Roman Shukhevych: Wikis


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Roman Shukhevych
June 30, 1907 – March 5, 1950 (aged 42)
Roman Shukhevych
Nickname Taras Chuprynka
Place of birth Krakovets, Galicia, Austria–Hungary
Place of death Lviv, Ukraine
Allegiance OUN-B
Service/branch Ukrainian Insurgent Army
Years of service 1928-1950
Rank General
Battles/wars World War II
Awards Hero of Ukraine

Roman Shukhevych (Ukrainian: Роман Шухевич; also known by his pseudonym Taras Chuprynka) (June 30, 1907 — March 5, 1950) was a Ukrainian politician and military leader, the leader of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. In 2007, he was posthumously awarded the title "Hero of Ukraine", the country's highest honor.




Roman Shukhevych was born in the city of Krakovets, Jaworow powiat, in Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria which is located today between Lviv and the Ukrainian-Polish border. He was christened with the middle name Taras. Both parents were involved with the Ukrainian national revival in the 19th century. The family lays claim to dozens of active community activists in politics, music, science and art. Shukhevych received his early education outside of Lviv. He returned to Lviv to study at the gymnasium there living with his grandfather, an ethnographer. His political formation was influenced by Yevhen Konovaletz - the commander of the Ukrainian Military organization who rented out a room in his fathers house from 1921-22.[1]


In October 1926, Shukhevych entered the Lviv Politechnic Institute to study civil engineering.[2] In July 1934 he completed his studies with an engineering degree. At this time he was known for his athletic abilities for which he won numerous awards.[3] He was also an accomplished musician and with his brother Yuri completed studies in piano and voice a the Lysenko Music Institute. He sang solo on occasions with his brother in the Lviv opera.


During his student years in the Gymnasium, Roman became an active member of the Ukrainian Scouting organization Plast. Was a member of Lisovi Chorty. He organized Plast groups and founded the "Chornomortsi" (Black Sea Cossacks) kurin in 1927.[4]

Military training

From 1928-1929, Roman did his military service in the Polish Army. As a tertiary student, he was sent automatically for officer training, however he was deemed unreliable, and completed his military service as a private in the artillery in Volhynia.

Activity in the Ukrainian Military Organization

In 1925, Roman joined the Ukrainian Military Organization UVO. In 1926, Shukhevych was ordered to assassinate the Lviv school superintendent Stanisław Sobiński accused of polonization of Ukrainian education system.The assassination was carried out by Roman Shukhevych and Bohdan Pidhainy on October 19, 1926.[5]

In February 1929, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was founded in Vienna. Shukhevych under the name "Dzvin" (Bell) became a representative of the Ukrainian Executive.

He was one of the leaders during the wave of sabotage attacks against Polish properties and homes in Galicia in 1930 [6] intended to provoke Polish authorities to retaliation [7] and radicalise Ukrainian society.[6] Polish administration retaliated with a process of "pacification" which intensified anti-Polish sentiment and increase in interest in Ukrainian nationalism.

Shukhevych continued to plan and also participate in terrorist activities and assassinations (sometimes claimed by Ukrainian Nationalists to be an acts of protest against anti-Ukrainian policies). These included:

  • The co-ordination of a series of expropriations from Polish government offices in order to fund continued insurrection in the struggle for Ukrainian national determination, i.e. bank robberies and assaults on postal offices or wagons.[8 ]
  • The assassination of Tadeusz Hołówko conducted on September 1 1931. Hołówko was known ukrainophil and advocate of cultural autonomy for Ukrainians. His murder caused a shock and was condemned by both societies.[8 ]
  • The assassination on March 22 1932 of the Police commissioner Czechowski
  • The unsuccessful assassination of the Soviet consul in Lviv as a protest for the Holodomor in Central Ukraine which was done by Mykola Lemyk who mistakenly [9] assassinated the Special emissary of the NKVD Alexiy Mayov.
  • The assassination of the minister of internal affairs Bronisław Pieracki, who was declared by the OUN to be the main person responsible for organizing and executing the "pacification" and called the "hangman of the Ukrainian nation".[10] The assassination was carried out July 15, 1934 in Warsaw by Hryts Matseiko.[11]
  • 30 November 1932 Shukhevych participated in an assault on the post office in Gródek Jagielloński,[12] where a number of innocent civilians were killed.

