Love and Sex in Wartime

Controlling Women’s Sexuality in the Ukrainian Nationalist Underground

in Aspasia


This article examines how the constructions of gender, female sexuality, nation, and war by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army influenced their attitudes to intimate fraternization between women (both members of the nationalist underground and civilians) and enemy men between 1939 and the mid-1950s. Conclusions are based on the analysis of a wide range of sources. The article highlights various forms and methods of repressive measures against women who transgressed sexual norms. The article argues that the violent practices against women were not standardized, and largely depended on subjective decisions of the local leaders and commanders, as well as on the level of women’s engagement in the underground activities. Violence against women represented a tool of preservation of patriarchal power and traditional gender roles but became one of the means of constructing power relations among the nationalist men, as well as their relations with enemy men.

The history and legacy of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (Orhanizatsiia Ukrains’kykh Natsionalistiv, OUN) and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (Ukrains’ka Povstans’ka Armiia, UPA), are becoming the core of the Ukrainian national historical narrative framing the official memory politics in Ukraine. Such a narrative is remarkable for the glorification of the nationalist movement in general and the heroization of the OUN leaders and UPA commanders whose official portrayal appears to be immune to any critical inquiry. Historians working for the state-sponsored institutions are reluctant to question the reputation of these perceived national heroes and to bring to light unpleasant, shameful, and even criminal aspects of the OUN and UPA history.1 The study of women’s experience of the nationalist movement (and the analysis of the widespread gender-based violence, including sexual violence against female members) undermines the idealistic perception of the nationalist insurgents and opens a wider discussions of women’s experiences of the participation in the OUN and UPA in wartime, as well as women’s roles in nation-building projects more generally.

In the Soviet Union, the question of the Ukrainian nationalist movement was highly political and ideologically loaded, which created obstacles for academic historical research on the subject. Thus, the experiences of tens of thousands of women from Eastern Europe during and after World War II remained unknown for a long time. Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union was the taboo on researching the history of the OUN broken. In Ukraine, however, the official, homogenized nationalist historical narrative remains androcentric, with women largely consigned to symbolic, secondrate roles as men’s assistants in the armed struggle for an independent Ukraine. Nevertheless, some historians have attempted to make women visible in the history of the OUN and UPA. The issues that have been partially examined by researchers include women’s motivations for joining the underground, the violence that was directed at them from the Nazi and Soviet authorities, the participation of women in the UPA medical service (the Ukrainian Red Cross, Ukrains’kyi Chervonyi Khrest, UChKh), unofficial roles of women in the underground (as lovers, wives, or mothers),2 and representations of women’s experiences in historiography and politics of memory.3 A prominent historian, Oksana Kis, has analyzed the different roles of women that were associated with traditional gender norms and nationalist ideas of womanhood, from exploitation of gender stereotypes to the widening of standard definitions of femininity that destroyed stereotypical images of Ukrainian women. Kis was also the first in Ukrainian historiography to turn her attention to the personal sphere of Ukrainian women’s everyday practices connected with motherhood.4

There is also a growing body of biographical studies of the OUN and UPA women. A former OUN member, Nadiia Mudra, has tried to retrieve the forgotten women’s names in her three volumes of short biographies of nine hundred Ukrainian nationalist women.5 More in-depth academic research has been devoted to a few handfuls of women prominent in the underground whose experiences fit into the traditional heroic national narrative.6 Jeffrey Burds has tried to draw attention to the stories of women who became agents of the Soviet secret police.7 He argues that the scale of violence against women in the underground in the first years of the restoration of Soviet rule in western Ukraine was caused by stronger distrust of women, who were arrested en masse, forced to cooperate with the authorities, imprisoned, or sent into exile.8 Olena Petrenko has illustrated the instrumentalization of women in the Soviet state’s relentless and brutal battle against the nationalist insurgents. She discusses the perpetration of violence by the OUN against specific categories of women—in particular, Soviet teachers.9 Despite the recent growth of research on women in the nationalist underground, this work remains limited. The questions of gender relations and female sexuality in particular are in need of further in-depth research. In the existing historiography, some attention has been paid to the construction of ideas about normative and deviant forms of sexuality, mechanisms of control over intimacy, and women’s reproductive behavior. However, there is a lack of research on the attitude of the OUN leadership to the women who transgressed the norms of accepted female sexual behavior by engaging in sexual and romantic relationships with the enemy during and soon after the war.

This article is the first attempt to approach and provide a framework for the discussion of violence perpetrated by the OUN and UPA against women who were accused of “immoral behavior.” It analyzes how the construction of femininity, nation, and war in the nationalist discourse led to repressions against women’s sexuality and its subordination to the goals of the underground, even if this contradicted the women’s interests and will. The aim of the article is to uncover a victimized group of women that has largely been ignored in traditional historical accounts. For this purpose, it is important to distinguish two major categories of women: members of the underground and civilians, as they were subject to different forms of symbolic and physical violence that had different consequences for their future lives.

This article discusses the consequences faced by women who had intimate relations (consensual or forced) or were married to the men identified by the nationalists as the enemy. The article also analyzes how the OUN and UPA reacted to the sexual behavior of this specific group of women, and examines the influence of gender dynamics prevalent in the nationalist underground and society in general during World War II and in the decade after it on the treatment of women. Using a wide range of sources, the article discusses the various methods of punishment used by the underground against women who transgressed sexual norms. It argues that the violent practices depended on several factors, such as decisions of the local leadership and the degree of the women’s involvement in the OUN and UPA. The article also argues that the violence against women not only represented a tool of preservation of patriarchal power and traditional gender roles in the underground, but also became one of the means of constructing power relations among the nationalist men, as well as in their relations with enemy men.

The OUN was an illegal political nationalist organization set up in 1929 in Vienna. Its goal was to restore Ukrainian statehood. It operated mainly in the regions of Galicia and Volhynia (now western Ukraine). In 1940, the organization split into two factions: one led by Stepan Bandera10 and another by Andrii Mel’nyk. The nationalists hoped that Nazi Germany would help them create an independent Ukrainian state. Many members of the OUN served in various local police units, administrative formations, and battalions in Nazi-occupied Ukraine and were involved in the Holocaust. In the winter of 1943 in Volhynia, the OUN started to form armed units, which came to be known as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. During World War II, the UPA and OUN organized the ethnic cleansing of Polish residents in Volhynia and Galicia, and fought against Soviet partisans. When the Soviets returned to western Ukraine in 1944, the UPA and OUN conducted anti-Soviet resistance.11 Between 1944 and 1953, the USSR undertook serious measures to fight the OUN and UPA by conducting undercover military and intelligence operations, as well as evicting and deporting the locals who were suspected of supporting the nationalists. Over this period, 153,000 underground members and supporters were killed, 134,000 were arrested, and some 204,000 people were deported.12 The active work of the OUN stopped in 1954, following the arrest of its last leader, Vasyl Kuk.

Those identified by the underground as the enemy were individuals who were perceived as harmful to the struggle of the Ukrainian nationalists. This included people who opposed the idea of the creation of an independent Ukrainian state, as imagined by the OUN and UPA. Apart from the political definition of enemies, there were also ideological and ethnic criteria for determining enemies. The category of enemies was changeable and depended on the political situation in the Ukrainian lands at the time and the position, strategy, and tactics of the OUN and UPA. For example, early in the war, when the OUN supported the Third Reich, representatives of the German government were seen as allies.13 They would become enemies gradually, after the rejection of the idea of Ukrainian, albeit marionette, state by the German leadership. The enmity escalated the repression of the members of the OUN and the local population. In the early years of World War II, strong ethnic principles were important in the determination of enemies. In the 1941 OUN document “Guidelines for the Early Days of the Organization of Public Life,” Moskali,14 Poles, and Zhydy15 (Jews) were identified as “hostile” minorities.16 However, in the later years, this changed somewhat: the search for allies in the West, a limited democratization of the OUN program, and, finally, the fact that almost no Jews were left in western Ukraine after the Holocaust and the postwar repatriation of Jews to communist Poland led to a reduction in the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the nationalists in the late 1940s.

One of the lists of “the enemies of the Ukrainian people” can be found in instructions for the Security Service (Sluzhba Bezpeky, SB)17 of the OUN from 10 September 1943. It states that the enemies of the Ukrainian people are “all communists, regardless of their nationality, Poles who cooperate with the Germans, policemen regardless of their nationality. Ukrainians who work with our enemies, act against the UPA orders and try to break the unity among the Ukrainian people.”18 In addition, all those who did not support or obstructed the ideology and everyday practices of the OUN and UPA were regarded as enemies. After the restoration of Soviet rule in western Ukraine in 1944, the struggle against the Soviet regime was the main “battlefield” for the underground. Thus, all who represented or sympathized with the Soviet authorities, including the active Communist Party members and supporters of the communist ideology, were considered enemies by the Ukrainian nationalists, except for those who helped the underground, providing information or supporting the nationalists financially.

Overall, the relative vagueness of the concept of an enemy and the dynamic changes in its definition during the period in which the OUN and UPA were active created fertile ground for the potential abuses of power in the fight against those perceived as enemies. Sometimes the idea of the “national interest” was used as a cover for satisfying the interests of individuals at different levels of authority in the underground. In particular, this relates to punishments of those labeled as enemies based on fabricated evidence in order to gain profit or revenge. For instance, according to the available documents, jealousies were in some cases the root causes of the execution of some members of the nationalist underground and insurgents.19

Methodological Challenges and Limitations

Many scholars have examined the connection between the regulation of women’s bodies and cultural expectations of gender, ideas about sexuality, national identity, and racial ideology. In particular, the punishment of women for “horizontal collaboration” during the Nazi occupation of France, Norway, Belgium, and Denmark has been widely researched. In postwar Europe, violence against women who had sexual relations with the enemy during the war took both institutionalized and informal forms. In this context, violence was an instrument of patriarchal social control of women’s bodies, a form of revenge for masculinity wounded under the occupation, and a means for reestablishing male authority.20

The case of women in the Ukrainian lands, however, has yet to be thoroughly researched. In my article, I will concentrate only on the attitude of the OUN and UPA to women who violated sexual norms of the community. However, the study of this issue in the context of the nationalist underground is associated with a number of difficulties. Information about the punishment of women for sex with the enemy is difficult to obtain from the official OUN documents. Not all women who had intimate relations with the enemy or even who were married to and had children with men perceived as enemies of the nationalists were punished by the OUN. There were many, however, who were subjected to physical and/or psychological punishment. This could be explained by regional differences in attitudes (which will be discussed later) and by the fact that on the scale of priorities of the nationalist underground, the punishment of women was not as high as other tasks.

The concept of the enemy of the OUN and UPA, as mentioned, was changing during World War II and the decade after it and could include even members of the Ukrainian nation who were considered to have betrayed it. Did enemies have gender? In most military, combat, and terrorist actions of the OUN and UPA, their face-to-face opponents had a military and male face (with the exception of ethnic cleansings, where gender, as well as other personal characteristics, such as the age of the victims, was insignificant). The typical enemies of the OUN and UPA were members of various police formations during the Nazi occupation, the soldiers of the German Armed Forces, the Red Army, the Polish Armia Krajova (Home Army), the Soviet partisans, the People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD) and Ministry of State Security (MGB)21 officers, and other military formations that were involved in antinationalist struggle. Therefore, they were mostly men. The Communist Party leaders, officers of punitive and repressive bodies, informers, and opportunists killed by the nationalists were also mostly men. For example, an undated list of those executed by the OUN contains the names of ten women among the thirty-nine executed.22 Another one, also undated, lists eight women among the thirty-five executed. In the list dated 4 June 1946, there is only one woman among the twenty-one executed.23 Another undated list contains the names of three women among the twenty-nine executed.24

One of the main difficulties in establishing whether women were punished because of their intimate relations with the enemy or for some other reason is that the documents often do not clearly state the reasons for punishment. With regard to men, in many cases, specific facts of their cooperation with the Soviet authorities (which served as the basis for the death sentence) were provided. The absence of data or its fragmented nature makes it almost impossible to establish why the women were punished and to identify the possible gendered aspects relevant to their punishment. Some answers can be found in the documents of the SB. Based on investigation records, it can be concluded that transgression of sexual norms (sex with the enemy) by women could be one of the main reasons for the mandatory death penalties. For instance, during her interrogation by the SB, Mariia Rudnik, a teacher in the village of Rudka (Ternopil Oblast), did not admit to cooperating with the Soviet authorities. Nevertheless, she was sentenced to death. The justification of the death penalty stated that “while teaching in the village of Kotuzov, she constantly consorted with [tiahalasia] the Third Secretary of the RK KP(b)U [Communist Party of Ukraine] Chapelenko (a Jew).”25 The language of the SB materials used to describe the women or their relations with the enemy highlights the perceptions about what constituted inappropriate female sexual behavior, which were prevalent in the nationalist circles and the traditional society at the time. Women who engaged in sexual behavior deemed inappropriate were labeled as “immoral” and/or as “whores.”26

My analysis of different forms of punishment for women who had sexual relations with the enemy is based not only on the SB materials but also on other OUN documents such as accounts, orders, instructions, reports, correspondence, and court materials both published and archival. Soviet documents (e.g., investigation records of the NKVD-MGB: secret service, archival-criminal cases, military operation summaries, visual materials such as photos or drawings, leaflet paintings) also testify to the gendered nature of violent practices directed against the enemy by the OUN. Most of the documents used in this article are stored in the former KGB archives and started to become available to researchers in 2015.27 In particular, there are valuable archival-criminal materials on prisoners, which contain evidence of violence used against women that the person who was interrogated either participated in or witnessed. However, these materials must be approached with caution, given the methods that were used in Soviet investigations (including physical and psychological abuse) and the political agenda of the investigators. However, a thorough analysis of the witness testimonies, confrontation and identification protocols, exhumation records, forensic evidence, and their comparison with other sources (e.g., documents or memoirs of the OUN) increase researchers’ chances of verifying the data on the causes and nature of violence against women. Another important set of sources relevant to this research are NKVD-MVD, NKGB-MGB operational documents, which recorded information on sabotage and terrorist activities of the underground in a column named banditskie proyavleniya (manifestations of criminality).

