“We all were suicide bombers”: story of Anna Popovych’s life

By Oleksandr Pahiria, senior research officer

In the early morning of May 17, 1954 on top of Berezovachka mountain, in a remote part of the Carpathian mountains, the Operational unit of KGB came across and surrounded the bunker of Colonel “Hrom”, the commander of the 4th military district (VO) “Hoverlia” of UPA-«Zahid» (Ukrainska Povstanska Armiya, meaning Ukrainian Insurgent Army «Zahid» meaning west) ». For years, the Soviet state security had been hunting this leader of insurgent movement in Stanislav region (modern day Ivano-Frankivsk region). After some negotiations  to surrender, Colonel «Hrom» and his wife, Olga Herasymovych, shot themselves.Their co-conspirator, Anna Popovych, was  captured by the Soviet security forces. The girl tried to avoid captivity, and  when faced with killing herself or staying alive, she  chose life/chose to live…  

Anna Popovych, photo from her criminal case

From helping UPS to family underground

For Anna Popovych, everything started during the war, when she together with her friends started collecting foodstuff and clothes for the UPA’s sotnias (literally, “hundreds.” Sotnias were a military unit of the UPA consisting of approximately 100-150 soliders) in her native village in Ivano-Frankivsk region. Different insurgent units were located there and the local population supplied the soliders/insurgents/partisans with everything needed. Insurgents rescued villagers from Nazi confiscations and punitive operations. In return, the villagers helped the insurgents in various ways. During the war, the village of Zelena became one of insurgent headquarters in the Carpathians. Apart from that it was a place where a military unit sotnia, and later another military unit – kurin «Beskyd» was formed, which was commanded by Luka Hrynishak (call sign «Dovbush») who also fought against Germans and later against Soviet operational units (KGB). At that time Anna didn’t know «Dovbush» but The following events connected their lives/destinies together. For her active efforts/contributions to the cause, she was appointed as stanychna (military title in UPA) of the female unit in the neighboring village, Chernyk, while being zviazkova (a contact officer) of UPA at the same time


No one was happy about the returning of Soviet regime in 1944. At first, in the beginning of war, local people greeted so-called «saviors» with bread and salt. But later the Bolsheviks started to arrest members of the intelligentsia , and, in summer of 1941, left thousands of mutilated human bodies in prisons of Western Ukraine.Anna saw these atrocities with her own eyes after the Soviets retreated the area – men and women who were murdered by the NKVD in Bukovynka area next to Nadvirna.     

In the autumn of 1944, after the Germans retreated and the Red Army reoccupied  Western Ukraine, the repressions started again. In late November, the Bolsheviks arrested Anna during a raid. Together with the rest of the girls from stanitsa chain, she was questioned about her contacts with UPA and cruelly beaten in the local garrison. She was then transferred to the Nadvirna prison on foot. On the way, the convoy was attacked by insurgents, in  a conflict that killed 15 young men. According to Anna’s memories, Nadvirna prison was «like hell». Prisoners lived in totally unsanitary conditions. They had to sleep on the concrete floor, drank only water, and were called in for interrogations every night. During the investigation Anna admitted to helping the UPA but she lied about her name, pretending to be someone else. After two weeks of interrogation, she was released  with other girls.

Returning to her village Anna, decided to hide from Soviet authorities. She built a small hut near the house in the forest and stayed with her mother. At that time her relatives were chased for their help to partisans. Her youngest brother, Mykhailo, a member of OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) was killed in January, 1946, together with 6 other insurgents during a battle against Bolsheviks in Kudrynets area. The middle brother, Vasyl, also a partisan, was sentenced to the Gulag camps in 1946. The trial took place in Karaganda, from where he escaped in summer of 1947 and came back to native village where he helped his family to build a new bunker.

. Upon learning of the family’s illegal life, in 1947 the MGB tortured Anna’s mother, Maria, to death after she refused to give up her children’s hiding place. Anna found the  body of her mother, and together with her brother, secretly buried her in local cemetery. The same year Anna experienced another personal tragedy – her first, and the only baby she had with her fiancé,   UPA/OUN partisan Dmytro Ostapiuk (call sign «Vovk»), died from disease at the age of 6 months. The young man wanted to marry her in the forest with a help of a priest, but on the way to his beloved, he was trapped and killed in a fight against Bolsheviks. In 1948, Anna’s brother Vasyl left the bunker and was included to insurgent movement where he soon perished. Being left alone, a young woman decided to go to her eldest brother Mykola’s family, who lived in the neighboring village Pasichna. But after some months Mykola’s wife asked her to leave as she didn’t want to have illegal person in her house. Thus Anna was back alone in her native village where, until autumn 1949, she was hiding in the forest. It seemed that her fate was doomed, but her life changed by one man who gave her a light of hope for a better future.

