This is a 1990 interview done in Detroit, U.S.A., with Fedor Kazan, Ukrainian 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician) and Ukrainian Defense Force member.

[Above: Waffen-SS Ukraine sleeve shield for the Ukrainian 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Galician)]

'I wondered why God would let the forces of darkness win this fight.'
-Fedor Kazan

Thanks for giving me the time to ask you some questions. I would like to begin by asking what brought you the German SS?

Fedor: It is better to start with my history young man. I was born on a farm 5km from Busk in 1920; I was one of three children. While I remember nothing about the Red revolution, I do know my family was forced to flee more than once to avoid Red Terror, and my father was murdered by a Jewish mob looking for Christians to murder. This area of the Ukraine was very volatile, it housed one of the largest Jewish populations, and there were border disputes with Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and gypsies.

These conflicts shaped the attitudes of many Ukrainians, and because the Jews fully supported the Reds, it bred a hatred that lives to this day. I remember the seizures and deportations of the 30s, the Red police killed our neighbors, and their children disappeared. In 1940, I started to see large build-ups of Red army soldiers; I was allowed to stay on our farm, as I was the only male to run it. There was a divisional camp not far from our farm, the soldiers would just come and take what they wanted telling us it was for the state, but some good ones paid us thankfully.

We received very little news, as Stalin wanted us left uneducated and in the dark, this was the Red way. Unless you were a Jew, or threw your lot into the party, they hated you. I remember the summer of ‘41, it was hot and on June 21, I saw many new planes that morning with the black cross. We figured Stalin had lost his mind and attacked the Germans, I was surprised it was them attacking Stalin. I still can see the Red soldiers streaming back, and I could hear booming in the distance. An officer pulled up to the farm and ordered myself and sisters to come with them, and he was going to confiscate our animals in the name of the state.

I told him we would get our wagon ready, tie the animals together, and follow him. He agreed but got upset when I was taking too long, all the while sounds of battle were getting closer. Then a strange noise, a German plane saw his staff car and strafed it on the road, killing him and his driver. I was terrified the Reds might think we did this, so I left his body alone. More Red soldiers showed up the next day and I told them what happened, they had civilians they were taking with them, and made them bury the bodies, then ordered us to come with them.

I said I needed to stay on the farm; I then got a pistol put in my face and was told I was now serving in the army, and to gather our animals and move out. Just then, a rider approached and told this soldier the Germans have broken through and are moving our way. He told me to bring our wagon and animals to the next town for further orders, I said yes sir, and they all fled. I told my sisters we would be Ok, I heard good thing about the Germans, as many settled not far from us, and were very good farmers.

The Germans finally arrived in an armored car; I liked the black uniforms they wore. They cautiously stopped on the road by the staff car, jumped down with weapons drawn and came to our door. One spoke our language, but was very choppy, my sister laughed at him when he said he was a potato, he was actually asking if we had any food to spare. We welcomed him in and gave him water, milk, and a few potatoes to take with him. He offered money, which my sister took, and gave her a kiss on the cheek. She bragged about it for a month. All over Ukraine, as the Germans pushed the Reds away, we welcomed them as liberators. The very first act I witnessed was once they occupied Lviv; they opened and repaired the Churches, which the Reds closed. The Church in Busk secretly opened, but had to be very careful as the local bishop and his friends and family were all killed in the 20s by Jewish Reds.

Another act the Germans put in place was to ask for help in policing the area against Reds and their allies, mainly Polish Reds. I stepped forward with many other men, my mother and sisters could run the farm. My other sister, who was 18 volunteered to move to Germany for a job in a factory, paying an outlandish sum. Therefore, we welcomed the Germans, and volunteered to help them, as it would help our country.

How were you recruited to join the SS? I have always been taught the SS hated Slavs and non-Aryans, and did not want anything to do with you. Even to the point of killing millions of racially inferior Ukrainians.

Fedor: The Reds are the ones who did all the killing, not the Germans. I was sent to a camp for training as a security officer, we had Ukrainian leaders who taught us how to shoot, detain, and interrogate prisoners. Our first task was to go into Jewish areas and search for Red soldiers who were being hidden. When found they were sent to a camp, and the people aiding them were given prison terms as well.

