Lviv pogroms

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Lviv pogroms of 1941
File:Lviv pogrom (June - July 1941).jpg
Woman chased by men and youth armed with clubs, Medova Street in Lviv, 1941
Date June 1941 (1941-06) - July 1941 (1941-07)
Location Lviv, Occupied Poland (Nazi German Distrikt Galizien)
Coordinates Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Type Killings
Participants Ukrainian nationalists
Deaths In excess of 6,000 Jews [1]

The Lviv pogroms were the consecutive massacres of Jews living in the city of Lwów (now Lviv, Ukraine), perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists 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.[1] It was followed by the additional 2,500 to 3,000 arrests and executions in subsequent Einsatzgruppe killings,[2] and culminated in the so-called "Petlura Days" massacre of more than 2,000 Jews, all killed in a one-month span.[1][3] 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.[4]

First pogrom

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.[5] 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,[6] even though Polish Jews had nothing to do with the NKVD killings. As observed by British-Polish historian Prof. Norman Davies: "in the [Lviv] personnel of the Soviet security police at the time, the high percentage of Jews was striking."[7] The Einsatzgruppe C with the participation of Ukrainian National Militia, and the OUN leaders,[8] organized the first pogrom,[9] chiefly in revenge for the combined killings at Lviv's three prisons including Brygidki, Łąckiego and Zamarstynowska Street prisons.[9][10] 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.[5] 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.[11] 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.[5] The German propaganda made newsreels that purported to implicate Soviet Jews in the killing of Ukrainians, and the German Foreign Office relayed them to Switzerland.[5][12]

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.[13] 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,[8] have been identified by Prof. John Paul Himka from several photographs of the pogrom. 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 [i.e. the Soviet Army], the Ukrainian population took praisworthy action against the Jews... About 7,000 Jews were seized and shot by the [Ukrainian] police in retribution for inhuman acts of cruelty [at Brygidki and the other prisons]..." (dated 16 July 1941).[14]

Killings by Einsatzgruppe

Almost immediately after the first pogrom, in the beginning of July 1941 the Einsatzgruppe C attached to the 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,[15] and gathered the detainees in the municipal stadium located next to their own headquarters.[16] Among the prisoners kept overnight and beaten were non-Jewish Poles and scores of people accused of anti-Nazi reputation.[2][17] 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.[16][18] 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,[19][17][19] 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).[17][19]

The SS executioners left Lviv several days later according to deposition of Brigadeführer Erwin Schulz, to conduct similar actions in Berdychiv and Zhytomyr.[16] 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.[20] The participation of the Nachtigall regiment in the 3–7 July massacres is presently disputed by Ukraine in spite of numerous eye-witness testimonies,[18][21][22] because their uniforms looked similar.[23][24][25]

Petlura days

A second pogrom took place in the last days of July 1941 and was labeled "Petlura Days" (Aktion Petliura) after the assassinated Ukrainian leader Symon Petliura.[1] The killings were organized with German encouragement, but the pogrom also had ominous undertones of religious bigotry with Andrey Sheptytsky's awareness,[26] and with Ukrainian militants from outside the city joining the fray with farm tools.[27] Sheptytsky became disillusioned with Nazi Germany only in mid-1942 after his National Council was banned, with thousands of Ukrainians sent to slave labour.[26][28] 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 streets. Captured 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.[29] Thousands of other Jews were injured out in the open.[27][30]


According to historian of the Holocaust 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.[31] The German propaganda passed off all victims of the NKVD killings in Lviv as 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.[32]

The Lwów Ghetto was established in November 1941 on the orders of SS-Gruppenführer Fritz Katzmann, the Higher SS and Police Leader (SSPF) of Lemberg and one of the most prolific mass murderers in the SS.[33][34] 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, including Belzec and the 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 Committee in Lviv by Dr. David Sobol.[35]


