First Announcement of Bandera's Death
On the day of Bandera's assassination the first appeal to Ukrainian Nationalists was published*)
*) Special number of "Shlyakh Peremohy," No. 43 of 18 October, 1959.
|**) The village and forest near the city of Lviv (Lvov), West Ukraine, where General Roman Shukhevych (Taras Chuprynka), the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (U.P.A.) was killed in a combat with Russian security troops on March 5th, 1950.|
At this tragic moment when cruel death has deprived us for ever of Stepan Bandera, great son of the Ukrainian people and for many years our illustrious leader, we appeal to you to cherish in your sorrow-stricken hearts the belief in the victory of our sacred cause, to remain unshaken in your loyalty to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and, more determined than ever, to continue the fight.
Paris, Rotterdam, Bilohorshcha**), Munich — these are stains of blood on the road on which our best fighters gave their lives for the freedom of Ukraine. They are examples of the appalling cruelty of Moscow, the arch-enemy of Ukraine, who aims at breaking the organized fighting force of the Ukrainian people by a systematic extermination of its leaders.
But from the sacrifice of these heroes sprang an ideal which inspires fresh fighters in the struggle for an independent and united Ukrainian state. The enemy cannot destroy Stepan Bandera's farsighted policy or the vast experience gained in OUN cadres under his leadership. His ideals will continue to guide in the future our fight for freedom.
Unity, steadfastness, determination and untiring effort — these must be our answer to the treacherous and murderous plots by which the enemy tries to intimidate and paralyze the leading spirits of the largest of enslaved peoples.
Long live the memory of our heroes!
15th October, 1959.
The Leadership of Units Abroad
of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
Appeal of the Leadership
of OUN Units Abroad
to Members and to the Entire Ukrainian People
People of Ukraine!
The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the whole Ukrainian people have again suffered a severe and painful blow. The cruel and unscrupulous men of Moscow have in the most insidious and horrible manner murdered by poison Stepan Bandera, the intrepid fighter for Ukrainian independence and for many years the leader of the OUN and the Ukrainian revolutionary liberation movement.
This dastardly assassination was part of the intensifying campaign against the Ukrainian nationalist revolutionary movement, which seriously threatens imperialist Moscow and its communist system of enslavement and exploitation of subjugated peoples as well as its plans for conquering the world in order to turn it into a vast prison for all its peoples. In murdering its leader, Moscow was hoping to deal a devastating blow to the Ukrainian national liberation revolution. Once more, however, the enemy failed to achieve his aim; just as he had failed in 1926, 1938 and 1950, when the Commander-in-Chief Symon Petlura, Colonel Evhen Konovalets and General Taras Chuprynka were murdered by the same criminal hands. Nor will he ever succeed in the future. The death of Stepan Bandera is undeniably a grievous shock and a severe loss not only to the OUN but to the whole Ukrainian people and to the entire freedom-loving world. And yet, neither these nor countless other crimes and atrocities perpetrated by barbarous Moscow can destroy the immortal spirit of the nation or check its fight for a great future.
With Stepan Bandera the Ukrainian people have lost a great man who throughout his life toiled and fought for the freedom, glory and greatness of Ukraine, utterly dedicated to the Fatherland and faithful to the last.
Stepan Bandera was the lofty example of an unyielding fighter and revolutionary, ideologist and strategist, theoretician and practician of the Ukrainian national revolution, unequalled in his devoted and self-sacrificing service to his people; he was the ideal knight without fear and without reproach, uncompromising when the common weal of the nation was at stake. Fate bestowed on him great gifts, but also subjected him to hard trials and knocks; but he never wavered. Brave, unflinching and with dignity Stepan Bandera followed the thorny path of his life; serious, but never without a smile, he proudly looked ahead.
A man of kind heart, unshaken faith and firm character, Stepan Bandera confidently and resolutely led the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the revolutionary struggle for an independent Ukraine; and his high ideal of untiring service in the cause of national freedom carried us all with him.