Shukhevych together with Stepan Bandera, Stepan Lenkavsky, Yaroslav Stetsko, Yaroslav Starukh and others developed the concept of "permanent revolution". According to their thesis the Ukrainian people being exploited by an occupier could only obtain freedom through continued pressure on the enemy. As a result the OUN took on the responsibility of preparing for an All-Ukrainian revolt. Shukhevych propagated the ideas that the revolution was an uncompromising conflict. The goal of this action was to educate the people to overcome the foe.

Shukhevych took an active part in developing a concept regarding the formation of a Ukrainian army. At that time two diametrically opposed arguments existed. The first was to form a Ukrainian army in the Ukrainian emigration, the second, a national army to be formed in Western Ukraine organized by Ukrainians.[13]

Arrest and Confinement

In July 1934, mass arrests took place regarding the death of Bronisław Pieracki. On July 18 Shukhevych was arrested and July 6-7 he was sent to the Bereza Kartuska Concentration Camp.[14] In camp he organized a Ukrainian self-defense group. In December 1935 he was acquitted and released from the camp for lack of evidence.

During the Warsaw process against the OUN (November 18, 1935 - January 13, 1936) he was called as a witness. Shukhevych stood by his right to speak in Ukrainian for which he was fined 200 zloty. After greeting the court with the call "Glory to Ukraine" was once again interred.[15]

From January 19, 1935 Shukhevych was confined to the Bryhidka jail in Lviv.[16] He was incriminated for his membership in the Regional executive of the OUN. The lawyer in the process was his uncle: Stepan Shukhevych. Shukhevych was sentenced to 3 years in jail, however, because of the 1935 amnesty he was released from jail after spending half a year in the Bereza Kartuska Concentration Camp [17] and two years in prison.[18]

After being released in 1937, Shukhevych set up an advertising cooperative in March called "Fama" which became a front for the activities of the OUN. Soon outlets were set up throughout Galicia, Volyn and within Poland itself. The workers of the company were members of the OUN, often recently released political prisoners. The company was very successful and had sections working with the press and film, publishing booklets, printing posters, selling mineral water, compiling address listings and also opened its own transportation section.[19]

Carpathian Ukraine

In November 1938, Carpatho-Ukraine gained autonomy within the Czecho-Slovak state. Shukhevych organized financial aid for the government of the fledgling republic and sent OUN members to set up the Carpathian Sich. In December 1938, he illegally crossed the border from Poland into Czechoslovakia, traveling to the Ukrainian city of Khust.[20] There, with the aid of local OUN members and German intelligence, he set up the General headquarters for the fight against the Czecho-Slovak central government.

Moreover, in the January 1939 the OUN decided to throw off the autonomous government, which seemed too much pro-Czechoslovak to them. The coup d'état attempt occurred in the night of March 13.-14., in the relation to the proclamation of Slovak independence, managed by Germany. With help of sympathizers among the police the insurgents led by Shukhevych gained the weapons of the gendarmerie, but their assaults on garrisons of Czechslovak army failed. Just in the Khust 11 OUN fighters were killed and 51 captured.[21] However, after the Slovak proclamation of independence on March 14 and Nazi's seizure of Czech lands on March 15, Carpatho-Ukraine was immediately invaded and annexed by Hungary. Shukhevych took an active part in the short-term armed conflict with Hungarian forces and was almost killed in one of the actions.

After the occupation of Carpathian Ukraine by Hungary was done, Shukhevych traveled through Romania and Yugoslavia to Austria, where he consulted with OUN commanders and was given new orders and sent to Danzig to carry out subversive activities.[22]

Activities during the Second World War

In the Fall of 1939 Shukhevych moved to Kraków with his family where he acted as the contact for the Ukrainian Nationalist Command directed by Andriy Melnyk. He organized the illegal transportation of documents and materials across the Soviet-German border and collected information about OUN activities in Ukraine.

