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Hryhoriy llchenko:



The author served as courier for Omelian Hrabets-"Batko", Commander of the VO (Military District) UPA of the Vinnytsia and Kamianets-Podilskyi oblasts. He performed also other duties as ordered.

The author is a Kryvyi Rih native. During the German occupation he became a member of the underground OUN and rose to Raion Leader. in 1943 he joined the ranks of the UPA active in the Uman region of Cherkassy oblast. He was then transferred to Hrabets` area of activity in Vinnytsia oblast. This period reappears often in his work.

His memoirs start with a description of his first meeting with Hrabets in the Lityn raion of Vinnytsia oblast in November 1943. Hrabets then sent him to delirver mail to both Vasyl Kuk - "Lemish", Commander of UPA-South and to Roman Shukhevych - "Taras Chuprynka", Supreme Commander of the UPA, based in the Kremianets povit of Volyn, The author traveled by train, protected by body guards, all with false papers. On his return he ame back with two raiding battalions, one commanded by Vasyl Prociuk - "Kropyva", and the other by Yaroslav Bilynskyi "Bystryi". During this raid Commander "Kropyva" was wounded in a skirmish with elements of the Hungarian Army.

The author's second mission started off by joining a raid, conducted by "Dovbush" Company, using 40 horse-drawn sleds, and headed for the Uman region. Once there they made ontact with "Stalevyi", commander of a brigade, and loaded up with ammunition assigned to the UPA in Vinnylsia obtast. "Stalevyi" was also given the proposal to change his base of operations further to the west for the duration of the front's advance, to relocate his units into an area with large forests and with a better supply base. He rejected this, arguing that his present base of operations was well-supplied. "Dovbush" Company then returned without incidents to Vinnytsia oblast and concealed its transport of armaments.

Shortly before Christmas in 1945 Hrabets took the author on an incursion-raid into Halychyna. Once there they had to extend their stay much longer than planned, because the front-line had moved closer stabilizing along Halychyna's boundary. During a skirmish the author was wounded; while recuperating, the front-line had moved futher westward. In the spring he joined up with Hrabets, by then in the Chortkiv region, who ordered him t make his way to the Uman region and to his native area, to make contact with the local underground. Once there, he was arrested and sent to a Soviet concentration camp.

The author's work is set much like a novel, with many passages in direct speech. Nevertheless, it contains a wealth of facts, giving much information on the conditions at hand, reporting on those in leading positions, on units of the UPA, events, battles and his various experiences. Central to it are the author's accounts on UPA activity in the steppe region of Ukraine, a topic which has very few informants surviving to this day.

Issue 1,    Winter 2000    Litopys
Published by Forum for the Studies of the History of the UPA
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