Turning the pages back...

December 1, 1894

Yulian Holovinsky was a product of turn-of-the-century strife in Galicia, who lived by the sword and died by it. Born on December 1, 1894, in Radymno, about 20 miles north of Peremyshl, Holovinsky rose to the rank of captain in the Ukrainian Galician Army in the turmoil of the first world war, and in 1920 was interned in the camps of Josefov and Brno in Czecho-Slovakia.

As historian Prof. Magocsi tells it, "Ukrainians in eastern Galicia had virtually reached a stage of equality with Poles under Austrian rule during the first decades of the 20th century," and in the post-war period, "the Ukrainians of Poland, most especially those of Galicia, were not about to accept the status of a national minority in what they considered their own homeland. That would be tantamount to turning back the historical clock - which is what Poland tried to do."

The authoritarian practices of the new Polish administration reinforced the perception among some Ukrainian activists that a state of war still existed. Officers of various disbanded Ukrainian armed units, such as the UHA and the Sich Riflemen, led by Yevhen Konovalets, established the Ukrainian Military Organization (UMO) to engage in this conflict. Holovinsky was a co-founder.

As the "pacification" measures of the Polish government grew more and more aggressive, so did the UMO's response. In 1924 Holovinsky mounted an assassination attempt on Polish President Wojciechowski.

Education was a particularly sore point for Ukrainians, as the Poles abolished all post-secondary Ukrainian departments within various institutions, particularly at Lviv University, and radically reorganized the Galician provincial school administration system.

On October 19, 1926, a team set up by Holovinsky assassinated Stanislaw Sobinski, the Lviv School Superintendent.

Holovinsky was also implicated in several other acts of sabotage, including an attack on the Post Office in Lviv, and was imprisoned many times. In the end, he was captured by Polish police and summarily executed, without trial, on September 30, 1930, in the Bibrka prison.

Sources: "Holovinsky, Yuliian," Encyclopedia of Ukraine, Vol. 2 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1988); Paul Robert Magocsi, A History of Ukraine (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996).

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, November 30, 1997, No. 48, Vol. LXV

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