The Pogrom Movement in Eastern Galicia in Summer and Autumn of 1941: Basic Researches and Interpretations

  • Maryna Mykhailiuk Institute of Ukrainian Archeography and Source Studies named after M.S. Hrushevskyy of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Keywords: pogroms in Eastern Galicia, physical and moral violence against Jews, robbery of Jewish property


The participation of average Galicians (Ukrainians, Poles) in the pogrom actions in summer and autumn of 1941 against Jews as the carriers of the «Jewish Bilshovyzm» ideology and the Soviet occupation of the region supporters is analyzed in the paper. The attention is paid to the reasons for aggression, the ways of insulting people, which went beyond physical and moral violence and sometimes led to intentional homicides. The territorial boundaries of the research cover Lviv and Ternopil regions, and some regions of Stanislav (Ivano-Frankivsk). The aggression rate of the people driven to despair by the loss of loved ones after the opening of the NKVD prisons is shown on the examples of the fate of specific persons who witnessed and fell victims to the events. Not only the relatives of the executed but also other anti-Semitic «elements» – people from different settlements of Eastern Galicia, took part in the pogroms.

The conclusions state that in those bloody events Jews were injured physically and mentally. The non-Jewish neighbors, taking the opportunity to get even with the Jews, did as they liked, since the new authorities did not impede but conversely encouraged the pogroms. Therefore, the Jews had to flee to different settlements, but they did not find peace there either since the situation was typical. Some of the thugs tried to make good at their expense, but among the neighbors were those who, on the contrary, tried to save the Jewish property from plunder or destruction. It is extremely difficult to determine the rate of urban and rural anti-Semitism because of the lack of relevant researches, but there were anti-Semitic sentiments. Unlike the more tolerant adult population, which remembered the «old days» and the positive attitude of the Jews to the proclamation of the ZUNR, the young people were more disposed to take on trust the OUN and Nazi anti-Semitic slogans, and therefore mainly supported the pogroms.

Foreign experts who studied the issue of the Galician pogroms tend to exaggerate the number of people involved in the pogroms since no sources state that they were the majority. On the contrary, just the single acts of violence against certain Jewish families who lived nearby for years are mentioned. Ukrainian researchers, stating the fact of the pogrom movement, tend to exaggerate the number of victims of the thugs, telling about the thousands. Besides, it is improvidently to mix the number of victims of the pogroms with those of the Nazi occupiers.


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