‘Before they arrived, there had already been primers in Ukrainian. They said they had liberated us from Poles. Ukrainians made a big parade for them, as they were coming in September 1939. A large gate was made. Some patriots were on horseback with blue and yellow flag in my village. They told they had liberated us. Nobody knew what was going to happen later. And later the arrest started, and that’s all. – Interviewer: Were a lot of people from your village arrested during the stay of the ‘first Soviets’? – I don’t know for sure. They detained about 10 or 12 people and took them to Siberia. Such were the facts about the first Soviets’ activities. And later people knew exactly what Russians were like. To arrest, to take people out to Siberia. People saw what they were like. They used to execute in Stanislav. They took the bodies out of Stanislav later. There’s a large grave, where the people were buried.’
Vasyl Romaniv (1931)
He was born on March 22nd, 1931, in the village of Stratyn, Stanislaviv province (now Rohatyn district, Ivano-Frankisk region). In the 1930s, he studied at a Polish primary school, in 1939–1941 – at a Soviet school, in 1941–1944 – at a seven-year secondary school. In the spring of 1944, Vasyl joined the Youth Network of the OUN and became a courier under the pseudonym ‘Slavko’. In 1847, he studied in the 8th form at a secondary school of the village of Pukiv, and in 1948 – in the 9th form in the village of Bolotnya, Ivano-Frankivsk region. In 1949–1950, Vasyl was educated at a trade cooperative school in the city of Stanislav (now Ivano-Frankivsk) on the instructions of the OUN Leadership. In 1951–1956, he studied at the Forestry Institute. In 1956–1960, Vasyl did practical work in the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic (now Turkmenistan). In 1968, he came back to Lviv. He taught at the Lviv Fire-Technical School, and later on – at a vocational railroad school. Vasyl lives in Lviv.
The ‘first Soviets’ launching repressions, 1939–1941
Training in the Youth Network of the OUN, 1944
‘Joining the Youth Network of the OUN began. It was as far as the year 1944, when I joined. The front was coming closer, and Russians had already started to approach. Volyn – they were right there. The younger and the older people were with us, the youth. Two months at night. There was such a clearing in the forest. Manoeuvres and explanations were being carried out there for two months. My uncle was a stanytsia leader (a person responsible for billeting UPA units on a certain territory, providing them with food, clothing, medical items – translator). That was the OUN who organized all that. So I became a member of the Youth Network of the OUN in 1944. It was May. Yes, it was roundly May and June. There was rye ripening.’