One of the challenges of working with these materials is that it is difficult to identify the perpetrators as members of a specific group. In my research, I focus only on the violence perpetrated by the members of Stepan Bandera’s faction of the OUN (OUN-B), as it was the most influential nationalist political movement in Ukraine during and after World War II. However, it is not always possible to establish whether the perpetrators did belong to this specific group, as the recorded crimes could have been committed by members of Andrii Mel’nyk’s faction of the OUN (OUN-M), or by so-called wild groups (dyki hrupy), which consisted of men hiding from state mobilization into various armies or from being transported to Germany to work in labor camps, or even criminal groups. The perpetrators can be identified only if the documents contain information about their specific combat groups (boivky) or list names or pseudonyms of the leaders or members of the OUN. However, even this information cannot always guarantee that the perpetrators are identified accurately. An important methodological problem in this context is that the nationalist underground was infiltrated by thousands of agents of the authorities who committed crimes against civilians.28 Also, Soviet special services created numerous military special units (so-called agenturno-boevyie grupy or spetsgrupy), which disguised themselves as members of the OUN boivky and were responsible for different forms of violence against women (including rape and murder).29 Therefore, in order to expand research on gender-based violence in the OUN and UPA, the examination of the Soviet secret service documents must be extensive and thorough, taking into account the specificity of the archival material.

Despite these methodological challenges, the documents analyzed for this article shed much light on the gendered aspects of the punitive system of the OUN and UPA. So far, I have not found evidence that would prove that men who had intimate relations with enemy women were punished in the same way as women who had intimate relations with enemy men. The sexual life of men was not seen as suspicious and attracted little attention of the OUN and UPA members, while women’s sexuality was highly controlled by the nationalists. This difference in the perception of male and female bodies suggests that enemy men were seen as the main agents of the authorities (whether Nazi, Soviet, or Polish) and liaisons with them were therefore more dangerous to the nationalists than those with enemy women. Men occupied key positions in the power structures, made and implemented important decisions, and planned and carried out military operations (so-called voyskovo-chekistskie operatsii) against the OUN and UPA, while women were considered only assistants (because of their supposed naïveté, lack of education, political ignorance, or selfish motives). Therefore, I argue that symbolic and/or physical punishment of women was not only directed at the women themselves but also served as a warning signal to the enemy men who were their lovers and/or husbands. For example, there were instances when the members of the OUN murdered Red Army soldiers’ wives.30 This was meant to undermine their masculinity and encourage them and others to leave military service.

The discussion of punishment of women for having intimate relations with the enemy is absent not only in Ukraine’s official historical narrative and the post-Soviet Ukrainian commemoration practices but also in individual memoirs and narratives. In the memoirs of the members of the OUN and UPA that I examined, this topic is either marginalized or not mentioned at all. The situation is similar when it comes to oral testimonies, both published and stored in archival collections.31 Gender dimensions of the underground activity are often neglected in oral interviews, as researchers can be reluctant to ask specific questions about sexualized violence against women who transgressed social norms.

In order to understand the reasons for this silence, I began recording life stories of eyewitnesses, victims, bystanders, and perpetrators of gender-based violence. By the time I started collecting these interviews, very few members of the underground were still alive. Therefore, I did not have a specific sample selection method and was trying to interview as many women who were in good health and were willing to meet with me and talk about their past as was possible. For this I used a snowball method. Between the spring of 2015 and the summer of 2017, I conducted fifty-one in-depth biographical interviews as part of my wider research project on women’s experience of the nationalist underground. Forty-eight of them were members of the underground, and three were witnesses of events. Forty-eight were female, and three were men (two OUN members and one witness). My respondents lived in different regions of western Ukraine. Most of them were born between 1926 and 1928. At the time of the interviews, the oldest respondent was ninety-six years old, and the youngest seventy-nine. They started their participation in the OUN or UPA aged between sixteen and twenty-three. Thirty-five female informants were sentenced by the Soviets to ten to twenty-five years in labor camps. Many of my informants spoke of life in the camps as one of their most traumatic experiences. They were unable to talk about this publicly for decades, until the collapse of the Soviet Union. The stigma of being a criminal and the “enemy of the people” applied to them by the Soviet regime haunted them for most of their lives. Once they felt free to talk about their past, many of them were willing to spend hours detailing how the Soviet authorities intimidated them and recalling the smallest details of their everyday life in Soviet captivity.

One of the possible reasons for my respondents’ willingness to discuss their experiences of Soviet imprisonment or life in the gulag could be connected with the fact that the narrative of their suffering fits within the wider nationalist framework and serves as a symbol of collective victimhood. In the desire to “restore historical justice” and “historical truth” about Bandera supporters, the women I interviewed distanced themselves from anything that could “tarnish” them and the nationalist movement as a whole.32 Therefore, the subject of violence of the nationalists directed at women was one of the most difficult to address in the interviewing process. Women tended to avoid answering the questions directly, used euphemisms, changed the subject, complained about memory problems, and so forth. First, this can be explained by the feeling of shame, fear of reprisals and secondary stigmatization, or the blaming and discrimination of survivors of sexual violence. Second, divulging any negative information about former fellow underground members was a taboo from the very beginning of the OUN’s existence. People who failed to obey this rule in many cases were punished. In addition, keeping silent about sexual abuses perpetrated by comrades is part of a military culture, where loyalty among the members of the group is valued above individual freedoms.

Nonetheless, my informants provided me with much data on the cases of punishment against “immoral” women that they experienced, witnessed, or heard rumors of. As well as obtaining this valuable information on the actual acts of violence, the interview testimonies enabled me to examine how the narrators made sense of these acts and how they spoke of them. This allowed me to trace the ways this type of violence in its different manifestations was either legitimized or condemned in western Ukrainian society. Despite their limitations, oral testimonies remain the most valuable source for the study of the attitudes of the local residents to the violent actions of the OUN and UPA from the 1940s to the 1950s, as well as to the responses of victims, witnesses, and perpetrators. While oral testimonies allow the examination of the emotional responses to gender-based violence, the archival documents enable us to see its scale. In combination, the aforementioned sources bring us closer to researching this complex and often neglected subject in more depth.

Women, Nation, Sexuality

Feminist scholars highlight that women are relegated to minor, often symbolic, roles in nationalist movements and conflicts, either as icons of nationhood, to be elevated and defended, or as the spoils of war, to be denigrated and disgraced. In either case, the real actors are men who are defending their freedom, their honor, their homeland, and their women.33 Indeed, most members of the OUN and especially the UPA were men. Mass mobilization of women to the Ukrainian underground struggle in the early 1940s was caused by the changing circumstances of war: the recruitment of women was crucial for the nationalists, as they could live legally or semilegally (with forged documents) and continue to perform different tasks of the underground; they evoked less suspicion than men and were seen to be less dangerous. The nationalist discourse identified the ideal Ukrainian woman as a mother, sister, and daughter who inspired and supported her man in his liberation struggle. In addition, this woman was expected to be ready for self-sacrifice.34 Although the Third Extraordinary Grand Assembly of the OUN in 1943 proclaimed that only in the Ukrainian nation-state would men and women have “equal civil rights and obligations,”35 in reality, the dominant conceptions of gender roles in the underground movement during the war were very traditional and determined by the gendered imagining of the nation.36

Theorists of nationalism have noted the tendency of nationalists to liken the nation to a family. A nation is therefore viewed as a male-headed household in which both men and women have “natural” roles to play.37 Feminist scholars point out that nation-states have hierarchical authority structures in which men dominate in decision-making positions. In such structures, men are superordinate while women are subordinate. They have internal gendered divisions of labor, and men regulate women’s rights, labor, and sexuality.38 The culture of nationalism is constructed to emphasize and resonate with themes and concepts traditionally seen as masculine, such as honor, patriotism, cowardice, bravery, and duty.39 In the Ukrainian case, a vast majority of female members of the underground (including combatants) did traditional “women’s work,” such as cooking, washing clothes, cleaning, and providing medical services and emotional support for insurgents. Because of the patriarchal views of the OUN leadership on the normative gender division of labor, women were not allowed to participate in the dedsion-making processes of the highest levels or to hold “male positions.” Dariia Rebet was the only female member in the highest leadership of the OUN (Provid). Women never became commanders of the UPA military units. They did not decide the intensity and roles in which they would be involved in underground activities. Even those who became agents of violence did not become immune to gender-based discrimination and violence directed against them. Women’s political participation was used instrumentally for the needs of the OUN and UPA and did not change the wider dominant patriarchal ideology.

Nira Yuval-Davis suggests that women are often constructed as biological reproducers of the nation, cultural symbols of the collectivity, carries of the collectivity’s honor, and intergenerational reproducers of culture.40 In the center of Ukrainian nationalist discourse on female sexuality, there are notions of motherhood, purity, loyalty, modesty, and virginity. One of the manifestos of the OUN (“The 44 Rules of a Ukrainian Nationalist”) states: “Value highly motherhood as a source of life continuation. Create the source of purity of your race and nation out of your family.”41 According to nationalist views, the main task of a woman was to produce children and bring them up in an appropriate way (i.e., ensuring the learning of the mother tongue, myths, rituals, beliefs, adopting a patriotic worldview and the established social norms and behavior). The necessity of sending sons to war was one of the key points of the nationalist discourse about women’s duties.42 A legitimate and socially accepted way was to give birth to children after a marriage to a man who belonged to the same ethnic group. In the traditional Ukrainian culture, girls who lost their premarital virginity were punished.43

Reproductive pressure on women was applied through OUN propaganda materiais, didactic meetings (so-called hutirky, or talks) with the locals, and solemn celebrations of Mother’s Day.44 The mechanisms of reproductive coercion included criminalization of abortions in the legal practice of the underground.45 Not only were the women who terminated an unwelcome pregnancy subject to criminal persecution, but all the accomplices, in particular, obstetricians, were as well.46 Even men who encouraged their lovers to seek abortions and/or helped them with abortions could be brought to account. A former insurgent, Stepan Metofir, stated that a UPA commander, Mykhailo Karliuk (“Koval”),47 sentenced to death one of his subordinates because he threw his pregnant lover from the roof of a shed, deliberately causing a miscarriage.48

During the war, women’s sexuality acquired additional connotations. Female bodies functioned as a symbolic representation of the body of the nation.49 Women’s bodies symbolized and delimited the borders of the nation and represented the territory of the motherland, which could be conquered and violated.50 In the Ukrainian nationalist discourse, this was made evident by a “Ukrainian Revolutionary’s Prayer” used by the members of the underground. It was directed to the motherland rather than the mother of God and started with the following line: “Ukraine, holy mother of Heroes, come down to my heart.”51

The purity of the woman’s body symbolized the purity and dignity of the nation and its (male) defenders’ honor. The protection of a woman’s body from enemies, therefore, was equated with the protection of the integrity of the borders of the motherland.52 In this context, women’s sexuality was seen as a matter of national interest. The only acceptable expression of female sexuality was when a woman made herself available to a man who belonged to the same ethnic group. Fraternization between local women and the enemy was viewed as reprehensible. Such women were considered to have transgressed the established moral norms and to have broken premarital sexual contacts. In addition, they were labeled as traitors of the whole nation. The OUN documents testify to social condemnation of women. One of the OUN’s reports from September 1946 on the mood of the residents in Lviv Oblast states: “People condemn the girls who sometimes go with the Bolsheviks; they are hated.”53 Another OUN document tells about a resident of the village of Iasnyshcha in Lviv Oblast, Polia Slotiuk, who had contacts with the “Bolshevik telephone operators” who were billeted in her village in June 1949: “She humiliated herself so much that people were laughing and little children were throwing stones at her.”54 While women were often criticized for having relations with the enemy, and many were indeed punished, as will be demonstrated later, both formal and informal responses of the OUN and UPA to the inappropriate sexual behavior of women were different toward different groups of local women.

