Ukrainian National Committee

Ukrainian National Committee (Ukrainskyi natsionalnyi komitet, or UNK). A central political and civic body set up in Germany in October–November 1944 to defend Ukrainian interests before the German authorities. A change in German policy toward Eastern Europe and the release of Ukrainian political leaders, such as Andrii Melnyk and Stepan Bandera, from concentration camps paved the way for the founding of the committee. Besides the freed leaders, the committee's founders included Andrii Livytsky, president of the Government-in-exile of the Ukrainian National Republic, the Ukrainian Civic Committee (an organization of Ukrainians from central and eastern Ukraine), and the Ukrainian Central Committee. The founding of the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia under General Andrei Vlasov, which claimed to represent all anti-bolshevik émigrés from the USSR, prompted Ukrainian leaders to set up their own organization. All Ukrainian political camps accepted General Pavlo Shandruk as president of the UNK, Volodymyr Kubijovyč and Oleksander Semenenko as vice-presidents, and P. Tereshchenko as secretary. At first the German authorities did not recognize the UNK and wanted it to be subordinate to General Vlasov, but the Ukrainians refused to comply. Reichsminister Alfred Rosenberg officially recognized the UNK as the sole political representative only on 12 March 1945. In the name of the German government he also consented to having the UNK represent all the Ukrainian military formations in the German armed forces (the Ukrainian Liberation Army and the Division Galizien). The presidium of the UNK issued a proclamation to the Ukrainian people and on 17 March 1945 appointed General Shandruk commander of the Ukrainian National Army. On 25 April 1945, at the front, the Division Galizien took the oath of allegiance to the Ukrainian people and became the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army. Branches of the Ukrainian Central Committee functioned as local organizations of the UNK, and the daily Ukraïns’kyi shliakh (renamed from Krakivs’ki visti) in Vienna became its organ (five issues). The disintegration of Nazi Germany put an end to the committee's activities.

Arkadii Zhukovsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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