewish pogrom victims. Over 5,000 Jews were hunted down and most of them killed in honor of the "celebration." Emigres from Ukraine and Ukrainians from Poland were in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which pledged Hitler its "most loyal obedience" in building a Europe "free of Jews, Bolsheviks and plutocrats." 
  8. ^ Shmuel Spector. The Holocaust of Ukrainian Jews. In: Zvi Y. Gitelman. Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR. Indiana University Press, 1997.
  9. ^ Abraham J. Edelheit, Hershel Edelheit. History of the Holocaust: A Handbook and Dictionary. Westview Press, 1994.
  10. ^ Martin Dean. Collaboration in the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941–44. Macmillan, 1999.
  11. ^ * RUSSIAN:Chuyev, Sergei Ukrainskyj Legion - Moskva, 2006 p. 180.
  12. ^ LembergNKWEmassacres
  13. ^ Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000 edition. See The Lviv Massacre.
  14. ^ The Lviv Massacre








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