31. The Struggle for the Independence of Carpatho-Ukraine
I did not, at the appropriate time, have an opportunity to acquaint myself in more detail with the struggle of the westernmost part of the Ukrainian nation – our brothers beyond the Carpathians. The lot of this part of our nation was more harsh than of any other because circumstances of geography prevented its direct ties with Galicia, while political conditions put it under the rule of neighbors, who were stronger both politically and economically. I was, however, always interested in the Carpathian Ukrainians, and I was impressed with the ability of their leaders to take advantage of any weakness of their imperialist neighbors, particularly on the eve of World War II, and during the war.
When the Austro-Hungarian monarchy disintegrated after World War I, the local assembly of Carpatho-Ukraine (Krayevyi Soym) proclaimed unification with the Ukrainian National Republic on January 21, 1919. The victorious Allied powers, however, in continued disregard of the independence struggle of the Ukrainian nation, incorporated this part of Ukrainian ethnographic territory in the newly established republic of Czechoslovakia by the Treaty of Saint Germain concluded on September 10, 1919.
In the course of events affecting Czechoslovakia and initiated by Hitler, Carpatho-Ukraine took advantage of existing tensions, and on October 7, 1938, in pursuit of its struggle for political rights, proclaimed its autonomy within the Federated Czecho-Slovakian Republic. The Ukrainian Government was headed by Monsignor Dr. Augustine Voloshyn.
I had no direct contact or information on developments in Carpatho-Ukraine, but from what was then public knowledge, and from more detailed accounts given me by Dr. V. Kubiyovych, I can summarize the situation in that part of Ukraine as follows.
In the fall of 1938 the Government of Carpatho-Ukraine was faced with the necessity of organizing a defense force, and that is when the "Carpathian Sitch" came into existence, a substitute of an armed force. It became necessary to resist Hungarian attempts of conquest of Carpatho-Ukraine by force. Hungary based its claims to that land on extending its boundaries around it during the existence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The "Carpathian Sitch" turned into a real military force within a very short time, but, as was usually the case with Ukrainian armies, it lacked arms. In March 1939 the Hungarians began massing their troops on the southern border of Carpatho-Ukraine and appeals of the Government to the Central Government in Prague produced no response. The assembly of Carpatho-Ukraine proclaimed the independence of the Carpathian Ukrainian National Republic and elected Monsignor Dr. A. Voloshyn its President, and Julian Revay as Premier. At that time, Hungary was already in alliance with Nazi Germany, and Hitler personally intervened in this matter, demanding that President Voloshyn surrender Carpatho-Ukraine to Hungary. In answer to this, the Government of Carpatho-Ukraine ordered mobilization. Hungary put four divisions in the field against a total of 12,500 men (the entire army and police force of Carpatho-Ukraine). Ukrainian armed resistance was so strong that Hungary appealed for help to Poland and Rumania. In spite of these odds, the armed struggle continued until the end of March. Underground and partisan warfare, aided by the UPA, continued in Carpatho-Ukraine even after World War II. Although the Hungarians admired the heroic resistance of the Carpathian Army, they had no qualms about killing prisoners of war and civilians.
A long time after these events I had an opportunity to hear first-hand reports about the struggle and about Hungarian and Rumanian atrocities from Dr. S. Rosokha, an official of the Government of Carpatho-Ukraine. Hungary conquered the land, but after World War II it was "liberated" by the Russians.
32. My Wife's Story
“After you went to Berlin, I kept the theatre going showing pictures supplied by the German command. Skierniewice was subjected to heavier and more frequent bombing. The city was full of German troops, but they behaved fairly quietly. One day I saw among the Germans in the theatre several soldiers with shoulder parches "UVV" (Ukrainske Vyzvolne Viysko – Ukrainian Liberation Troops). I asked some of them from what part of Ukraine they came, and one of them answered: 'I am not a Ukrainian, we are from Kaluga. They ordered us to wear this brand, so we are wearing it.'
