Ukrainian Auxiliary Police
Ukrainian Auxiliary Police
|Active||27 July 1941|
|Countries||German-occupied Europe including Reichskommissariat Ukraine and Distrikt Galizien|
The Ukrainische Hilfspolizei or the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police (Ukrainian: Українська поліція допоміжна, Ukrains’ka politsiia dopomizhna) was the official title of the local police formation set up by Nazi Germany during World War II in Reichskommissariat Ukraine; shortly after the German conquest of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in Operation Barbarossa against the Soviet Union, Germany's former ally in the invasion of Poland.
The Ukrainian Auxiliary Police was created by Heinrich Himmler in mid-August 1941 and put under the control of German Ordnungspolizei in General Government territory. The actual Reichskommissariat Ukraine was formed officially on 20 August 1941. The uniformed force was composed in large part of the former members of the Ukrainian People's Militia created by OUN in June. There were two categories of German-controlled Ukrainian armed organisations. The first comprised mobile police units most often called Schutzmannschaft, or Schuma, organized on the battalion level and which engaged in anti-Jewish and anti-partisan operations in most areas of Ukraine. It was subordinated directly to the German Commander of the Order Police for the area.
The second category was the local police force (approximately, a constabulary), called simply the Ukrainian Police (UP) by the German administration, which the SS raised most successfully in the District of Galicia (formed 1 August 1941) extending south-east from the General Government. Notably, the District of Galicia was a separate administrative unit from the actual Reichskommissariat Ukraine. They were not connected with each other politically.
The UP formations appeared as well further east in German occupied Soviet Ukraine in significant towns and cities such as Kyiv. The urban based forces were subordinated to the city's German Commander of State protection police (Schutzpolizei or Schupo); the rural police posts were subordinated to the area German Commander of Gendarmerie. The Schupo and Gendarmerie structures were themselves subordinated to the area Commander of Order Police.
The local municipal police force (UP) in the occupied Ukrainian SSR came into existence right after the commencement of Operation Barbarossa. It was the result of an order issued on 27 July 1941 by the German commander in chief of the Order Police in occupied Kraków. The Ukrainian auxiliary police in the new District of Galicia fell under the command of the German office for the General Government.
An actual ethnic Ukrainian command centre did not exist. The top Ukrainian police officer, Vladimir Pitulay, rose to the rank of major and became the district commandant (Major der Ukrainische Polizei und Kommandeur) in Lemberg (now Lviv). A police school was established in Lviv by the district SS-and-Police Leader in order to meet plans for growth. The school director was Ivan Kozak. The total number of enlisted men in the new politically independent Distrikt Galizien amounted to some 6,000 volunteers including 120 low-level officers who served there. The units were used primarily to keep order and carry out constabulary duties. Their actions were restricted by other police groups such as the Sonderdienst, made up of Volksdeutsche; the Kripo (Criminal police); Bahnschutz (railroad and transport police); and the Werkschutz, who kept order and guarded industrial plants. They were supported by the Ukrainian Protection Police and the Ukrainian Order Police.
In the newly formed Reichskommissariat Ukraine the auxiliary police forces were named Schutzmannschaft, and amounted to more than 35,000 men. The names of battalions reflected their geographic jurisdiction. The make-up of the officer corps was representative of Germany's foreign policy. Professor Wendy Lower from Towson University wrote that although Ukrainians greatly outnumbered other non-Germans in the auxiliary police, only the ethnically German Volksdeutsche from Ukraine were given the leadership roles. Many of those who joined the ranks of the police had served as militiamen under Soviet rule since the invasion of Poland in 1939. Professor Tadeusz Piotrowski wrote that the majority of Ukrainische Hilfspolizei in Galicia came from OUN-B, which was confirmed by Professor John-Paul Himka as an important transitional stage of OUN involvement in the Holocaust. According to Andrew Gregorovich (Ukrainian Review), the ethnic composition of Auxiliary Police reflected the demographics of the land and included not only Ukrainians but also Russians from among the Soviet POWs, Poles drafted from the local population, and German Volksdeutsche of all nationalities. However, Browning (Ordinary Men) and Lower both insist that, for the German administration, nobody but the "Ukrainians and local ethnic Germans could be relied upon to assist with the killing". Also, according to Aleksandr Prusin most members were ethnically Ukrainian, hence the name or the force. The auxiliary police were directly under the command of the Germanic-SS, the Einsatzgruppen, and military administration.
Participation in the Holocaust
Professor Alexander Statiev of the Canadian University of Waterloo writes that Ukrainian Auxiliary Police were the major perpetrator of the Holocaust on Soviet territories based on native origins, and those police units participated in the extermination of 150,000 Jews in the area of Volhynia alone. German historian Dieter Pohl in The Shoah in Ukraine writes that the auxiliary police was active during killing operations by the Germans already in the first phases of the German occupation. The auxiliary police registered the Jews, conducted raids and guarded ghettos, loaded convoys to execution sites and cordoned them off. Some 300 auxiliary policemen from Kiev helped organize the massacre in Babi Yar. They also took part in the massacre in Dnipropetrovsk, where the field command noted that the cooperation ran "smoothly in every way". Cases where local commandants ordered murder of Jews using police force are known. In killings of Jews in Kryvy Rih the "entire Ukrainian auxiliary police" was put to use.
