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WORLD WAR II
Textual and Photographic Records

WOMEN OF RAVENSBRÜCK

Tracing and Documenting Ukrainian Victims of the RAVENSBRÜCK
Concentration Camp

During World War II, 130,000 female prisoners from 30 different nationalities passed through the gates of Ravensbrück — up to 90,000 of them never walked back out.  It is suggested, by some estimates, that up to 8000 of these women came from Ukrainian territories.

The purpose of the Ravensbrück Project, at the UCRDC, was to search and document Ukrainian women who were incarcerated at Ravensbrück.  UCRDC is fortunate to have, on file, oral histories of several women who were imprisoned for their involvement in anti-Nazi activities during the war.  These women, in turn, provided the names of other Ukrainians they met at Ravensbrück - and the project took off from there.


With the help of the internet as well as librarians (Natalia Barykina at the Petro Jacyk Resource Centre at the Robarts Library, University of Toronto, and Anna Skorupsky at the Ekstein Holocaust Resource Library in Toronto) books, articles, monographs and databases were searched for women who were either specifically  identified as Ukrainian or who were documented as born within the 'accepted' boundaries of Ukraine.  The listing of many  of these women, in German documents, as Russian or Polish made the project challenging, and place of birth was not always available.

The project contains the names of around 4000 Ukrainians from different walks of life:  some were political activists involved in groups such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), others were students studying in Germany or Austria; there were women taken as forced labour to work in different German enterprises (Ostarbeiter), some were taken because they were Jewish, or Jehovah Witnesses, and others because they were captured as soldiers in the Soviet Union Red Army. 


Where possible,  I tried to obtain as much biographical information as possible for each individual, including place of birth, date of incarceration, concentration camp number, category of prisoner, and disposition.  The  intention was to identify, recognize, and document the many Ukrainian women who had suffered (and many died), at the hands of the Nazi regime, as prisoners at the Ravensbrück concentration camp.


Ravensbrück concentration camp was initially established for female enemies of Hitler's regime -  the German's needed a place for 'special' female prisoners:  spies, political prisoners, rebels, Special Operations Executive agents (under Britain), French resistance fighters, Polish aristocrats, and Scandinavian nationals. Scholars and academics who openly supported socialism or communism were incarcerated here. Criminals or individuals the Nazis considered 'social outcasts' (e.g. the disabled, mentally ill, prostitutes or lesbians) were also imprisoned.


The number of Jewish prisoners was relatively small in relation to other nationalities (about 15%).  The largest group was Polish (30%); next, Russian and Ukrainian (21-30%); followed by German and Austrian (18%); Hungarian, including Roma and Sinti Gypsies (8%); French (7%); Belgian, Swedish and Danish women, as well as some 12 British women.


Ukrainians came under the umbrella of political prisoners and all wore the RED triangle on their uniforms, plus an initial for nationality.   'U' = Ukrainians was rarely used as there was no Ukrainian state during the War;  most Ukrainians from western Ukraine region were listed as Polish ('P'), and those from eastern Ukraine as Russians ('R') and from Zakarpatia listed as Czechs or Hungarians. 'SU' = Soviet Union was worn by women in the Red Army (medics, doctors, etc - they included some Ukrainians)


Reference resources are listed, below, for those who are interested in delving further into Ravensbrück camp.

To see The DATABASE of names of Ukrainian women, incarcerated at the camp click
UKRAINIAN PRISONERS AT RAVENSBRUCK Feb 2021.pdf 

Kalyna Bezchlibnyk-Butler                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      





RAVENSBRÜCK RESOURCES / REFERENCES


Helm, Sarah . If This Is A Woman: Inside Ravensbruck: Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women. 2015, London: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1-4087-0107-2.

Steinke, Karolin  Trains to Ravensbrück. Transports by the Reichsbahn 1939–1945, Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940938-27-5.

Dublon-Knebel, Irith 'Holocaust Crossroads: Jewish women and children in Ravensbruck' 2010    

Morrison, Jack Gaylord: Everyday Life in a Women's Concentration Camp 1939-45.  2000, Marcus Weiner Publ.

Tillion, Germaine: Ravensbruck, An Eyewitness Account of a Women's Concentration Camp. (Transl.) 1973, Doubleday

Bernadac, Christian: Ravensbruck, Camp for Women. 1978 Ferni Publ.