In his 'Words to Ukrainian Nationalists' Stepan Bandera has clearly and positively stated not only the task which the Organization has set itself, but also the tasks which every single member of the OUN has to fulfil as a soldier in the front line of the national fight for a free Ukraine.
"In the tasks before the Organization as such, as well as in the tasks to be fulfilled by individual members, we must always be guided by the same principle, to which we have adhered in the past and which has in the highest degree become imperative in the homeland: the principle of self-sacrificing devotion."
"The Organization must demand of its members that which is indispensable to our fight: to sacrifice everything, if need be. Every member must be prepared to give up his family, his personal plans for the future, his profession, to join the battle under the toughest conditions and — if fate wills it — to sacrifice even his life. This is the fundamental duty of members, the fulfilment of which the Organization can and will demand of every member without exception."
"Our Organization in countries abroad as well as in the homeland has room only for those who possess a sense of responsibility and moral strength and who will dedicate themselves and all they have to the service of our cause. From the basic principle of duty to the cause will derive the directives of the Organization to its members concerning the tasks and the means to fulfil them."
"True self-sacrifice, sincere devotion to the task and disregard for the material things of life must issue from the moral attitude of every genuine member."
Calling for the necessary "thorough examination of the position of OUN Units Abroad and self-examination of each member" the leader stressed that "the certainty of difficulties will not intimidate or detain us in our fight." He closed his 'Words to Ukrainian Nationalists' with the exhortation addressed to us all: "Let us prepare and set about the great deeds, for the great time is near!"
This "great deed" for which we are to prepare and which we, as members of the OUN and the Ukrainian liberation front, are to tackle as Stepan Bandera ordered us, is the Ukrainian national revolution. In countless publications, and particularly in his book 'The Prospects of the Ukrainian National Revolution,' Stepan Bandera has exhaustively stated the main tasks of the OUN as the advance-guard, leader and originator of this revolution and the advocate of the Ukrainian people; and he has shown the only correct way in which final victory can be won in the gigantic fight to the death against barbarous and imperialist Moscow, the fiercest enemy of Ukraine and of the whole freedom-loving world.
When he spoke of the driving forces of the revolution and discussed the basic and generally valid manner of mobilising the people, i.e. an ideological and political mobilisation, Stepan Bandera heavily underlined the moral aspects, as "the promotion of an idealistic and determined attitude, the readiness to fight in the historic contest of the nation and to sacrifice personal security, possessions and even life."
He declared: "The most important factor in revolutionary education is the living example of heroic deeds in the fight of a revolutionary organization."
From the point of view of an heroic life and a martyr's death, Stepan Bandera is indeed an example worthy of emulation to us all, to every Ukrainian nationalist revolutionary, to every Ukrainian patriot and to the whole Ukrainian people.
The leader Stepan Bandera emphasized that "a sound foundation for revolution can only be found in the native forces of the peoples, subjugated by bolshevism, fighting on their own." He stressed that in order to rouse the people against foreign domination "one must, while negating the existing state of affairs, lift up their own ideals which are based on their own aims and desires and which only require the strength of will and readiness to fight to come into their own again."
Underlying his statements and conclusions was his unshakable faith in the inexhaustible and life-giving forces of the Ukrainian people. He said:
"The ideas of Ukrainian nationalism, which spring from the mind of the Ukrainian people and from its philosophy of life, which express their ideal conception of life and are signposts on the road of history — these are the perpetual motive power behind the Ukrainian nationalist anti-bolshevist revolution."
"The revolutionary Organization, which aims in its work and fight at the realisation of the revolutionary idea, becomes the fundamental and guiding active force in the revolutionary process... In the struggle for a free Ukraine this leading force, the OUN, was born and grew up, until in our day it penetrates with its initiative all forms and branches of the revolutionary movement. Maintenance, strengthening and perfection of the OUN are of fundamental importance for the successful development of the national revolution... The most important thing, however, is that the Organization consistently pursues its work for the eventual realisation of the immutable ideas from which it draws its strength."
These are the basic ideas and guiding principles in which Stepan Bandera firmly believed and according to which he acted. They are the testament which he has left us.
