The British Government & the Waffen-SS Galitsia Division
Obstruction of Justice: How the British Government Protected 8,000 Soldiers of the Waffen-SS Galitsia Division
Amid the continued support given to the fascist politicians and military of Ukraine by western governments, many people are asking how such a betrayal of the sacrifices of the Allies in World War Two could take place. However, what most people are unaware of, in large part due to an ever-more corrupted media, is that these governments have a shocking history of protecting the perpetrators of some of the most terrible crimes of that war. One of the most egregious examples of this practice of shielding war-criminals from justice was confirmed in 2005 with the declassification of British Home Office papers showing that the British government protected at least 8,000 members of the Waffen-SS Galitsia Division from the justice that awaited them in the Soviet Union.
When Nazi Germany surrendered to the Allied Powers in May 1945, the 14th Waffen-SS ‘Galitsia’ Division, made up of Ukrainian volunteers, continued to retreat westward from their positions in Austria in order to avoid capture and punishment by the advancing Red Army. The Division—approximately 10,000 soldiers—ultimately chose to surrender to British and American forces and was briefly sent to an internment camp in Spittal an der Drau, Austria. The British government, in contravention of the agreements made at the Yalta Conference, refused to repatriate the Galitsia Division to the Soviet Union, instead transferring them to another internment camp in Bellaria-Igea Marina, in northern Italy. It was here that a troika of prominent Ukrainian fascists—Mykola Lebed, Father Ivan Hry’okh and Bishop Ivan Buchko—persuaded the Vatican to intercede on behalf of the soldiers, whom Bishop Buchko described as “good Catholics and fervent anti-communists.”
As a result of this intercession, the British and American authorities overseeing the internment camp remained steadfast in their refusal to abide by their obligation to repatriate the soldiers to the Soviet Union. One of the principal British proponents of the decision not to repatriate the Galitsia Division was Major Denis Hills. Major Hills was keen on protecting these soldiers, and despite admitting that he “knew about the SS”, he said the army “was not interested in war crimes.” According to British academic, Stephen Dorril, in his book M16: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Major Hills was a self-described fascist and a staunch anti-communist who took it upon himself to ensure that the Galitsia Division would be transferred to Britain. Hills personally advised the head of the Division, Major Yaskevycz, to instruct his men that when questioned by the Soviet repatriation commission they must lie and insist that they were forced to serve alongside the Nazis and were not by any means volunteers. As a result of this, and due to British fears that improved relations between Italy and the Soviet Union could result in repatriation, the decision was made on April 1st, 1947, to relocate at least 8,000 members of the Galitsia Division to Britain.
Documents from the British Home Office that were declassified in 2005 reveal in great detail the lengths to which government officials went to grant citizenship and employment to the members of the Galitsia Division. This was a process that was greatly encouraged by politicians of Ukrainian origin like Gordon Bohdan Panchuk, a Canadian MP who put significant pressure on the British Home Office to extend “kind and sympathetic understanding and favourable action” towards the Division. Panchuk further threatened Home Office officials that any discussions of repatriation or ill-treatment of the soldiers would result in a negative political reaction from the Ukrainian communities of Canada and Britain.
The Home Office documents also show a general awareness of the background of the men of the Galitsia Division. It was well known that the war record of these soldiers was “bad and difficulties are likely to arise if they are employed with Poles.” Despite this, the tendency within these correspondences was to overlook the recent history of the Galitsia Division and its role within the Waffen-SS. There were, however, notable objections from Home Office employees assigned to this matter, including that of Beryl Hughes, who found it:
difficult to understand the Ministry of Labour attitude over these POWs. To strain at the gnat of the PLF while appearing to be prepared to face with equanimity the prospect of swallowing a large-sized camel in the shape of upwards of 4,000 undisputed volunteers of the Wehrmacht seems to me the height of absurdity…I cannot help having serious misgivings about their attempt to foist the Ukrainian POWs on the labour market as just another batch of EVWs. [European Volunteer Workers].
Another Home Office official by the name of F.L.F Devey referred to the ‘Surrendered Enemy Personnel’ (SEP) status given to the Galitsia Division as a “pleasant fiction” that was originally enabled during their internment in Italy and overshadowed their true status as prisoners of war.
