The LVIV POGROMS were the consecutive massacres of
Jews living in the
city of Lwów (now
Lviv , Ukraine), perpetrated by Ukrainian troops
Nazi Germany from 30 June to 2 July 1941, and from 25 to
29 July 1941, during the Wehrmacht's attack on Soviet-occupied eastern
Poland in World War II. The German historian
Peter Longerich and the
Holocaust Encyclopedia estimate that the first pogrom cost at least
4,000 lives. It was followed by the additional 2,500 to 3,000 arrests
and executions in subsequent Einsatzgruppe killings, and culminated
in the so-called "Petlura Days" massacre of more than 2,000 Jews, all
killed in a one-month span. Prior to the 1939 invasion of Poland by
Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union and the ensuing
Holocaust in Europe,
the city of
Lviv had the third-largest Jewish population in Poland
during the interwar period , which swelled further to over 200,000
Jews as the refugees fled east from the Nazis.
* 1 First pogrom
* 1.1 Killings by Einsatzgruppe
* 2 Petlura days
* 3 Aftermath
* 4 Controversy
* 5 See also
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Immediately after the German army entered Lviv, the prison gates were
opened and the scale of the
NKVD prisoner massacres carried out by the
Soviets revealed. An OUN member estimated 10,000 dead victims at
Brygidki , although the numbers were later adjusted by the German
investigation down to 4,000 in total. The report drafted by Judge
Möller singled out the
Jews as responsible for the Soviet atrocities
in accordance with the Nazi theory of
Judeo-Bolshevism , even though
Jews had nothing to do with the NKVD killings. As observed by
British-Polish historian Prof.
Norman Davies : "in the personnel of
the Soviet security police at the time, the high percentage of Jews
was striking." The
Einsatzgruppe C with the participation of
Ukrainian National Militia, and the OUN leaders, organized the first
pogrom, chiefly in revenge for the combined killings at Lviv's three
Brygidki , Łąckiego and Zamarstynowska Street
prisons. The German report stated that the majority of the Soviet
murder victims were Ukrainian. Although a significant number of Jewish
prisoners had also been among the victims of the NKVD massacres
(including intellectuals and political activists), the Polish Jews
were targeted collectively. An ad hoc Ukrainian People\'s Militia –
which would soon be reorganized by
Himmler as the Ukrainische
Hilfspolizei (Ukrainian Auxiliary Police) – was assembled to
spearhead the first pogrom . In the presence of the newly arrived
German forces, the infuriated and irrational crowd took the violent
actions against the Jewish population of the city. The German
propaganda made newsreels that purported to implicate Soviet
the killing of Ukrainians, and the German Foreign Office relayed them
Historians have since established that the David Lee Preston
collection of photographs once believed to show the victims of NKVD
killings, is in fact showing the victims of a subsequent pogrom.
Jakob Weiss in his Lemberg Mosaic wrote that initially the Ukrainian
militia acted independently – with the blessings of the SS – but
later were limited to joint operations (Aktions) with German units or
otherwise functioned directly under Nazi command. The Ukrainian
militia received assistance from the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists , unorganized ethnic nationalists, as well as from
ordinary crowd and even underage youth. At least two members of the
OUN-B , Ivan Kovalyshyn and Mykhaylo Pecharsʹkyy, have been
identified by Prof.
John Paul Himka from several photographs of the
Holocaust scholar and survivor,
Filip Friedman from Lviv,
uncovered an official Report of the Reich Security Main Office which
documented the massacre as follows: "During the first hours after the
departure of the Bolsheviks , the Ukrainian population took
praiseworthy action against the Jews... About 7,000
Jews were seized
and shot by the police in retribution for inhuman acts of cruelty
..." (dated 16 July 1941).
