22. The Ukrainian National Committee

Late in November 1944 I received a telegram from Berlin signed by President A. Livytsky, asking me to come over immediately. Before I could pull my thoughts together and plan my trip to Berlin, a messenger came to me with a note from the County Commissioner asking to come and see him right away. When I came in, the City Commandant was sitting in the Commissioner's office, and they asked me if it were true that I was a Ukrainian general, and whether I knew anything about my trip to Berlin. I replied that I was indeed a Ukrainian general and that I had a telegram from my President which I could not quite understand. During the course of a lengthy talk I learned that the Commandant had received orders from his superiors to arrange for my trip to Berlin "with all available comfort" on the express train running between Lowicz and Berlin, which was only for German officials and officers. The Commandant tried to tie in the purpose of my trip with his prior conjectures about Vlassov. Within an hour I had travel orders in my hands and I was taken in the Commandant's car to Lowicz, a station on the route of the express train. By consent of the City Council and Commandant I transferred the management of the theater to my wife.

During my really comfortable trip, I had a whole compartment of a sleeping car, German inspection officers and police officers looked at my papers at least five times during the twelve-hour trip and they could not contain their obvious astonishment at seeing a general (that's what the papers said) who looked more like a beggar than a general.

I found President Livytsky at the Hotel Excelsior as per instruction. After breakfast and a long stay in the hotel bomb-shelter during an allied air raid, the President told me in a long conversation in his room why he had brought me to Berlin. Present during this talk was also Dr. T. H. Olesiyuk, one of the oldest members of BUD and a man of high prestige in Ukrainian politics who was well disposed towards me.

First of all President Livytsky told me that he had thought it advisable to send me a telegram so that I would understand that it was he who was summoning me to Berlin, and not the Germans. Then he told me that there were certain political and military German leaders who did not agree with Hitler's Eastern European policy, but were compelled to keep quiet about it; they were; Alfred Rosenberg. Grand Admiral Raeder, General Brauchitsch, Herr Leibrandt, Professor Arlt, and others. Admiral Raeder had even left active service for opposing Hitler's Ukrainian policy, and those men were now being given some consideration in view of the hopeless military situation, and they would like to tell the world as well as the Ukrainians and other nations of the USSR that not all Germans were on the side of Hitler. They had respect for the aspirations and power of these nations, and would like to make an attempt to save at least their political leaders and hundreds of thousands of soldiers who believed that they could, with German support, liberate their nations from the yoke of Moscow, and hence they would fight against the USSR on the German side.

President Livytsky obviously believed that the cause of this attitude on the part of those Germans was not so much the interests of the potential allies of Germany, as direct interests of the Germans. Being German patriots they wanted to gain a sympathetic ear among the Allies for all Germans, and personally they would be treated at intermediaries in a good cause and thus exonerate themselves from possible repressions. I thought that this was quite logical and correct reasoning on the part of the Germans of those circles. President Livytsky was of the opinion, however, that even in the midst of this critical situation the possibility should not be excluded that the Germans might come to terms with the Allies on a cease-fire, and turn all their forces against the Soviet Union. It had become common knowledge that the Germans had put out feelers on this subject through a certain neutral nation. If any of these plans were to materialize, said President Livytsky, it was of utmost importance to establish national political representations: news of this would cause favorable reaction among the masses of Red troops, and this might be the beginning of a renewed fight for our independence. President Livytsky knew from confidential talks with Dr. Arlt, Professor von Mende, and General Leibrandt that someone else might replace Hitler, a person more acceptable to the Allies, and in that case we should not pass this opportunity. Incidentally, in our exchange of thoughts President Livytsky did not really believe in this possibility, but as a politician he could not entirely discount it.

