Having been dominated by the defeated empires of Russia, Germany and Austro-Hungary, the peoples of Eastern Europe had hoped for self-determination at the end of WWI. But it soon unfolded that armed conflict didn’t end at all – on the contrary. Poland fought against Russia and chaos prevailed in the Baltic States as well.
Today’s Ukraine was split up between Poland and Russia. This gave rise to an underground movement led by Stepan Bandera, a man who is still revered as a national hero in West Ukraine. When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, Bandera saw an opportunity for his independence movement. His troops take up arms to fight alongside the Wehrmacht. As German soldiers occupied today’s Lemberg in West Ukraine, pogroms were carried out against the Jews – allegedly with the participation of Bandera’s Ukraine nationalists.