Women of the Underground: Personal versus Collective Interests

The specificity of women’s experience of the underground should first be considered in the context of body, sexuality, and reproductive behavior. The double standards of sexual morality in the underground were manifested by a more rigid control of women’s sexuality than men’s. As a result, some women suffered sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and abuse. Women who transgressed sexual norms related to premarital virginity or marital infidelity were punished more frequently than men.55 At the same time, the leadership of the OUN attempted to use women’s sexuality as a powerful resource in the underground’s activity, particularly in intelligence gathering. Therefore, the nationalist view of female sexual behavior sometimes conflicted with the prevalent public morality norms of the time. The only type of sexual behavior that was encouraged by the nationalists was that which suited the interests and tasks of the underground. The training materials of the SB stated:

Men are silent, enduring, consistent, but they usually lack cunning, and have absolutely no attraction. Women have these two main qualities: attraction and cunning. That allows a woman in intelligence to be the one who creates an atmosphere for a true intelligence officer … Women with ideological principles make love to foreigners to serve for the good of their nation as much as possible … Through her beauty, nice facial expressions, beautiful language, cunning, and artfulness a woman can often perform miracles.56

Another SB instruction on the value of local women for the purpose of gathering intelligence for the OUN in the eastern regions of the Ukrainian SSR states: “Their characteristic qualities include being quite knowledgeable, well-read in classical literature, familiar with intimate moments, and knowing how to approach and treat men.”57 In his memoirs, a former head of an SB unit (boivka), Dmytro Kupiak (“Klei”), states that the head of the SB of Lviv region, Ievhen Pryshliak (“Iarema”), was of the opinion that young women are suitable for observing the NKVD staff, particularly the ones who “look for entertainment in women’s company in the nighttime.”58

Female members of the underground received special training that was supposed to prepare them for important tasks. On 16 March 1944, during an interrogation by the SMERSH,59 Iuliia Kolesnichenko (“Konvaliia”) stated that at the seven-day training course for the commanding staff of the UPA in 1943 in the village of Topcha, Rivne Oblast, six out of thirty-eight trainees were women. They were instructed to establish personal connections with the Red Army commanders to gain information about the numbers, location of the Red Army units, their ammunition, and tasks.60 For many young women, such instructions could have been problematic, since they required the kind of behavior that ran counter to their upbringing and the moral and ethical norms of the time, and that could undermine their social standing, particularly among people not acquainted with the details of the undercover spy games the nationalist underground played with the enemy. On the other hand, they could be severely punished by the OUN for not fulfilling their tasks. In addition, the women faced a dilemma of how to perform their tasks but not be accused by their commanders of sexual promiscuity and sympathy for the enemy. A former intelligence officer of the SB, Hanna Liskevych (“Voloshka”), recalls: “Each of us was afraid of talking to a Russian [moskal] … A girl can do a lot, find out everything and pass the information on to her own. But who knows how her own people will perceive it. ‘Oh, how did you manage to find everything out? It means he must have embraced you and groped you [pointing to the genitals].’”61 Realizing the possible consequences (stigmatization, condemnation, exclusion from the OUN, investigation, and punishment such as beating, haircutting, or even murder), the women from the underground were afraid of even admitting that they had become victims of rape during the military operations or arrests and interrogations by the Soviets. When asked if women spoke of being raped, a former underground member, Vanda Horchyns’ka (“Domovyna”), said, “Even if it was the case, what would she say? A woman kept silent. Just lived through it on her own.”62 Another underground member, Stefaniia Bodnar, said that in the summer of 1944, in her native village of Pykulovychi, Lviv Oblast, before their retreat, German troops were raping women and girls for several days, but later none of the victims would admit it, as they were afraid of shame-based punishment.63

The personal lives of underground women were closely monitored by their commanders. In particular, this concerned women who had a semilegal status. Their superiors warned them of the danger of having unauthorized contacts with the enemy. One of the main tasks of the ideological and political training in the OUN was to ensure that none of the representatives or supporters of the Soviet authorities, or those who undermined the idea of fighting for the achievement of Ukrainian statehood, were tolerated. A former liaison operator, Hanna Ivanyts’ka, recalled: “It was inadmissible for a girl from the organization [OUN] to have contacts with the Russians [z moskaliamy]! We all knew it; we didn’t even need to be told that. Otherwise it would have been impossible to live.”64 Reports of underground women showing favorable attitudes toward the representatives of the Soviet authorities can be found in official documents of the OUN. One of the monthly OUN reports for 1944 contains the following information about a medical nurse of the UPA, Daryna Shevchuk (“Lishchyna”), who lived in the village of Derman (Rivne Oblast): “She jokes with them [the Soviets], reads their fortune. They came again in the nighttime. It is not clear whether Lishchyna invited them or not.”65 In a different report for the same year, the following was recorded: “Natalka hosts the Soviets and most probably treats them with liquor belonging to the organization.”66 Anna Bondaruk, who worked for the SB in the city of Terebovlia (Ternopil Oblast), had a job in the Regional Statistics Office and had a romantic encounter with an employee of the finance department of the local administration. She said that her OUN captain warned her, “If I see you with him [her lover] again, I’ll cut your hair off!” She stopped seeing her suitor after being threatened.67

The lovers of the female underground members who were employed by or cooperated with the Soviet intelligence services evoked obvious distrust from the OUN commanders: violating conspiracy principies taught by the organization, women could give away information about the OUN and its members to their lovers. Therefore, women were forced to stop such relationships. Thus, the insurgents ordered the liaison operator Mariia Turii (“Holka”) several times to cease her love affair with Teodozii Lahoshniak, whom they suspected of working for the MGB. Their suspicions turned out not to be groundless, as during a later SB interrogation, Mariia acknowledged that before the start of her relationship with Teodozii, she had already been recruited by the Soviet intelligence services.68

Evidence of personal relations with the enemy undermined the authority of the female members of the underground and resulted in internal investigations. Their fiancés or husbands were examined for their loyalty to the Ukrainian anti-Soviet movement, and in some cases the women were allowed to continue their relationship. In autumn of 1947, three underground representatives came to the apartment of Anna Mel’nyk, who bought medication for insurgents and provided medical services for them. They interviewed her fiancé, a member of the All-Union Leninist Young Communist League (Komsomol) and a school principal in the village of Maidan, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast. He must have expressed his loyalty for the nationalist underground, because Anna married him while still keeping in touch with the nationalists.69

If the OUN commanders had any serious suspicions concerning information leaks, women were immediately taken to the underground for further investigation and for settling their fate. In October 1944, the SB detained an underground member, Paraskoviia Kuzyk (“Taisiia”), who, while residing legally and working at the town council of Kolomyia (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast), had a romantic relationship with an MGB lieutenant. She was immediately taken to the underground (without the procedure of official discharge from the place of employment) and appointed as a typist to the propaganda commander of the Kolomyia leadership of the OUN, whose pseudonym was “Hrim,” and then to “Oles,” the head of the local SB. She stayed in the latter position only for two weeks, as the SB continued the investigation, interrogating her about all her sexual relationships, including the one with the MGB lieutenant. Following the investigation, she was suspended from her previous job and placed under supervision of a district leader of the OUN women’s network, “Dariia,” which meant a demotion.70

Some women who were accused of having intimate relationships with the enemy were told to use their relationship in order to collect intelligence information for the OUN. The fulfillment of such assignments was supposed to rehabilitate them in the eyes of the underground. For instance, when the head of the SB of Kuty Raion, Petro Kuz’meniuk (“Kordub”), learned about the love affair of the seventeen-year-old Anna Pavliuk with a junior lieutenant of the NKVD Vakhniv, he asked her to find out the number of soldiers and officers in the Kuty border unit of the NKVD troops. An additional source of information was supposed to be Sergeant Iermishyn, with whom Anna was also recommended to have an intimate relationship.71

Some women who disobeyed the ban on sexual relations with the enemy faced serious and sometimes fatal consequences. In one of her interviews, a former underground member, Mariia Rynkovs’ka (“Oksana”), expressed pity over the execution of a liaison operator accused of providing confidential information about the underground to a Polish man with whom she was in love.72 On 16 June 1948, upon the decisión of the OUN leadership, a female insurgent, “Richka,” was executed because she “compromised the organization with absolutely immoral personal behavior, having immoral love relations even with an NKVD officer.”73 This implies that love was not a mitigating circumstance, but rather the opposite. Sentimental feelings and the empathy of the female underground participants toward the enemy were considered a crime by the leadership of the underground. It was believed that such feelings would harm the struggle of the nationalists against the Soviet and Polish authorities. This demonstrates that despite their engagement in the nationalist struggle, women combatants remained susceptible to patriarchal control of societal gender norms.

Guarding Public Morals

The main social base of the UPA was the local population, mainly in rural areas, that helped the nationalist insurgents both in terms of human resources and material goods. For those whose closest relatives were “in the woods”—that is, in the underground and in hiding—this support was particularly important. The underground leadership tried to protect the locals who supported the nationalists from transportation to the Third Reich as forced laborers, compulsory deportation to other territories, and requisitioning of grain, household tools, and cattle carried out by the authorities, as well as from marauders, thieves, and the attacks of different armed groups (for instance, Polish military formations).74 The UPA’s medical service also tried to serve the civilians and help the families whose members were in the underground. Sometimes the OUN assumed the role of an unsanctioned court, settling minor disputes among peasants. The OUN’s monitoring of public, political, and cultural life and the health of the population of a certain region included supervision of public morals. The support of heteronormativity and avoidance of premarital and extramarital sexual relations were essential. As mentioned, according to the patriarchal norms of the society at the time, the requirements for women’s sexual behavior were much stricter than those for men’s.

A resident of the village of Skulyn, Volyn Oblast, Ivan Sachuk, stated that the insurgents located in the woods close to the village reproached women: “You put on your embroidered blouses and went on walks with moskali,”75 thereby considering them unworthy of wearing embroidered blouses, which were a part of the traditional Ukrainian folk costume. Invective vocabulary was used in relation to those who transgressed moral norms. Talking to an OUN member, Mykola Andrushchak (“Verlan”), an underground member “Hrim” noted: “Do you know what a woman who goes to parties, and drinks vodka with the Bolsheviks is called? A slut.”76 In a report of the OUN’s head in Zastavna Raion (Chernivtsi Oblast) for October 1945, women who had personal relations with Soviet men were called “immoral” and “the garbage of the village.”77

In order to prevent behavior considered to be immoral, the underground members conducted meetings with the local population (known as vidpravy), at which they explained their attitude to such behavior and warned about potential punishment.78 Separate talks were conducted with women who were having love affairs with the enemy, sometimes even resorting to threats. At the interrogations in Kuty District Department of the MGB on 15 May 1946, Mariia Holovchuk, a resident of the village of Velykyi Rozhen, testified that in autumn of 1945 the banderites “took away” her fellow villager, Anna Kopel’chuk, for having intimate contact with an istrebok.79 Soon she was allowed to return home.80 It is likely that she was released but warned about a potential punishment. Usually, if women did not respond to such warnings, they were punished.