In our further conversation President Livytsky told me that all these matters were the subject of consultations among representatives of Ukrainian political groups invited by him to participate: OUN-B under S. Bandera, OUN-M under A. Melnyk, and the Organization of the Hetmanists. In the existing situation that looked hopeless but was as yet unresolved. President Livytsky did not think it advisable to engage himself or the UNR Government as a party, and hence he came out with a project of establishing a Ukrainian National Committee, something on the pattern of KONR. During talks with the Germans, however, some difficulties came up: the German spokesmen seemed to be tied to the concept of General Vlassov (KONR) which had the support of Himmler, and hence they wanted the Ukrainian National Committee to be part of KONR. In addition, they felt that the Ukrainian National Committee should be headed by a general because it was easier for generals to agree among themselves. The latter project was along the line of President Livytsky's reasoning, therefore when other candidacies were discounted, he proposed me. Such other candidates were at the beginning: S. Bandera, Col. A. Melnyk, Professor Isaac Mazepa, and General V. Petriv. Various objections and General Petriv's refusal caused the president to offer my candidacy, which was agreed to conditionally by S. Bandera and A. Melnyk, who were to express their final opinion after meeting me personally and learning of my personal views and abilities. Hetman P. Skoropadsky, however, did not consent to any candidates, believing that both for reasons of political expediency as well as his political and military contacts with the Germans, it would be best if he were to head the committee. The matter was thus becoming clear to me and less encouraging because I would be cast in the most unpopular role, and certainly in a dangerous one, to face Allied war considerations, engage in conversations and practical contacts with the Germans whom I did not trust and against whom I was prejudiced, and finally, I would be the object of political play of our own political parties. I was very candid about all this with President Livytsky, but he gave me instructions on how I was to face the various factors if I consented to his proposition. Regarding principal and practical purposes of the Ukrainian National Committee, President Livytsky believed that it should: 1) seek opportunities and ways of saving Ukrainian political emigres and numerous leaders who managed to flee from the Bolsheviks in Ukraine, and 2) take over from the Germans the care of hundreds of thousands of soldiers of various Ukrainian formations who found themselves within the German armed forces voluntarily or involuntarily, and special attention was to be paid to the Division "Halychyna" which in the event of German surrender could automatically be turned over to the Bolsheviks. President Livytsky said: "Can we permit our brave soldiers who are such a treasure in the Ukrainian cause to perish? As a soldier you must not only understand, but also feel it." He also considered it imperative to discuss with leaders from Ukraine and Galicia the problem of the several million Ukrainian laborers shipped to forced labor in Germany. It would be necessary to find out how many of them do not want to return home and take care of them so that they would not fall into Communist hands. In his opinion, it would be very beneficial to retain as many as possible in the West, at least those who are the most conscious patriots among youth because, in his opinion, events could unexpectedly create favorable conditions to employ them in the interests of Ukraine.

Finally President Livytsky said that he thought it necessary to warn me that even under the existing hopeless and dangerous conditions, there are plenty of irresponsible people who do not realize the burdens and responsibilities of heading the Ukrainian National Committee, and are vying for the position of its chairman; this would be excusable, but these people do not understand the situation, and what is even more sad, they do not realize their own lack of qualifications for the position. President Livytsky mentioned several names, one general among them, and added: "these people are looking for support among Germans for whom and with whom they worked in well-paid jobs as managers of collective or private Polish and Ukrainian enterprises, such as mills, estates, lumber yards, etc. President Livytsky finally asked me to head the Ukrainian National Committee and asked what I thought of it. Obviously, I was somewhat surprised by the proposition: on the one hand the great faith in me, and on the other, I was wondering that President Livytsky, knowing what I thought of the Germans and their situation, required me to volunteer for this dangerous job without any prospects of benefiting the cause. It took me quite a long while before I could say anything: all kinds of thoughts were fighting inside me; I felt apprehensive of making a mistake, I did not feel experienced enough in political matters, the instinct of self-preservation asserted itself casting doubt upon the need to engage in a hopeless cause, and finally I also felt somewhat slighted for being the last one to get the offer after others had refused. I finally offered the following answer: I did not feel politically experienced to take on such dudes; I did not see any hope of any successful results at this last and concluding stage of the war; and that the Ukrainian community which I know very well, will make me a scapegoat for all failures. I added that I fully understood President Livytsky's arguments that I would have to deal with German administrative and military officials, and like it or not, would become an object of their political moves, after all, even with the war lost, Germany was still a great power whose officials treat us as stateless refugees. In the eyes of the Allies my forced collaboration with the Germans will be deemed hostile and to say the least not understandable in the last stage of the war. Finally I told President Livytsky that I did not think I was so much less worthy than the other candidates that the offer should be made to me after all others had refused, and that I had ambitious feelings which were hurt in this instance. President Livytsky gave a brief answer: "I count you among the Ukrainian generals who will obey my orders without reservation and will carry out even the most onerous duty."