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.[36] 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.[37][38][39][40]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 USHMM. "Lwów". Holocaust Encyclopedia. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on 7 March 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 N.M.T. (1945). "Trials of War Criminals before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals" (PDF direct download). Volume IV : "The Einsatzgruppen Case" complete, 1210 pages. Nuremberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10. pp. 542-543 in PDF (518-519 in original document). Retrieved 1 March 2015. With N.M.T. commentary to testimony of Erwin Schulz (p. 543 in PDF).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Longerich, Peter (2010). Holocaust: The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-19-280436-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Stefan Szende, The Promise Hitler Kept, London 1945, p. 124. OCLC 758315597.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Alfred de Zayas (2000). "The Lviv Massacre". The Wehrmacht War Crimes Bureau, 1939-1945. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Cheka-GPU-NKVD by Prytulak (de Zayas).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Ronald Headland (1992). Messages of Murder: A Study of the Reports of the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the Security Service, 1941-1943. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN 0838634184 – via Google Books.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Mark Paul (2013). Neighbours On the Eve of the Holocaust (PDF file, direct download). Polish-Jewish Relations in Soviet-Occupied Eastern Poland, 1939–1941. Chapter: Arrests, Executions and Deportations. PEFINA Press, Toronto. pp. 32–33. Retrieved 5 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. 8.0 8.1 John Paul Himka (2015). "Ще кілька слів про львівський погром. ФОТО: Михайло Печарський". Lviv pogrom of 1941. Історична правда. Retrieved 6 March 2015. Also: Иван Ковалишин.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 9.0 9.1 Yevhen Nakonechny (2006). "Шоа" у Львові (DjVu). Львів: ЛА «Піраміда». pp. 98–99 or 50 in current document (1/284 or 1/143 digitized). ISBN 966-8522-47-8. Retrieved 13 February 2015 – via Історія @ EX.UA, direct download (7.7 MB). Unknown parameter |trans_title= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[unreliable source?]
  10. Jakob Weiss, The Lemberg Mosaic in Wikipedia (New York: Alderbrook Press, 2011) pp. 165-174 (Prison Massacre), 206-210 ("Petlura Days" or Aktion Petlura).
  11. Himka, John-Paul (2011). "The Lviv Pogrom of 1941: The Germans, Ukrainian Nationalists, and the Carnival Crowd". Canadian Slavonic Papers. 53 (2–4): 209–243. ISSN 0008-5006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. John-Paul Himka (2014). "Ethnicity and the Reporting of Mass Murder: "Krakivs'ki visti", the NKVD Murders of 1941, and the Vinnytsia Exhumation". Chapter: Ethnicizing the Perpetrators. University of Alberta. Retrieved 1 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Bogdan Musial, Bilder einer Ausstellung: Kritische Anmerkungen zur Wanderausstellung "Vernichtungskrieg. Verbrechen der Wehrmacht 1941 bis 1944." Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte 47. Jahrg., 4. H. (October 1999): 563–581. "David Lee Preston collection."
  14. Jakob Weiss, Lemberg Mosaic, p. 173
  15. Piotrowski 1998, page 209.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 N.M.T. 1945, Volume IV : "The Einsatzgruppen Case", ibidem pp. 165–167.
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Zygmunt Albert, Kaźń profesorów lwowskich w lipcu 1941 roku Instytut Lwowski 2004, Warszawa. Studia oraz relacje i dokumenty zebrane i oprac. przez Zygmunta Alberta Wrocław 1989, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego; ISBN 83-229-0351-0, pp. 180-181
  18. 18.0 18.1 The Simon Wiesenthal Center (1997) [1990]. "Invasion of the Soviet Union". Encyclopedia of the Holocaust. Macmillan Publishing Company. Archived from the original (Internet Archive) on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 15 March 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 IPN — Oddziałowa Komisja w Rzeszowie, Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa profesorów polskich wyższych uczelni, członków ich rodzin oraz współmieszkańców, we Lwowie w lipcu 1941 roku, podjęte na nowo z umorzenia w dniu 25 lutego 2003 roku Sygn. S 5/03/Zn, pp. 36-37 (PDF file, direct download). Institute of National Remembrance. Retrieved 16 March 2015.
  20. Piotrowski 1998, page 208.
  21. Freider Mikhail Sanevich (2012). "A history of Jewish shtetls in the Yarmolintsy district". Road to father. Ukraine SIG. Retrieved 15 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. Чуев Сергей (2004). Проклятые солдаты. Предатели на стороне III рейха [Forsaken soldiers. Traitors for the Third Reich]. Эксмо. ISBN 5-699-05970-9. Retrieved 2 March 2015. Online preview, Russian original.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Є. Побігущій, Дружини українських націоналістів у 1941 — 1942 роках [Formations of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1941-42]. – Без місця видання, 1953. – С. 6; pp. 109–110, excerpts with commentaries: 1. 2.
  24. Andreas Jordan (September 2008). "Oberländer, Theodor (Professor Dr.) (NSDAP/ CDU)". Eine Auswahl Deutscher Nazi-Karrieren nach 1945. GELSENZENTRUM - Gelsenkirchen, Portal zur Aufarbeitung und Dokumentation lokaler zeitgeschichtlicher Ereignisse in Gelsenkirchen. Retrieved 15 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  25. Tadeusz Piotrowski (1998), Poland's Holocaust. McFarland, pp. 207-211. ISBN 0786403713.
  26. 26.0 26.1 Mordecai Paldiel (2000). Saving the Jews: Men and Women who Defied the Final Solution. Taylor Trade Publications. pp. 362–364. ISBN 1589797345. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. 27.0 27.1 PAP (10 September 2012). "Rocznica likwidacji lwowskiego getta" [Anniversary of the Lwow Ghetto liquidation]. Kartka z kalendarza. Polska Agencja Prasowa. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. David Cymet (2012). History vs. Apologetics: The Holocaust, the Third Reich, and the Catholic Church. Lexington Books. p. 232. ISBN 0739132954. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Carmelo Lisciotto (2007). "25 July 1941 pogrom in Lvov" ( Lvov. H.E.A.R.T. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Helena Ganor (2007). Four Letters to the Witnesses of My Childhood (Google Books preview). Syracuse University Press. p. 57. ISBN 0815608691. Retrieved 16 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Richard Breitman. "Himmler and the 'Terrible Secret' among the Executioners". Journal of Contemporary History; Vol. 26, No. 3/4: The Impact of Western Nationalisms; essays dedicated to Walter Z. Laqueur on the occasion of his 70th birthday (Sep. 1991), pp. 431-451
  32. John-Paul Himka, Professor of Ukrainian and East European history at the University of Alberta (2014). "Ethnicity and the Reporting of Mass Murder: "Krakivs'ki visti", the NKVD Murders of 1941, and the Vinnytsia Exhumation". Chapter: Ethnicizing the Perpetrators. University of Alberta. Retrieved 1 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  34. Claudia Koonz (2 November 2005). "SS Man Katzmann's "Solution of the Jewish Question in the District of Galicia"" (PDF). The Raul Hilberg Lecture. University of Vermont: 2, 11, 16–18. Retrieved 30 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. Dr. Filip Friedman (2007). Zaglada Zydow Lwowskich [The Annihilation of Lvovian Jews] (Internet Archive). Chapter 2. Wydawnictwa Centralnej Zydowskiej Komisji Historycznej przy Centralnym Komitecie Zydow Polskich Nr 4. OCLC 38706656. Retrieved 4 March 2015. English translation of the Russian edition (excerpts).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. "SBU declassifies documents proving OUN-UPA not connected with anti-Jewish actions". 6 February 2008. Retrieved 2 September 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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