Not only young women but also married women whose husbands were on the front or had been taken as forced laborers to Germany could be punished for extramarital sexual relations with the enemy. Widows and women impregnated by enemies were also subject to punishment. Some of them sought abortions after the punishment.81 For instance, Nastia, a nineteen-year-old resident of the village of Ditkivtsi, Ternopil Oblast, had an abortion after she got pregnant by a Red Army soldier who was billeted in her house in 1944.82 Those punished could include women who resorted to military prostitution and had sexual contacts with both German and Soviet military men.83 Women whose relatives were in the UPA or in the underground were not exempt from penalties either. Mariia Iukish recalls that in Bolekhiv (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast) in 1945, a girl’s hair was cut off, even though her brother-in-law was one of the local leaders of the OUN.84 Punishment for “immoral” acts was different and depended mainly on the will of the local heads of the OUN or the UPA. Available sources confirm that decision making and its execution was the responsibility of men who, according to traditional distribution of gender roles, were the nation’s defenders.85

One of the most widespread methods of punishing women was cutting off their hair. In the 1940s and 1950s, it was applied to women for different forms of misconduct, which, from the OUN’s point of view, were considered indecent and traitorous. For example, women could be punished for joining the Komsomol and encouraging others to join it,86 for thefts,87 and for spreading Soviet propaganda,88 especially in theater performances.89 Women who often traveled between towns and villages were particularly likely to be suspected of working for the Soviet regime, and in some cases this suspicion was enough to face punishment.90 For instance, Omelian Trach, the head of the OUN in the village of Sapova in Ternopil Oblast, said that together with his partner, they threatened to cut some women’s hair off because these women often went to the nearby village of Zarvanytsia.91 A former insurgent, Ivan Lyko, states that hair cutting was a punishment in particular “for girls who flirted with enemy soldiers or representatives of the enemy’s authorities.”92 Another former insurgent, Dmytro Hryts’ko (“Tsiapka”), stated: “Girls from Hroziava got familiar with the Border Guard Troops’ (Wojska Ochrony Pogranicza, WOP)93 colonel Voitkivskyi, and went on dates [with him] in the woods. Their flirting had to be stopped, and love had to be chased away through beating. Many girls’ hair had to be cut off for the shame they brought on their brothers or neighbors who perished in the hands of the Poles while serving in the UPA, or continue fighting against them.”94 An underground member, Kateryna Pidbil’s’ka (“Halka”), recalled that “some of our girls dated Poles, and our guys cut their hair off.”95

The available materials suggest that “immoral behavior” referred not only to sexual relations but to flirting as well. On 1 December 1944, the head of the NKVD office in Volyn Oblast, Shestakov, reported to the people’s commissar for state security of the Ukrainian SSR that in the village of Nimets’ko-Kniahyns’ke Ukrainian insurgents cut the hair off Vita Korol’chuk, Fenia Panasiuk, and her sister for correspondence with the soldiers and officers of the Red Army.96 The same accusation was used against other women: underground members cut the hair off four women in the village Domashiv of Volyn Oblast in December 194497 and shaved nine other women in the villages of Shepetyn and Dytyniachi in Verby Raion, Rivne Oblast, in January 1945.98 During an investigation, Volodymyr Protsakovych (“Moroz”), a fighter (boivkar) of the OUN, testified to the Soviet authorities that while working legally in a postoffice in the village Zadvir’ia (Lviv Oblast), on the orders of the OUN head, he read through all correspondence of the local women with the Red Army soldiers; the women were then beaten “in order to prevent them from marrying Russians and soldiers.”99 In the village of Mykytyn (Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast) in October 1946, the OUN members cut the hair off three girls because they were dating soldiers of the Soviet army.100

Cutting off women’s hair for the loss of premarital virginity was a widespread phenomenon in the Ukrainian traditional culture. For example, in Skole Raion in the early twentieth century, a woman’s hair was cut off in the presence of the village head (vit) and she was severely beaten.101 Long hair was considered a symbol of virginity, and many matrimonial rituals in the Ukrainian traditional culture were connected with it. A ninety-year-old underground member, Mariia Rubakha, recalled that in her native village of Iamna Horishnia (no longer in existence now, then Pidkarpattia Voievodship, Poland), all girls had long hair. A short haircut was considered inappropriate for village women; only those who went to the city to study and to work could have it.102 However, even women who lived in cities were still expected to wear their hair long. Ievheniia Kostiuk, who was OUN’s liaison operator, was born in a city, but when she cut her hair following the example of German women she saw in Stanislav (now Ivano-Frankivsk) when it was occupied by the Nazis, she was punished by her underground commanders. Her punishment consisted of forcing her to walk sixty kilometers on foot. She was punished primarily because with such a haircut, she was clearly distinguishable from women in rural areas where she frequently went to perform different OUN tasks.103

Cutting women’s hair off was not just a method of punishment but also a way to warn other community members. Thus, it was practiced in a way that would achieve as much publicity as possible. For this, the OUN tried to choose days that were important for the local community and to punish several people at the same time. A former underground member, Solomiia Venher, said that in her native village of Bohatrivts’i (Ternopil Oblast) on 5 May 1946, on the eve of St. Iurii’s Day, the holiday of the village church (the so-called praznyk, or feast), insurgents cut the hair off six women: Mariia Levenets’ka, Hanna Levyts’ka, Ivanna Zhmud, Hanna Chereshniovs’ka, Mariia Tereshchuk, and Ievheniia Sodomora. Five of them were twenty or twenty-one years old; the youngest was nineteen and pregnant. Commenting on the public response to the event and the consequences for the women, Venher said:

The whole village was talking about it. It spread like wildfire. They came to know about it in another village. They [the women] did not even go to the church. They did not go anywhere. Levyts’ka, who lived in the neighborhood, had to perform the role of a svitylka,104 but she did not go anywhere, just lay in the garden, did not go to weddings. She said she had bad headaches. And then cried and said she was not guilty of anything.105

Other members of the underground also told about the significant reputational losses of women who had their hair cut off.106 An underground member, Olena Mel’nyk, said that after the OUN cut the hair off her friend, Parania, in the village of Iuriv, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, the woman was too ashamed to leave the house for months. During that time, her parents tried to find a wig for their daughter and explained her absence with a legend of her abduction.107 There were women who did not hide their hair once it had been cut off and publicly criticized the actions of the OUN. One of the villagers of Verbs’kyi Raion, Rivne Oblast, whose hair was cut off in spring 1945 by Bandera supporters for correspondence with a Red Army soldier (who was on the front), said, “Once summer came, I would deliberately walk without covering my head to show everyone how Bandera supporters want to build independent Ukraine.”108

Frequently, many women had their hair cut off during the long stays of Soviet military garrisons in villages, as soldiers were billeted in peasants’ houses. The OUN leadership performed the punishment after having obtained the necessary information from their own informants and village residents. Based on the available sources, it is impossible to trace how the OUN determined the level of consent in women’s sexual relations with Soviet military men, as there were many instances of sexual harassment and rape of village women by the Soviet soldiers.109 A report of the OUN leadership in Stanislav region for November 1945 states that after several months of border troops quartering in the region “in the village of Cherniievo, 3 women were punished for relations with border troop soldiers; in Hlybivka of Bohorodchany Raion 3 girls were punished; in Horokholyna 2 girls. All of them had their plaits cut off.”110 News reports from the Lviv region branch of the OUN for August–September 1945 feature an item about one of the villages of Mykolayiv Raion, where six girls were punished for “immoral behavior with the Bolsheviks.” At the beginning of the document it is stated that “special groups of the Bolsheviks” were billeted on this territory over the reporting period.111 After a long stay of Red Army troops in the village of Skulyn in Volyn Oblast in the period of liberation of the region from German troops in 1944, the insurgents cut off the hair of three women, Hanna Iushchyk, Varvara Sydoruk, and Mariia Fedoruk.112

As well as cutting women’s hair off, the punishment sometimes included tarring women’s heads, as was the case with a resident of a village of Hlibiv, Ternopil Oblast.113 Physical violence—beating with sticks (the so-called buky)—was another form of punishment practiced by the nationalists. A former insurgent, Ivan Dzhodzhyk, remembered a woman from Rohatyn Raion, where his unit was staying for some time, being punished in this way.114 Mariia Povkh, a reconnaissance worker for the SB,said: “There were two girls who would ‘stand with Germans.’ For that they were given 10 spanks each.”115 A woman called Katria, who lived in the village of Myl’ne, Ternopil Oblast and had a love affair with the head of the garrison of the internal troops of the NKVD, told an underground member, Halyna Iatskiv: “You shouldn’t argue with them [underground members]; they are very clever. They beat and cut off women’s hair even for the smallest relations with the moskali.”116 Women could also be threatened with material damage. Dmytro Levchenko repeated the words of the underground member Zenovii Duda (“Vedmid”) at the SB interrogations on 20 August 1947: “He said his mother got to know one captain, and the Banderites came to know about this. They destroyed their household. [He said]: My mother and I had to flee to the town.”117

Some women who tarnished their reputation by “going out with the Bolsheviks” were forced to leave their villages.118 Other women were even executed for illegitimate sexual relations. Dmytro Ivankiv, a resident of the village of Bukiv, Lviv Raion, said that his fellow villager, known as Pan’kova, was executed by hanging because she had a relationship with a moskal.119 A former insurgent, Mykola Syrotiuk, stated that in the village of Ivachkiv, one of the OUN activists in Volyn Oblast, Kindrat Liashchuk (“Kruk”), hanged a mother of four children, Nadiia Demchyshyna, having accused her of “being a lover of an NKVD officer.” At that time, her husband was mobilized by the Soviets to work in the Urals.120 Hanna Zelena, a liaison operator in the UPA, saw her fellow villager, Hanna, hanged on a pinetree. Not long before she was executed, the latter had been criticizing the insurgents who cut off her hair because she had intimate relations with Red Army soldiers. She told others, “They think they will build Ukraine with my plait.”121 In the same village in 1944, insurgents killed Mariia Koval, a mother of four children who was accused of having a love affair with a Red Army officer, while her brother and husband were both in the UPA.122 Ol’ha Romanyk, a resident of the village of Nakonechne Pershe in Lviv Oblast, spoke of a murder of a girl by the insurgents in her village: “Neighbors snitched about her, because when there was a raid there, they said that she was flirting with the moskali.”123 One of the internal reports for the NKVD commissar Vasyl Riasnyi mentioned that on 19 January 1945 in the village of Berestiany, Volyn Oblast, N. Nazarchuk was killed for “maintaining contacts with the Red Army soldiers.”124

The instructions to the SB heads, seized by the Soviet authorities during the attack on “Stepan,” the head of a boivka of the SB of Kalush Raion, on 27 May 1945 in the village of Nehivtsi, stated: “Women should not be punished by having their hair cut off. They should be executed.”125 Such instructions can be considered the testimony of the intensification of suppression of different forms of cooperation with the enemy. The more serious the losses of the OUN and UPA were in the armed confrontations with the Soviet power (and they were the most serious from 1944 to 1946), the less the nationalists tolerated personal relations with the enemy. Women who had intimate relations with the enemies of the nationalists were suspected of undercover work in favor of the Soviet or Polish special services. Some of them were executed with no proper investigation. The highlighting of the intimate relations with the enemy among the reasons for executions of women in the OUN’s documents proves that this was one of the legitimizations of the death penalty, even in cases where women’s cooperation with the authorities was not properly proved. In the list of those killed by the SB with no investigation for 1945, it was noted next to the surname of nineteen-year-old Anna Stetsiv that she “led an immoral life with a member of the NKVD, and collected intelligence about our movement.”126 In the same year, without any investigation the SB executed eighteen-year-old Ievheniia Dmytrak. Accusations against her included “immoral behavior with the Bolsheviks."127

Sometimes the responsibility for the “immoral” deeds of unmarried girls was extended to their nearest relatives—in particular, their parents, as they were expected to control and bring up their daughters according to the prevailing moral principles. A former underground member, Mykola Kunanets, said that in 1945 a head of the OUN in the village of Krakivets, Lviv Oblast, Iaroslav Khorunzhak (“Kobzar”), learned that one of the village women was seen with soldiers of the border troops. At first, Kobzar suggested killing the woman in question, but the proposal was rejected by Kunanets. Then Kobzar killed her father. Kunanets admitted that the act committed by Kobzar was a manifestation of his arbitrary use of power, but did not mention any punishment for his actions. Kobzar died around three years after the event described.128 Another underground member, Leonid Kul’chyns’kyi (“Iavir”), arrested by the Soviet authorities, during his interrogation said that on 4 June 1944 in the village of Derman, Rivne Oblast, the SB killed the Trofymchuk family, consisting of five persons, including an eight-year-old son, “for the daughters who were dating Red Army soldier.”129