There was a long, hopelessly long, pause in our conversation. Finally President Livytsky proposed that I reserve decision until I talked to other political leaders, primarily to Col. Melnyk, S. Bandera, V. A. Dolenko, and Dr. T. Olesiyuk. He also thought it advisable for me to see representatives of emigres of other nations: Georgians, Byelorussians, Cossacks, and others. I knew well the diplomatic abilities of President Livytsky, he would certainly use his great prestige to get our leaders in a good frame of mind to meet me. In conclusion President Livytsky said: "General, I want you to recall my words of other confidential talks, I always told you that I knew my generals well, and that in case of an important decision they would seek support in my authority, but you alone I could always let go freely because you never deviate and never lose sight of our main purpose. This time I am convinced even more firmly that my opinion of you was well justified. Therefore right now, when I don't know what your decision is going to be, I give you, as the future chairman of the Ukrainian National Committee carte blanche: all your decisions will be approved by me." From the last words I saw that I had no means of backing out. President Livytsky added that he understood my disgust with "our own people" through whom I had suffered so much in prison, and that he sees why I have no confidence in the Germans, but I should remember that we are all living for Ukraine and not for ourselves. He assured me that in the event of a threat of my being surrendered by the Allies to the Communists through Allied ignorance of our cause, he and all his political associates would use everything within their power to explain things and help, but he hoped there would be no need for this.

I spent the night without sleep, weighing the needs, possibilities, and consequences.

During the next several days I had long talks with Col. A. Melnyk and his close aides O. Boydunyk and D. Andriyevsky. Col. Melnyk gave me his opinion of the situation without concealing my responsibilities and almost complete lack of opportunities, he stressed internal and external difficulties, but gave his approval of my candidacy conditional on my further attitude. Col. Melnyk was full of his old tact and personal charm and conducted the talk with me with all sincerity and understanding of the situation. This made a very good impression on me. D. Andriyevsky and O. Boydunyk had a somewhat closer look at me and watched what impression Col. Melnyk's explanations were making on me. I saw Col. Melnyk several more times and I always went away satisfied: he never persuaded me to accept President Livytsky's proposition, but always gave me a correct appraisal of the situation. No less interesting was my first, and all subsequent conversations with the nationalist leader S. Bandera. He and all his close aides, and particularly Dr. V. Stakhiv expressed their full confidence in me, and S. Bandera approved my candidacy without any reservation emphasizing that by reason of my prior military career he was certain that I would not depart from principles of national and political dignity, and would display a proper military skill.