The new political realities required new forms of activity. The Command of the Ukrainian Nationalists could not come to a unified agreement regarding tactics. As a result on February 10, 1940 the organization in Krakow split into two factions - one lead by Stepan Bandera and the other by Andriy Melnyk. Shukhevych became a member the Revolutionary Command of the OUN headed by Bandera, taking charge of the section dealing with territories claimed by the Ukrainians, which after the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact had been seized by Germany (Pidliashshia, Kholm, Nadsiania and Lemkivshchyna).

A powerful web was formed for the preparation of underground activities in Ukraine. Paramilitary training courses were set up. Military cadres were prepared which were to command a future Ukrainian army. Shukhevych prepared the II Great congress of the OUN which took place in April 1941.[23]

In the spring of 1941 the Command of the OUN negotiated with the Germans to train Ukrainians to fight against the Soviets in Ukraine. Shukhevych agreed to command the DUN (Team of Ukrainian Nationalists) with the understanding that the Legion would become the basis for a future Ukrainian army. In April 1941 he collected 330 volunteers which were organized into 3 companies. One of the companies became known as Nachtigall Battalion, a second became the Roland Battalion, a third was involved in policing duties.

After intensive training the Ukrainian legion traveled to Riashiv on June 18, and entered Lviv on June 30, where the Act for the re-establishment of Ukrainian Statehood was proclaimed. The German administration however did not support this act. Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko after refusing to retract their proclamation were arrested. The division had stayed in Lviv for only 7 days before continuing its march to the East, however upon hearing of the arrests the Legion which was at that time in Vinnytsia refused to fight for the Germans.[24] As a result, Shukhevych was interned and the Legion was transported to Germany.

In Germany, the Ukrainian combatants were reorganized into the 201 Defense Battalion and given individual contracts that required the combatants to serve for one additional year. On February 16, 1942 the Battalion was sent to Belarus where it served in the region around the town of Borovka for the defense of Military objects against Soviet Partisan attack. With the expiration of the one year contract all the Ukrainian soldiers refused to renew their services. On January 6, 1943 they were sent to Lviv where they arrived January 8. Roman Shukhevych escaped from arrest by the Gestapo.[25]

Controversy regarding the Nachtigall Battalion

In June-July 1941 it is estimated that over 4,000 Jews were murdered in pogroms in Lviv and other cities in Western Ukraine.

There is some controversy regarding the participation of the Nachtigall Battalion and Roman Shukhevych in these atrocities.

For a more detailed evaluation of these allegations see Controversy regarding the Nachtigall Battalion.

For information on the massacre of Lviv professors, see Massacre of Lviv professors.

Participation in massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Galicia

In late 1942, Ukrainian nationalist groups began campaign of ethnic cleansing of Volhynia, and in early 1944, these campaigns began to include Eastern Galicia. It is alleged that up to 100,000 Polish civilians were murdered, by Ukrainian groups, including the OUN-Bandera, led by Mykola Lebed and then Shukhevych[26]. Shukhevych commanded the UPA during the time when some of those massacres occurred. Prior to his command of UPA, in German service he commanded a unit, the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 201, which may have been involved in murdering Poles and Jews (while no-one has studied this battalion specifically, ones similar to it were involved in such crimes, and Shukhevych's battalion deserves further study).[27]

In August 1943, during III OUN Convention Shukhevych accepted "Volhynia stategy" (ethnic cleansing) against Poles realised by Dmytro Klyachkivsky. As the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army he continued anti-Polish action in Eastern Lesser Poland (Eastern Galicia). In April 1944, main Command of UIA ordered massive ethnic cleansing of Poles from Galicia.[28]

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army

After escaping from German custody Shukhevych once again headed the Military section of the OUN. In May he became a member of the leadership of the OUN and in time the head. In August 1943 at the III Special Congress of the OUN he was elected head of the Direction of the OUN and Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army known as UPA.

