An estimated 25,000 Ukrainians served in the Fourteenth Waffen-SS “Galicia” Division. Conflicting accounts of their reasons for enlistment and continuing accusations of wartime criminality have fuelled controversial debate for decades.The first comprehensive study of the division to address both its wartime experience and its postwar fate, In the Maelstrom draws on archival research that includes interrogation records, interviews, memoirs, testimonies, and creative literature. The accounts of veterans often begin with being drafted into the force in their teenage years and continue into postwar life in Italian and British internment camps. These reminiscences are compared with wartime records and recent narratives. Myroslav Shkandrij discusses the commissions of inquiry into war crimes during the 1980s, recent debates over the issue of monuments and commemoration, and different ways in which veterans, the diaspora community, Western governments, and researchers have approached the division and its history.In the Maelstrom brings to light the underexplored Ukrainian experience in the “Galicia” Division during and after the war – an experience that resonates strongly today.
About the Author
Myroslav Shkandrij is professor emeritus of Slavic studies at the University of Manitoba.
“The book offers a balanced and nuanced account. There are clear indications that propagandistic Soviet publications had an impact on public discussions of the division in the 1980s. They propagated the Soviet enemy image of Ukrainian nationalists as fascist collaborators and henchmen of the Germans during World War Two in the West. There is a direct line that links these Soviet depictions with Vladimir Putin’s recent claim that Ukraine is ruled by a ‘Nazi’ regime, which he used to justify the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. This makes a critical reappraisal of older discussions about Ukrainian nationalist forces and German rule in World War Two urgent and timely, to which Myroslav Shkandrij’s book makes an important contribution.” Slavonic and East European Review
“The history of the 'Galicia' Division has produced a vast body of material; however, much of it is highly politicized. In the Maelstrom looks at the entire history of the division and presents a much-needed critical narrative.” Olesya Khromeychuk, author of ‘Undetermined’ Ukrainians: Post-War Narratives of the Waffen SS ‘Galicia’ Division