Came another all-night talk with President Livytsky in the presence of Dr. Olesiyuk. After exchanging thoughts and my report on my impression of the talks with Col. Melnyk and S. Bandera, I gave my consent to begin talks with the Germans, first of all with Professor Fritz Ark and Colonel L. Wolff. There was no other Ukrainian present during my talk with those two gentlemen. Professor Ark was interested in my opinion of possible collaboration with Gen. Vlassov and asked me how I imagined the organization of the Ukrainian National Committee, i.e. its composition, purposes, and attitude toward Germany. He said that he was well acquainted with my experience in connection with my detention by the Gestapo, and added that in time of war different circumstances may arise which take the lives not only of individuals, but even of peoples and nations. I stated quite frankly that I don't trust Germans in general, and hence I did not see any need for a Ukrainian National Committee nor of its useful work. Dr. Arlt answered that under existing circumstances nothing stood in the way of trying to do something, and that on his part and on the part of those who shared his views he could assure me of full support. "Even in war, positions are conquered one by one" he said, and that I as a soldier should understand this. Dr. Arlt further emphasized that there was another matter that should concern me as a Ukrainian general: the Ukrainian Division. I had learned quite a few details about the Division since my arrival in Berlin, and I could answer Dr. Arlt. I said: "The Division is still called 'Halychyna Division' but nearly all officers are Germans; one can assume that the Germans did not oppose the establishment of the Division hoping to get their mercenaries to work for them, although the men in the Division look upon their ideological purposes from a different viewpoint. The equipment of the Division is so inferior as to be beyond any words of criticism, and what is most important, the Ukrainian community has no idea what further use the Germans wish to make of the Division which, in the sad story of its battle of Brody suffered tremendous losses through the fault of its commander and high command. You, Doctor Arlt, know well that the Division is the flower of the Ukrainian Galician intelligentsia. Is there any possibility of exerting such influence that what happened will not happen again?"

Dr. Arlt answered: "You are mistaken. General, neither in my opinion nor in my intentions, neither in those of the Governor of Lviv General Waechter and many others, was there any negative attitude toward this matter, and actually, we were the ones who contributed to the formation of the Division. I propose that you, General, have a say in matters of the Division, too. General Waechter and I had been insisting for a long time that the Ukrainians should have their Division, we also thought of a Corps and even of an Army; isn't that in the interest of Ukraine? If you accept our conditions, even if they are not in accord with your attitude, then gradually we shall be able to achieve much more, obviously if you show appropriate diplomatic skill."

I answered Dr. Arlt immediately that my diplomatic skill is only clarity of the position because I was a soldier who did not understand "civilian diplomacy." The Division should be under Ukrainian command, all soldiers of Ukrainian origin who voluntarily or not were dispersed throughout all formations of the German army should be taken out and put in purely Ukrainian national units. A Ukrainian National Army should be formed which would be organized under the Ukrainian national banner, and serve only the interests of the Ukrainian people and swear allegiance to Ukraine. This army should wear traditional Ukrainian uniforms and be under Ukrainian command. But in addition to the Division I had other demands: how could I consent to our leading people such as S. Bandera, Col. Melnyk, Professor R. Smal-Stocki and others being deprived of liberty. Or to thousands of Ukrainian patriots being confined to concentration camps? There should be freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and the other basic human rights, but most essential, the German Government should issue a declaration renouncing any claims to Ukrainian territory. Only on these conditions could we, Ukrainians, and myself in particular, go along with the Germans against the common enemy . . . each fighting for his own national interests . . ." After a prolonged silence on both sides, I added: "If we could only turn the clock back to 1941".14

After some thought Dr. Arlt answered: "General, I cannot vouch that the German Government will accept all your terms, but here I can give you some advice: take a close look at the situation and you will see that you could accomplish everything that you desire. No matter how beneficial to Germany, I cannot imagine that Germany would avoid carrying out your demands if you had an armed force. Besides, for the duration of the war you can speak to the Germans on equal terms if you accept the rank of senior German General (Gruppenfuehrer)." I jumped on this, and said: "Me a Gruppenfuehrer? Never!" Dr. Arlt smiled in ironic grimace, and this was the end of our talk. Colonel Wolff proposed diplomatically that we should take all matters which we talked about under consideration.

I had an impression from the first talk that Dr. Arlt was sincere in his offer to help me, but again I doubted whether he would succeed. In any event we reached an agreement that I would submit memoranda outlining in detail my ideas about the purposes, immediate task, personnel, and practical work of the Ukrainian National Committee. Dr. Arlt was particularly emphatic about the need of a clear and even favorable attitude toward the KONR. I answered that this was out of the question because the Ukrainians were not a nation of Russia, but are engaged in struggle both against Red and White Russia, and that even if I recognized the supremacy of General Vlassov this would be meaningless, since no Ukrainian would support me, but on the contrary, declare that I was a traitor. I myself would consider it treason; therefore there is nothing more to talk about on this subject. I said: "I agree that General Vlassov is the chairman of the Russian National Committee, and I might be, after giving my final consent, the chairman of the Ukrainian National Committee. There cannot be even symbolic supremacy."

