Authentic evidence that Ukrainian refugees are being forcibly " repatriated " to Russia reaches The Catholic Herald this week.
In the article below some of the methods of repatriation employed in the zone liberated by the Western democracies are revealed in a letter written by a responsible British officer dated January 9,1946.
Over 1,000,000 Ukrainian refugees and slave labourers, all Christians, the majority Catholics, are being threatened with repatriation. This week a memorandum of their plight has been presented to the United Nations by the central Ukrainian Relief Bureau.
From Our Staff Reporter
The Memorandum on Ukrainian Refugees, presented to U.N.O. this week by the Central Ukrainian Relief Bureau, brings once more to the attention of the world one of the most ghastly examples of mass persecution ever recorded in human history, The lives of one million Christian Ukrainians faced with " repatriation " from Western Europe to the U.S.S.R. are involved.
In the face of Soviet aggression since 1920, Eastern Ukraine has tenaciously held to its • religion,
its national culture and its national rights. In one year alone, in the 'thirties, over four millions of Ukrainians were killed in a Russianorganised famine. Ruthlessly and brutally the persecution has continued until the present time when through the fortunes of war the Soviet frontier has been extended to include all of the Ukraine.
In D.P. camps in Germany there are at present over one million Ukrainians, some from former Polish territory in the East, some from Rumania, some from Subcarpathic Ruthenia, formerly Czechoslovakia,
They are now Stateless and, according to an agreement which it is said was made by Mr. Churchill and Marshal Stalin at Yalta, they may be repatriated to the Soviet-Ukraine. To return means either death or slavery for these unfortunates. Many are choosing death. by suicide, now ; the others live in constant fear.
The American and British authorities are not giving them proper protection. They are, many of them, at the complete mercy of Russian liaison officers. From the zones occupied by the Western Allies news is now trickling out of the most harrowing scenes when the deportation of Ukrainians is in operation. The following are eye-witness accounts. A letter from a responsible Allied officer, dated January 6, 1946. owns as follows:
"In the American zones Soviet agents move about quite freely. They seek out Americans and try to corrupt them. They are very anxious to get hold of Ukrainians, and of other ' Soviet citizens' who might eventually become ' dangerous.' I hear of several specific cases in which Americans carried such people across the demarcation line, with hands and feel bound. Here and there individual Americans secured considerable personal rewards for these kidnappings. The Czechs are also out manhunting . . ."
The letter continues : " In Salz burg I saw myself how, on an icy night, U.N.N.R.A. officials, with the help of the military police, threw out of a barracks camp displaced persons, women with their children, refugees from the Soviet zone, clad only in underclothes. Belsen-Bergen are not coded. Paradoxically, the victims are of the same category. . ."
Despite the fact that these forced deportations have been cancelled by order of the High Command, reporters hack from the zones assert they continue by reason of the penetration of Russian officers into the British zones. These officers enter ostensibly to protect " the interests of " Russian
citizens." They question the D.P.s, and then report to the officer commanding that so many are " Russians" and in many instances " collaborators."
Few British officers speak Slavonic languages. The word of the Russian is accepted and the refugees are escorted under Soviet guards with tommy-guns to a Red Army lorry. And that, so far as any one in Germany or West of the Russian zones is concerned, is the end of them.
Many persons of Ukrainian origin, who were settled in France, Belgium, Holland and the Western countries of Europe before the war have been among these forcible repatriates, Again, language difficulties have proved insurmountable by the British and American officers And they have not taken the trouble to find the means of checking Russian statements