Responsibility of Wives for Husbands

In the OUN propaganda materials for young people, great attention is paid to the issues of sexuality and romantic relations. The attitude of the bridegroom/bride to the idea of Ukrainian sovereignty and supporting the fight of the OUN and the UPA for its implementation was considered among the main criteria for choosing a spouse. Most instructions and addresses were related to women. They were recommended not to choose a “foreigner” (that is, somebody who is not an ethnic Ukrainian) as their bridegroom but “to marry only a [nationally] aware, solid, and honest Ukrainian.”130 In order to discourage women from having romances with enemies, the OUN propagandists produced leaflets with demotivating slogans: “Don’t go out with the Bolshevik executioners of the people, the thugs from the NKVD and their mean servants! Don’t marry them, send them away! Spit in their faces! Shame on all those who goes with the enemy."131 Another leaflet says: “Girls! Despise the traitors of the Ukrainian people—istrebky. Do not talk to them. Send them away if they want to be friends with you. Warn those demoralized as well to leave the service of the istrebky immediately.”132

The targeting of individuals whom the underground considered enemies continued until the mid-1950s. The investigative department of the SB was responsible for collecting evidence and conducting the necessary investigations. Based on those materials, they made decisions about punishment. In most cases, those deemed guilty bore individual responsibility, but there were also frequent cases where members of their families were also punished, or even killed, despite the orders that prohibited this. On 10 July 1944, the UPA commander in Galicia, Vasyl Sydor (“Shelest”), issued an order that prohibited the killing of women, children, and elderly people.133 According to the directive instructions of the middle-level leader of the OUN Iaroslav Lytvyn (“Karat”), as of 14 May 1945, those who murdered women, children, or the elderly were to be punished by death.134 At the same time, if the SB OUN made a decision on joint responsibility of the enemy men, their wives and children were also to be punished. Thus, on 26 September 1944 in the village of Ispas (Chernivtsi Oblast), a UPA unit headed by Mykola Trufyn ("Nalyvaiko") killed Arkhyp, a resident of the village, his wife, and five children because in 1940 he worked as a tractor driver in a collective farm.135 On the night of 4 April 1945, in the village of Hai (then Vynnyky Raion) in Lviv Oblast, the SB unitheaded by Mykhailo Dmyterko (“Kozak”) publicly hanged the wife of a member of the fighting battalion, Mariia Tiut’ko, and her son, Bohdan, twelve years of age (according to other evidence, thirteen years of age). The father of the family had been killed the day before.136 On the night of 10 April 1945, the SB shot another man, Mykola Klad’ko, his wife, Anastasiia, and their, son Vasyl.137 It is possible that in all these cases, the punishment of a male insurgent was extended to his wife and children, who were also executed by the SB, despite the directive of the OUN that prohibited the killing of women and children.

The principle of joint responsibility was often practiced in the boivka of Dmytro Kup’iak (“Klei”). In August 1944 in the village of Verbliany, Busk Raion, Lviv Oblast, the boivka participants killed a Soviet activist, Volodymyr Troian; his wife, Hanna; and their three children. At the same time, they killed his father and a teenage niece.138 During her interrogation by the KGB, SB terror attack survivor Paraskovia Karpenchuk stated:

I remember Volodymyr Kukharchuk saying: “Shoot them all!” … The bullet hit me in the chest above the left clavicle and went under the left shoulder blade. I fell on the stove, but I stayed conscious. I clearly heard a shot in a house, bandits saying that they needed to search thoroughly for a large sum of money that my father received for “betrayal.” I heard how the bandits carried things out of the house and the attic, how our horse neighed … when the criminals left I got up and saw that all my relatives lay dead.139

She testified that the SB boivka killed her father, who worked as a postman; her mother; a six-year-old sister, Olesia; and a four-year-old brother, Volodymyr. That night, Paraskovia also lost her four-year-old son, Serhii. Her twelve-year-old brother survived because he was covered by his mother’s body. The events took place on 7 April 1948. A few days later, according to Paraskovia, the OUN member Kukharchuk, who organized the murder of her family, asked her “to move in with him and live in his house as his wife,” although at the time he was already married.140

Not all members of the OUN resorted to such cruel and violent practices. Most often, however, the spouses of the enemy men shared their responsibility. This might be because of the sexist attitude toward women, prevalent in the society and rooted firmly in the patriarchal notion of the hierarchy of family relationships, in which the husband was seen as the main decisionmaker (including in the matters of politics), and the wife was obliged to support him and obey his will. The consequences of this perception of gender roles were fatal for many women who might not have shared the political views of their husbands and had their own opinions about the Ukrainian nationalist underground.141

Another category that was vulnerable to punishment by the SB were women from mixed Ukrainian-Polish marriages, especially during the ethnic cleansing operations carried out by the OUN and UPA in Polish villages in Volhynia and Galicia from 1943 to 1944. Women were beaten, raped, or killed as “traitors of the nation.” During an interview, ninety-year-old former OUN member Anna Zahaliuk said that when she learned about the UPA plans to destroy the village of Ihrovytsia (Ternopil Oblast) during the Catholic Christmas celebrations in 1944, she barely managed to save her pregnant cousin, Genia, whose husband was a Pole. In that attack, around ninety people were killed and the village was burned down. Zahaliuk might have been able to save her cousin because of her position as a leader of the Ukrainian Red Cross and the women’s network of the OUN in Hlubits’kyi Raion. Later, she rescued thirteen other women who otherwise would have been executed by the SB for having a personal relationship with the enemy.142

The materials of the SB on the “Liquidation of enemies” and their wives often contain no evidence of the wives’ cooperation with the Soviet or Polish authorities. The OUN’s reporting documents normally indicated the reason for liquidation next to the names of those killed. Some reports unambiguously stated that the main reason for the murder of a woman was her being a wife of the enemy. The list of those killed by the SB from 1944 to 1949 in the Horodok Raion (Lviv Oblast) includes the names of Kateryna Havrylyshyn and Mariia Kanchir, who were the wives of Soviet secret agents, and Ksenia Dunas, who was the wife of a militia member.143

Sometimes the wives or fiancées of the former OUN and UPA members who were accused of cooperation with the Soviet authorities were punished as well. Hanna Protskiv reluctantly spoke about her brother Mykhailo, who was in the underground. She erased his face from all the family photos. It is still considered that Mykhailo went missing in 1946, but Hanna was sure that he was killed by “his own men” as a “secret Soviet agent.” Revenge was also taken on his fiancée: she was raped by the SB members and her breasts were cut off.144 On 22 March 1945, in the village of Stadne (Lviv Oblast), an SB boivka killed the wife and wounded two children of the head of the village council who used to help the underground.145 The OUN often killed the wives of those members of the underground who surrendered to the Soviet authorities.146

In the documents of the OUN and UPA, being married to a representative of the Soviet authorities—in particular, the NKVD—features among serious aggravating circumstances during investigations and trials of women suspected of cooperation with the enemy. A former underground member, Dariia Shpytal-Maliarchyn, said that in her home village of Korchyn, Lviv Oblast, some women married Soviet militiamen and, fearing for their lives, left their village. Cities were safer for such women because the OUN did not operate openly and en masse there. Those militiamen’s wives who stayed in the village risked their lives and health. Shpytal-Maliarchyn said that underground fighters killed a militiaman in the village of Korchyn and cut his wife’s hair off.147 However, the punishment could be more violent. One of the insurgents’ reports of 5 August 1946 says that a group led by “Letun” in the village of Sykhiv, Stryi Raion, Lviv Oblast, killed a “local provocateur” who married an MGB man.148 The same report contains information about similar killings of other “provocateurs.” As it does not contain any information about their husbands’ positions—a potential reason for their punishment—it is possible to assume that they had not cooperated with the Soviet authorities and were executed as wives of enemies.

The language of the OUN documents on women’s crimes testifies to the fact that investigators were trying to stress love for the enemy and the intention to marry him as a precondition for an outcome of cooperation with the authorities who were fighting against the Ukrainian nationalist underground. The SB materials of June 1946 on the case of Anna Nebesniak, a twenty-year-old Ukrainian resident of the village of Ulaziv, Liubachiv povit (Poland), state that in the spring of 1946, she “fell in love with a Polish man” and gave information to the Polish authorities about her fellow villager who was helping the Ukrainian insurgents. As a result, his property was seized, but he managed to avoid arrest. The document ends with the following: “She keeps consorting with the Polish troops and intends to marry a Polish man.” The woman was hanged in a public place on 23 June 1946.149 On the same day, the underground members executed another woman: twenty-one-year-old Kateryna Perih, who was also a resident of the village of Ulaziv. The materials of her case show that she married a Polish man, and after that she informed the authorities about the people who were helping the Banderites. A sign that was attached to her body read: “Death to the traitors and harlots. This is how the Ukrainian people punishes its traitors and harlots.”150 The inscription clearly demonstrates that the OUN perceived marriage of a Ukrainian woman to an enemy man (in this case a Pole) as an immoral act.

Similar to the practice of punishing parents for girls who did not follow the rules of premarital virginity, there were cases of punishment of close family members for their daughters’ marriage to enemies. Liudmyla Slipa, whose sister was an OUN member, spoke about the execution of a fellow villager by the OUN in the village of Zolotnyky, Ternopil Oblast: “Mal’vina was hanged. She was told: ‘Take your daughter away from this MGB man.’” She was executed because she allowed her daughter to marry an MGB officer.151 During interrogation by the Soviets in July 1950, Ol’ha Holiiat, a liaison operator and lover of one of the SB heads in Pidhaietskyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, Fedor Smachylo (“Boz”), stated that the OUN had planned to kill Rudyi, one of her relatives. When she asked for the reason, she heard in response: “If Rudyi was an honest Ukrainian, he would never let his daughter marry a moskal.” His son-in-law came from eastern Ukraine and worked in one of the government agencies in the village of Stare Misto. Eventually, for unknown reasons, “Boz” waived his decision.152


World War II and the time of the armed confrontation between the Soviet authorities and the Ukrainian nationalist resistance had ambiguous consequences for the gender system of western Ukrainian society. Many women could leave the traditional gender roles and private sphere and become part of the significant political and military movements of the OUN and UPA, which provided them with access to power, although it was limited and lasted only for the duration of women’s participation in the resistance movement. However, the sphere of women’s sexuality was least open to changes. Moreover, war intensified the patriarchal discourse relating to the normalization/deviation of women’s sexual behavior. The social understanding and coding of a woman’s and man’s body was different in wartime. Women’s bodies had a symbolic meaning and were considered “national property” that had to be protected from the enemy. Therefore, the OUN underground tried to control women’s sexuality as much as possible and use it for political purposes. The system of control included a range of rules and regulations, the most important of which was a prohibition of intimate relations with those identified by the nationalists as the enemy, regardless of whether these relations were relatively consensual or forced (i.e., rape). The transgressors were punished in a number of ways, and this punishment became not only a tool for achieving individual responsibility but also an efficient means of social control.

Repressive actions could include psychological and physical violence over the guilty party, and/or members of their families. The will of the local OUN leaders or the UPA commanders played a key role in decisions on the expedience of punishment and its forms. This explains the difference in the methods of punishment in different localities for the same wrongdoing, and existence of punishment not appropriate to the severity of the act recognized by the nationalists as criminal. For example, one woman could be hanged just for flirting, while another could be punished by having her hair cut off for getting pregnant by the “enemy.” In other cases still, the punishment could be waived altogether.

A penalty depended not only on the forms of personal collaboration with the enemy (i.e., a single meeting, longer-term dating, sexual relations, marriage) but also on the personality of the culprit—in particular, the level of her involvement in OUN activities. The higher the position of a woman in the power hierarchy of the underground, the more severe the attitude to nonstandard manifestations of her sexuality was. While civilian women who had sex with the enemy were accused of immorality and betrayal of their motherland, the female members of the OUN were also accused of betrayal of the organization. Membership in the OUN and UPA required certain self-sacrifice and renunciation of personal ambitions and wishes that ran counter to the goals of the people, as well as suppression of sexuality (unless it could be used for the benefits of the organization). Therefore, investigations of the female OUN members were more rigorous than those of civilian women. Also, no punishment associated with public humiliation was applied to them because of the rules of conspiracy in the underground.

