Political trials (processes) in interwar East Galicia and Poland, 1918-1939
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Brief Description:

A collective historic discourse comprising political trials in East Galicia and Poland over the interwar period. On the side of defendant the main players were Ukrainian largely affiliated with the UVO (Ukrainian Military Organization) and later the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists), occasiaonally the Jews (the Steiger Trial), the Botwin Trial, the Jager and associates Trial and the trial against KPZU members (that is West UKrainian Communists).

The Trial of Stepan (Stefan) Fedak and his associates, referred as Attempt on Assassination of Marshal, Chief of State, Jozef Pilsudski. The actual assault on Jozef Pilsudski and Governor of the Lwow Province, K. Grabowski.

Stepan (Stefan) Fedak, member of the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) together with co-conspirator executed a failed attempt on the life of Chief of State, Jozef Pilsudski and Governor K. Grabowski in Lwow, in front of the City Hall in the late afternoon of September 25th 1921 in Lwow (Lviv).

Actual Trial took place in Lwow (Lviv) in October – November 1922. Stepan Fedak claimed that he did not attempt to assassinate Marshal Jozef Pilsudski. He directed this act of defiance against the Governor K. Grabowski, revenging repressions against nationally-oriented Ukrainians and thus arising international attention to the dilemma of East Galicia in international regards.

His assassination attempt is largely regard a failed one for Pilsudski was not harmed, however, the Governor was wounded. Stepan (Stefan) Fedak was tried in Lviv (Lwow) and sentenced for six years imprisonment. He was released before the end of his term, in 1924 under the condition of emigrating from Poland. Stefan Feak lived in Paris and Berlin. He, nevertheless, clandestinely returned to Poland and began residence in East Galicia, working as a director of a Ukrainian dairy cooperative. He was arrested in East Galician town Zhuravno in 1937.

In the wake of the failed assassination Polish societal opinion reflected in the periodicals make out this a geo-political conspiracy by associate the Habsburg Dynasty as at least instigators and ideological players in the cause of separatism with regard to Ukrainian Galicia. In the course of court trial, October – November 1922, the investigation and the court proceedings came to a rather ordinary conclusion that is defiance and resistance to admit Polish political rights on Eastern Galicia. Stenographic reports and discourses in Ukrainian, Polish and Jewish periodicals would further corroborate often conflicting opinions with regard to Ukrainian national aspirations and Polish officialdom in regard to a prospective autonomy for East Galicia.

There were two narratives and various discourses, the beginning or the actual deed or event and a much longer narrative and obviously almost conflicting discourses once the trials covered, sometime stenographicly in regional and national periodicals.

Sydir Tverdokhlip, Ukrainian poet, literati, humanitarian, was prone to campaign in the November 5th, 1922 Elections from the list of agreeable to the election Galician Ukrainian party of Khliboroby (could be translated as Agriculuturalists or Bread Winners). Position of average Khliboroby hardly could influence Ukrainian political elites and average voters, however, a poet, professor of gymnasium, public figure, Sydir Tverdokhlip, was a challenging for the electoral boycott figugure. After an electoral meeting in Kamenka Strumilova, on the way to cathcing a train to Lviv at Sapezhanka he was followed by three people who killed him at the railroad station Sapezhanka. Sydir Tverdoklhim died on the next day in the Lwow hospital. Ukrainian public figures and political establishment remained overall with no accusative stand, they also ignored the funeral. Although Polish public figures, intelligentsia, authorities demonstrated aversion of the UVO (Ukrainian militants) manisfested their rightful aversive act of barbarism.