Anna Popovych. A picture from a documentary «Ukrainian Insurgent Army chronicles 1942-1954» directed by Taras Hymych

A secret marriage with «Dovbush»

One autumn day, a sotnyk of the UPA (military title) «Dovbush» Luka Hrynishak, a head of Nadvirna SB OUN (Ukrainian partisan underground security service and a division of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) visited Anna in her secret hut. He learned about her hiding place and after some visits fell in love with her. Later Anna remembered that it was love at first sight. Luka Hrynishak asked her to join the insurgent movement. But there was a family circumstance that didn’t allow it: he was married to Anna Hrynishak and had a daughter with her. The couple didn’t get along, so Luka left to join the insurgents. In a while, his wife joined him and  treated him in the forest when he caught typhus. As time went on, she was not able able to withstand uneasy conditions and returned back home. In the autumn of 1945, she was arrested by NKVD and sentenced to 5 years of Gulag camps for «supplying bandits with food». Since that time «Dovbush» had never seen her again.

Knowing about this circumstance, Anna Popovych promised that if Luka’s lawful wife returned, she would leave him. Later the young woman remembered that even without being officially registered as a family (there was a practice among theinsurgentsto register their own civil marriage), she lived with him as if he were her own husband. In the OUN, she got a position of a typist in Nadvirna SB OUN (security service) with a call sign «Vyshnia» (later «Ruzha»), but in everyday life she was called just Anna. When speaking about her motivation to join the underground, she mentioned that it wasn’t just because of love, she was also motivated by her mother’s death, Soviet repressions and killings: «Nobody wanted to live at those times. We realized that either way we would die».    

Luka Hrynishak, assistant of Nadvirna SB, regional headquarters of OUN

Insurgents’ rescuer



The first winter as a partisan 1949/1950 Anna spent in a bunker in the Syniachka mountain. It was a shelter for «Dovbush», the head of SB of regional Carpathian headquarters of OUN. Anna lived with Mykola Tverdohlib («Hrim») together with his wife Olha Herasymovych («Olha»), partisans «Ruchei» (Yurii Kuziuk), «Vereschaka» (Vasyl Avramiuk), «Hrim», «Koza» (Dmytro Lopatchuk) and «Derkach» (Mykhailo Zelenchuk). The bunker contained a restroom with some bunk beds, a toilet, and a storeroom for foodstuff. The insurgents usually slept during the day, and used the nights to study and train, listen to the radio, and play cards. Anna cooked, did laundry and mended clothes. Staying under the ground, anxiety and fear for their lives had never left the partisans: «We never knew what could have happened to us the next day, when we could have been discovered or die». They all felt like «suicide bombers». Despite some everyday problems, crowding and heat, the atmosphere among the partisans was friendly and in Anna’s words, «everyone liked each other and was ready to die for one another».   



Luka Hrynishak (“Dovbush”) (5th from the left) Yaremche SB boivka (security police unit, 1950)

In late April of 1950,the partisans who spent 5 months hiding underground, were running out of food. Thus, at Easter, «Dovbush» went to the village of Pasichna village to bring some paskas (traditional Easter bread). The snow hadn’t yet melted and their footprints in the snow betrayed their bunker’s locationto the MGB (Soviet Ministry of State Security). Luckily, the partisans were saved by «Derkach» Mykhailo Zelenchuk, who noticed enemy troops approaching, and warned everyone. They managed to escape the bunker in time. While raiding in the neighboring villages, the partisans stopped at Anna’s brother’s, Vasyl’s place in Pasichna. But the MGB was also in the village. Hiding in the attic, the insurgents were at death’s door. Anna saved the group by suggesting to hide under the straw in the cart while she pretended  to be a peasant woman. She hitched the horses horses and left to the forest «for some firewood». In this way she outwitted Soviet security officers and remained alive. While being a partisan, Anna discovered a talent of foreseeing future. Quite often she had prophetic dreams that saved lots of insurgents’ lives. People believed that she had a sacred connection with God.

Mykola Tverdohlib, referent (military assistant) of SB (security service) of Carpathian region (1944-1949), commander of VO-4 «Hoverlia» of UPA-West

Anna returned to forest in summer of 1950, she was forced to deliver a baby of Commander «Hrom’s» wife, Olga, in a forest hut under the protection of two fighters. Since there weren’t any proper conditions for taking care of a baby, insurgents brought a baby to local Jewish woman who took care of her. But because of negligence the baby died. It was the couple’s second child. In 1947, their son Yarema was born. At first, Olga was raising him alone, but then not being able to stand a separation from her husband any longer, she joined him in the forest, leaving the child under the care of her elder sister. In 1949, the family was deported to Siberia, a small boy was sheltered in orphanage in Stanislav city under the fake name Yakiv Dykyi. Commander «Hrim» made some attempts to rescue his son from orphanage but they were unsuccessful. Choosing the fate of insurgents, Mykola Tverdohlib and his wife Olga Herasymovych were obliged to sacrifice their domestic bliss for noble ideas.