I did this up to late 1942, and then an SS officer called all of us together and said we had the chance to form an SS fighting division, and take the fight to the Red Army. To a man, we agreed to help. We were sent for further military training, and for the first time I received a German weapon. I was used to the bad Russian rifles dating from the first war we had to use. I was given a full uniform, good pay, good food, and above all a new pair of boots.

I cannot speak for everyone, but the SS treated me very well, I had no complaints except I wish they would have used us like this earlier. Many were disgruntled, as they wanted to fight the Red Army, not bandits. I saw no evidence of the Germans, or SS, killing Ukrainians, again we saw the Germans as liberators. Something the Reds are furious at today, but they keep it very quiet trying to turn the tables.

You mentioned Jews a few times. Can you speak about this and why you believe Jews were Reds? Did you personally witness any bad things Jews did?

Fedor: It is again, a lengthy topic, but to be brief Karl Marx and most other early Reds were Jews, like Trotsky, Lenin, Sverdlov, and Radak to name just a tiny few. It is interesting today that they are trying to diminish their role, making it appear overblown and anti-Semitic to claim. I remember as a child seeing one of their pamphlets in Lviv, where it called all Jews to arms against the Christian people who oppose them. I want to tell you it is interesting that in the Bible, Edom means red, a people God hates. They usurped God’s people’s names, customs etc. in II Kings, trying to become God’s people by deception.

It is no secret they threw their full support to the Reds, and Christians paid a terrible price. If they did not like you, you were killed or sent away during the revolution; it was a time to settle scores. They killed whole families who opposed them. They stole land, farms, homes, and even wives. I heard a story about a newlywed couple, where the Red bands who were roving the land, wanted this man’s pretty wife, so they hung him and took her as a concubine and had not been heard from sense.

Hundreds of thousands of people all across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and even Poland were killed during the first 10 years of the Red Terror. Some historians now say close to 30 million Christians were killed off by the Reds from 1917 to 1955. That may be an impossible figure, but I could see it being true. My country was ravaged by these people and whole generations wiped out. When the Germans came, we felt it was a sign from God that our hour of revenge had come. In Lviv alone, many guilty Jews who were caught before they could retreat were executed. This I saw the aftermath of, there were around 100 men and a few women who had been shot by local militia. A sign was put up as a warning to other Jews who aided the Reds, their time was coming.

[Above: The brave men of the Galician division of the Waffen-SS]

What was it like when you joined the Galician SS division?

Fedor: It was a grand day; we held a Church mass in which Hans Frank, Himmler, and other notables attended. We carried SS and Galician placards, Himmler and the division commander spoke to us. I still hear Himmler’s voice telling us for the first time in nearly 20 years we were now free to choose our path, and free to worship again, as we choose. Our first task before training was to help bring the elders from all over into the new hospital, where the Germans brought advanced equipment, for full exams. Some were getting care for the first time ever. There were long lines of wagons, carts, and tractors lined up.

Our training was pretty rushed, as many already had training in the militias or police. Mainly combat veterans taught us how to survive, there was not much taught regarding drilling and the spit and polish look the Germans are very famous for. I was trained as an infantryman, and given the rank of Sturmmann, I was also trained as a backup machine gunner for the MG34. Part of our training at the end was actually going on patrols in Poland against pockets of bandits. The Reds successfully used small pockets of Jews to hide their commissars, who directed attacks against Ukrainians, and German targets.

Our units swelled as more men came to us, some were angered when many Polish men came to us, but the Germans used good tactics like dances and dinners, where they brought in pretty girls from all over to help us get along. We soon saw them as comrades, who hated the Reds as much as we did. We even had some Roma come to us, I have a photo of their women dancing topless at an outdoor festival for us. They were somewhat dirty, but very pretty and very flirtatious with big breasts.

I marveled at the equipment that was being brought in. Armored cars, anti-aircraft weapons, new sub machine guns, mortars, and trucks. We were now a fully combat ready force. We took the oath with our chaplains and priests present, and vowed to fight to the death to defend our faith and people.

What was your first combat operation?

Fedor: Like before, we were sent against the bandits in early ‘44, in eastern Poland, Belarus, and northern Ukraine they became very active. Always hitting supply lines, but more importantly the families of anyone helping the Germans. The Germans had started moving Jews into ghettos to watch them better, but large areas remained, where we had to go in and check for illegal arms and equipment. We found this often, and in most cases their home was seized, they were either sent to a camp, or executed, based on severity. Always remember, what they aided killed innocents.