Under Shukhevych's leadership the evolution of the program for which the OUN fought was further refined. These were:

  • against all forms of totalitarian systems
  • for the construction of a democratic state system in Ukraine
  • the right for self determination against empire and imperialism.[29]

The Insurgent Army was joined by various people from the Caucasus and Central Asia who had fought in German formations. The rise of non-Ukrainians in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army gave stimulus to the special conference for Captive Nations of Europe and Asia which took place November 21-22 1943 in Buderazh, not far from Rivne. The agenda included the formation of a unified plan for the attack against occupational forces.[30]

During the period of German occupation Shukhevych spent most of his time fighting in the forests, and from August 1944 under the Soviet occupation living in various villages in Western Ukraine. In order to unite all Ukrainian national forces to fight for Ukrainian independence Shukhevych organized a meeting between all the Ukrainian political parties. As a result the Ukrainian Supreme Liberation Council (UHVR) was formed.

Shukhеvych died in combat with special units of the MVD near Lviv on March 5, 1950. He was succeeded as leader of UPA by Vasyl Kuk.


Soviet authorities applied the rationale of collective guilt and persecuted all the members of the Shukhevych family. Roman's brother Yuri was murdered at Lviv's Bryhidka Prison just before the German occupation of Lviv. His mother Yevhenia and his wife, Nataliya Berezynska, were exiled to Siberia. His son Yuri Shukhevych and daughter Mariyka were placed in an orphanage.

According to NKVD officers' memoirs, Roman Shukhevych's body was transported out of Ukraine, burned, and the ashes scattered. This was done on the left bank of the Zbruch River. The unburned remains were thrown into the Zbruch. A commemorative stone cross was erected there in 2003.

Participation of Shukhevych family in rescue of Jewish girl Irene Reichenberg

From September 1942 till February 1943 Natalia Shukhevych, wife of the UPA Head Commander Roman Shukhevych, sheltered in her house a Jewish girl Irene Reichenberg, a neighbor's daughter (other transcription: Reisinberg, Reitenberg), who was just 7 years old at that time.[31] [32] [33] [34]

According to Yuri Shukhevych, at the beginning of the World War II their family lived in Lviv on Queen Yadvyga Street, where their neighbour was a Jewish family of Wolf and Ruzha Reichenberg who owned a textile shop. Nazis shot their older daughter Irma in the street in 1942. Her younger sister Irene lived with Shukhevych family for a certain period of time while preparing for school.[35] ,[36]

Roman Shukhevych used his connections to provide the girl with new documents in the Ukrainian name of Iryna Vasylivna Ryzhko. Girl's actual birth year was changed from 1936 to 1937.[37] [38] In her new documents Iryna was indicated as a daughter of a Red Army officer killed early in the war.

After arrest of Natalia Shukhevych in 1943 by Gestapo, Roman Shukhevych succeeded to take a girl to the orphan shelter at the Ukrainian greek-catholic Convent of Vasilianky in the village of Phylypove, near the township of Kulykiv in 30 kilometres from Lviv, where Irene remained till the end of the World War II surviving German occupation and Holocaust.[39] [40] In 1956 Irene sent a letter with her picture to the prioress of the monastery.

After the war Iryna lived in Ukraine and died in 2007 in Kiev at the age of 72. Her son Vladimir still lives in Kiev. Yuri Shukhevych met with him after his mothers death.[33]

Reichenberg family is mentioned in the list of nazi's victims at Yad Vashem memorial in Israel.

According to the German sources and Gestapo members of OUN and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) from time to time hid Jews by providing them with proper documentation, in particular to those who co-operated or somehow assisted OUN and UPA.


Ukrainian postage stamp honoring Roman Shukhevych on 100th anniversary (2007) of his birth.

