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Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 of Ukrainische Hilfspolizei was a Schutzmannschaft battalion formed in the spring of 1942 in Kiev with former Red Army prisoners of war, and 100 men, mostly Ukrainian nationalists from Western Ukraine,[1] who were previously incorporated into the 3rd company, 115th Schutzmannschaft battalion.[2] The commander of the battalion was Sturmbannführer Erich Körner,[citation needed] battalion leader was Hryhorii Vasiura (tried in 1986 by the Russians).[3] The battalion was staffed mainly with Ukrainians, although Russians, Belarusians and Armenians had also served in it.

In November 1942 the battalion was transferred to Belarus, where it served until July 1944.[4] During this time the battalion participated in the German pacification and punitive operations in that area.

In 1943, dozens of policemen of the 118th battalion deserted and joined the UPA in Volyn.

In the summer of 1944, the Germans transferred the battalion to France, where it joined the 115th battalion to form the 63rd Schutzmannschaft Battalion. Police officers from this branch were incorporated into the 30th SS Grenadier Division. In August, these formations deserted and joined French partisans as the 2nd Ukrainian "Taras Shevchenko" battalion of the French Forces of the Interior (le 2e bataillon ukrainien des Forces françaises de l'intérieur, Groupement Frontière, Sous-région D.2). Many former members continued service in the French Foreign Legion after the war.[5]

Atrocities and war crimes[edit | edit source]

Some members of Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 have been accused of committing atrocities and war crimes during World War II.[4][6] The Khatyn massacre occurred in Khatyn, a village in Belarus, in the Lahojsk district, Minsk Voblast. On March 22, 1943, the population of the village was massacred by the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118.[4]

In an article on the Khatyn massacre,[7] Lund University historian Per Anders Rudling, relying on KGB interrogation reports released in 2008, wrote that the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 filled a farmer's barn with civilians, set it on fire, and used a machine gun to kill the civilians who tried to escape the flames: “One witness stated that Volodymyr Katriuk was a particularly active participant in the atrocity: he reportedly lay behind the stationary machine gun, firing rounds on anyone attempting to escape the flames”.[7]

A Soviet Union war-crime trial in 1973 heard that three members of the Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 killed a group of Belarusian loggers earlier on that fateful day, suspecting they were part of a popular uprising. "I saw how Ivankiv was firing with a machine-gun upon the people who were running for cover in the forest, and how Katriuk and Meleshko were shooting the people lying on the road," the witness said.[3] The Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118 helped the Germans to create "dead zones".[3] The dead zone policy involved exterminating Soviet partisans who had launched ambushes against Nazi forces.[3]

Personnel[edit | edit source]

The battalion consisted of 3 companies totalling 500 men, divided in 3 companies, which in turn were divided into 3 platoons each:

Commanders
  • Erich Körner, deputies Konstantin Smolski (Smowski?) and Shudrya
Company leaders
  • First company: hauptmann Hans Woellke (leader), Vinnitsky (deputy)
  • Second Company: Herman (leader), Franczuk (deputy),
  • Third company: Müller (leader), Naradko (deputy).
Platoon leaders
  • Meleshko
  • Pasichnyk
  • Grigory Vasiura (until December 1942)
Chiefs-of-Staff
  • Korniyets (until December 1942),
  • Grigory Vasiura (from December 1942);
Privates
  • I. Kozynchenko
  • G. Spivak,
  • S. Sakhnо,
  • O. Knap,
  • T. Topchiy,
  • I. Petrichuk,
  • Katriuk,
  • Lakustа,
  • Lukovich,
  • Scherban,
  • Varlamov,
  • Khrenov,
  • Yegorov,
  • Subbotin
  • Iskanderov,
  • Khachaturyan.
  • Vladimir Katriuk

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Per A. Rudling, "Terror and Local Collaboration in Occupied Belorussia: The Case of Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118. Part One: Background", Historical Yearbook of the Nicolae Iorga History Institute (Bucharest) 8 (2011), p.202-203
  2. Canada ( Minister of Citizenship and Immigration ) v. Katriuk.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Sun News: New information links Montrealer to WWII massacre
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Zur Geschichte der Ordnungspolizei 1936—1942, Teil II, Georg Tessin, Dies Satbe und Truppeneinheiten der Ordnungspolizei, Koblenz 1957, s.172-173
  5. Євген Пінак. Другі визвольні змагання (1938-1950) / 7. Українці в інших арміях © Українське військо у ХХ-ХХІ сторіччі (Ukrainian)
  6. Leonid D. Grenkevich; David M. Glantz (1999). The Soviet Partisan Movement, 1941-1944: A Critical Historiographical Analysis. London: Routledge. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-7146-4874-4. http://books.google.com/?id=spJ4XXyBHewC&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=%22Khatyn+massacre%22&vq=Khatyn. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Holocaust Genocide Studies (Spring 2012) 26(1): 29-58 The Khatyn Massacre in Belorussia: A Historical Controversy Revisited

Further reading[edit | edit source]

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