We ended up trapping a large group in several small hamlets; they even had a tank that lucky for us we knocked out with our single panzerfaust. There were men, women, and even kids who were in this fight. Many were Reds from all over who had terrorized a very wide area, for the first time they were being held accountable. A man, who had his family murdered by this band, joined us, he shot down any who tried to surrender, which he had to be restrained, and we needed prisoners for intelligence.

After several days, we moved from hamlet to hamlet, battle after battle. A large area of many kilometers was sealed off so they could not escape. We even had Luftwaffe help on one occasion, and another an armored train gave artillery support. These bands were well armed, we found weapons from the western allies like explosives and mines, the Reds sent them ammo and guns along with military leadership. We were quite happy to find a dead Jewish commissar who held the rank of a colonel with the last group we had to battle. We wiped them out to the man as more stories of their murders came to us by the civilian population. Out of many hundreds, we took 79 prisoners, and turned any children over to orphanages.

This was very hard on the men, even though we fought with conviction and the knowledge these people were evil monsters, war is never easy. We were pulled out of the line and given time to heal and refresh. Thanks poured in from all around as this band had been stealing, and killing on a wide front. We even had some widows and daughters come to us to volunteer to help us, the Germans refused as they said women are to be protected, but our clergy welcomed them and put them to work.

When did you fight the Red army?

Fedor: It was in the summer of 1944 a full year after we formed, my 31st regiment was sent to the area around Brody. The east front was looking shaky, Stalin was resurgent due to Allied help, and the Red army was starting to push us back. Were had been replenished, and were well rested, using most of 1943 and early ‘44 to help rebuild towns and hamlets in our zone, and to aid the many labor and youth services who were on civic duties, we had to give them security, as they were fearful of attacks. After our campaign of late ‘43 and early ‘44, we mostly wiped out the bandits in our zone.

We were determined to battle the Reds to the death, on July 13, the Reds attacked on a very broad front, smashing the understrength Wehrmacht and moving quickly to capture all of Ukraine. My regiment was held as a reserve and we defended a few towns. I was shocked at the amount of men and material the Reds had. They attacked us with countless tanks, and limitless infantry. I saw many Red planes dropping bombs on the towns around us.

We were organized into a strong defensive line, and repulsed several T34 tanks, our engineers were masters at placing mines and grenades right where they would kill the beast. We fought like lions, routing the enemy, but they kept coming. After several days, we learned we were surrounded, but our spirits were lifted as we saw Luftwaffe planes savage the Reds. A bomber crashed in the town I was in, the pilots never had a chance.

The Reds dropped leaflets on us, but we knew what surrender would mean. We learned from prisoners that this was a large front, but the Germans were trying to open a corridor to us. We were trapped along with several German units, and our defense caused the Reds outlandish losses, all I could see in front of me was dead soldiers, and knocked out tanks. We could hear fighting to our rear so we knew we were not forgotten. I was wounded in the arm during a night attack, but was still in the fight.

We were moved to a new line of defense, when it was announced the Germans just broke through, and we attacked to link up with them, we greeted each other, and quickly moved to evacuate the wounded and nurses who were with us. The Reds were hitting our lines with all they had to close the corridor, but we held on, as we knew what it would mean to lose.

The Reds were able to trap us in again, our commander issued orders that we should all try to break out in small groups, I was with my regimental officers and left at night. We trekked through woods, careful to not make a lot of noise. During daylight, we stayed hidden avoiding a patrol or two. We often heard gunfire in the distance and wondered if it was other groups. We had to move several km which took time, we came across an abandoned field hospital and ate and drank what we could find.

Further on we found an ambulance where the wounded were killed, and it appeared 2 nurses were driving and lay by the side of the open doors, shot in the back of the head. Classic Red terror. We finally made it to German lines, and we reported our experiences including the nurses, but everyone by now knew this was typical Red behavior. We joked that they will be sending over a pamphlet showing pictures of how we “fascists” killed these women.

What happened to the division after this battle?

Fedor: We were very beat up, we lost all vehicles, most heavy weapons, and most of our strength. The Germans moved us to Slovakia where we could rest. We were in a state of shock, the Reds held our homeland again, and many feared for their families. I sent instructions for my sister and mother to leave with the Germans, and make their way to Slovakia where many Ukrainians had settled. This caused angst among the Slovaks, who revolted against so many of us. I still believe the Reds had a lot to do with this, as Tito was strong in the area, and well funded by Moscow.