I reported the contents of this conversation to President Livytsky, Dr. Olesiyuk, Col. Melnyk and Mr. Bandera. Drafting of the memoranda was taken over by Dr. Stakhiv and Mr. Boydunyk, in the name of their respective organizations. The following day I received a number of other drafts. Both memoranda drafts were edited by me (I have copies of both to this day), and I deleted the name of Gen. Vlassov from them, substituting for it "Russian National Committee." Following advice offered to me, especially by Dr. Olesiyuk, I consented to include a paragraph to the effect that in the interest of the struggle against the Red aggressors I would coordinate action with the Russian National Committee by an exchange of liaison officers or even delegates. Such exchange was also planned with other national groups. The memorandum was handed to Dr. Arlt through Col. Wolff. I found out through roundabout sources that the last named paragraph constituted an obstacle to legal recognition of the Ukrainian National Committee by the Germans.

Meanwhile I had conversations with Georgian leaders: M. Kediya, A. Tsomaya, M. Alchybaya, Prince V. Andronikov, and others. I discussed my attitude toward KONR with them and they approved my position enthusiastically. The Georgians were the best informed about the German attitude to my proposition, and from information received from me they could weigh the matter from both sides. At that time Dr. Arlt and Colonel Kroeger (the German liaison officer attached to Gen. Vlassov) were making attempts to persuade the Georgians to make me change my attitude toward KONR, and arranged for M. Kediya to meet Gen. Vlassov. Kediya, however, told Gen. Vlassov to his face that he had no reason nor chance to even attempt to talk to me about this because this would be on the one hand, tactless, and on the other, he approves my stand both on principle and out of practical considerations. Kediya ended his talk with the words: "I would rather have Stalin in front of me, than General Vlassov behind me." I was very much impressed by this attitude of the Georgians. They offered me sincere and friendly support in my work, and I often sought their practical advice. Later I had the opportunity to meet another prominent Georgian patriot, Prince G. Magalov.

The relations with representatives of Byelorussian political groups were no less friendly. My meeting with President R. Astrausky was very instructive to me. He stated openly that he would go hand and hand with me, he would use all his prestige in my support, and that if we were able to form any Ukrainian national military units under the political sponsorship of the Ukrainian National Committee, the Byelorussian National Committee would have its forces join ours. He was also unequivocally opposed to German proposals of any subordination of national committees to the KONR.

At that time I also met the representative of the Don Cossack nation. General Krasnov, a relative of the renowned Don Cossack General P.N. Krasnov. Later, when a command of the Ukrainian National Army was established, our relations developed along strictly military lines. The well known leader of the Don nation's independence movement, the energetic opponent of the KONR, engineer V. Glaskov was enthusiastically happy at the prospect of political cooperation with "the Ukrainian brothers" from the very first meeting with me. He believed that the situation might become favorable to all of us because all nations conquered by Moscow now had considerable armed forces on the side of Moscow's enemy and they could play an important part in liberating their respective nations. There was only one fear he had: with an improvement of the Germans' military position, they might make another attempt to consider the area of Eastern Europe as German "Lebensraum."

