“What I remember the most are events when I was in the second or third grade. Pacification in Shyly started in autumn. Pacification in Shyly took place twice: during the Feast of the Cross. It’s somewhere in October. And later I was studying in school. Children used to say: “Look, so many gendarmes are around”. Those were probably Lviv Batiars, dressed in the uniform. But they didn’t have numbers on their forehead, back then in times of Poland police officers used to have numbers. Each one had a number. If he did something wrong, everyone had a right to write a complaint. And they organized horrible massacre. They were destroying roofs…We had very many bricks, because my dad wanted to build a house. So my grandfather set up brickwork. He bought wood and burnt bricks by himself to save some money. A few houses were built with that brick. They destroyed all brick we had. When I came home, what I saw was horrible. And then they beat up my grandfather. Why? He took the monument of Taras Shevchenko, which was in the room where I slept. – Monument or a portrait? – A portrait of Taras Shevchenko. When grandpa heard that they are coming, he took this portrait to threshing barn and put it between sheaves of rye. But they threw all sheaves away. They did it on purpose. They made people from the same village do horrible things to their neighbors. They were beating my grandfather up. I saw it. It was very bad. I still remember that sight when granddad was lying on the bench. They took off his pants; made him knee down and two policemen were beating him with some wires. I did not see what they were made of. They beat him so much that he couldn’t get up for two weeks”.
Zenoviy Slota (1922-2011)
He was born on January 1st, 1922, in a village Shyly, Zbarazh district, Ternopil province (now Zbarazh district, Ternopil region). He graduated from elementary school, then for a few months he studied at Ternopil gymnasium “Ridna shkola”, and he was forced to transfer to polish gymnasium in Zbarazh. He graduated from the gymnasium in 1939. In January 1938 he became a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, where he performed tasks of collecting information and spying. In 1939-1940 he studied at the 10th grade in order to receive a Soviet school leaving certificate. In September 1940 he entered Lviv Polytechnic University. Continued working with OUN. His pseudonyms were: “Zelys”, “Zezel’”, “Bohdan”. From September 1941 he worked for the German construction company “Baudienst”. In February 1942 he entered Lviv Medical Institute. After two semesters of studying in 1943 he entered Lviv Polytechnic University to pursue technical degree.In early March, 1944, he went to his native village Shyly. He didn’t come back to Lviv, because the front was already near Ternopil. He got hired as a teacher in primary school in a village Hnylytsi. Soon he was mobilized to the Soviet army. In May 1944 with a small group Zenoviy was sent to Alchevsk (former Voroshylovsk, Luhansk region), and after 2 months he was sent to the 2nd Baltic Front. On September 16th, 1944 he was injured with a splinter. At first he stayed in the field hospital, from there he was transferred to Moscow to Filatov children’s hospital, because one floor of this hospital served as a military hospital, and then from there he was transferred to health resort in Kyslovodsk. He served in commandant’s office in Rostov, then in Novocherkask in reserve regiment. In October 1945 he was demobilized. He worked as a teacher first in Ternopil region, then in Lviv region. In 1956 he received his degree in geography. In 1963-1978 he worked as a deputy in Vynnyky City Council. Zenoviy was a member of “Prosvita” society, Taras Shevchenko scientific society, was the head of Supervisory board. He died on March 2011.
Pacification in a village of Shyly, 1930
Victims of the Bolshevik regime in Zbarazh, 1941
“And when Germans came, together with my friend from Zbarazh, who studied in Agricultural institute, we ran to the NKVD hoping to get some weapons. The NKVD was empty: there was nothing left. We thought that maybe they are somewhere in the cellar. So we went there. The smell in the cellar was horrible. And then we saw two dead bodies. Turned out, that one of them was Taras Bilinskyi – he was arrested in the last few days before the war (the Germans attacked on June 22nd, but here it happened earlier). He was tied: his hands were tied behind his back with annulated wire, on his head he had a crown made of annulated wire, and his face was pierced with bayonet. His legs were buried in coals, because there in the NKVD cellars were coals. So he was just sitting there in that coal. We recognized another one – Danylevych. There were many people with this last name. We found another one Danylevych. I was at the funeral of this Bilynskyy. The coffin was made in such a way that there was only a small window…He was born in a year of 1903 or 1904… I wrote an article about him in Zbarazh newspaper. He was not even forty at that time, but he was already bold, so he looked older. He was a doctor and the head of “Prosvita”, the head of “Sokol” and then (we think so) he was one of the OUN leaders in Zbarazh district.”
Service in the 2nd Baltic front, 1944
“I had a military rank, maybe, junior sergeant (with two stripes)… In small villages everyone was drunk. Communication was very bad, because those villages were very far from each other. Sometimes they would send somebody to another village to check if Germans were already there. When they didn’t come back, that meant that Germans took over that village. They wanted to send me to that small village in order to bring people some alcohol. I figured out what they had in mind because I already had some experience in the military area. I took this alcohol and thought: I’m not crazy to just go like this with alcohol. So I was choosing my path very carefully: through the forest, and then through meadows. So I was walking on those meadows and then I heard mines dropping. So I dropped on the ground and felt as if someone hit me on the shoulders with a huge hammer. And that was it. I don’t remember anything. I don’t know for how long I was lying there. I woke up and saw blood here (points – editorial note) and on the forehand. So I got up and started walking back. But I felt that I couldn’t stand straight. But I couldn’t figure out where it hurt. I came back to my military unit. There was a nurse. I remember her well because she had a patch made of pig’s skin. And on this patch grew her hair. She undressed me, took away my watch, my sweater. And never gave it back to me. She bandaged me. At that time all sick people were transported through the forest in a wheelbarrow. I was transported not in a wheelbarrow, but in a carriage, to the other side. This is how I got to the field hospital.”