Taras Rebikov – UOJ – 11/2/2020
In Ivano-Frankivsk, a bishop of the UGCC performed a funeral service for an SS Division “Galicia” veteran in the presence of people in Nazi uniform. Causes & effects.
On January 28, 2020, in Ivano-Frankivsk, a solemn funeral service was held for the SS Division “Galicia” veteran and OUN activist Mikhail Mulik. The event was attended by the mayor of the city Ruslan Martsinkiv, a member of the “Svoboda” party, and the head of the regional council Alexander Sych. The funeral service for the former Nazi was performed by the Uniate Bishop Vladimir Viytyshin. At the mourning ceremony, an honor guard dressed in Nazi military uniform was placed next to the coffin.
The fact of the solemn funeral of a member of the Nazi division caused outrage in social networks.
In particular, the head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Eduard Dolinsky wrote on his Facebook page: “Why is the solemn funeral of an SS veteran in Ivano-Frankivsk a satanic ritual? Because 70 thousand people, including 50 thousand Jews, lived in this city and its vicinity in 1941. People in the Nazi uniform worn by the deceased massacred these 50 thousand women, men, and children – almost the entire population of the city. The solemn funeral of the Nazi, his burial on the Walk of Fame, the participation of officials, the clergy of the UGCC, people in SS uniform – this is another murder of Stanislav Jews, a wild outrage to their holy memory and the memory of those who gave their lives in the fight against Nazism, and violation of Ukrainian laws! Neither authorities nor law enforcement agencies reacted to this!”
And the MP from the “Servant of the People” party Maxim Buzhansky wrote on his Telegram channel: “Exactly on the same day when the President of Ukraine speaks to the surviving prisoners of Auschwitz in Poland, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk sees the honorary citizen of the city, a veteran of the SS Division ‘Galicia’, to his final journey. No, folks, it won’t work that way. Either prisoners of concentration camps or honored SS men, one of two, we cannot have both. It’s time to make your minds up.”
In response, Ruslan Martsinkiv, addressing Buzhansky, said: “Probably, we have different Ukraine! One is Ukrainian, the other – pro-Moscow, Little Russian! I’ll tell you a secret – my grandfather was also a soldier of the UD “Galicia” and I am proud of it! For many guys then it was an opportunity to revive the Sich Riflemen!”
Moreover, he announced that one of the streets of Ivano-Frankivsk would be named after Mulik, which, according to Buzhansky, is direct propaganda of Nazism: “The mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk wants to name the street after a veteran of the SS division. Precisely in relation to the division, not just as a citizen. Excuse me, if this is not the propaganda of Nazism, then what is propaganda?”
SS “Galicia” and Nazi Germany
Now many Ukrainian “patriots” say that the SS Division “Galicia” did not have anything to do with the Nazi military forces but was just a patriotic Ukrainian formation uninvolved in the crimes of Nazi Germany.
It is enough to recall the statements of the former head of the Institute of National Memory Vladimir Viatrovich, who stated that the symbols of the SS “Galicia” do not even fall under the Ukrainian law “On the condemnation of communist and national socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regimes in Ukraine and the prohibition of propaganda of their symbolism”. Viatrovich suggests that Ukrainians should believe not their own eyes, which see Nazi symbols on the soldiers of the SS “Galicia”, but his words.
Therefore, let us remember what the “patriotic” SS “Galicia” did during the years of its existence?
The 14th SS Grenadier Division “Galicia” (1st Galician, German 14th Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (galizische Nr. 1)) was part of the SS troops of Nazi Germany. In fact, since its foundation in 1943, even at the training stage, the divisional forces participated in punitive operations in southeastern Poland and Galicia.
“The solemn funeral of the Nazi, his burial on the Walk of Fame, the participation of officials, the clergy of the UGCC, people in SS uniform – this is another murder of Stanislav Jews, a wild outrage to their holy memory and the memory of those who gave their lives in the fight against Nazism, and violation of Ukrainian laws!”
Eduard Dolinsky, head of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee
According to Polish and Ukrainian history commissions, in February 1944, the 4th Galician subunit of the SS Volunteer Division “Galicia”, with the assistance of the UPA and the Ukrainian police, took part in the destruction of the Polish village of Huta Pieniacka, where 172 houses were burned and more than a thousand civilians were massacred, among which 500 people, including women and children, simply burned alive.
On March 12, 1944, in the town of Podkamień, representatives of the SS “Galicia” murdered all the Poles who had taken refuge in the territory of the local Dominican monastery. After this, a massacre began in the city. The SS men demanded that each resident showed an identification card, and if the word “Pole” was written in the “nationality” column, they would kill him. In total, within a few days, the SS “Galicia” and UPA (the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) members killed 250 people.