Despite being of comparatively lower status in underground’s organizational structure (some sources deny her membership in OUN), she, being close with a head of Nadvirna SB (security service) «Dovbush», had some power to influence the political decisions of the underground, including a delicate issue as the liquidation of Soviet agents.. For example, in the autumn of 1950, a resident of the village of Pniv, Anastasia Hush and her fiancé confessed during an interrogation by the SB OUN about their cooperation with MGB against the underground partisans. With the help of an installed “Tryvoha” radio in the kitchen, they reported the partisans’ arrival to the village to the Bolsheviks. As a result of their collaboration, many insurgents were arrested and killed, and dozens of families were deported to Siberia. Usually in such situations, the OUN security service executed agents through hanging or shooting. But under Anna’s influence, this case was different: «Dovbush’s» boivka (military quarter) organized a show trial where inhabitants of local villages were invited. During the trial,  the agents/collaborators openly made a confession about what was done. Some villagers appealed to execution, the others suggested releasing them. As a result, the insurgents decided to let the agents go, taking their words about not cooperating with MGB anymore. There are subsequent cases where it was recorded that «Dovbush» and his subordinates released more  Soviet agents after some preventive warnings. MGB was forced to accept the partisans’ political actions, as the revealed agent  did not pose any danger for the insurgents. Furthermore, Soviet authorities couldn’t blame partisans for killing civilians who worked for Soviet organizations in their propaganda

Between death and love

Anna spent winter of 1950-51 near the village of Zelenytsia  with «Dovbush» and two more partisan fighters in a kryivka (hidden bunker) that was intended to accommodate  four people. But in January of 1951, Commander «Hrim», his wife, and four more insurgents joined them since their own bunker was  at risk of being revealed by the MGB. «Hrom» ordered Anna to share the food supply equally between all of them, to make it possible to stay there till the end of winter. This caused malnutrition as they could afford just one meal a day. «The men were standing by my side and poking me, asking to give them more food. But how could I give them more? It was a very hard winter, but with  God’s help we survived till spring with all food that we had»,  said Anna. Because of crowding and a lack of place to sleep, the partisans were forced to sleep in turns. In her free time from housework and cooking Anna typed at a typewriter.

At the beginning of spring, the insurgents went to different directions in a search of food and to perform some tasks for the organization. They left «Vyshnia» alone in the bunker. From time to time, partisan fighters from «Dovbush», like «Kozak» Dmytro Lopatchuk and «Karpenko» Mykhailo Berezytskii, paid her a visit bringing food. On the June 16, 1951,  was typing when she felt weak and laid down a bit. «Then I heard my mother’s voice saying: «Anna run away from there!». I got scared and thought that it wasn’t possible as my mother had been dead for many years already. And then it repeated again: « Run away immediately!». Then the woman heard someone knocking at the door, when she opened «Dovbush» was there. He was trying to reach her for three days just to inform about the MGB ambush which resulted in «Kozal’s» death. Under torture during his interrogation, «Karpenko» betrayed the bunker’s location. Doybush was just some minutes ahead of the Soviet security police. Thus the couple started gathering the documents. Anna tried to carry out the radio «Tryvoha» which was taken from agents at the village of Pniv , when suddenly she heard a machine-gun bolt being pulled back. She cried «Run!» to the commander and covered him with herself. Using the moment, «Dovbush» managed to run away. Anna had numerous bullet wounds, torn muscles and broken bones in her left hand. In despair she tried to shoot herself, but the gun of Hungarian production didn’t work. It took Anna three attempts to successfully activate her grenade, but the explosion only wounded her legs. Miraculously, Anna survived the explosion. She wanted to run away in hope to be chased and shot, as she didn’t want to fall into enemy’s hands alive. Eventually, after running for half a kilometer, she fell. The soldier that chased her tripped over her and fell as well. He rose and started pulling her by her wounded arm, the girl moaned then he pulled her by her other arm. The fugitive was bleeding. The doctor arrived and bandaged her and gave her some painkillers. For three kilometers, security officers were leading their captured victim on foot and for the next six kilometers, by horse. Anna lost so much blood on the way. Local people recognized her, and gave her water and milk. She was then brought to the Nadvirna regional hospital where the lower part of her arm was amputated. Having lost her arm Anna didn’t want to live any longer. During the day-  and night-time interrogations she asked her interrigators to kill her.      