Alliance for Human Research Protection.    https://ahrp.org/august-1942-august-1943-heinous-medical-experiments-at-ravensbruck/

Bessman, A. Eschebach, I. (eds) The Ravensbruck Women's Concentration Camp. 2013 Metropol Verlag

Buber Agassi, J. The Jewish Women Prisoners of Ravensbruck; Who were they?  2007 Oneworld Oxford

Dufornier, Denise:  Ravensbruck - The Women's Camp of Death  1948, London, Allan & Unwin

Terwilliger, Julia, Saidel. Rochelle G.  Women of Ravensbrück: portraits of courage Florida Holocaust Museum. Publisher: St. Petersburg, Fla. : Florida Holocaust Museum, 2001.

Ronowicz, Doris (transl); Polish ed. by Symonowicz, Wanda.    Beyond Human Endurance. The Ravensbruck Women Tell Their Stories.  Warsaw, Interpress Publishers, 1970

Marunchak, Mykhailo H. (ed) Struggle for An Independent Ukraine; Essays, memoirs, official statements, documents of World War II. (in Ukrainian) Winnipeg 1990  'V borotbi za ukraiinskyu derzhavu: esei, spohady, svidchennia litopysannia, dokumenty Druhoi svitovoi viiny'  Winnipeg, Svitova liga ukrainskykh politychnykh viazniv, 1990    D802.U4 V27 1990

Marunchak, Mykhailo H. System of Nazi concentration camps and the policy of extermination in Ukraine (in Ukrainian) Winnipeg 1963 Systema nimetsʹkykh kontstaboriv i polityka vynyshchuvanni͡a v Ukraïni D805 .U4 M34

Homin Ukrainy 'Хочу Жити' 62(40) #3380, 26/10/2010   http://diasporiana.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/books/8594/file.pdf

•Жінки Центральної та Східної Європи у Другій Світовій війні: https://ua.boell.org/sites/default/files/zhinki_centralnoyi_ta_shidnoyi_ievropi_u_drugiy_svitoviy_viyni_-_genderna_specifika_dosvidu_v_chasi_ekstremalnogo_nasilstva.pdf

Grit,  Philipp/Schnell, Monika: Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Frauen-Konzentrationslager Ravensbrück 1939-1945, (in German) Berlin Metropol 1999

•Еліяшевська, Ольга Фроляк вязень ч. 49061.  Українцькі жінки в Гітлеревських Тюрмах і Концтаборах - Жіночий Світ ч 7-8, лупень, серпень 1985.  http://euromaidanpress.com/2020/04/29/ukrainian-women-in-nazi-prisons-concentration-camps/ 

•Еліяшевська, Ольга Фроляк вязень ч. 49061. Апель в Жіночому Концтаборі Рабенсбрік  Жіночий Світ ч 9, бересень 1985.  http://euromaidanpress.com/2020/04/30/roll-call-in-ravensbruck-concentration-camp-for-women/ 

•Ольга Фроляк Еліяшевська вязень ч. 49061   Таборова Лікарня - Фабрика Смерти   Жіночий Світ ч 2, лютій 1986http://euromaidanpress.com/2020/05/08/ravensbruck-concentration-camp-hospital-factory-of-death/

•Ольга Фроляк Еліяшевська вязень ч. 49061.  Гання з Волинських Лісів   Украєїнка В Світі лупень, серпень 1986.  http://euromaidanpress.com/2020/06/22/hanna-from-the-forests-of-volyn-life-death-in-ravensbruck-kz/ 

•Ольга Фроляк Еліяшевська вязень ч. 49061  http://euromaidanpress.com/2020/05/23/in-memoriam-an-eternal-guelder-rose-on-the-grave-of-dariya-oda-lebed-survivor-of-ravensbruck-kz/ 

•Ravensbrück official website - Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück - https://www.ravensbrueck-sbg.de/en/history/1939-1945/

Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre  Centre  Ravensbruck: forgotten women of the Holocaust: teacher's guide (2003)  https://vhec.org/wp-content/uploads/ravensbruck-TG.pdf

•Arolsen Archives; International Centre on Nazi Persecution https://arolsen-archives.org/en/search-explore/

  1. Transport lists to/from Ravensbrück concentration camp, 1944.   http://www.alvin-portal.org/alvin/imageViewer.jsf?dsId=ATTACHMENT-0001&pid=alvin-record%3A109645&dswid=4751



Videos

Ravensbrück - a short documentary on the women's concentration camp - YouTube

https://www.videoarchiv-ravensbrueck.de/Video_weitere/Erinnern_AR/_Erinnern_an_Ravensbrueck_en.mp4

Ravensbrück Concentration Camp - YouTube

HGP 18 :1939 - Ravensbruck - Bing video