"Soviet troops entered Skierniewice on January 14, 1945 in the afternoon. I watched through the window and saw Soviet soldiers wearing rags of civilian clothes and with feet wrapped in more rags, go from house to house. A soldier came into our house and turned everything upside down, pulling out all drawers. When I asked him what he was looking for, he said: 'for a German.' He took all your underwear and some clothes and asked for food. I pointed to some bread and bacon in the cupboard, what was left of a barter deal for a pair of shoes. He saw a pickle, took it, and are it with bread. That night our former maid, Helen came running and told me to leave and hide because the Bolsheviks were looking for me. I was going to her home (she had married in the meantime), when one of the Polish non-coms of the 18th Infantry Regiment came running and brought me a pass issued by the Polish Underground with my name as Marianna Kowalska. He said that the Bolsheviks were looking for me all over, but that when they were asked for my address, all Poles replied that I had gone west. I went to Helen's home and spent the next two days there as her sick mother, but I was warned again that I must escape. They all advised me to go to Warsaw because it would be easier to get lost among the crowds there. In the bitter cold Helen's husband took me on a bicycle to the town of Wlochy near Warsaw, the trip taking 10 hours. My toes were frozen and I had to rub them with snow to get circulation back into them. It was very hard to find a place to sleep in Wlochy, but I finally found shelter in a hospital which was run by nuns. Next morning I went to the Warsaw suburb of Praga and looked up some Polish friends. They had a very small apartment and I lived in a room without windows until April. I was looking for work all over, but at the same time avoiding meeting anyone who would inform on me, even unwittingly. I could not get ration cards: for this it was necessary to join some Communist organization and accept work assigned by them. Finally I found work in a little grocery store, my wages were 100 zloty a month (enough to buy 3 pounds of bread) and room; in addition I had two meals a day, so-called coffee and bread. That summer was a very difficult time for me, working in the store I was wearing a worn overcoat and galoshes, my shoes had all worn out and it was impossible to buy anything, at least not with my pay. Late in August my guardians from the Polish Underground (P.P.) informed me that the Bolsheviks had picked up my trail. A wife of one of the officers picked me up and took me to another woman who also ran a small grocery store. I rested up a little there, and there the soldier sent by you for me found me after a long search. He took me out of Poland as a repatriating German. The trip was full of suspense and really close moments. On the way the Polish Security Police (U.B.) searched us an uncounted number of times, and the boy was beaten many times to admit who I was. This way we reached Berlin where we were put up by a German family for whom he had worked during the war. I could not leave Berlin because of my health and because of lack of documents. He went to you, leaving me with that German family who were very nice and hospitable. They fed me, since I had neither ration cards nor money. All this was in the Soviet zone of Berlin.
"Only in March 1946 a Ukrainian lady came to me to East Berlin and took me to West Berlin. The lady had been asked to take care of me by an American officer of Ukrainian descent. Lieutenant Ph. Hryhorchuk. He took care of me and told me that you had telegraphed him asking him to save me. Lt. Hryhorchuk brought food for me and the other lady every day, and after a lot of effort he was able to put me in an UNRRA camp. Later Lt. Hryhorchuk helped me get documents to travel to the British Zone in West Germany. It would take too much space to relate all my adventures during this period, particularly my trip west, which took nearly two and a half months.
"It might be interesting to add some comments on the way the people of Poland greeted the conquering Soviet troops, and that they came to realize within a few days of the new Soviet occupation that they had fallen into an abyss. It was quite understandable that following the inhuman terror, torture and mass liquidation of the Poles by the Germans, the people looked to Soviet troops as their liberators. I was told, that right on entering the city of Skierniewice (and this seems to have happened all over), the Bolsheviks began robbing the people of everything that had the slightest value. Women were raped, also small girls, and within two months nearly 10% of the women in Poland were infected with venereal disease. The Poles took out their revenge on the Bolsheviks. Every morning hundreds of corpses of Soviet soldiers killed with knives were found in the streets of Warsaw and other cities. And in spite of the inhuman behavior of the Germans, the Poles treated German soldiers with compassion when the Bolsheviks rounded up German prisoners of war and kept them behind barbed wire under the open sky without any food: the Poles, themselves near starvation, gave bread and food to the Germans saving them from death. Soviet robbery led to a new wave of hunger in Poland which affected even the soldiers. Soviet troops began to pilfer military property. For example, they would bring to the store where I was working drums of gasoline and kerosene, cigarettes, and soap, and sell them for a fraction of their value, just to get something to eat. There were many instances where Soviet soldiers sold horses to Polish peasants, mostly in barter for food. The peasants were glad to buy horses because the Germans had requisitioned them all. The Soviet trick, however, was that several hours later a different batch of Red Army men would come along and requisition the horses.
