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‘Undetermined’ Ukrainians

Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division


Olesya Khromeychuk

Memories of the Second World War play an important role in contemporary politics and society across Eastern Europe. One of the most controversial yet least studied pages of Ukraine’s wartime history is that of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division, whose members are usually portrayed either as war criminals or as freedom fighters. The history of this unit is not limited to the Ukrainian context; it also has relevance throughout Eastern Europe, as well as in Britain, Canada and the USA. In the aftermath of the war, the ‘Galicia’ Division surrendered to British and American troops, but was not repatriated to the USSR, despite Soviet demands. Instead, its members were brought to the UK and eventually allowed to settle in the West, and this unexpected turn of events continues to cause much controversy.
This book explores why over 8,000 members of the Waffen SS were allowed to move permanently to the West, by analysing the complex series of events and decisions that characterized the journey of the ‘Galicians’ from capitulation to acceptance into civilian life. Drawing on a rich range of different sources, the book examines the variety of often conflicting narratives created by the Division members, their supporters and their opponents, as well as the continuing influence of these narratives today. In doing so, the book sheds light on the complex processes of memory politics.


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It is a great pleasure to thank everyone who made this book possible. First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Dennis Deletant and Catherine Andreyev for of fering their guidance and support in every step of my research. I would also like to thank Peter Duncan and Marko Bojcun for their insightful comments. I am indebted to all interviewees who contributed to this study. I wish to thank Alti Rodal for permission to cite her work. I am indebted to my colleagues and friends Alisa Voznaya and Oleksandr Mel’nyk, whose suggestions and ideas were used to improve the book. I sincerely thank Michael James Melnyk for the time he took to comment on the earlier draft of the book. I am grateful to David Marples for contributing the foreword to this monograph and setting the subject of the Waf fen SS ‘Galicia’ Division in a larger context. Particular thanks to Rory Finnin for his encouragement, inspiration and support. The publica- tion of this book was made possible thanks to the support of Cambridge Ukrainian Studies to whom I am most grateful. My very special thanks go to Uilleam Blacker for his patience, priceless ideas and most helpful comments on the many drafts of the book. I am most grateful to all my colleagues for their comments and for providing stimulating discussions on many aspects of war and memory as well as other issues inseparable from historical research. Last but not least, I would like to...

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