An interesting component to these documents, and particularly to the solicitations of the Canadian MP Panchuk, was the appeal to sympathy for the men of the Galitsia Division due to their fighting against Russians and communists rather than against “the western allies”. This logic would also be utilized by the CIA in later years, with high ranking operatives such as Harry Rositzke explaining that leading up to, and during, the Cold War anyone could be considered an ally “as long as he was anti-communist…you didn’t look at their credentials too closely.”
Even if there was an inclination to take a closer look at the credentials of the soldiers who made up the Galitsia Division, the British government had taken steps to obscure the dark history of these men. Dr. Stephen Ankier, a pharmacologist turned Holocaust researcher, brought to light the importance of the ‘Rimini list’. This was a classified document that disallowed the ability to track the members of the Division that were transferred to Britain and furthermore blocked efforts to “do anything about them, despite the suspicion that there were war criminals among that group, who were living in Britain.” One of the advantages of the Rimini list was that the British government would be able to better hide the identities of those former SS-Galitsia Division soldiers who would eventually join M16 and the British military in order to aid the anti-Soviet campaign.
An inquiry conducted by the former British MP, Rupert Allason, found that a significant number of the Division was taken to RNAS [Royal Naval Air Station ‒ed.] Crail in Scotland in order to aid with the teaching of the Russian language to British intelligence recruits. Furthermore Allason told the British parliament in 1990 that he had:
obtained evidence from people who served there [RNAS Crail] and were taught Russian by people who openly boasted about the atrocities they had committed…Those boasts were known to British national service men going into the Intelligence Corps and they must have been known to the British government in subsequent years.
Despite this evidence, that by many accounts was available to the British government for decades, no meaningful action was taken and there has been no official recognition of the British role in shielding thousands of war-criminals from justice. Even more shocking than this is the fact that the acceptance of WWII-era war criminals into Britain was not limited to these 8,000 Ukrainian fascists, but also allowed for the protection of a significant number of Axis soldiers. British historians Andrew Thompson and David Cesarani have in their research shown that “war criminals of a range of nationalities did enter Britain” through avenues such as post-war workers’ programs and resettlement initiatives that sought to prevent repatriation to Soviet territories.
In light of this information the logic of contemporary western support for fascism in Ukraine becomes clearer, especially in the context of the contemporary Russophobic hysteria which relies so heavily on post-WWII anti-Soviet rhetoric. Images of British and American politicians embracing the defenders of Ukraine’s fascist past were shocking at first, but now can be seen as the continuation of a decades-long political tradition that betrays the true heroes and victims of the Second World War.
The American support of contemporary Ukrainian fascism albeit shocking is in fact not a new political phenomenon. Documents declassified by the CIA under a FOIA request entitled The NAZI War Crimes Declassification Act show that not only was the CIA monitoring Ukrainian fascist groups during and after WWII, it was also actively aiding them and protecting them from prosecution. These and other documents can be found in the CIA’s Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room. The following documents are but a few of the many that pertain to America’s protection of war criminals the world over.
Stepan Bandera, who was the leader of the OUN (Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists), is a man revered by the current Ukrainian authorities and seen by the fascist Ukrainian battalions as a national hero. Both western politicians and the mainstream media have worked hard to obscure his role in Ukraine’s history of ultra-nationalist and fascist movements. He was, in fact, a ruthless mass murderer whose wartime atrocities can only be viewed as crimes against humanity. With his wholesale rehabilitation in Ukraine, the anti-fascist opposition has taken to calling his supporters ‘Banderites’ and their actions ‘Banderism’.
Stepan Bandera’s legacy not only benefits from the ignorance engendered by today’s corporate media and politicians; he also, from the years of the Second World War up until his death, personally benefited from the aid of the American government. Not only was he protected from the justice of the Soviet Union but he also enjoyed the ability to ask for Washington’s help in such matters as obtaining visas and secret accommodation.
