Lev Rebet
Lev Rebet was a Ukrainian political writer and anti-communist during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was a key cabinet member in the Ukrainian government (backed by Stepan Bandera
Stepan Bandera
Stepan Andriyovych Bandera was a Ukrainian politician and one of the leaders of Ukrainian national movement in Western Ukraine , who headed the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists...

's faction of OUN) which proclaimed independence on June 30, 1941. For a time, Rebet was the leader of the Ukrainian government.

Early life

Rebet was born in the town of Stryi
Stryi is a city located on the left bank of the river Stryi in the Lviv Oblast of western Ukraine . Serving as the administrative center of the Stryi Raion , the city itself is also designated as a separate raion within the oblast. Thus, the city has two administrations - the city and the raion...

, in Western Ukraine into a Greek-Catholic family.His father was a postal official. Rebet was both deeply religious and very physically active from an early age. He was a member of "Plast
The Plast National Scout Organization of Ukraine commonly called Ukrainian Plast or simply Plast is the largest Scouting organization in Ukraine.-First Phase: 1911-1920:...

", the Ukrainian scout organization.


Rebet joined the Ukrayinska Viyskova Orhanizatsiya - UVO (Ukrainian Military Organization
Ukrainian Military Organization
The Ukrainian Military Organization was a Ukrainian resistance and sabotage movement active in Poland's Eastern Lesser Poland during the years between the world wars...

; ) at age 17. This eventually led to membership in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists
The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists is a Ukrainian political organization which as a movement originally was created in 1929 in Western Ukraine . The OUN accepted violence as an acceptable tool in the fight against foreign and domestic enemies particularly Poland and Russia...

, the OUN .

Early Political Career

Rebet became a key writer and thinker in the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, (OUN ), quickly rising to the rank of "Holova Krayovoyi Ekzekutyvy" (Regional Commander), a post which he held from 1934 to 1938.

When the OUN split in 1940 into OUN-M and OUN-B, Rebet joined the OUN-B group.

June 30, 1941

On June 30, 1941 when the OUN proclaimed independence in Lviv occupied by German troops, Rebet became the deputy prime minister of the Ukrainian government, appointed by the prime minister Yaroslav Stetsko
Yaroslav Stetsko
Yaroslav Stetsko was the leader of the Bandera's Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists , from 1968 until death. In 1941, during Nazi Germany invasion into the Soviet Union he was self-proclaimed temporary head of the self-proclaimed Ukrainian statehood...


When Stetsko was arrested, Rebet became acting prime minister of the Government.

Arrest and Internment by the Nazis

In August 1941, Rebet was arrested by the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

. He spent the next 3 years in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

He was liberated in 1945, and moved to Munich.

Publications and assassination

Rebet was very active in exile with publications. He worked as the editor of a number of periodicals. In 1949 he completed his doctoral dissertation and in the 1950s took up research and scholarship in the fields of law, politics and sociology. His major works included "The Formation of the Ukrainian Nation" (1951) and "The Theory of Nations" (1956).

He was assassinated on 12 October 1957 in Munich by a KGB
The KGB was the commonly used acronym for the . It was the national security agency of the Soviet Union from 1954 until 1991, and was the premier internal security, intelligence, and secret police organization during that time.The State Security Agency of the Republic of Belarus currently uses the...

 agent, Bohdan Stashynsky
Bohdan Stashynsky
Bohdan Stashynsky is the KGB assassin of Ukrainian nationalist leaders Lev Rebet and Stepan Bandera who were killed in the late 1950s.-Early biography :...

, using a poison atomizer mist gun. After Rebet was assassinated, his widow Daria continued his work.


The murder of Rebet was at first believed to have been from natural causes. Then, however, Stashinsky defected to West Berlin
West Berlin
West Berlin was a political exclave that existed between 1949 and 1990. It comprised the western regions of Berlin, which were bordered by East Berlin and parts of East Germany. West Berlin consisted of the American, British, and French occupation sectors, which had been established in 1945...

 in 1961 and voluntarily surrendered to West German prosecution.

Explaining what motivated him to kill Rebet, Stashynsky told a court that he had been told that Rebet was “the leading theorist of the Ukrainians in exile,” since “in his newspapers Suchasna Ukrayina (Contemporary Ukraine), Chas (Time), and Ukrayinska Trybuna (Ukrainian Tribune) he not so much provided accounts of daily events as developed primarily ideological issues.”

According to West German Intelligence chief Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen
Reinhard Gehlen was a General in the German Army during World War II, who served as chief of intelligence-gathering on the Eastern Front. After the war, he was recruited by the United States military to set up a spy ring directed against the Soviet Union , and eventually became head of the West...

"...Bohdan Stashinskyi, who had been persuaded by his German-born wife Inge to confess to the crimes and take the load off his troubled conscience, stuck resolutely to his statements. His testimony convinced the investigating authorities. He reconstructed the crimes exactly as they had happened, revisiting the crumbling business premises at the Stachus, in the heart of Munich, where Lev Rebet had entered the office of a Ukrainian exile newspaper, his suitcase in his hand. And he showed how the hydrogen cyanide capsule had exploded in Rebet's face and how he had left him slumped over the rickety staircase. The case before the Federal court began on October 8, 1962, and world interest in the incident was revived. Passing sentence eleven days later, the court identified Stashinskyi's unscrupulous employer Shelyepin
Alexander Shelepin
Alexander Nikolayevich Shelepin was a Soviet state security officer and party statesman. He was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and its Politburo and was the head of the KGB from 25 December 1958 to 13 November 1961.Shelepin was born in Voronezh...

 as the person primarily responsible for the hideous murders, and the defendant -- who had given a highly credible account of the extreme pressure applied to him by the KGB to act as he did -- received a comparatively mild sentence. He served most of it and was released..."
In 1984, Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 reported that Bohdan and Inge Stashinsky had been given new identities and had been been provided asylum by the Government of South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...



  • (In Russian) Chuyev, Sergei - Ukrainskyj Legion - Moscow, 2006
  • (In Ukrainian) Encyclopedia of Ukraine - Munich, 1973, Vol. 7p. 2475
  • The Ukrainian Weekly
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