Last modified on May 30, 2024, at 20:20

Lviv

Lviv
Lviv.jpg


Country Ukraine
Region Lviv Oblast
Population 717,273
Area (sq mi) 57.5 sq mi
Population density (/sq mi) 12,000/sq mi
Current mayor Andriy Sadovyi
Demonym Leopolitan
Co-ordinates 49°50′33″N 24°01′56″E

L'viv (Polish: Lwów; Eng: Lvov; German: Lemberg) is a city in the west of Ukraine and has a population of 728,350 (2016), being the 6th largest of the country.

With the re-creation of the Polish state as a result of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Lviv was taken from the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire and given to Poland. In September 1939, as a result of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, Lviv became a part of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine.

In June 2023, days after the failed Ukrianian counteroffensive began, the memorial statue to the Soviet soldiers who liberated Lvov from Nazi terrorism was destroyed by the fascist Zelensky regime with support of American taxpayers.[1]

History

The city of L'viv, founded in the late Middle Ages, was a flourishing administrative, religious and commercial centre for several centuries. Lviv City is situated on the crossing of two profitable ancient trade routes. It developed and flourished rapidly and became one of the main trade centers of medieval Europe. The medieval urban topography has been preserved virtually intact (in particular, there is evidence of the different ethnic communities who lived there), along with many fine Baroque and later buildings.[2]

It is a beautiful city full of the architecture of many influences including Austrian, Ukrainian and Polish since at various times in history all three laid claim to Lviv.

Polish-Ukrainian war 1918-1019

Monument to Nazi-collaborator Stepan Bandera unveiled in 2007 in Lviv.

The Poles regarded the city of Lwów, which was the crucially important settlement in East Galicia, as one of the most important cities of Polish culture and the nation following Cracow, Warsaw, and Vilnius (Wilno).

During World War I (1914−1918), the Central Powers, especially Germany, stubbornly supported Ukrainian national identity, nationalism, and national goals – all of them directed against Russian interests. On February 9, 1918 the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed between the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire) and the Ukrainian People’s Republic (the UPR).[3] The peace treaty ended the war in East Galicia and recognized the sovereignty of the UPR. One of the most important points of this peace treaty was that the victorious Central Powers promised Ukraine some territories which included the Kholm region populated by the Polish-speaking majority. It was also a secret initiative to transform both provinces of Bukovina and East Galicia into a crownland of Austria-Hungary (Austrian part), but the plan soon became problematic issue due to Polish opposition, insisting that the whole of Galicia in which Poles would have dominance. The Poles perceived the pro-Ukrainian policy of the Central Powers during WWI, and especially in 1918, not only as anti-Russian but even more anti-Polish. Therefore, due to the policy of Berlin regarding the Ukrainian Question in 1918, the inter-ethnic conflict between Poles and Ukrainians became unavoidable.

Ukrainian national organizations had been struggling to defend their own ethnic-regional autonomy and to strengthen Ukrainian national identity among the local Slavic people. However, the reality was not so favorable for Ukrainian national propaganda. The intelligentsia which was accepting the Ukrainian ethnolinguistic identity, so it had been quickly progressing with them. On other hand, an overwhelming number of the peasantry (majority of the population of East Galicia) was not receptive to Ukrainian national identity’s propaganda.

Another factor was that both ethnic Poles and Jews had clear domination over the areas of education, culture, regional economy, and civil administration.

On November 1, 1918, when the rule of Austria-Hungary collapsed in East Galicia, Ukrainian political workers from West Galicia opposed Polish ambitions to unite the whole region of Galicia (Western and Eastern) into a new Second Polish Republic, and organized a coup. Local Ukrainian nationalist leaders proclaimed the independence of the West Ukrainian National People’s Republic. Helped by Ukrainian national units, they succeeded in occupying Lvov and other cities in East Galicia. Before Poland proclaimed independence on November 11, 1918, the war between Polish and Ukrainian forces already was going on over East Galicia and its most important city – Lvov.

The Polish armed forces expelled the Ukrainian military from Lvov on November 22, 1918. However, Lvov was under siege by the Ukrainian military until April 1919 (five months). Nonetheless, immediately after the Ukrainian forces were driven away from Lvov, the pogroms against the Jews occurred in which up to 80 people died. The local Poles accused the Jews of supporting the Ukrainian side regarding the destiny of Lvov. Especially, the Jewish paramilitary units being armed by the Ukrainian side were accused by the Poles of anti-Polish policy in the city.

1941 pogrom

Lvov pogrom, June-July 1941.

According to the last census conducted in 1931, the ethnic composition of Lvov consisted of:

  • Polish 64%
  • Hebrew & Yiddish 24%
  • Ukrainian 11%

According to the 2001 census the ethnic composition of Lvov consisted of:

  • Ukrainian 88%
  • Jewish 0.3%
  • Polish 0.9%

Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, occupying Lvov within a week. The Germans claimed that the city's Jewish population had supported the Soviets. Ukrainian mobs went on a rampage against Jews.[4] They stripped and beat Jewish women and men in the streets of Lvov. Ukrainian partisans supported by German authorities killed about 4,000 Jews in Lvov during this pogrom.[5]

Lvov was occupied by the Wehrmacht in the early hours of June 30, 1941; German forces consisted of the 1st Mountain Division and the Abwehr-subordinated Nachtigall Battalion staffed by ethnic Ukrainians.

According to Canadian historian John-Paul Himka at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Jews were not considered by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) to be their primary enemies. This role was reserved for Poles and Russians.

See also

References

  1. MEMORIAL TO SOVIET SOLDIERS DEMOLISHED IN LVOV, June 12, 2023
  2. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/865
  3. Brotfrieden in German (“Bread Peace”)
  4. Kopstein writes: "On June 30, 1941, on the eighth day of operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, a pogrom broke out in Lviv, the capital city of Eastern Galicia. Ukrainians, and to a lesser extent Poles, massacred their Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens. (…) For the next two days Lviv witnessed terrible anti-Jewish violence at the hands of the local Ukrainian population and the Ukrainian militia, and under the Nazis' approving eyes." Kopstein pp. 219-220.
  5. POGROM IN LVOV (8mm film, 1:38 min), US Holocaust Memorial Musuem.

External links