It gave me much satisfaction that my attitude gained for me the political and moral support of all nationality groups which were friendly to us. True, I had known many of the leaders and their political ideology and work since before the war in Warsaw. There, the political organization "Prometheus" had been active whose president was Dr. Roman Smal-Stocki and both my friends and myself had been members. It was certainly due to their attitude as well as due to the noble efforts of those patriots that I was able to overcome all the difficulties placed in our way by the Germans. For their own national-political reasons they advised me against resigning my mission of heading the Ukrainian National Committee because in the German interpretation the matter stood thus: once they recognize the Ukrainian National Committee, all other national committees would be recognized automatically. They were in agreement with me about the early end of the war with a completely defeated Germany, but they still believed that it would serve a useful purpose to each establish their own political representation in the form of a national committee which would thus be able to negotiate with representatives of Allied occupation forces in the name of their respective national group of emigres. I believed that this would enable me to speak in the name of a large united multi-national assembly of groups opposed to Russian Communist imperialism. However, as I was to find out to my bitter disappointment later, these were idle dreams. None of us had ever imagined that Allied statesmen, including the Allied Military High Command, had complete ignorance of Eastern European political affairs. It came to light much later after the war that in addition to ignorance, common treason may have been another factor because in these matters the powers that be lent an ear to willing and unwilling Communist agents.

There was no answer to my memorandum from Dr. Arlt, and I did not know what to do next. There was no sense in remaining in Berlin because the food situation was acute, and in addition, I left my wife in Skierniewice in danger of getting under Soviet occupation, Soviet troops being stationed close to Warsaw on the right bank of the Vistula, seventy kilometers from Skierniewice which they could take in one day. President Livytsky had left for Lascek together with Dr. Olesiyuk. On December 14, I requested Col. Wolff to issue traveling orders to me to go to Skierniewice, and I went via Krakow, where I wanted to see the chairman of the Ukrainian Central Committee, Dr. V. M. Kubiyovych. My plans were to offer Dr. Kubiyovych a position in the Ukrainian National Committee in the event of its organization. I had never met Dr. Kubiyovych before. He was, of course, aware of my mission, and when I proposed that he take the position of my first deputy in charge of all civilian matters of the Ukrainian National Committee, he first made an intelligent request for some detailed information: the attitude of our political organizations toward my mission, the results of my talks with the Germans, the future composition and tasks of the Ukrainian National Committee, my attitude toward the KONR, and my plans on the organization of our armed forces. I explained every subject as best as I could, and he gave me his agreement in principle. I was impressed with Dr. Kubiyovych's fine manner and erudition, and mainly with his sober and serious approach. I was happy because I believed that his participation in the Ukrainian National Committee would raise its prestige and increase its chances of success. At the same time I did not conceal from the professor my appraisal of Germany's military situation, and the great responsibility which would fall on the Committee, that is on him, and on me. We agreed that if I would need him in Berlin, I could summon him by telegram. On this occasion Dr. Kubiyovych informed me about his initiative in the formation of the Division "Halychyna" based on ideological, political, and practical considerations. He was very apprehensive about the fate of the Division, and believed that there was a need to establish the Ukrainian National Committee, even if its only purpose were to be rescuing the Division.

I arrived in Skierniewice on December 17. There was much tension in the city, in connection with the crossing of the Vistula by Soviet troops in the north and south. It had also been reported that they had made attempts to cross the Vistula somewhere near Demblin. Red aircraft were already bombing Skierniewice and Lowicz. We had to prepare to leave Skierniewice.

I had left my aide Lieut. Stryisky in Berlin and told him to keep in touch with Col. Wolff, and to telegraph me if necessary. I received a telegram from him on December 25, saying that my presence in Berlin is immediately required. I left for Berlin the next day. Leaving my wife in an obviously dangerous situation, and unable to take her with me, I asked her to try and reach Lodz in case of danger, join my brother who lived there, and together proceed westward. I found out upon my arrival in Berlin that there had been no special need for me to come because the Germans had not reacted to my memorandum. In the course of several meetings with Dr. Arlt and Col. Wolff, I did, however, feel a tone of sincerity which had been lacking during my previous stay in Berlin. Dr. Arlt explained to me that the whole matter was being held up by Himmler's deputy. General Berger for the reason that I had refused to subordinate myself to Gen. Vlassov. Dr. Arlt did not give up, however, and continued in his very active efforts to gain recognition of the Ukrainian National Committee. This was clear evidence of Dr. Arlt's fine character and of his strong pro-Ukrainian convictions. I learned later that he had set in motion all influential German political leaders, and rook advantage of the prestige of our Caucasian friends to gain his goal. After my arrival he arranged for a number of meetings for me with important German leaders, so that I could personally convince them of the need of a Ukrainian National Committee and of other national committees. Thus, toward the end of December I came into my first contact with Professor H. von Mende, chief of a division in the Ost-Ministerium and the right hand of Alfred Rosenberg. Dr. von Mende was a very intelligent person and treated me with extraordinary courtesy. I met him a number of times in January and February, which I shall report in chronological order.