He was portrayed by Ukrainian-Canadian actor Hryhoriy Hladiy in the Ukrainian film Neskorenyi (The Undefeated)[41]. On October 23, 2001 the Lviv Historic Museum converted the house in which Shukhevych was killed into a memorial museum.[42]

Postage stamps and coins have been minted in his honour of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Posthumously, he was awarded the UPA's highest decorations: the Gold Cross of Combat Merit First Class and the Cross of Merit in gold.[43] Roman Shukhevych was posthumously conferred the title of Hero of Ukraine by President Yushchenko on October 12, 2007.[44] On Shukhevych's birthday remembrance mass meetings took place in various Ukrainian cities.[45]


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  4. ^ Кравців Б. Людина і вояк // Збірник на пошану ген. Романа Шухевича. — Мюнхен — Лондон: Українська Видавнича Спілка, Український Інститут Освітньої Політики, 1990. — С. 93 — 95.(Kravtsiv B. Person and warrior - Collection in honour of Roman Shukhevych. Munich-London, Ukrainian Publishers union, Ukrainian Institute of Political Education, 1990, p. 93
  5. ^ (Polish) G. Motyka, Ukraińska partyzantka, 1942-1960, PAN, 2006, p. 43
  6. ^ a b Timothy Snyder, Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine, Yale University Press, 2007, p. 75 [1]
  7. ^ R. J. Crampton, Eastern Europe in the twentieth century, Routledge, 1994, p. 50 [2]
  8. ^ a b (Polish) G. Motyka, Ukraińska partyzantka, 1942-1960, PAN, 2006, p. 58
  9. ^ (Polish) G. Motyka, Ukraińska partyzantka 1942-1960, PAN, 2006, p. 60
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  17. ^ Encyclopedia of Ukraine,
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  19. ^ Чайківський Б. «Фама». Рекламна фірма Романа Шухевича / Науковий редактор і упорядник В. Кук, М. Посівнич. — Львів: Медицина світу, 2005. — С. 39 — 65. (Chaikivsky B. "Fama". The advertising agency of Roman Shukhevych. Edited and collected by V. Kuk, M. Posivnych, Lviv: Medical World, 2005 P. 39-65)
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  23. ^ Дужий П. Роман Шухевич — політик, воїн, громадянин. — Львів: Галицька видавнича спілка, 1998. — С. 57 — 60. (Duzhyj, P. Roman Shukhevych - Politician, warrior, community leader - Lviv: Galician publishers Union, 1998 p. 57-60
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  26. ^ Timothy Snyder, The Reconstruction of Nations, page 164
  27. ^ John-Paul Himka, True and False Lessons from the Nachtigall Episode
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  31. ^ | Україна | Євреї в УПА? at
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  33. ^ a b Новинар » Україна » Розсекречення архівів: Євреї відстоювали незалежність України at
  34. ^ «В поисках истины. На звание мирового праведника претендует Роман Шухевич » :: at
  35. ^ Головна at
  36. ^ Роман Шухевич будет признан "Праведником мира" - Форуми at
  37. ^ Óêðà¿íñüêî-ºâðåéñüê³ áóðæóàçí³ íàö³îíàë³ñòè » Àãåíöiÿ ãðîìàäñüêèõ òà ïîëiòè÷íèõ íîâèí "Ìåäià Êðèì" at
  38. ^ Служба безпеки України at
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  40. ^ Бійці УПА, євреї - гідно билися за незалежність України. Ми - це пам'ятаємо at
  41. ^ "Тhe Undefeated" Photo Album, UKEMONDE.COM
  42. ^ Тимчасовий устрій УГВР // Літопис Української Повстанської Армії. — Львів, 1992. — Т. 8: Українська Головна Визвольна Рада. — Книга перша, 1944 — 1945. — С. 31 — 32. The interim government of the UHVR // Chronicles of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, 1945 P. 31-32)
  43. ^ Display Page
  44. ^ President.Gov.Ua
  45. ^ Events by themes: Solemn procession to Roman Shukhevich’s birthday took place in Zaporozhye, UNIAN (July 1, 2009)

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