Berlin

Berlin. See Map. Capital of Prussia and then of Germany (1871–1945 and 1990–; 2019 pop 4,473,101). It is a major national and international economic and cultural center. Before 1914 Berlin did not play a significant role in Ukrainian life. During the First World War many Ukrainians in Berlin banded together around the Union for the Liberation of Ukraine. In 1918 a diplomatic mission of the Ukrainian National Republic was created in Berlin; it remained in operation until 1921. In 1921–3 the Ukrainian SSR had a diplomatic mission there. The Ukrainians connected with the non-Soviet institutions founded a colony, which became a major center of Ukrainian political emigration. Until the end of the Second World War two political centers were active in Berlin. They were the leadership of the Hetmanite movement and the group allied with the Ukrainian Military Organization, which from 1929 became part of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). The former hetman, Pavlo Skoropadsky, as well as Col Yevhen Konovalets and Yevhen Petrushevych, president of the Western Ukrainian National Republic, lived for a time in Berlin. Among the national organizations in Berlin were the Ukrainian Hromada, established in 1919, at first as a non-partisan organization but later allied with the Hetmanite leadership; and the Ukrainian National Alliance, founded in 1933, which was under the influence of the OUN from 1937 and became a powerful national organization.

Berlin was the center of such student organizations as the Ukrainian Student Association in Germany (from 1921), Osnova, the Zarevo student fraternity (from 1931), the Academic Hromada, the Union of Ukrainian Student Organizations in Germany and Danzig (from 1925), and, in 1941, the Nationalist Organization of Ukrainian Students in Germany. There was a Ukrainian Catholic parish in Berlin, which later became an apostolic administration (under Rev Petro Verhun), and an Orthodox parish. In the early 1920s two publishing houses were active: Ukrainske Slovo and Yakiv Orenshtain’s Ukrainska Nakladnia in Berlin and Leipzig. Some of the smaller publishing houses included Ukrainskyi Prapor, Khliborobska Ukraina, Ukrainska Molod, and UNO publishers (from 1936). Periodicals published included Ukraïns’ke slovo (Berlin) (weekly in 1921–3 and daily in 1923–4), Litopys polityky, pys’menstva i mystetstva (1923–4), and Osteuropäische Korrespondenz (1926–30). During the 1920s the nationalist Ukrainischer Pressedienst provided information for the Ukrainian press. The Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Berlin served as a central cultural institution, with impressive scholarly connections, including some from outside Germany, until 1945. During the Second World War the number of Ukrainians in Berlin increased greatly, a branch office of the Ukrainian Central Committee was established, and the Ukrainian Institution of Trust in the German Reich was organized by the German authorities for Ukrainian Ostarbeiter and workers in Germany. The following newspapers were published: the nationalist Ukraïns’kyi visnyk (Berlin) (1936–45), the hetmanite Ukraïns’ka diisnist’ (1940–5), Holos (1940–5), and a number of other publications for workers, soldiers, and prisoners of war. Berlin’s libraries, especially the Prussian State Library, contained a great deal of Ukrainian material. After the end of the war and the Soviet occupation of Berlin very few Ukrainians remained in the city. A collection of articles and memoirs about Ukrainian life in Berlin in the years 1918–45, edited by Vasyl Veryha, appeared in Toronto in 1996.

Ivan Mirchuk

[This article was updated in 1995.]




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