"Eyewitnesses told me that when the Soviet troops were entering Skierniewice hundreds of people went out into the streets and greeted them with raised arms. The soldiers, however, noticing rings on their fingers and watches on wrists, robbed them. "Give me your watch" was the word of greeting with which Soviet soldiers responded to a welcome. The phrase became so popular that when a newsreel was shown in Lodz with Roosevelt and Churchill meeting Stalin at Yalta, and Stalin extended his arm to Roosevelt, the entire audience shouted: 'give me the watch.'"
Note by the author: Mr. and Mrs. L. V. Serdyuk found a soldier late in November who volunteered to go to Poland and look for my wife. This soldier spoke German and Polish very well and could pretend that he was a Pole being repatriated from Germany, and in turn when he would be going back to Germany with my wife, they would pretend to be Germans. Good people helped a lot, particularly Mr. R. Toporovych, commandant of the camp in Karslfeld near Munich, and Mr. M. Duzhyi, commandant of the camp in Mittenwald who provided this soldier with valuable goods which he could use during his trip. He was successful and found my wife although I could not tell him where she was, but merely indicated how to look for her, and also gave him a password by which she would recognize him as a person to be trusted.
Early in January 1946 when I was with my brother who was in command of a camp at Offenbach near Frankfort, our Judge – Lt.-Col. I. Kuklovsky took me one evening to see the American Lieutenant, Ph. Hryhorchuk who was on his way home on furlough and wanted to meet and tell me some things that he knew about me. He had been a liaison officer and interpreter in the American High Command in Berlin. When order was restored in Berlin and the city was divided into zones, the American Command received a list of Ukrainian emigres from the Soviet Command demanding their surrender. The first name on the list was that of President A. Livytsky, followed by mine. I was charged with a number of criminal acts, while the others on the list, about two hundred in all, were merely accused of political crimes. At the suggestion of Lt. Hryhorchuk the American general asked the Soviet commandant to specify the criminal acts of which I was being accused, but the Russians dropped the subject entirely. Lt. Hryhorchuk gave me his Berlin address and said I could ask for his help when needed. This was again the hand of Divine Providence: when I got news of the whereabouts of my wife, I turned to Lt. Hryhorchuk through the American Command in Munich and he helped save her. I am profoundly grateful to Lt. Ph. Hryhorchuk for this.
I wish to add here that I had never been a Soviet citizen and my foot had never set on Soviet territory. While still in Ukraine, I was fighting them as occupants of my homeland.
How many times did I seek an answer to the tragic problem, particularly during the critical days: why were we not helped in our struggle for freedom? In this struggle when the Ukrainian people were baring their chests to an overwhelming enemy, and at the same time defending the West! Why did not those, in whose hands rested the opportunity once and for all to determine with finality the struggle of millions of peoples for political liberation from Moscow and for complete national statehood, consider the pleas and aspirations of those peoples? Where should we seek the genesis of aid extended by the West to all kinds of Russian imperialists like Denikin and Co.? All these western nations have, in the course of their own history, traversed the stage of struggle for national liberation, for the national and personal freedom of their people.
Is there really truth behind the German statement (Jurgens Thorwald) that "whom the gods will destroy, they punish with blindness?" Did not the leaders of the free world see in their blindness (a political blindness) that they were giving power to the threatening force to rise to a position of being able to destroy them and their nations?
If one hears sometimes that the West was harboring a conviction that the Ukrainians were identical Bolsheviks with the Moscow Bolsheviks, (thesis of Russian White guardists) how come they did not see a telling sign in the fact that those same Ukrainians were fighting Moscow?
The reason is difficult to find. Perhaps history will some day shed light on it. For it is hard to believe that Ukraine was refused aid and permitted to have untold, unnecessary, sacrifices in war through the influence of people like Milyukov, Sazonov, Izvolsky and Co. But if it were so, then Messrs. David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau and Company had been acting in conspiracy with those enemies of the Ukrainian nation and of other nations enslaved by Moscow, and they are guilty of bequeathing to the world a life of tension and uninterrupted worries. They bequeathed to the world the perverted idea of Marx, and the practices of Stalin and Hitler, and the future practices of Khrushchev. They were guilty of World War II, and if a new world cataclysm takes place, it will be their fault, too.