The CIA was acutely aware of Bandera’s fascist views but they understood that if he was captured by the Soviet Union he would not be accorded the same mercy that was granted due to American interests in post-war Europe. The following series of images details the lengths to which the CIA went in order to keep Bandera out of Soviet hands and to further avoid branding him a ‘war criminal’.
The US government’s assistance to Stepan Bandera extended up until the year of his death (1959), as the following image shows. Bandera himself knew that matters such as the granting of a visa could only be achieved with “Washington’s approval”.
Yaroslav Stetsko was a prominent figure in the OUN and its leader from 1968 until his death in 1986. Stetsko’s book, Two Revolutions (1951), also provides one of the bases of the ideological platform of the ultra-nationalist party ‘Svoboda’. Stetsko’s relationship with the CIA and the US government is extensive and stretches from his time in the OUN with Bandera until his death in Munich. The following images show that Stetsko was constantly receiving information from UPA and OUN members within Ukraine and relaying it to American contacts.
Stetsko not only provided information to US authorities about the situation in Ukraine, but he also enjoyed the confidence of Allen Dulles, the director of the CIA at the time. As the letter below demonstrates, Stetsko—as president of the ‘Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations’—advised the CIA on how to utilise nationalism as a “potent force” in European affairs.
Another document further proves that Stetsko and other ‘Banderists’ received support not only from the US, but from the British government as well.
Mykola Lebed was a prominent Ukrainian fascist whose desire to “cleanse the entire revolutionary territory of the Polish population” led to scenes of unimaginable violence:
“…(UPA) are not discriminating about who they kill; they are gunning down the populations of entire villages… Since there are hardly any Jews left to kill, the Bandera gangs have turned on the Poles. They are literally hacking Poles to pieces. Every day […] you can see the bodies of Poles, with wires around their necks, floating down the river Bug.” ―Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S Intelligence and the Cold War
There can be no doubt that, among the Ukrainian fascist war criminals, Lebed was one of the most sadistic and ruthless. This makes it all the more shocking that he was continuously protected by the CIA until his death. Such was the protection that he received that Allen Dulles personally shielded him from facing justice. Dulles wrote a letter that not only allowed Lebed to enter the United States but vehemently denied his role in the 1934 assassination of the Polish Minister of the Interior and his collaboration with the Nazis in WWII.
The CIA constantly monitored Lebed and did everything in its power to avoid the truth about his past being exposed by journalists or the Department of Justice. Furthermore they reveal collaboration between the CIA and elements of the OSI (Office of Special Investigations), indicating that the two departments worked together to keep Lebed’s past from being revealed by their own department.
These documents, among many others, show that the American government has supported and protected Ukrainian fascists and war criminals long before the ‘Orange Revolution’ or ‘Maidan’ in Ukraine. These years of supporting Ukrainian fascism have allowed the US and its allies to hone their sordid skills to perfection, to the point that, in 2015, an openly fascist Ukrainian government is terrorising those that it considers undesirable and spewing hatred at its ‘subhuman’ Russian neighbours. In the meantime the mainstream press and their western paymasters will continue to promote the easily disproved fallacy that “there are no fascists in Ukraine”. Not only are there fascists in Ukraine, but they also occupy the highest levels of the American government and its agencies.
This article reminds me of the passage from Carl Olglesby’s “Yankee and Cowboy War” about the Gehlen Organization. The book is out of print and goes for incredible prices on Amazon but the excerpt is available on line at http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=22107.
“Captured in May, Gehlen arrived in Washington three months later, August 22, 1945, in the uniform of a general of the United States Army, flown there in the command transport of Gen. Walter Bedell Smith. In a series of secret meetings with Allen Dulles and Wild Bill Donovan of the OSS, he laid out in detail the proposal – the surrender conditions, essentially – which he was offering the Americans.