Sydir Tverdokhlib (Твердохліб, Сидір; Tverdoxlib]), born 9 May 1886 in Berezhany, Galicia, d 16 October 1922 in Lviv (Lwow). Poet, literati, professor of gymnasium, public figure and humanitarian, also a translator. After studying at the University of Jan Kazimierz in Lwow (Lviv University) and Vienna University he worked as a gymnasium professor in Lviv (Lwow). There he belonged to the modernist group Moloda Muza (Young Muse); his first poems and translations appeared in 1906 in the journal S’vit (the World). A bilingual (Ukrainian-Polish) writer, Tverdokhlib published one small book of poetry, V svichadi plesa (In the Mirror of the River's Surface, 1908), and verses, novellas, and translations in both Ukrainian (Nedilia (1911–1912), Iliustrovana Ukraïna, Dilo) and Polish (Krytyka, Przegląd Krajowy, Widnokręgi) periodicals. Tverdokhlib's translations introduced the Polish reading public to contemporary Ukrainian literature and were favorably received by critics. Published separately were his Polish translations of three books of Mykhailo Yatskiv's novellas (1908, 1910, 1911), an anthology of modern Ukrainian poetry (1911; 2nd end of 1913), and a book of Taras Shevchenko's selected verses (1913). Tverdokhlib also translated Shevchenko's ‘Haidamaky’ into German and Juliusz Słowacki's poems into Ukrainian. From 1920 he and Yatskiv headed the small, uinsignificuntly supported Ukrainian Agrarian party, which favored a compromise with Polish state of possession in East Galicia. The published the government-funded weekly Ridnyi krai (Lviv). During the Ukrainian general boycott of the 1922 elections to the Sejm Tverdokhlib announced his candidacy and began campaigning. Consequently the underground Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) condemned him as a national traitor and had him assassinated, he was mortally wounded in Sapezhanka railroad station near Kaminka-Strumylova on October 15, 1922. Sydir Tverdokhlib died in the Lviv (Lwow) Hospital on October 16, 1922.

Repression against communist movement of East Galicia, once the East Galician communist took the stand of national communism (Vasylkovtsy) materialized in the course of the St. George Congress Trial in November 1922 -- January 1923.

In the process of accused 39 Communist activists, and eventually sentenced 10, including Mr Stefan Królikowski, a member of the Central Committee of the CPP Kazimierz Cichowski and secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Eastern Galicia Osyp Kriłyk. The defendants were sentenced to prison terms of up to three years in prison. Process name refers to the place of the conference, during which activists were arrested, the basement of the Cathedral and monastery of St. Jura in Lwow (Lviv).

Stanislaw Steiger Trial in September 1924 and in October -  December 1925 reified a broades spectrum of ehtno-national and political controversies and demonsrated multi-vectorial discourses in regard to Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian political spectrum.

Assassination of the Lviv (Lwow) School District Superintendent, Stanislaw Sobinski on October 19, 1926.

Trial of the Sobinski's assassins in treason and conspiracy, January -- March 1928 and January -- February 1929.

Stanislaw Sobiński (born June 12, 1872 in Zloczow (Zolochiv), murdered 19 October 1926 in Lwow (Lviv)) - Polish educator, public figure, Superintendent of the Lwow (Lviv) school district in 1921-1926.

In the years 1909 – 1917, he was director of the Vocational School in Tarnobrzeg, then he received a position at the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education in Warsaw.

On January 24, 1921, Stanislaw Sobinski was appointed Curator (Superintendent) of the Lwow (Lviv) School District, which position he held until his death. In his subordination remained schools in the province of Lwow (Lviv), Tarnopol (Ternopil) and Stanisławów (Ivano-Frankivsk).

As a Superintendent he introduced the provisions of the Grabski’s Act, turning en masse Ukrainian schools in the bilingual (utrakwistyczne). As a result of the 2151 Ukrainian general education schools in 1924, left in 1930 only 684; out of 2,568 Polish – 2186 became bilingual schools and 1793 of them were the former Ukrainian schools.

Establishment of bilingual schools took place largely in the years 1924 - 1926. Sobiński not only executed instructions in terms of converting Ukrainian schools into bilingual ones, but also recommended the introduction of the Polish language for the official use of administration in Ukrainian schools (public and private).

On October 29, 1923 as a district superintendent he banned the use of the designation Ukrainian in regard to the Ukrainian schools, renaming this notion of ethnic identity by the terms Ruthenian or Ruski.