Does the Western world finally realize what it has to face in the future? Is there any hope that the era of blackmail will end someday, and mankind will be able to live in peace instead of having to think about constructing shelters and readying for the most difficult times? Continued uninterrupted tension and readiness for war will bring mankind to a nervous breakdown, with spiritual and material impoverishment.
All those who know the essence and method of action of Moscow imperialism which, in one form or another has always the same purposes, and under presently existing circumstances is characterized by a cynical disregard of the free world, keep warning of the danger. It must be noted, however, that the warnings are not heeded because more attention is paid to "expert advisers" with Americanized names instead of to voices of the nations who are in the vanguard of the struggle against red slavery in the shape of Moscow imperialism. Those advisers and the proponents of Russian indivisibility at all cost would gladly reconcile themselves with facts of annihilation of entire nations only for the sake of keeping Russia intact, be it called the USSR or any other name. They give approval, at least silent, to facts of destroying by hunger of the resistance of Ukrainians and others. Does the West realize that; "peasants (Ukrainian), who had once supplied half of Europe with grain, went to the cities for a piece of bread which was being taken away from them because they refused to be volunteer ants in a new slave order . . . cold peasant huts smitten by the hand of famine turned into huge coffins with swollen corpses. The peasants could not get up all day, they looked at their homes from which roofs had been torn off to heat soup made of weeds and ribs of the last cats and dogs in the village. The more healthy peasants went to the cities begging hopelessly for bread, city streets were thickly covered with corpses, thousands of them on sidewalks, in roadways, and in alleys. There were daily reports of instances of cannibalism. Near a small railroad station a factory was discovered making sausages from the flesh of children. Two barrels with salted meat were found – meat from children. There were also instances where mothers with several children would kill the younger and feed the older with their flesh – that's how they saved some..."26 All this was done on Stalin's orders in 1933 when over 6,000,000 Ukrainians perished in the famine. Nobody even protested. And the "genius" Stalin camouflaged the terror with a phrase "life is better, life is happier now."
Whole nations have been made to disappear, the Crimean and Volga Tatars, the freedom-loving peoples of the Caucasus and Turkestan: slowly made to disappear are the Baltic nations, the Komi, and others.
The whole world, and particularly the unfortunate nations in the "happy Soviet paradise" owe former President Harry S. Truman a debt of gratitude for his timely and excellent exposure of the Soviet political swindle, when he opposed the attack on Korea with arms.
Mention should be made of the fact that the Communists tried to destroy the Ukrainians by direct means. Working within the UNRRA and IRO they tried to get at those Ukrainians who had managed to flee the USSR and were now in DP camps. They had their agents in these institutions – also men in top positions, – e.g. Menshikov, but it was mainly through secret agents that the Soviets got their men installed as commandants or chiefs of DP camps. They used all possible means to compel Ukrainian and other DPs to go "back home." We are deeply grateful to General Lucius Clay who, as Commander of the American Zone in Germany looked into these matters, cleaned out the Communists, and halted the crimes being committed on the DPs.
The hand of the red conspiracy can be discerned all over. But now Moscow is looking for a way out by provoking a clash between the United States and China, Moscow fearing the latter's potential growth. In this instance a far-sighted United States policy should be able to see which way to direct this potential aggression of China, arising from ethnical necessities. The Russian historian and writer V. Soloviev foresaw the present situation in his novel "The Yellow Peril."
In perspective of time the world is facing, sooner or later, a contest of decision, and if the West will continue along the same road of concessions and compromises, in which Moscow is always the winner, and if it will have no political foresight or simply no political plan, then one does not have to be a prophet to see the final victory of communism.
Regarding the past which should be looked upon as the source of the present and of the future, it is necessary to state clearly today: if the Ukrainian people had been given help in their struggle, and if such help had been forthcoming to other nations, there would have been no World War II because there would have been no Bolsheviks nor Stalin to help Hitler rise to power. There would be no Bolshevism if the West had not permitted the Moscow imperialists to conquer Ukraine. Haven't these events taught us a lesson?
 "Paradise" - Wasyl Barka; published by "Svoboda" 1953 N.Y.