There were problems with the Roma too, they were in large number, and stole from the refugees, the Germans were quick to stop this, which caused them to be hostile. We still made friends, and did have a chance to have dancing and dinners with the locals. My sister in Germany wrote that she was wounded in a bombing raid, but being well cared for, she sent me coffee and meats.

We were sent into action again with other SS units against partisans, who were very strong in the area around us. The Germans had organized police and militias to fight, but they were too small to crush the bandits. We brought our full military might on them, and it was a repeat of early 44, we crushed them, and it was the same story, dirty Reds lead by commissars, who were mostly Jews. We learned they would get drops of weapons, food, and reinforcements by both the western allies, and Reds. For the first time I feared we were going to lose, and there was nothing that could be done. I wondered why God would let the forces of darkness win this fight.

My unit saw crime after crime committed against the civilian population, all because they wanted to be left alone, by both Germans and bandits. Only the Germans honored this, inadvertently allowing the bandits to grow and flourish; now the innocent paid the price. All through the fall and winter it was tit for tat war, a home housing weapons or enemy would be burned down, then a home of a nationalist would be attacked, and in reprisal we would hunt down the killers, it never stopped. We learned the Reds were pouring in more and more men to aid these bands.

What was the end of the war like for you?

By 1945 we moved to the Reich border and we knew it was about over. Bandits had moved to try to cut off retreating forces from the Balkans, and we were used to keep corridors open, soldiers, the old, women, children, and many female auxiliaries. It was a sad sight to see such a proud force reduced to a retreating, dirty, broken mass of humanity. We were hearing tales of horror of whole families who were killed by bandits, we moved deeper from the border, and saw the deeds first hand, surrendered soldiers had been shot, women raped, and even children butchered. We vowed we would never take another prisoner.

Our Priest was horrified as he was called in to give last rites; with tears in his eyes, he blessed the fallen. I remember him remarking that the Vatican must know about this and what other terrible things he had seen. We could hear rumbles in the distant and knew what it meant; again, we were ordered to retreat. We were moved into the area of Graz, and again with other SS units, faced the Reds. We were vastly understrength but we still could fight, we attacked a town where the Reds were routed. We caused them terrible losses, beating some very elite soldiers.

We were threatened with being encircled so we retreated and by May, it was all over. Our commander met with our clergy and NSDAP officials, we were declared a liberation army separate from the Wehrmacht, they hoped it would give us a better standing with the Allies. We surrendered on May 10, and were sent into Italy, guarded by Poles, who were mostly friendly to us, surprisingly. We learned Moscow wanted us turned over to them for “crimes”, but our clergy were able to reach the Vatican who put pressure on the Allies to treat us as a liberation movement. They did so and we were treated very well. I learned my mother had been killed through a strafing attack, while trying to make it to Germany.

I was able to reunite with my sisters late in the year, and the one who worked in Germany decided to stay, while I was offered a chance to move to Canada, so my sister and I came over in 1947. We both were able to earn money by helping to clear rubble and damage in Italy. I was happy to survive, but mourned all that was lost in our fight to be free.

I would like to ask how you feel about the holocaust, it seems to me that you actually saw some of it first hand and took part?

Fedor: No, there was no “holocaust,” the Jews do what any guilty person would, they shift blame, and ask ‘what crime did I do?’, but also let me show this crime scene they did. We fought Jews who actively took up arms against us, or at the least directly worked to aid our enemies. Some were punished for directly and indirectly causing the deaths of innocents, by working with the Reds, many GPU people were Jews, they were all shot when caught, and not by the Germans. It was a bloody business, but they caused their own fate.

I do want to say that not all Jews were part of this, many were left alone as they seemed to be no threat, and did not work with the Reds. There were so many Jews at the end of the war who fled west with us, we didn’t know how to take it. Today I am sure they claimed to be victims of Hitler, so they got special treatment. Some even worked with us which is surprising, they were as much repulsed by the actions of their brothers as we were, but we still did not trust them. I can’t say it in my country but the holocaust is not true, I know there was no intention to kill all Jews. Let’s leave it at that.

[Above: The forces of light. The men of the Galician Waffen-SS. While we don't know their fates, more importantly, we know their deeds. Heroes of Europe. Of mankind...]

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