On September 21, 1924 he ordered exclusion the use of the Ukrainian language as official from public and private secondary schools and from vocational schools. His policy elicited extremely hostile reaction among Ukrainians.

Stanislaw Sobinski died as a result of assassination attack on October 19, 1926 on Krolewska Street in Lwow (Lviv) in presence of his wife. The assassins were members of the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO), Bohdan Pidhajnyi and Roman Shukhevych.

According to Polish researcher and scholar Richard Torzecki the organizer of this attack was the commandant of the regional UVO, Julijan Hołovinskyj.

October 22, 1926 Stanislaw Sobinski was buried at Lychakiv Cemetery in Lwow (Lviv). It is regarded that approximately ten thousand people attended the funeral procession. There were a number of high ranking Polish officials, for example Minister of the Interior Felicjan Sławoj Składkowski attended the funeral of Stanislaw Sobinski.

The trial of the 17 members of the UWO accused of the assassination of Stanislav Sobińskiego was held on January 21 - March 13, 1928 in Lwow (Lviv). They were also accused of treason and espionage. In the result, Vasyl Atamanchuk and Ivan Werbytskii were sentenced to death. On October 19, 1928 the Supreme Court overturned the verdict regarding the charges of murder and remanded the case back to the court of jury in Lwow (Lviv). In the retrial for the murder of Stanislaus Sobiński, which took place from January 28 to February 15, 1929, Werbytskii was sentenced to death, Atamanchuk to ten years of hard labor. On July 27, 1929, the Supreme Court approved the sentence to Vasyl Atamanchuk to ten years in prison. The sentence to Ivan Werbytskii was commuted from the death penalty to 15 years of hard labor. The sentences rendered by the court were the judicial mistakes for both convicts had no connection with the assassination, the names of the real perpetrators were revealed after years.

Tadeusz Holowko,

Polish pubic, political and scientific figure. He played a prominent role in shaping Polish politics in regard to national minorities in the Second Republic. He remained in favor of Ukrainian administrative and cultural autonomy and as a politician and member of Polish Sejm contributed to Polish – Ukrainian dialog and to softening of governmental measures to Ukrainian irredentists.

Tadeusz Holowko was assassinated by the members of the OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) while on resort cure in Truskawiec (Truskavets) on August 29, 1931. The OUN regional commanders denied being part of conspiracy against pro-Ukrainian Polish politician; they also denied given orders of assassinations.

The trial of 1933, known as the Sambor Trial followed a previous trial over two Ukrainian members of the OUN, who had been found guilty in multiple murders. They were Ivan Bilas Dmytro Danylyshyn.

The Trial in Sambor lasted from September 19 to October 6, 1933. Three members of the OUN, who were part of the conspiracy against Tadeusz Holowko, but did not committed the murder themselves, namely Mykolai Motyka, Aleksander Bunii and Roman Baranowskii were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment.

Ukrainian public opinion of largely condemned this murder and Ukrainian centrist periodicals protested against, as they expressed it, blame against Ukrainian nationalist as perpetrators.

Investigation and two trials proved that the perpetrators were closely associated with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

Ukrainian public opinion eventually admitted that the crime was committed by the Ukrainians, members of the OUN, however, they may have presumptively acted on the political orders of non-Ukrainian force.

Two political processes (trials) held in Warsaw in 1935 and Lwow (Lviv) in 1936 against the OUN conspiracies, assassination of Poish Minister of Interior Bronislaw Pieracki, a series of political assassinations, anti-govermentatl activitis, conspiratory militant activity become apotheosis of the Ukrainian public political appeal. These trials from a Polish perspective become a reveleation of anti-state nationalistic Ukrainian activity of the OUN. These were the two last big political trials of the Organizational leadership. Both sides, Ukrainian and Polish viewed them as a public tribune to prove the wrongdoings of the opposite side and propagate the ideology of their own.