Under his leadership the OUN grew into a strong ideological force and became the advance-guard in the revolutionary fight for freedom of Ukraine, which is a fatal threat to Moscow's rule.
People of Ukraine!
The road taken by our late leader is our road; it must be followed not only by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists but by the entire Ukrainian people. Neither the revolutionaries in the OUN, nor the Ukrainian people will stray from this road, until we have achieved the goal for which Stepan Bandera gave his life. His testament shall be law unto us and guide our fight and our lives.
We shall not give ourselves a moment's rest in the gigantic fight which we have for decades been carrying on against the cruel conqueror of Ukraine, that is Russian imperialism. In answer to the enemy's latest act of terror we shall intensify our fight for a United and Independent Ukrainian State and against the rule of terror and exploitation of our fatherland by an insatiable Moscow. We shall close our ranks vet more firmly under the banner of the national struggle for liberation, under the banner of Stepan Bandera's spirit. We shall increase our vigilance against any designs of the enemy and shall strengthen our internal discipline and readiness for action. We shall exert ourselves in strengthening the positions of the national liberation front in order to make it invulnerable against the enemy's attacks, however severe; and we shall uphold the cause which in the end is to defeat Moscow and to bring freedom and justice to the world.
Eternal glory to Stepan Bandera, the knight of the Ukrainian national revolution, the faithful son of Ukraine!
Long live the OUN, the organizer, leader and advance-guard of the Ukrainian national liberation front, the spokesman of the will of the Ukrainian people!
Long live the United Ukrainian Independent State!
At Headquarters, October, 1959.
The Leadership of Units Abroad
of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
Reaction to the News of Stepan Bandera's Death
The news of Bandera's assassination was learnt in Ukraine through short reports in the Soviet press and wireless. The Ukrainian underground movement received the news through its own channels. At first, the great majority of the Ukrainian people took the Soviet reports for provocation and did not believe the news. In order to convince the population of Bandera's death, the Bolsheviks released for news-reels in the following weeks film fragments of the funeral ceremonies, which were shown in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Eastern Germany, and they reckoned that the Ukrainians living in those countries would inform their relatives and friends in the USSR. Simultaneously, Polish, Czech and Soviet propaganda began to lay the blame for the murder on the Germans. However, reprisals against bolshevist party bosses in the Western Ukraine indicate that these accusations could not deceive the people as to the real culprits.
The Bolsheviks were not content with Bandera's assassination alone. Their aim was, and still is, morally to destroy — by libel and slander — Bandera's work and the Ukrainian freedom movement which he represented, just as they had done at the time of Petlura's death.
Before and after Bandera's assassination the Bolsheviks staged show-trials at which several genuine and fake people were forced to 'confess' that, as members of OUN or UPA, they had about fifteen years ago committed numerous crimes against the Ukrainian population on the orders of the OUN under Bandera's leadership or in collusion with the Nazis. Specially selected witnesses testified to these revelations. However, the people knew better and on the whole were not impressed by this sort of defamation. In order to intensify propaganda attacks against the OUN, the Bolsheviks started a fresh libel campaign in the autumn of 1960 which lasted throughout the year. Under the names of imprisoned nationalists they published statements, which were to convince above all opinion abroad that the freedom movement was unjustified, that its organization no longer existed and that OUN Units Abroad had become a spy ring in the employment of various western secret services and did not care about the fate of Ukraine. The constant repetition of such slanders and the variants in prepared 'evidence' prove that even the Bolsheviks themselves felt that this sort of calumny hardly convinced public opinion.
Among Ukrainians living abroad and in all their political organizations the news of Bandera's murder produced waves of sympathy for the victim and of indignation. Two-months' mourning was proclaimed, and Ukrainians in Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Australia, flock every year to commemoration ceremonies. Donations to a fund were generously given and represented the answer of Ukrainians to the bolshevist murderers. The donations have secured the livelihood of the victim's family and have made possible the establishment of a fund for the continuation of Bandera's work.