Available sources confirm that repressive measures against civilian women were taken by the OUN on all the territory where it functioned, but their application was restricted by several circumstances. It depended on the situation of the OUN and UPA in a given locality (i.e., how widespread the network was, the number of staff members, priority of activities, support by the local residents). Also, in each specific case, the underground leaders had to assess the level of safety for the executioners not to be revealed, arrested, or killed by the enemy. The safety for the executioners was least in cities. Therefore, most punished women were village residents. This can be explained by the fact that large military Soviet garrisons were located in the villages for lengthy periods of time and the village community knew about their contacts with local women and girls.

In the system of values and interests of the Ukrainian nationalist underground, women’s punishment had several meanings. The first was based on the ideas about the relationship of the female body to the nation, reproductive roles of women in society, and women’s maternal duty. In this system of values, women who had sexual, romantic, or marital relations with the enemy “betrayed" their womanhood (rejected their duty to the nation) and dishonored their country. Thus, they would lose the right to a Ukrainian identity, the right to be treated as rightful members of the community, and the right to be protected by the nationalists. The punishment became the “sacred duty” of men as defenders of the nation. Through punishment, women were to be returned to a traditional Ukrainian family, where they were subordinated to their nation’s men exclusively and performed their “natural functions”: household duties and the moral and patriotic upbringing of children. The war destroyed many families and was conducive to pre-and extramarital sexual contacts. The punishment of women became an instrument to “protect” the normative social order, where female sexuality was one of the determining factors of women’s social status. Thus, on the one hand, the punishment was perceived as an act of “purification” of the disgraced nation. On the other hand, it appeared to be the restoration of a “normative,” desired gender order and a warning for those women who dared to undermine it. Undoubtedly, the punitive reaction to women’s sexual conduct functioned as a reassertion of male dominance and patriarchal control over women who had experienced greater freedoms during the struggle of the UPA and OUN in the 1940s and 1950s.

The second meaning of the punishment of “immoral” women was more practical and instrumental and derived from the OUN’s and the UPA’s tactical and strategic interests. Violence was used to control not only women but the entire community. It was believed to be a successful tool of mobilization to support the armed struggle of the Ukrainian nationalist underground. Every act of sexual misbehavior was seen as an act of support for the Nazi, Soviet, or communist Polish authorities and thus disloyalty to Bandera supporters. Therefore, every punishment of “immoral” women was considered an act of defeating or weakening the enemy, as it was supposed to demoralize and humiliate the enemy men. At the same time, the men who punished women demonstrated their loyalty to the organization. Therefore, the acts of violence were not always sanctioned and initiated by the nationalist leadership, but could serve as an expression of initiative of individuals or groups lower down in the hierarchy. Those who initiated the punishment of women could in such a way highlight their dedication to the shared values of the underground and demonstrate their loyalty to the leadership. It is also possible that some of them used violence against women to cover up their own contacts or their intention to establish contacts with the enemy. In this context, the female body became one of the means of constructing relationships—both horizontal and hierarchical—among the nationalist men, and contributed to the formation of military culture.


I would like to thank the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta (the Petro Chornyj Memorial Endowment Fund and the Yuchymenko Family Endowment Fund) for supporting the research on which this article is based. Part of this article is based on a presentation delivered at the thirteenth annual Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine, Chair of Ukrainian Studies, University of Ottawa, 16–18 November 2017. I am also grateful to Olesya Khromeychuk, Andrii Usach, the editors, and the anonymous readers whose comments and advice helped to improve this article.


Olesya Khromeychuk, “What Place for Women in Ukraine’s Memory Politics?” Open Democracy Russia, 10 October 2016,


Tetiana Antonova, “Zhinka ta ii ‘myrni,’ ‘napivmyrni’ ta voienni roli v borotbi OUN i UPA,” [A woman and her “peaceful,” “semi-peaceful” and military roles in the OUN’s and UPA’s struggle], Ukrainskyi vyzvolnyi rukh 9 (2007): 138–144.


Larysa Zariczniak, “Violence and the UPA Woman: Experiences and Influences,” Ievropeis’ki istorychni studii 2 (2015): 243–267; Lesia Onyshko, “Rol’ zhinky v ukrains’komu natsional’no-vyzvol’nomu rusi seredyny XX st.” [The role of women in the Ukrainian national liberation movement of the mid-twentieth century], Ukrains’kyi vyzvol’nyi rukh 3 (2004): 30–38; Mariia Mandryk, “Zhinochi oblychchia ukrains’koho pidpillia: Hendernyi pryntsyp chy ‘cholovicha’ istoriia borot’by” [Female faces of the Ukrainian underground: Gender principle or the history of men’s struggle], Kul’tura narodov Prychernomoria 162 (2009): 129–134.


Oksana Kis, “Zhinochyi dosvid uchasti u natsionalnovyzvol’nykh zmahanniakh 1940–50-kh rokiv na zakhidnoukrains’kykh zemliakh” [Women’s experience of participation in the national liberation struggle of the 1940s–1950s on western Ukrainian lands], Skhid-Zakhid: Istoryko-kul’torolohichnyi zbirnyk 13–14 (2009): 101–124.


See Nadiia Mudra, ed., Ukrainska zhinka u vyzvolnii borotbi [Ukrainian women in the national liberation struggle], vols. 1–3 (Lviv: Svit, 2004, 2006, 2009).


See, among others, Volodymyr Ivanchenko, Kvitka u chervonomu pekli: Zhyttievyi shliakh Liudmyly Foi [The flower in red hell: The life of Liudmyla Foia] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2009); Oleksandr Ishchuk and Volodymyr Ivanchenko, Zhyttievyi shliakh Halyny Holoiad—“Marty Hai” [The life of Halyna Holoiad—“Marta Hai”] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2010); Nataliia Nikolaieva, Uliana Kriuchenko—“Oksana” (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2013); Mykola Posivnych and Vasyl Brelius, Narys zhyttia Darii Rebet—“Orlian” [Daria Rebet—’Orlyan”: A life’s portrait] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2013).


Dzhefri Burds, “‘Moskalky’: Zhenshchyny-ahenty i natsyonalystycheskoe podpole na Zapadnoi Ukraine, 1944–1948” [“Moskalky”: Female agents and the nationalist underground in western Ukraine, 1944–1948], in Sotsyalnaia Istoryia Ezhehodnyk [Social history yearbook] (Moskva: ROSSPEN, 2004), 300–339.


Jeffrey Burds, “The Soviet War against ‘Fifth Columnists’: The File of Chechnya, 1942–1944,” Journal of Contemporary History 2, no. 42 (2007): 265–312; Jeffrey Burds, “Agentura: Soviet Informants Networks and the Ukrainian Rebel Underground in Galicia 1944–1948,” Eastern European Policy and Society 1, no. 1 (1997): 89–130.


Olena Petrenko, “Ukrainian Insurgency against the Post-War Sovietization: The File of the Female Teachers from the East in Western Ukraine,” Kaleidoscope: Journal of History of Culture, Science and Medicine 5, no. 9 (2014): 169–181; Olena Petrenko, “Anatomy of the Unsaid: Along the Taboo Lines of Female Participation in the Ukrainian Nationalistic Underground,” in Women and Men at War: A Gender Perspective on World War II and its Aftermath in Central and Eastern Europe, ed. Maren Röger and Ruth Leiserowitz (Osnabrück: Fibre Verlag, 2012), 241–262.


Stepan Bandera (1909–1959) was a politician, an ideologue of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, the leader of one wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), and the leader of the sections of the OUN abroad. In 1941, he was imprisoned by Germans and upon his release from prison lived in Germany until his death. In 1959, he was killed by the Soviet agent Bohdan Stashynsky in Munich. In the nationalist narrative, Bandera remains a symbol of the revolutionary struggle for a Ukrainian state. On 22 January 2010, the outgoing president of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, awarded Bandera the title of Hero of Ukraine. This award was condemned by European Parliament, as well as Polish and Jewish organizations. Bandera remains a controversial figure in Ukraine today.


For more information on the OUN and UPA, see Alexander Motyl, The Turn to the Right: The Ideological Origins and Development of Ukrainian Nationalism, 1919–1929 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980); Oleksandr Zaitsev, Ukrainskyi integralnyi natsionalizm (1920–1930-ti roky): Narysy intelektualnoi istorii [Ukrainian Integral Nationalism (1920s–1930s): Studies in Intellectual History] (Kiev: Krytyka, 2013); Timothy Snyder, “The Causes of Ukrainian-Polish Ethnic Cleansing 1943,” Past and Present 179 (2003): 197–234; Grzegorz Motyka, Ukraińska partyzantka 1942–1960: Działalność Organizacji Ukraińskich Nacjonalistów i Ukraińskiej Powstańczej Armii [Ukrainian partisan movement 1942–1960: The activity of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army] (Warsaw: Oficyna Wydawnicza Rytm, 2006); Myroslav Shkandrij, Ukrainian Nationalism: Politics, Ideology and Literature, 1929–1956 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015).


A. N. Iakovlev, ed., Lavrentii Beriia, 1953: Stenogramma iulskogo plenuma TsK KPSS i drugie dokumenty [Lavrentii Beriia, 1953: Transcript of plenum meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of 7 July 1953 and other documents] (Moscow: MFD, 1999), 47.


For more information on the OUN’s attitude to Nazi Germany, see Pohl Dieter, “The Murder of Ukraine’s Jews under German Military Administration and in the Reich Commissariat Ukraine,” in The Shoah in Ukraine: History, Testimony, Memorialization, ed. Ray Brandon and Wendy Lower (Bloomington: Indiana University Press with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2008), 23–76; Martin Dean, Collaboration during the Holocaust: Crimes of the Local Police in Belorussia and Ukraine, 1941–1944 (New York: St. Martin’s Press with United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000); Gabriel N. Finder and Alexander V. Prusin, “Collaboration in Eastern Galicia: The Ukrainian Police and the Holocaust,” East European Jewish Affairs 34, no. 2 (2004): 95–118; Kai Struve, Deutsche Herrschaft, ukrainischer Nationalismus, antijüdische Gewalt: Der Sommer 1941 in der Westukraine [The German rule, Ukrainian nationalism, anti-Jewish violence: The summer of 1941 in western Ukraine] (Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2015).


Moskal is a derogatory term for a Russian and/or pro-Russian person.


Zhyd is considered an offensive term for a Jew in contemporary Ukrainian; however, it did not have the same connotations when used during World War II in the territories of present-day western Ukraine.


Haluzevyi derzhavnyi arkhiv Sluzhby bezpeky Ukrainy (HDA SBU) [Sectoral State Archive of the Security Service of Ukraine], fond 13, sprava 376, tom 6, arkush 300.


The Security Service of the OUN (Sluzhba Bezpeky, SB) was responsible for intelligence and counterintelligence activities, conducted investigations and liquidations of enemies, and played a key role in the violence practiced by the OUN.


HDA SBU 13–376-49: 207. All translations in this article are my own unless otherwise indicated.


For more information, see Ivan Lyko (“Skala,” “Bohdan”), Na hrani mrii i diisnosty: Spohady pidpilnyka—Na hrani dvokh svitiv: Spohady, 1945–1955 [At the edge of a dream and realit: Memoirs of revolutionary—At the edge of two worlds: Memoirs], ed. Mykola Terefenko (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2002), 115; Petro Potichnyi, ed., Borotba z agenturoiu: Protokoly dopytiv Sluzhby Bezpeky OUN v Ternopilshchyni, 1946–1948, knyha 1 [The struggle against agentura: Protocols of interrogation of the OUN SB in Ternopil Oblast, 1946–1948, book 1] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2006), 86.


See, e.g., Claire Duchen, Women’s Rights and Women’s Lives in France, 1944–1968 (New York: Routledge, 1994); Joshua S. Goldstein, War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001); Fabrice Virgili, Shorn Women: Gender and Punishment in Liberation France (New York: Berg Publishers, 2002); Agnes Heller, “Five Approaches to the Phenomenon of Shame,” Social Research 70, no. 4 (2005): 1015–1030; Anette Waring, “War, Cultural Loyalty and Gender: Danish Women’s Intimate Fraternization,” Children of World War II: The Hidden Enemy Legacy, ed. Kjersti Ericsson and Eva Simonsen (Oxford: Berg, 2005): 35–52; Nancy M. Wingfield and Maria Bucur-Deckard, eds., Gender and War in Twentieth-Century Eastern Europe (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006); Maren Röger and Ruth Leiserowitz, eds., Women and Men at War: A Gender Perspective on World War II and its Aftermath in Central and Eastern Europe (Osnabrück: Fibre-Verlag, 2012).