On December 31, I had a brief meeting with Counselor of the Foreign Ministry B. Hilger, a very important person in Ribbentrop's entourage, who asked me to attend a conference in the Ministry on January 3. Hilger was a Baltic German married to a Russian. He had been a high official in the Foreign Ministry of Tsarist Russia and spoke Russian fluently. He subscribed to the idea of a restoration of Russia, and hence he favored the KONR, and opposed the idea of partitioning Russia into national states. This made him automatically an opponent of the Ukrainian National Committee. Prof. Kubiyovych was in Berlin at that time, and I asked him to attend the conference in order to bolster my position. He refused, however, on the grounds that he did not as yet have any official relations with the Ukrainian National Committee because the Committee did not have official recognition.

The conference with Hilger took place in the Foreign Ministry in the presence of several officials of the Ministry. Among them, in addition to Dr. Arlt and Col. Wolff, were: Counselor Dr. H. Fischer who spoke several languages, including Ukrainian because he had lived in Ukraine for quite a long time before the war, and Col. Kroeger who was a liaison officer attached to Gen. Vlassov. I was alone and felt completely surrounded in this difficult situation.

Hilger started the talk with clarity and firmness: if I would agree to recognize the supremacy of Gen. Vlassov, the Ukrainian National Committee would be established. I had to explain in a fairly long reply to Hilger (Dr. Fischer was interpreting), what the Ukrainian political position was, that there was a tradition and continuity to our struggle against Moscow, and that Moscow (white or red) had never kept a promise; in this instance I referred to the very enigmatic political creed of Gen. Vlassov expounded in his Prague declaration on Ukrainian sovereignty. I stated that the idea of the Ukrainian National Committee pining the KONR was simply absurd under the given circumstances. I admit that I expressed myself quite undiplomatically. My concluding words were: "No, I will not go for this, and I don't believe any other Ukrainian will consent to recognize the KONR, none of us will even talk about this, no one is willing to go from the Red Moscow yoke under a white one; we are not a nation of Russia, but the Ukrainian nation." To this Hilger replied: "It will not be necessary. General Vlassov already has a Ukrainian section headed by professor Bohatyrchuk, Baydalakov, Forostivsky, Muzychenko, and others. No other Ukrainian National Committee is needed by anyone." This surprised even the Germans, and I observed a certain amount of consternation among them. The talks were discontinued, but Dr. Arlt came up with a diplomatic suggestion that he would continue his talks with me in private. I was very much tempted during this conference to deflate Herr Hilger's pride by referring to Germany's precarious condition, but I was able to contain myself.

The year 1945 did not augur well for me and my Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian friends.

Berlin was bombed so often and so heavily that we never had a moment of quiet. I was living in the Excelsior Hotel in the center of the city, and had to go down to the shelter every few hours and spend a long time in total darkness because all power lines were disrupted. I was even surprised that the Germans were able to repair them so often in spite of the heavy damage. It was probably New Year's Eve when I was sitting out a raid in the subway under Friedrich der Grosse Platz when a heavy bomb fell and I was hit on the head with an automatic ticket dispenser. I was knocked unconscious and carried out into the fresh air. During those moments of waiting thoughts were always entering my head on how easy it was to lose it ... but still, I wanted to have something to do and occupy me from such thoughts.