UPA members and SS “Galicia” units killed civilians in other places: Mala Berezovytsia (131 murdered), Lapivtsy (80), Korostiatyn (78), Bychkovitsy (73), Germakivka (30) and several others.
In February 1944, units of the SS Division “Galicia” destroyed a number of settlements, part of the civilian population was murdered.
The division also participated in the “pacification” of Polish villages: Witsin, Palikrovy, Malinsk, Chernitsa, Yasenitsa Polska, Kamianka Strumilova, Budki Neznanovsky, Pavlovо and Chatki.
In 2016, the Polish Parliament qualified the crimes of the SS Division “Galicia” soldiers against the Polish population, massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, as genocide.
OUN, SS “Galicia” and the extermination of Jews
Modern Ukrainian nationalists deny that Nazi ideas about the need to exterminate the Jews and the superiority of one race over all others flourished in the ranks of the OUN UPA and SS Division “Galicia”.
However, according to German historian Dieter Paul, there is a high probability that SS “Galicia” soldiers participated in raids for Jews in Brody in February 1944. This is not surprising if we recall that in May 1944, Heinrich Himmler, inspecting the SS Division “Galicia”, called on the Galician members of the formation to fight the “Jewish-Bolshevik hordes”.
A few years before, Yaroslav Stetsko, OUN leader Stepan Bandera’s deputy and prime minister of the Ukrainian State proclaimed in 1941, wrote in his autobiography: “I consider the role of the Yids to be undeniably harmful and hostile since they help Moscow enslave Ukraine. Therefore, I stand on the principles of the extermination of Jews and the desirability of transferring to Ukraine the German methods of the extermination of Jewry.”
In the OUN newspaper “Ukrainian Word”, published from September 1941, anti-Semitic theses were found in almost every issue. For example, on October 2, Ivan Rogach, Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, a member of the OUN unit, published an article entitled “The Main Enemy of Ukraine is Yids”. The article dated October 9 said that Jews were trying by all means to avoid fair punishment: “They pretend to be Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Bulgarians. But Ukrainian patriots will not allow them to do this.”
“I consider the role of the Yids to be undeniably harmful and hostile since they help Moscow enslave Ukraine. Therefore, I stand on the principles of the extermination of Jews and the desirability of transferring to Ukraine the German methods of the extermination of Jewry.”
Yaroslav Stetsko, Prime Minister of the Ukrainian State proclaimed in 1941
Despite the disputes of historians, whether representatives of the OUN-UPA participated in the extermination of Jews in Babi Yar, more and more facts indicate that they were there. That is why, on September 27, 2019, speaking in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that the OUN took part in the murders of Jews in Babi Yar, and also accused Ukrainian nationalists of collaborating with the Nazis and of anti-Semitic ideology: “Many of the accomplices in crimes were Ukrainians. And among them, OUN fighters especially stood out. They abused the Jews, killed them and in many cases gave them out to Germans.”
All attempts to prove that, in fact, the OUN-UPA opposed the Nazis, and the SS “Galicia” hatched plans to create their own army to achieve the independence of Ukraine, do not withstand the slightest criticism. Historical facts indicate the opposite: both Ukrainian nationalists and the SS “Galicia” were engaged in ethnic cleansing in relation to both Poles and Jews.
The number of civilian victims who died at the hands of members of this Nazi division is estimated in thousands, including children, women and the elderly.
SS “Galicia” and the UGCC
Certainly, every person deserves a Christian farewell unless he himself has renounced the Church. And the funeral service for a member of the SS Division “Galicia” by Ukrainian Uniates is not surprising.
However, there are details that clearly show exactly how the leadership of the UGCC relates to members of Nazi forces.
Mikhail Mulik was not buried by an ordinary priest – the ceremony was headed by the head of the Ivano-Frankivsk Metropolis of the UGCC, Archbishop Vladimir Viytyshin.
The Ivano-Frankivsk diocese of the UGCC posted information about the requiem on the official website. However, for some reason, the press service did not indicate in the headline that the SS Division “Galicia” was part of Nazi military forces.
Another interesting point: the press service of the UGCC comfortably published a photo in which the head of the diocese performs a funeral service for a member of the Nazi division in the presence of people in Nazi uniform.
Of course, we can assume that for Viytyshin these personalities were an unpleasant surprise. However, as an opponent of Nazism, he could tell the organizers of the ceremony that he could not start the ceremony in the presence of personalities with Nazi symbols. And if the UGCC hierarch did not do this, do we have the right to assume that the Uniates do not mind Nazi ideas at all?
It seems that we do have the right.
“Many accomplices in crimes were Ukrainians. And among them, OUN fighters especially stood out. They abused the Jews, killed them and in many cases gave them out to Germans.”
Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel
Throughout the entire existence of independent Ukraine, as well as the time that has passed since the creation of the SS “Galicia”, we have not heard from the lips of the representatives of the UGCC a single word condemning the atrocities committed by members of this division. On the contrary, the Ukrainian Uniates constantly emphasize that the people who fought in the Nazi army of Germany struggled for the independence of Ukraine, and the UGCC itself has nothing to do with the collaboration with the Nazis.
However, history suggests otherwise. In a message on the occasion of the entry of the Nazis into Lviv, the head of the UGCC, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky, declared: “We welcome the victorious German army with joy and gratitude for liberation from the enemy.” In a personal message to Adolf Hitler, Sheptytsky wrote: “As the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, I give Your Excellency my heartfelt congratulation on the seizure of the capital of Ukraine, the golden-domed Kiev! <…> I will pray to God for the blessing of victory, which will guarantee a lasting peace for Your Excellency, the German Army, and the German People.”
It is known that the Uniates took an active part in the creation of the SS Division “Galicia”. In particular, the priest Vasil Laba, who became the SS Sturmbahnfuhrer from November 1943, stated in a sermon: “We rejoice because, with the consent of the Fuhrer of Great Germany, we got the opportunity to create a riflemen division. <…> In the fight shoulder to shoulder with the heroic German soldier, the Ukrainian warrior will join in the victories.” Laba himself was appointed confessor of the division, and another 15 priests – SS “Galicia” chaplains.
So, the participation of the higher Uniate clergy in the funeral of the Nazi collaborator is not surprising. The UGCC supported Nazi Germany, and some of its representatives still support Nazi ideology.
* * *
We live in an atmosphere of lies. In Ukraine, the propaganda of Nazi and fascist symbols is prohibited at the legislative level. However, in practice, we see that no one is reacting to its use, and Ukrainian officials are proud that their ancestors served in the SS Division “Galicia” and participate in the funeral of former Nazi accomplice. They are not embarrassed to see people with SS stripes “deadhead” and in Nazi uniform near the coffin with the deceased. They are not embarrassed by the fact that at one time other people, dressed in the same uniform, exterminated thousands of civilians in the territories of modern Poland and Ukraine. They are not embarrassed that the Nazi troops, which the SS Division “Galicia” was a part of, destroyed millions of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and Jews in our country. And this is despite the fact that Germany itself is ashamed of the Nazi period in its history and takes a hard line even on hints of Nazi ideas and Nazi symbols.
But it is even worse that these facts do not contradict the Christian conscience (if any) of the UGCC representatives. Their deeds speak louder than words. The head of the Uniates Sviatoslav Shevchuk apologizes to the Poles on behalf of the “Ukrainian Church and Ukrainian people” for the Volyn massacre committed by the OUN-UPA (whose ranks were replenished by many former members of the SS Division “Galicia”), while the bishop of his church stands near the coffin with an honor guard in SS uniform.
And the problem is not so much in the cunning and duplicity of the Uniates regarding the topic of Nazism and the crimes of the Nazis but in the psychology of duplicity and cunning that through them quickly spreads throughout Ukraine. The problem is that many of the Ukrainians live like in a bad dream when it is no longer possible to distinguish truth from half-truth and lies. When it’s convenient, we notice Nazism, when it’s uncomfortable, we don’t notice it. Moreover, we heroize the participants of the Nazi forces only because they are conveniently viewed as patriots. But the truth is very simple.
- Ukrainian nationalists collaborated with the German Nazis;
- Ukrainian nationalists supported Nazi ideas to destroy the Jewish nation and personally participated in the extermination of Jews;
- Part of the Western Ukrainian population served in the unit of the military forces of the Third Reich SS Division “Galicia”;
- The UGCC obviously supported and spiritually guided both the OUN, the SS “Galicia”, and the UPA.
Nazism has long been condemned around the world as a hateful ideology that has led to terrible crimes. Condemned primarily in Germany – the country that generated Nazism. And they did this first and foremost to prevent the repetition and revival of Nazi ideas.
Certainly, for some Ukrainians, it is very unpleasant to realize that their father or grandfather could adhere to Nazi ideology and be involved in Nazi crimes. However, pretending that they are, in fact, heroes is hardly honest and correct. The same applies to the non-public position of the Uniates.
Now, much is said about the search for unity among Ukrainians, and this is surely true. But any unity can be based only on the truth. The most frequently used words of the Bible after the word “love” are “truth” and “non-lie”.
Christ says: “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.” (Luke 8, 17).
An integral part of the spiritual Christian life is repentance, without which it is impossible to move forward. And repentance (changing the mind) is possible only when we tell ourselves the truth: not to hide, not to stretch the truth, to call sin a sin, to fight it and defeat it.
If for some reason it is uncomfortable and intolerant to tell the truth to ourselves and others, then we run the risk of remaining in wickedness, and perhaps even with the wicked. But then you should not call yourselves Christians.