On February 25, 2010, the European Parliament passed a resolution on the situation in Ukraine stating that the Parliament:
20. Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values.
In response thereto, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) sent a letter on March 3, 2010 to the European Parliament stating, inter alia, that:
The UWC is extremely disappointed that the European Parliament has lent itself in this manner to another attempt to rewrite Ukrainian history during WWII.
You should be aware that Stepan Bandera is the undisputed symbol of Ukraine’s lengthy and tragic struggle for independence, which was ultimately achieved in 1991. He inspired whole generations of Ukrainian freedom fighters and was hated by all those who had imperialist ambitions towards Ukraine.
On June 30, 1941, after the Germans invaded the Soviet Union, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) under the leadership of Stepan Bandera proclaimed Ukraine’s independence. This was a direct challenge to Hitler’s plan to convert Eastern Europe into a German colony. OUN’s leaders were immediately directed by the German authorities to rescind this proclamation, which they refused to do. As a result, OUN’s leaders were persecuted and either killed or jailed. This forced the OUN underground in its fight against both the Soviet and Nazi invaders of Ukraine.
As for Stepan Bandera, he was arrested in July 1941 and then sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was incarcerated until October 1944. His two brothers were sent to Auschwitz, where they were brutally murdered. A similar fate awaited Stepan Bandera, who was assassinated in 1959 by a Soviet agent in Munich.
At the Nuremberg Trials, a secret directive by the Nazi Einsatzkommando C/5 to its units, dated November 25, 1941, was uncovered. It dispelled any possible argument of Nazi collaboration by the Bandera-led OUN. Indeed, this directive stated:
“It has been established with certainty that the Bandera Movement is preparing an uprising in the Reichskommissariat, whose ultimate objective is to create an independent Ukraine. All functionaries of the Bandera Movement are to be immediately arrested and, after a thorough interrogation, secretly liquidated as pillagers.”
During WWII, Ukraine lost approximately 7.5 million people as a result of the aggression of both the Nazis and the Soviets. In addition, about 2 million were deported to Germany as slave laborers.
This is definitely not a history of Nazi collaboration by Bandera’s OUN, but rather of a people that was decimated by two mass human killing machines headed by Hitler and Stalin.
In view of the foregoing, the UWC requests that the European Parliament do the right thing and revoke its groundless accusation against the Bandera-led OUN.
The UWC also called upon the President of Ukraine to defend the honor of a true hero of Ukraine, Stepan Bandera, and to dismiss the groundless accusations against the Bandera-led OUN.