I had not as yet had an opportunity to make a call on Hetman P. Skoropadsky, although even before my trip home I had met the chairman of the Hetman's movement (The Association of the Hetman State), the aforementioned Col. B. Homzyn. I had received a letter from Col. Homzyn from Wansee near Berlin on December 8, in which my old friend wrote: "December 7, 1944. Esteemed and Dear Pavlo Theofanovych: Our former relations lead me to believe that I can address you sincerely and directly. So, having heard that you wish to venture into the dangerous sea of politics, or perhaps someone wants to urge you into that swim, I consider it proper to ask you to talk things over with me before making any decision. This might be beneficial to you. If you agree, come to my house because I am in bed and can not go out. I shake your hand. Glory to Ukraine, glory to the Hetman. PS. Please come without any company. I receive only invited guests in my house. Yours, B. Homzyn."

I called on Col. Homzyn on December 9, and although he was quite sick, we had a long talk about the organization of the Ukrainian National Committee, and about the difficult, dangerous, and thankless job of heading it. Col. Homzyn thought that it was detrimental both to the Committee and to myself to engage in such work without political experience. He was of the opinion that I should give up organizing the Ukrainian National Committee because under existing circumstances the only person who could head it was Hetman Pavlo Skoropadsky, a person with great experience and prestige. I would be offered the command of the armed forces, with Col. Slyvynsky to be appointed my chief of staff (he had been chief of the General Staff in 1918 under the Hetman Government). We weighed all possibilities and I did not conceal my pessimism regarding the prospects for the Committee, even only on behalf of the Ukrainian emigres in Germany, i.e. out of Soviet reach. I therefore stated clearly that I would gladly give up my mission if my resignation would be accepted by President Livytsky, Col. Melnyk and Mr. Bandera. That was all we talked about. I do not know whether the late Hetman had any conversations with the above mentioned gentlemen about the Ukrainian National Committee, but in conversations with me they reaffirmed their previous position as to my candidacy.

On December 29, I requested Lieut.-Col. M. Kalynovych, a man who was close to the Hetman and who also worked in a German governmental agency, to ask the Hetman when I could pay him an official visit. This was agreed upon by President Livytsky, Col. Melnyk, and Mr. Bandera. The Hetman sent me an invitation to visit him at his home in Wansee on January 4, which was the day following my difficult conference in the German Foreign Ministry with Herr Hilger.

I was greeted by Col. Homzyn who took me to the Hetman and made the introduction. The Hetman asked me about my life under German occupation and then took up the matter of the Ukrainian National Committee expressing generally similar views to those expounded by Col. Homzyn, but he added: "I cannot consent to support the UNC headed by you because you have the backing of Andriy Mykolayevych (President Livytsky), and this will make the Committee soft, but if I were to head the Committee, you would get one of the highest positions in the Army." The only witness to this conversation was Col. Homzyn. Actually, I wished that I could have avoided the dangerous leadership of the Committee. But when it became known that the Ukrainian National Committee was actually established, I was informed in the name of the Hetman that he had issued orders through the leadership of the Hetman Movement that its members were free to take part in the UNC and its branches, and that they were permitted to join the ranks of the Ukrainian Army.

Much later, when the history of the Ukrainian National Committee was the subject of a discussion among emigre groups, a pro-Hetman newspaper in Canada, "Ukrainsky Robitnyk" of April 8, 1949 printed an article signed "M.K." which gave a completely false interpretation of my conversation with the Hetman. I immediately sent a letter to Col. Homzyn about this matter, and when the latter proclaimed his neutrality. I appealed to Professor W. Hryshko, a member of the Hetman organization to take a stand in the matter. Prof. Hryshko and the editor of the newspaper Dr. O. Rusov published a proper clarification. The purpose of the article by "M.K." was to minimize the Ukrainian National Committee and my role in it, and also to place the person of the Hetman in an awkward position as well as Col. Homzyn, who was present during our conversations.

I had another meeting with Col. Homzyn late in January when I informed him about the recognition and organization of the UNC.

 

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[14] Compare Juergen Thorwald: "Wen Sie Verderben Wollen..." Steingrueben Verlag, Stuttgart 1952, pp. 341-343.