Held at:
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
100 S. The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: 323-651-3704
Fax: 323-843-9518
Email: archive [at] lamoth.org
Record Series Number: RG-111/RG-111
Created by: Periodicals published in interwar East Galicia and Poland (1918 -- 1939), Polish judicial authorities, East Galicia and Poland (interwar period)
Volume: 4.0 Folders
Biographical Note for Periodicals published in interwar East Galicia and Poland (1918 -- 1939) : This is a collective name for Jewish, Ukrainian and Polish periodicals published in the region and country. There were Jewish periodicals published in Polish language. Ukrainian and  Polish periodicals are published in the respective languages.
Subject Index
Activities and organizational framework of the OUN, Poland and abroad, 1930s
Assassination attempt on Chief of State, Jozef Pilsudski in Lwow (Lviv) on September 25, 1921
Assassination attempt on Sydir Tverdokhlib by Ukrainian militants of the UVO, October 15, 1922
Assassination of Ukrainian poet Karshkevych (Karaszkiewicz) in Kolomyja, 1922
Biography of Stepan (Stefan) Fedak, a failed assassin of Pilsudski, interwar, wartime
Chronology of September 25, 1921, Pilsudski first day visit in Lwow (Lviv), Kurjer Lwowski, October
Chwila, analysis of the causation induced the assassination attempt, Chwila, September 29, 1921
Commissar Kajdan, investigation of Stepan Fedak, September after 25th, 1921, Fedak Trial, 1922
Congress of KUM (Committee of Ukrainian Youth Movement), program, Lviv (Lwow), 1920
Conspirators drew a choice who was to implement the attempt on Pilsudski, Fedak Trial, 1922
Defendants (conspirators) discussed the attempt in Cafe Republique on September 23, 1921 Fedak Trial
Defiance of Ukrainian young educated generation against Polish authorities in East Galicia interwar
Description of the OUN leadership and structure, 1930s, East Galicia
Dilo, reflections on the beginning of the Fedak and accomplices trial, discourse, October 1922
Documents in Polish language
Documents in Ukrainian language
Dr. Karowiec operated on wounded Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), October 15, 1922 Lviv, hospital
Dr. Stepan Fedak, father of Stepan Fedak, assassin and defendant, Fedak Trial, 1921, 1922
Eastern Galicia (Poland: Region)
Fedak, Sztyk (Styk), Paliiv, Kuchabski (Kuczabski), Matczak (Matchak), members of KUM
Fedak Trial, 1922, Defense discourse, reflected in Ukrainian, Jewish and Polish periodicals
Fedak Trial, a question of official language of proceedings, Ukrainian versus Polish
Funeral of Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochib) in Lviv (Lwow), October 19, 1922
Funeral of Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), attendees, city President, Neuman, October 19, 1922
Funeral of Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), attendees, Councel of Presidum, Krechowiecki, 10.19.1922
Funeral of Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), attendees, Deputy Governo Zimnyj, October 19, 1922
Funeral of Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), attendees, Governor Grabowski, October 19, 1922
Operation in a Lviv (Lwow) hospital on wounded Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), October 15, 1922, evening
Sapezhanka (Lwow, Poland), railroad station, site of assassination attempt on Sydir Tverdokhlib 1922
Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), apologetic of Polish – Ukrainian reconciliation, 1922
Sydir Tverdokhlib (Tverdochlib), visionary of Polish Ukrainian co-existence and reconciliation, 1922
Sydir Tverdokhlib, mortally wounded delivered to a hospital in Lviv (Lwow), October 15, 1922 evening
Sydir Tverdokhlib, Ukrainian literati, poet, assassinated by Ukrainian nationalist on Oct. 15 1922
Sydir Tverdokhlib against Ukrainian boycott and radicalization versus parliamentary elections, 1922
Ukrainian boycott in Eastern Galicia of parliamentary elections in 1922, interwar Poland
Ukrainian poet Karashkevych (Karaszkiewicz), rejection of radical militatnt tactics of the UVO, 1922
Warsaw, 1935, OUN Trial including Bandera implicated in the assassination of Bronislaw Pieracki
Languages of Materials
Polish [pol]
Ukrainian [ukr]