The People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs (Narodnyi Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, NKVD) was a leading secret Soviet police organization from 1934 to 1946. It was one of the main instruments of Soviet political terror under Josef Stalin’s regime, in particular against anti-Soviet opposition. In March 1946 the NKVD and the People’s Commissariat for State Security (NKGB) were renamed the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) and Ministry of State Security (MGB).


HAD SBU 13–376-51: 236–237.


HDA SBU 13–376-51: 240.


HDA SBU 13–376-51: 241–242.


Petro Potichnyj, ed., Borotba z agenturoiu: Protokoly dopytiv Sluzhby bezpeky OUN v Ternopilshchyni, 1946–1948, kynha 2 [The struggle against agentura: Protocols of interrogation of the OUN SB in the Ternopil region, 1946–1948, book 2] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2006), 213.


HDA SBU 13–376-55,117; Mykhailo Romaniuk, ed., Zolochivska okruha OUN: Dokumenty i materialy referentury SB, 1945–1951 [Zolochiv Okruha OUN: Documents and materials of the underground Security Service (SB), 1945–1951] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2013), 644, 726, 981; Potichnyj, Borotba z agenturoiu, knyha 1, 116, 1088.


On 9 April 2015, Ukraine’s parliament adopted four “decommunization laws.” One of them (no. 316-VIII, “On Access to the Archives of Repressive Agencies of the Communist Totalitarian Regime of 1917–1991”) has facilitated access to the former KGB archives.


Jeffrey Burds, “Agentura: Soviet Informants’ Networks and the Ukrainian Rebel Underground in Galicia 1944–1948,” East European Politics and Societies 11, no. 1 (1997): 89–130, here 120.


For more information, see Arkhiv Upravlinnia Sluzhby bezpeky Ukrainy (AUSBU) u Rivnenskii oblasti, f. 2, pifdfond 32, op. 9, spr. 26, ark. 110; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 90, spr. 41, t. 1, ark. 32; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 91, spr. 23, t. 1, ark. 15; Yuriy Cherchenko, Oleksandr Vovk, and Ivan Pavlenko, eds., Borotba proty UPA i natsionalistychnoho pidpillia: Dyrektyvni dokumenty TsK Kompartii Ukrainy, 1943–1959 [The struggle against the UPA and the nationalist underground: Instructional documents of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, 1943–1959] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2001), 359–361; Volodymyr Lozytsky, Mykhailo Derkatch, Ivan Pavlenko, and Anatolii Kentij, eds., Borotba proty UPA i natsionalistychnoho pidpillia: Informatsiini dokumenty TsK KP(b)U, obkomiv partii, NKVS-MVS, MDB-KDB, 1943–1959 [The struggle against the UPA and the nationalist underground: Informational documents of the Central Committee of the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine, party obkoms, NKVD-MVD, MGB-KGB, 1943–1959] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2003), 149–151, 163–166.


HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 65, spr. 8, t. 2, ark. 50, 209 zv; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 32, spr. 3, ark. 123; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 55, spr. 4, t. 1, ark. 25; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 87, spr. 83, ark. 10; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 88, spr. 4, t. 13, ark. 4, 16, 159, 262, 334; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 88, spr. 62, t. 9, ark. 181 zv; HDA SBU, f. 2, op. 88, spr. 63, t. 10, ark. 63.


See, e.g., Halyna Datsiuk, ed., Usna zhinocha istoriia: Povernennia [Women’s oral history: Returning] (Kiev: Spadshchyna, 2003); Iroida Vynnytska, ed., Nezvychaini doli zvychainykh zhinok: Usna istoriia XX stolittia [Extraordinary fates of ordinary women: Oral history of the twentieth century] (Lviv: Lvivska politekhnika, 2013). A large collection of oral testimonies is stored in the archive of the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement in Lviv and the archive of the museum Territory of Terror in Lviv.


The discourse of the restoration of historical justice and truth is popularized in contemporary Ukraine by institutions such as the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (Ukrains’kyi Instytut Natsional’noi Pam’iati, UINP). See, e.g., an interview with the head of the UINP, Volodymyr Viatrovych, “Volodymyr Viatrovych: Dekomunizatsiia—zasib spynyty rosiisku ahresiiu i povernuty okupovani terytorii” [Volodymyr Viatrovych: Decommunization—a tool to stop Russian aggression and return the occupied territories], Glavred, 11 February 2017,; Ukrains’kyi Instytut Natsional’noi Pam’iati pryveze do Lvova istorychnyi maidanchyk [The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory will bring to Lviv the historical stage], Ukrains’kyi Instytut Natsional’noi Pam’iati, (accessed 11 August 2017).


Joane Nagel, “Masculinity and Nationalism: Gender and Sexuality in the Making of Nations,” Ethnic and Racial Studies 21, no. 2 (1998): 242–269, here 244. See also Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).


The cult of sacrifice was an integral part of the nationalist propaganda. To inspire women to engage in self-sacrificing struggle, examples of women such as Ol’ha Basarab were used. She was a liaison operator of the first head of the OUN, Ievhen Konovalets, arrested by the Polish, and tortured in prison, where she died on 12 February 1924. The OUN commemorated the anniversary of her death and called her a real “model female heroine who hadn’t betrayed Ukrainian nationalism” (DARO 30–2-35:8; HDA SBU 13–376-48: 343).


Prohrama Orhanizatsii ukrainskykh natsionalistiv [The program of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists] (Kiev and Lviv, 1950), HDA SBU 13–372-13: 216.


For more information about nationalists’ view of ideal femininity, see Olesya Khromeychuk, “Militarizing Women in the Ukrainian Nationalist Movement from the 1930s to the 1950s,” this volume.


Nagel, “Masculinity and Nationalism,” 254.


Joane Nagel, Race, Ethnicity, and Sexuality: Intimate Intersections, Forbidden Frontiers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 160.


Jamie Munn, “The Hegemonic Male and Kosovar Nationalism, 2000–2005,” Men and Masculinities 10, no. 4 (2008): 445.


Nira Yuval-Davis, Gender and Nation (London: Sage Publications, 1997), 37, 67.


Archive of the Center for Research on the Liberation Movement (ATsDVR), fond 7 (Archive of the OUN leadership in Briukhovychi Raion).


HDA SBU 13–376-43: 112–113.


See Oksana Kis, Zhinka v tradytsiinii ukraisnkii kulturi:Druha polovyna XIX–pochatok XX stolittia [A woman in the traditional Ukrainian culture: The second half of the nineteenth to the beginning of the twentieth centuries] (Lviv: Instytut etnolohii NANU, 2008), 194–210.


Iaaroslava Fil’, Ohlianuvshys u mynule [Looking into the past] (Warsaw: Publishing House “Ukrainian Archive,” 2003), 78.


Despite the negative attitude to abortions in some documents, the OUN’s leadership position on them is more mild, with due account of the wartime conditions. In one of the secret instructions for the SB of the OUN, issued on 30 November 1946, it is stressed that the issue of abortions and widespread murder of newborns should be treated “in a humane way” as “a single bloody grief of the people” and the “legacy of abnormal relations”(ATsDVR, f. 9, t. 12).


DARO 30–2-32: 11.


As well as stating the actual names of the OUN and UPA members (if these are known), I will detail their pseudonyms, encoded names used by them in their underground activity.


Interview with Stepan Metofir (b. 1928), recorded by Yevhen Lunio on 29 October 2000, in the private archive of Ievhen Lunio.


Ruth Seifert, “Rape—the Female Body as a Symbol and a Sign: Gender-Specific Violence and the Cultural Construction of War,” in War or Health? A Reader, ed. Ilkka Taipale (London: Zed Books, 2002), 280–294, here 286.


Kjersti Ericsson, “Rape, Love and War: Personal or Political?” Theoretical Criminology 15, no. 1 (2011): 67–82, here 71.


ATsDVR, fond 7 (Archive of the OUN leadership in Briukhovychi Raion).


Ruth Seifert, “War and Rape: A Preliminary Analysis,” in Mass Rape: The War against Women in Bosnia-Herhegovina, ed. Alexandra Stiglmayer (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994), 54–72, here 62–64.


ATsDVR, fond 9, sprava17.


Romaniuk, Zolochivska okruha OUN, 739.


See Marta Havryshko, “Illegitimate Sexual Practices in the OUN Underground and UPA in Western Ukraine in the 1940s and 1950s,” Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies, no. 17,; Marta Havryshko, “Henderni aspekty seksual’noi morali v OUN i UPA u 1940–1950 rr.” [Gender aspects of sexual morality in the OUN and UPA in the 1940s–1950s], Ukrains’kyi vyzvol’nyi rukh 20 (2015): 199–213.


DARO 30–2-32: 186, 189.


DARO 30–2-15: 94.


Dmytro Kupiak, Spohady nedostrilianoho [Memories of the undershot] (Toronto: Beskyd Graphics, 1991), 218.


SMERSH—a Russian portmanteau of smert’ shpionam (death to spies)—was a Soviet organization consisting of several counterintelligence agencies that existed in 1943–1946.


Arkhiv Upravlinnia Sluzhby bezpeky Ukrainy u Zhytomyrskii oblasti, spr. 13139, ark. 24.


Interview with Hanna Liskevych (b. 1923), recorded by M. Havryshko, 13 January 2017, Lviv, author’s private archive.


Interview with Vanda Horchyns’ka (b. 1924), recorded by M. Havryshko, 11 November 2016, Kopychyntsi, Kopychynets’kyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive. Raion is an administrative unit used in Ukraine that is part of an oblast, a larger administrative unit.


Interview with Stefaniia Bodnar (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 November 2016, Hai, Peremyshlians’kyi Raion, Lviv Oblast, author’s private archive.


Interview with Hanna Ivanyts’ka (b. 1925), recorded by M. Havryshko, 18 October 2016, Lviv, author’s private archive.


DARO 30–2-38: 80.


DARO 30–2-38: 76.


Interview with Anna Bondaruk (b. 1928), recorded by M. Havryshko, 5 March 2017, Terebovlia, Terebovlians’kyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive.


Potichnyj, Borotba z agenturoiu, knyha 2, 775.


Arkhiv Upravlinnia Sluzhby bezpeky Ukrainy u Ivano-Frankivs’kii oblasti, spr. 10543P, ark. 32.


AUSBU u Ivano-Frankivskii oblasti, spr. 8560 P, ark. 124, 151.


AUSBU u Ivano-Frankivskii oblasti, spr. 6006 P, ark. 14–14 zvorot (reverse).


Interview with Mariia Rynkovska (b. 1923), recorded by Bohdan Huk, ATsDVR, fond 30, kolektsiia 15.


A communiqué in the file on the execution of a nurse of the Ukrainian Red Cross, ATsDVR, f. 30, kolekciia. 62.


See Ivan Patryliak, “Vstan i borys! Slukhai i vir …” Ukrainske natsionalischtyne pidpillia ta povstanskyi rukh (1939–1960 rr) [“Get up and fight! Listen and believe …” Ukrainian nationals undermine underground and insurgent movement (1939–1960s)] (Lviv: Chasopys, 2012), 290, 303, 306, 414–426; Iaroslav Antoniuk, Borotba SB OUN(B) z “dykymy hrupamy” na Volyni i Polissi (1944–1951) [The Struggle of the SB OUN-B against “wild groups” in Volyn and Polissia (1944–1951)], Naukovyi visnyk Volynskoho natsional’noho universytetu imeni Lesi Ukrainky 22 (2010): 120–124.


Interview with Ivan Sachuk (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 June 2016, Skulyn, Kovelskyi Raion, Volynska Oblast, author’s private archive.


HDA SBU 13–376-55: 117.


Dmytro Prodanyk, ed., Pidpillia OUN na Bukovyni, 1943–1951: Dokumenty i materialy [The OUN underground in Bukovyna, 1943–1951: Documents and materials] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2012), 335.