Persecution of Poles
Defining nationality of Ukrainian policemen using present-day classifications is problematic, because in German occupied eastern Poland (see: District of Galicia) there was no perception of de jure Ukrainian independent statehood. Some Ukrainian Hilfspolizei who harbored a pathological hatred for Poles and Jews – resulting in acts of mass murder – remained formally and legally Polish from the time before the invasion until much later. Thirty years after the war ended, one former Ukrainian policeman, Jan Masłowski (a.k.a. Ivan Maslij), was recognized in Rakłowice near Wrocław by Polish survivors of massacres committed by Ukrainische Hilfspolizei in the towns of Szczepiatyn, Dyniska, Tarnoszyn, Niemstów, and Korczów. He was sentenced to death in Poland in 1978.
On 13 November 1942, members of the Ukrainische Hilfspolizei robbed and executed 32 Poles and 1 Jew in the village of Obórki (pl), located in prewar Wołyń Voivodeship. After the crime the village was burned down. On 16 December 1942, the Ukrainian policemen, led by Germans, killed 360 Poles in Jezierce (former powiat Rivne).
In Lviv, in late February and March 1944, the Ukrainische Hilfspolizei arrested a number of young men of Polish nationality. Many of them were later found dead and their Identity documents stolen. The Government Delegation for Poland started negotiations with the OUN-B. When they failed, Kedyw began an action called "Nieszpory" (Vespers) where 11 policemen were shot in retaliation and the murders of young Poles in Lviv stopped.
Role in the Ukrainian Insurgent Army formation
For many who joined the police force, enlistment served as an opportunity to receive military training and direct access to weapons. Bandera's OUN leadership on 20 March 1943 issued secret instructions ordering their members who had joined the German auxiliary police to desert with their weapons and join with the military detachment of OUN (SD) units in Volyn. The number of trained and armed policemen who in spring 1943 joined the ranks of the future Ukrainian Insurgent Army were estimated to be 10,000. This process in some places involved engaging in armed conflict with German forces as they tried to prevent desertion.
By 1942, after the military administration was replaced with the regular Gendarmerie in occupied East, the strength of the Schutzmannschaft had increased tenfold. However, the new recruits were mostly not in the battalions. Instead, they took up the individual post duty as militias in place of former local Ordnungsdienst. The actual Security Battalions (or Schumas, German: Schutzmannschaft Bataillone) comprised only one-third of the overall strength of the formation. As a matter of course, the static police wore black uniforms from the pre-war German stock which was no longer used and kept in storage. The black uniforms of the former Allgemeine-SS including their characteristic field caps were simply stripped of German insignia and given to Schutzmannschaft to use with the new patches. Gradually, the mobile units were issued field-grey uniforms (pictured). The desired size of each battalion was about 500 soldiers divided into three companies of 140-150 men each, with 50 staff members. The logistical problems with securing enough uniforms for all of them continued until late 1942. For the weapons, the most widely used were captured Russian military rifles and pistols. Machine guns remained scarce until the latter stages of the war.
Most battalions were assigned block numbers based on ethnic and national makeup for ease of recognition. Those in Russia South and the heart of Ukraine were numbered from 101 to 200. The ones operating in Russia Center and in Byelorussia were numbered from 51 to 100. An exception was Battalion 201, which was formed not in Galicia but in Frankfurt an der Oder in October 1941, from members of the disbanded Nachtigall Battalion, formed originally by OUN-B.
- Russia Center and Byelorussia
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 51 (ukrainische), disbanded in May 1943
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 53 (ukrainische), formed in August 1942
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 54 (ukrainische), formed in September 1942
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 55 (ukrainische), formed in August 1942
- Schutzmannschaft Wacht Bataillon 57, 61, 62, 63 (ukrainische), since July 1944 as Schutzmannschaft-Brigade Siegling; in August, as 30th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS.
- Russia South and Ukraine
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 101, 102, 103, 104 (ukrainische) formed in July 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 105, 106, 107 (ukrainische) formed in November 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 108, 109, 110, 111, 113, 114 (ukrainische) formed in July 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 115 (ukrainische) formed in July 1942 and transferred to Belarus right away.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 116, 117 (ukrainische) formed in July 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118, formed in July 1942 with former Soviet officers at the helm who were soon dispatched in Kiev to form other battalions. In December 1942, transferred to Minsk.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 119, 120, 121 (ukrainische), formed in November 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Battalions 122, 123, 124 (ukrainische), formed in July 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillon 125 (ukrainische), formed in November 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 129, 130, 131 (ukrainische), formed in July 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 134, 136 (ukrainische), formed in November 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 137, 138, 139, 140 (ukrainische), formed in October 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 143, 144, 145, 146 (ukrainische), formed in August 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Bataillons 155, 156, 157, 158 (ukrainische), formed in November 1942.
- Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118
- 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS Galicia (1st Ukrainian)
- Collaboration with the Axis Powers during World War II
- Foreign relations of the Axis of World War II#Ukraine
- Holocaust in Poland
- Holocaust in Ukraine
- Responsibility for the Holocaust
- Ukrainian-German collaboration during World War II
- Bohdan Koziy
- Estonian Auxiliary Police
- Latvian Auxiliary Police
- Lithuanian Auxiliary Police
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- See the treatment in Dieter Pohl, Nationalsocialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944: Organisation und Durchführung eines staatlichen Massenverbrechens (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1997), Section II.2: "Der Besatzungsapparat im Distrikt Galizien"
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