Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1st-Division of the Ukrainian National Army
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Documentary "SS in Britain" Response

Response to the recent TV documentary "SS in Britain"

The TV Documentary "SS in Britain", which is about the 14th SS Division "Galicia", aired on the History Channel on September 24th 1999 in Canada, and recently on January 7th 2001 in England is prompting this response from the Veterans of this military unit. It seemed strange, that despite the fact that the documentary was about the "SS in Britain" it was aired first in Canada and then after 15 months delay was shown in England? Why such long delay? Apparently somebody, besides ourselves, was questioning the value of it and had also serious doubts about the truthfulness of statements contained therein.

Much to our regret this documentary lacks the objectivity, that should be the fundamental premise of any documentary, and continues to disseminate half-truths and outright falsehoods about the division "Galicia". It contains some excerpts from the interviews with supposedly knowledgeable individuals about the subject, and witnesses, but these fragments were manipulated in such a way, as to convey the impression directed at discrediting the division veterans, and portraying them as heavily indoctrinated Nazi sympathisers and even war criminals.

By omission and suppression of several important issues and crucial points, that could shed some unbiased light on the subject, which were available for the producers beforehand, and by stressing all negative aspects, a completely false impression of the division "Galicia" was conveyed to the viewers.

For instance: The statement was made that the volunteers were heavily indoctrinated Nazi sympathizers, but the fact was suppressed, that Galicia division was the only division in the Waffen SS where Greek-catholic priests were in charge of spiritual well being of the soldiers and whose sermons stressed love for Ukraine and conspicuously ignored Hitler and Germany.

A quotation of Himmlers statement, when he visited the division, was included that "if Ukrainians were given an order to slaughter the Poles, they would gladly do so". But the reply of Dmytro Palijiw, one of Ukrainian officers in the divisional staff, was suppressed, where he said that "the division was not created to fight Poles but Bolsheviks and pointed out the fallacy of the German policy in the occupied territories in Eastern Europe".

It was stated that soldiers of the division swore allegiance to Hitler, but it was suppressed that this obedience was limited only to "the struggle against Bolshevism", spelled out in the text of the oath. No mention was made that a second oath of allegiance to Ukraine was administered later, without any reference to Hitler, when the division joined the Ukrainian National Army in the spring of 1945.

Various witnesses were interviewed, but none of available division veterans were produced to testify.

The commentator Mr. Ceaserani left the impression that the division veterans in Britain and Canada were never properly investigated, but the fact is that the division was screened the first time in the POW camp Bellaria in Italy by the British and Soviet commissions in 1945. Later by the "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" headed by honorable Justice Jules Deschenes in Canada, which after thorough investigation lasting several years was not able to establish any basis to the accusations of war crimes. This report was issued in 1986 and confirmed later after another investigation by the minister of justice in Canada Anne McLellan in 1998. At the conclusion of the program it was only casually mentioned that subsequent investigation did not uncover any new evidence, without being more specific in naming Justice Deschenes or minister of justice Anne McLellan.

All this clearly shows a strong bias and prejudice against the Galicia division veterans by the producers of this program, which apparently was created to further spread the stereotype of a Ukrainian villain created in the western media.

A viewer of this program was intentionally left unaware of the fact that the volunteers of the division "Galicia", almost without exceptions, were Ukrainian patriots who made a conscious Faustian bargain with the devil in order to obtain arms and training so as to have a fighting force at the ready to defend an independent Ukraine after the wishfully hoped-for collapse of both Soviet and German occupations.

Addendum 2000

In the spring of 2000, at the request of the Brotherhood of Division Galicia veterans, a reputable scholar initiated an independent research in Slovakia, tracking the trail of the History Channel interviewers, visiting the sites named in the resulting TV documentary, and even speaking to the same individuals who were interviewed for this program. The results are unmistakably clear: the Division was never present in the locations named in these interviews, and the answers of witnesses, aired in the documentary were apparently edited and suitably manipulated to discredit the Division veterans. These same witnesses, interviewed in the current independent research, flatly denied the participation of Ukrainians in any misconduct. It should be noted that during the Division Galicia's stay in Slovakia, the civilian population accepted the Ukrainian military personnel with particular warmth, friendliness and hospitality.

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© 1999 Brotherhood of Veterans of the 1st-Division of the Ukrainian National Army

since Dec 12th 1999