Interview with Kateryna Havryliv (b. 1920), recorded by M. Havryshko, 21 January 2017, Bolekhiv, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, author’s private archive; interview with K., female (b. 1921), recorded by M. Havryshko, 20 July 2017, Stratyn, Rohatyn raiion, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, archive of the project “Społeczna antropologia pustki: Polska i Ukraina po II wojnie światowej” [The social anthropology of the void: Poland and Ukraine after World War II], Narodowy Program Rozwoju Humanistyki [National Program for the Development of the Humanities in Poland], no. 0101/NPRH3/H12/82/2014


Istrebok was member of a so-called Istrebytelnyi battalion (destruction battalion), Soviet militias made up of the local population in western Ukraine. It was formed in 1944 by the Soviet regime. Banderite is a term for a supporter of Stepan Bandera, the leader of one of the factions of the OUN. It is often used as a derogatory term for Ukrainian nationalists.


AUSBU u Ivano-Frankivskii oblasti, spr. 8064-P, ark. 79.


Despite the criminalization of abortion, rural women bribed the doctors or turned to local midwives who performed abortions with household appliances such as spindles. Interview with H., female (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 29 July 2017, Zolochiv, Lviv Oblast, archive of the project “Społeczna antropologia pustki: Polska i Ukraina po II wojnie światowej.”


Interview with Hanna Zahaliuk (b. 1926), recorded by M. Havryshko, 3 January 2017, Ternopil, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive. A former underground member, M. female (b. 1927) told me that a woman named Ksenia, who was from her native village, Zhukiv (Lviv Oblast), had an abortion and left the village after her hair was cut off because she got pregnant by “some moskal.” Interview recorded 30 July 2017, Zolochiv, Lviv Oblast.


Interview with Stefaniia Bodnar (b. 1926), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 November 2016, Hai, Peremyshlianskyi Raion, Lviv Oblast, author’s private archive; interview with Anna Samotis (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 17 February 2017, Vyshchi Lubianky, Zbarazkyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive.


Interview with Mariya Yukish (b. 1930), recorded by M. Havryshko, 21 January 2017, Dolyna, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, author’s private archive.


See Petro Potichnyj, Borotba z agenturoiu: Protokoły dopytiv Sluzhby bezpeky OUN v Ternopilshchyni, 1946–1948, knyha 3 [The struggle against agentura: Protocols of interrogation of the OUN SB in the Ternopil region, 1946–1948, book 3] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2007), 654, 666; AUSBU u Ivano-Frankivskii oblasti, f, 5, spr. 509, t. 2, ark. 353; all recorded oral interviews. For more discussion about gender roles and war, see Yuval-Davis, Gender and Nation; Cynthia Enloe, Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women’s Lives (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000); Laura Sjoberg, Gender, War, and Conflict (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2014).


Petro Potichnyj, ed., Borotba proty povstanskoho rukhu I natsionalistychnoho pidpillia: Protokoly dopytiv zaareshtovanykh radianskymy orhanamy derzhavnoi bezpeky kerivnykiv OUN i UPA, 1945–1954, knyha 2 [The struggle against insurgent movement and the nationalist underground: Interrogation protocols of OUN and UPA leaders arrested by the Soviet state security organs, 1945–1954, book 2] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2007), 46, 140, 160; HDA SBU f. 2, op. 55, spr. 4, t. 4, ark. 440.


Memoirs of Mykhaylo (Volodymyr) Chornyi, written in 1991 in France, ATsDVR.


HDA SBU 2–65-7–7:198.


Ihor Homziak, ed., Ternopilshchyna: “Vistky z Terenu” ta “Vistky z Ternopilshchyny,” 1943–1950, knyha 2 (1948–1950) [Ternopil Oblast “News from the Field” and “News from the Ternopil Region,’ 1943–1950, book 2 (1948–1950)] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2010), 412.


The OUN often forbade the villagers to go into town. There was a high probability that such trips under various pretexts were a cover for meetings with the members of the Soviet secret services. Also the risk of being arrested by the Soviet authorities (and questioned about the underground) was higher in towns. Punishments for disobeying the restrictions set out by the movement included beating. AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, f. 2, pifdfond 31, op. 3, spr. 27, t. 1. ark. 26; interview with Vasyl Pryshchepa (b. 1931), recorded by Andrii Usach, 9 September 2016, Mizoch, Zdolbunivs’kyi Raion, Rivne Oblast, private archive of Andrii Usach.


Interview with Omelian Trach (b. 1929), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 March 2017, Zolotnyky, Terebovlians’kyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive.


Lyko, Na hrani mrii i diisnosty, 66.


WojskaOchronyPogranicza (WOP) were frontier troops of the Polish People’s Republic.


Dmytro Hrytsko-Tsiapka, Lis—nash bat’ko [Forest—our father] (Lviv, 1996), 220.


Memoirs of Kateryna Pidbi’ls’ka (b. 1919), recorded by Bohdan Huk, ATsDVR, fond 30, kolektsiia 15.


HDA SBU 13–372-49: 1.


HDA SBU 2–65-7–7: 79.


AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, f. 2, pidfond 31, op. 2, spr. 5–1, ark. 46.


AUSBU u Lvivskii oblasti, spr. 27620, ark. 12, 64.


AUSBU u Ivano-Frankivskii oblasti, f. 5, spr. 50, t. 2, ark. 353.


Hanna Horyn, Hromadskyi pobut sil’s’kohonaselennia Ukrains’kykh Karpat (XIX–30-ti roky XX st.) [Household activities of rural residents of the Ukrainian Carpathians (nineteenth century-the 1930s)] (Lviv: Instytut narodoznavstva NANU, 1993), 178.


Interview with Mariia Rubakha (b. 1926), recorded by M. Havryshko, 11 January 2017, Lviv, author’s private archive.


Interview with Stepaniia Kostiuk (b. 1925), recorded by M. Havryshko, 11 February 2016, Ivano-Frankivsk, author’s private archive.


Svitylka is one of the roles in the Ukrainian traditional wedding.


Interview with Solomiia Venher (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 23 December 2016, Ternopil, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive.


Interview with Z., male (b. 1925), recorded by M. Havryshko, 21 July 2017, Rohatyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, archive of the project “Społeczna antropologia pustki: Polska i Ukraina po II wojnie światowej”.


Interview with Olena Mel’nyk (b. 1926), recorded by M. Havryshko, 23 February 2017, Burshtyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, author’s private archive.


AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, f. 2, pifdfond 31, op. 3, spr. 27, t. 2. ark. 24 zv.


HDA SBU 13–376-57: 30, 262; interview with Oleksandra Slobodian (b. 1922), recorded by M. Havryshko, 14 August 2016, Zapruttia, Sniatyns’kyi Raion, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, author’s private archive.


Dmytro Prodanyk and Stepan Lesiv, eds., Stanyslavivs’kaokruha OUN: Dokumenty i materiały, 1945–1951 [Stanislav Okruha OUN: Documents and Materials, 1945–1951] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2013), 132.


Volodymyr Moroz and Oleksandr Vovk, eds., Voiennaokruha UPA “Buh”: Dokumenty I materiały (1943–1952), knyha 2 [Military Okruha UPA “Buh”: Documents and materials (1943–1952), book 2] (Toronto: Litopys UPA, 2009).


Interview with Hanna Zelena (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 3 June 2016, Skulyn, Kovel Raion, Volynska Oblast, author’s private archive.


Interview with Ol’ha Zhulkovs’ka (b. 1928), recorded by M. Havryshko, 24 December 2016, Ternopil, author’s private archive.


Interview with Ivan Dzhodzhyk (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 January 2017, Ternopil, author’s private archive.


Interview with Mariia Povkh (b. 1923), recorded by M. Havryshko, 23 February 2017, Burshtyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, author’s private archive.


HDA SBU 13–376-56: 335.


Interrogation protocol of Dmytro Levchenko, 20 August 1947, ATsDVR, fond 68.


Potichnyj, Borotba z agenturoiu, knyha 2, 46.


Interview with Dmytro Ivankiv, recorded by Tetiana Banakh, 29 October 2016, Bukova, Starosambirskyi Raion, Lviv Oblast, Archive of the Department of the History Ukraine, Ukrainian Catholic University.


Mykola Syrotiuk, “Trahediia 36-y dermantsiv” [The tragedy of 36 Derman’ residents], in Dzvony Dermania: Zbirnyk spohadiv ta dokumentiv, ed. Petro Velesyk and Hryhorii Demianchuk (Rivne: Azaliya, 1998), 34–36, here 36.


Interview with Hanna Zelena (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 3 June 2016, Skulyn, Kovelskyi Raion, Volynska Oblast, author’s private archive.


Interview with Ivan Sachuk (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 June 2016, Skulyn, Kovelskyi Raion, Volynska Oblast, author’s private archive.


Ievhen Lunio, ed., Yavorivshchyna u povstanskii borotbi: Rozpovidi uchasnykiv ta ochevydtsiv [The Iavoriv region in the insurgent’s fight: Stories told by participants and witnesses], vol. 1 (Lviv: Litopys, 2005), 180.


HDA SBU 2–55-4: 94.


HDA SBU 13–376-20: 227.


Romaniuk, Zolochivska okruha OUN, 981.


Ibid., 988.


Lunio, Yavorivshchyna u povstanskii borotbi, 49.


AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, spr. 897, ark. 22 zv.


HDA SBU 13–376-43: 168.


Leaflet “Ukrainian Girls,” ATsDVR, fond 68.


ATsDVR, fond 79 (Arkhiv referentury SB OUN from Berezhanskyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast).


Motyka, Ukraińska partyzantka, 378.


AtsDVR, fond 30, kolekcija 33.


HDA SBU 13–372-49: 14.


AUSBU u Lvivskii oblasti, spr. 32444, t. 1, ark.232; HDA SBU 71–9-99: 216.


AUSBU u Lvivskii oblasti, spr. 32444, t. 1, ark. 334.


AUSBU u Lvivskii oblasti, spr. 57257, t. 6, ark. 131.


AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, spr. 10215, t. 2. ark. 14, 18.


AUSBU u Rivnenskii oblasti, spr. 10215, t. 2. ark. 14, 18.


Men could also be punished if their wives’ actions were identified as treacherous by the underground. Independent actions of wives were seen by the OUN and UPA members as undermining masculinity. See the materials about a UPA commander, “Letun,” executed in 1945. His wife was suspected of cooperation with the NKVD and executed as well (HDA SBU f. 16, spr. 566, ark. 337).


Interview with Hanna Zahaliuk (b. 1926), recorded by M. Havryshko, 3 January 2017, Ternopil, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive. The Polish population was largely Catholic and celebrated Christmas on 25 December, while much of the Ukrainian population (both Orthodox and Greek Catholic) observed religious holidays according to Julian calendar, and Christmas was celebrated on 7 January.


HDA SBU 13–376-51: 389–390.


Memoirs of Hanna Protskiv (b. 1923), recorded by Mariana Baidak, 21 November 2014, Lviv, private archive of Mariana Baidak.


HDA SBU 2–52-2–1: 135.


HDA SBU 2–89-46:116.


Interview with Dariia Maliarchyn-Shpytal (b. 1927), recorded by M. Havryshko, 1 April 2017, Truskavets, Lviv Oblast, author’s private archive. During the interview, Mariia Khovanets (b. 1928), a former nurse in the UPA, mentioned that sexual atmosphere in cities was more relaxed: “They met up with them [members of NKVD] in the cities, because they feared the insurgents in the village, as they knew that they would be hanged.” Interview recorded 24 February 2017, Burshtyn, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast.


Archiwum Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej w Warszawie, AIPN [Archive of the Institute of National Remembrance in Warsaw], zespół BU_1552/12, p. 184.


AIPN w Warszawie, BU_1554/83: 19.


AIPN w Warszawie, BU_1554/83: 22.


Interview with Liudmyla Slipa (b. 1937), recorded by M. Havryshko, 4 March 2017, Zolotnyky, Terebovlianskyi Raion, Ternopil Oblast, author’s private archive.


AUSBU u Lvivskii oblasti, spr. 14880, t. 1, ark. 81.

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Contributor Notes

Marta Havryshko holds a PhD in history. She is a junior research associate at the Department of Contemporary History, Ivan Kryp’iakevych Institute of Ukrainian Studies, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences. She was a visiting lecturer at the Ukrainian Catholic University (2010, 2016). She is a member of the Ukrainian Association for Research in Women’s History, the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and the International Association for the Humanities. Her research interests include Ukrainian women’s history in the twentieth century, sexual and gender-based violence during armed conflicts, gender/feminism and nationalism, oral history, and memory studies. Email:


The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History