Monday, March 16th, 2020 A New Perspective on the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists’ Activities on Emigration, 1929-1938, in light of previously unknown correspondence

Monday, March 16, 20204:00PM - 6:00PM108N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place


The assassination of the Minister of Interior, Bronisław Pieracki, took place on 15 June 1934 in Warsaw. This crime was one of the most shocking political assassinations in the Second Polish Republic. It was at the same time the biggest success and the most crushing defeat of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), as it negatively affected the strength of the national structures of the organization. The trial attracted the public’s interest in Poland and abroad. The court sentenced several OUN members, including Stepan Bandera, reaching its indictment thanks to the cooperation of Polish and Czechoslovak intelligence bodies. One year earlier, authorities had arrested and searched the premises of seven members of the OUN Board operating within the borders of Czechoslovakia. In the house of Omelian Senyk, one of the closest partners of Yevhen Konvalets (OUN’s leader), authorities found material that was later called Senyk’s archives. If they had examined the documents sooner, they could have prevented the murder of Pieracki. These documents have been assumed missing since the outbreak of the Second World War. They have spurred investigations and generated different hypotheses and myths among not only historians but also the participants and witnesses of the events to which they apply. The archive, comprising over 700 letters, is located in Lviv. Thanks to the rediscovery of Senyk’s archives, a new and different perspective can be developed on how the OUN functioned. The aim of the project is not to focus on the actions of individuals, but rather to try to understand how the organization operated. Examination of the private correspondence – in contrast to other available sources, such as the press or propaganda materials – offers a clearer or more faithful means to understand the actual plans, motivations, and goals of the nationalists, and to understand the OUN’s actions against the Second Polish Republic and in the international area carried out with the aim of gaining independence.

Magdalena Gibiec is a Petro Jacyk Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto. She is a PhD candidate at the Institute of History, University of Wrocław (Poland), and an intern at the Ivan Franko Lviv National University (Ukraine).


Magdalena Gibiec
Petro Jacyk Visiting Scholar at the University of Toronto

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