KILLINGS BY EINSATZGRUPPE
Almost immediately after the first pogrom, in the beginning of July
Einsatzgruppe C attached to the
Army Group South
Army Group South in the
invasion of Poland under the command of SS-Brigadeführer Otto Rasch
made some 2,500 to 3,000 arrests in
Lviv based on lists drawn by OUN,
and gathered the detainees in the municipal stadium located next to
their own headquarters. Among the prisoners kept overnight and beaten
were non-Jewish Poles and scores of people accused of anti-Nazi
reputation. The following day, under the supervision of Otto Rasch,
the captives were trucked away in groups to a remote killing site (see
Janowska concentration camp ). The shootings were carried out by
Einsatzkommandos 5 and 6 until dawn. Those, still alive at the end of
the day were released, although their numbers can only be
approximated. A new list of targets delivered by OUN with the aid of
Ukrainian students singled out university professors. The academics
were arrested along with families and guests on 3–4 July 1941 by the
Germans assisted by the Ukrainian guides, split in two groups and
massacred at the Wuleckie Hills nearby. Among the 40 victims at least
two academics were of Jewish background, Dr. Stanisław (Salomon)
Ruff, and Prof. Henryk Hilarowicz (son of Józef Nusbaum, famous
zoologist who converted to Catholicism in 1907).
The SS executioners left
Lviv several days later according to
deposition of Brigadeführer
Erwin Schulz , to conduct similar actions
Zhytomyr . The all-Ukrainian Nachtigall Battalion
– which entered
Lviv along with them on 30 June 1941 – also left
the city on 7 July, in the direction of
Vinnytsia . The participation
of the Nachtigall regiment in the 3–7 July massacres is presently
disputed by Ukraine in spite of numerous eye-witness testimonies,
because their uniforms looked similar.
A second pogrom took place in the last days of July 1941 and was
labeled "Petlura Days" (Aktion Petliura) after the assassinated
Symon Petliura . The killings were organized with
German encouragement, but the pogrom also had ominous undertones of
religious bigotry with
Andrey Sheptytsky 's awareness, and with
Ukrainian militants from outside the city joining the fray with farm
tools. Sheptytsky became disillusioned with
Nazi Germany only in
mid-1942 after his National Council was banned, with thousands of
Ukrainians sent to slave labour. In the morning of 25 July 1941 the
Ukrainian auxiliary police began arresting
Jews in their homes, while
the civilians participated in acts of violence against them in the
Jews were dragged to the Jewish cemetery and to the
Łąckiego Street prison, where they were fatally shot out of the
public eye. Ukrainian police circulated in groups of five and
consulted prepared lists from OUN. Some 2,000 people were murdered in
approximately three days. Thousands of other
Jews were injured out in
According to historian of the
Richard Breitman 5,000 Jews
died as a result of these pogroms. In addition, some 3,000 mostly Jews
were executed in the municipal stadium by the Germans. The German
propaganda passed off all victims of the NKVD killings in
Ukrainians even though the lists of prisoners left behind by the
Soviets had about one-third of distinctly Polish and Jewish names in
them. Over the next two years both German and pro-Nazi Ukrainian press
including Ukrains'ki shchodenni visti, Krakivs\'ki visti and others,
went on to describe horrific acts of chekist torture (real or
imagined) with the number of Ukrainian casualties multiplied out of
thin air, wrote Professor
John-Paul Himka .
Lwów Ghetto was established in November 1941 on the orders of SS
Fritz Katzmann , the Higher SS and Police Leader
(SSPF) of Lemberg and one of the most prolific mass murderers in the
SS. At its peak, the Ghetto held some 120,000 Jews, most of whom
were deported to the
Belzec extermination camp or killed locally
during the next two years. Following the 1941 pogroms and
Einsatzgruppe killings, harsh conditions in the Lwów Ghetto, and
deportations to the
Nazi concentration camps
Nazi concentration camps , including Belzec and
Janowska concentration camp located on the outskirts of the city,
resulted in the almost complete annihilation of the Jewish population
locally. When the Soviet forces reached and took over
Lviv on 21 July
1944, only 823
Jews found their way back to the Jewish Provisional
Lviv by Dr. David Sobol.
Main article: Controversy surrounding the
Lviv pogroms of 1941
The nature of the
Lviv pogroms and their identifiable perpetrators
remain controversial. Documents released in 2008 by the Ukrainian
Security Services indicated that the Organization of Ukrainian
Nationalists may have been involved to a lesser degree than originally
thought. However, this collection of documents titled "For the
Beginning: Book of Facts" (Do pochatku knyha faktiv) has been
recognized by historians including John-Paul Himka, Per Anders Rudling
, Marco Carynnyk, and Franziska Bruder, as an attempt at manipulating
World War II history.
History of the Jews in Ukraine
History of the Jews in Ukraine
History of the Jews in Poland
History of the Jews in Poland
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