Postwar Europe, he pointed out, as everyone knew, was certain to become the arena of confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union ultimately even greater than the confrontation just ending between the victorious Allies and the vanquished Axis powers. The Soviets, he said, were well prepared for this new confrontation from an intelligence standpoint, as who better than he could say, and the Americans were not. The Russians had a crack spy network in West Europe and America, but the Americans did not have a spy network of any kind or quality in East Europe and Russia. Did that not put the Americans at an important disadvantage in the forthcoming stuggles? Then where and how could the Americans procure the needed capability? Recruiting and training a corps of Russian and Central European intelligence agents and building a network of reliable sources and experts nearly from scratch could take years, generations. The Americans agreed with Gehlen that they did not have that much time. Very well, Gehlen had a practical solution to this very problem. His own intelligence apparatus was still intact within the collapsing Hitler government. It was as capable as ever of delivering large masses of high-quality intelligence data on all aspects of Soviet life. Hitler had never taken advantage of this capability, Gehlen explained. Hitler had ignored Gehlen’s organization and had gone on to ruin. Still it was there. It might have been put to better use. It still could be, should the Americans accept his offer. Gehlen’s offer was for the Americans to pick up his organization bodily and bolt it into the empty space of their own intelligence system, as though it were one of the spoils of the war. Gehlen could plausibly guarantee his network’s unmatched and unbending loyalty to the cause of anti-Bolshevism and the fifty-two crates he had buried in Misery Meadow were tangible proofs of his power and a foretaste of secret knowledge to come. All the Americans had to do was to meet Gehlen’s four conditions. First, Gehlen was to have complete autonomy within his organization and total control over its activities. The Americans would tell him what they wanted and they would get it, satisfaction guaranteed, but they would have to know nothing about the process by which Gehlen got it to give them; that knowledge was Gehlen’s own. He even reserved the right to approve U.S. liason officers assigned to him. Second, the Americans would agree to use Gehlen only against the USSR and the East European satellites. Third, when a new German government was set up, the Americans would constitutionally install the Gehlen organization in it as its official central intelligence agency and cancel automatically all outstanding Gehlen commitments to the United States. Fourth, the Americans would never require Gehlen to do anything he considered against German national interests. In the long and the short, our guys fell for it. Even as the United States was publicly proclaiming a policy of unconditional German surrender, Gehlen’s incredible conditions were met and his organization was being established at the very core and seat of the American system of foreign intelligence under the responsibility of Allen Dulles’s Secret Intelligence Branch of the OSS. By the time of the transformation of the OSS into the CIA in 1948, Gehlen had grown tight with Dulles and his organization had become in effect the CIA’s department of Russian and East European affairs. Soon after the formation of NATO, it became the official NATO intelligence organization. And as per Gehlen’s third condition, his organization was installed as the core and he as the director of the West German CIA, the Bundesnachtendienst (BND).
We need to go no further into the exploits of this last long improbable phase of Gehlen’s career, save to note that it spans the Cold War, that it was current as of Watergate, and that Gehlen had to be pried out of a spy’s “retirement” in 1974 to testify in the sensational West German spy scandal that brought down Willy Brandt. Look what power the victors conceded the vanquished. Exclusive purveyor of intelligence on the Soviet Union and East Europe to the United States, West Germany, and NATO, Gehlen and the spirit kept alive in him and his staff had more power over the official American perceptions in the postwar than even a German victory could have given them. The Gehlen-Vlassov intelligence system had become a main source and fountain of official American consciousness. Behold the span of this concatenation. First in the time of Trotsky there is General Vlassov and his anti-Bolshevist army and spy ring. The Vlassove apparatus is then at a certain later point assimilated to the Gehlen apparatus. Then just as the White Russian spies jumped to the Nazis when their own army went down, so now the German Nazi and Russian Czarist spies together jumped to the American army as the Wehrmacht was falling. Vlassov first became a department of Gehlen, then Gehlen became a department of Allen Dulles. This is how it came to pass that a Czarist spy ring inside a Nazi spy ring took up the inner seats in the American foreign intelligence apparatus at the precise moment that this apparatus was starting to come forward as a major player in the great policy wars of Washington and the world. This is how it came to pass that everything official Washington would know about the Soviet Union and East Europe on the most believable report, everything about the enemy our policymakers would most confidently believe, would come by way of Czarists and Nazis installed at the center of our national intelligence system. That was a buzzard that would come home to roost again and again. POSTED BY NAZCALITO | AUGUST 10, 2015, 16:48