The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has uncovered documents that indicate that the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) was not implicated in anti-Jewish actions in Lviv in July 1941. According to a UNIAN report, during public historical hearings held last week, the historian Oleksandr Ishchuk, who works at the Branch State Archive (HDA) of the SBU, unveiled unique documents that destroy the myths about the OUN’s connection with acts of violence against civilian residents of Lviv in July 1941.
Ishchuk noted that a document entitled “To the Book of Facts” was preserved in the SBU archive. It covers the period from June 22 to September 1941. According to the researcher, it was a miracle that the document remained untouched among the archival materials about the OUN, which had been confiscated by state security agents of the Ukrainian SSR from killed and arrested members of the OUN underground. The researcher noted that the state security agents had placed the document into the middle of a file, probably in order to hamper its possible discovery. In the list of the file’s contents the uncovered material was merely called “A Document in the Ukrainian Language” to avoid attracting attention.
According to Ishchuk the document states the following: On July 4-7, 1941, a number of Gestapo officers arrived in Lviv and contacted Ukrainian circles, urging them “to organize a three-day pogrom against the Jews.” The document states: “When the leaders of the OUN learned about this, they informed the members that this was a German provocation aimed at compromising the Ukrainians with the pogroms.”
That is why, Ishchuk explained, the Second Grand Assembly of the OUN voted decisively against any “Jewish pogroms,” condemning such tendencies as the occupiers’ attempts to divert people’s attention from the most vital issues of the liberation struggle.
“Thus, the documents from the HDA SBU confirm that the members of the OUN sought to avoid participating in actions against the Jewish population of Lviv, and there were no official orders to eliminate the Jews or conduct pogroms,” Ishchuk emphasized.
He also added that not a single criminal case against members of the OUN and the UPA among those preserved in the SBU contains any mention of the destruction of the civilian population, although Soviet investigators would have been obliged to determine such crimes at the very outset of a case.
Thanks to the discovery of these documents, researchers will now be able to study the archival materials that confirm the fact that the OUN leadership refused to take part in anti-Jewish actions in Lviv in July 1941.