things that were confiscated during the catch of «Hrom» bunker, May 17 1954

To learn about the Anna’s fate, «Dovbush» sent his partisan-fighters «Vilshenkо» Myron Svidruk and «Orel» to Nadvirna. Realizing that she was alive, «Vilshenko» suggested a plan  to kidnap her from the hospital. The plan was approved by the Stanislav Regional Commander of OUN, «Kuriava» (Petro Ivanyshyn), and the head of the SB Security Service, «Zhara». On July 10, 1951, at 11 PM,  three insurgents («Vilshenko», «Yavir» (Fedir Nahirniak) and Petro Hopta) dressed like MGB officers and entered the regional hospital. At the entrance they shot two sleeping Soviet guards with the machine guns, took the girl  wearing a single shirt from the hospital in the direction towards the Bystrytshia River. To distract the enemy’s attention, one of the insurgents went in the direction towards the village of  Pniv . To find the fugitives, MGB organized 4 companies of military men – 350 people together with a group of Soviet operational officers from the MGB. But their service dogs lost the insurgent’s traces. Meanwhile the insurgents got lost in the area of the Horodyshche mountain, and decided not to go to Maniava village, where lots of military troops were located. Instead, they walked along the river. Taking into  consideration presence of  numerous enemy troops and Anna’s  weak condition(she wounded and on her bare feet) they were forced to stop for three days in the forest between the Pniv and Pasichna villages. For three days they waited out the raid, without any food and only drinking some water from the river at night. On the fourth day, they managed to bring some eggs, milk and clothes from the village (a torn skirt and an old sweatshirt). Anna’s state improved so they continued their journey and met up with «Dovbush» in the forest.

After coming back, the commander forbade Anna from working Anna, so the other insurgents had to do laundry and cook themselvesAnna Popovych was awarded with the Order of the Gold Star for her wounds during the raid. Her rescuer, Myron Svidruk, was awarded with the Silver Cross of Merit of the first class (in February, 1952 he died during the battle against the Soviet security troops near Nadvirna). The news about the rescuing a typist named Anna Popovych of the Regional OUN headquarters was spread around Ukraine. With this news, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine (CC CPU)  made a solution on July 27, 1952,ordering the liquidation of the insurgents who saved their fellow partisan. They also ordered the strengthening the discipline in the security forces and an investigation of the negligence among security service workers during the operation.

things that were confiscated during the catch of «Hrom» bunker, May 17, 1954

«Black betrayal»


Anna wasn’t destined to be with her lover for a long time. At that time, the Soviet security troops took aggressive action against the OUN in the Carpathians. They used captured partisans to draw out their sworn brothers, who later where caught or tortured. In this way, dozens of insurgents together with their leaders were captured by the MGB. Many were killed. «Dovbush» also fell into such  trap on his way to a meeting with OUN leaders/commanders  «Kuriava» (Petro Ivanyshyn), «Hmara» (Petro Melnyk) and «Shvarno» (Dmytro Naidych), not expecting that they were working for MGB.

On September 15, 1951, next to the Fedorysche mountain in Yaremchanskii region, insurgents collaborating with the MGB pretended to be the fighters of Regional SB OUN, and arrested Luka Hrynishak. They blamed him losing contact with commander «Hrom» and for the unauthorized kidnaping of his lover from a hospital. After some time, the commander of the 2-H Ukrainian Committee for State Security of the Stanislav region, Colonel Arseni Kostenko, came out from his shelter to the meeting place, he he propositioned that «Dovbush»  follow his friends’ footsteps and and cooperate with the MGB. Seeing mass betrayal of the other leaders, he agreed, but played a double game with MGB. After a group of provocateurs (so-called agents-fighters group) of the former regional OUN headmaster Dmytro Naidych («Shvarko») escaped from Soviet captivity, the director of Insurgent movement learnt about a huge MGB action with the use of enrolled partisans, so everyone cut  contact with them. Thus the MGB plan about the liquidation of OUN in Carpathians failed as well.      

«Dovbush» followed «Shvarn’s» example and in January of1952, using an opportunity, while the guard was missing, he escaped from MGB military garrison. For half a year he was hiding in a forest without being able to contact the insurgents. Commander «Hrim» was aware of his betrayal and ordered to bring him to the post in the forest. At the meeting of the members of Carpathian OUN headquarters on July 12-13, 1952, «Dovbush» did a public confession and was accepted to partisans again.

During their separation, Anna stayed in a primitive bunker built next to the Poliansky hill together with «Derkach», «Dub» (Dmytro Verholiak) and «Holub». They used barrels for cottage cheese brynza to bring water to the bunker. When it was too snowy or cold they kept the bryzna in buckets or bottles. In the winter, they ran out of food supplies as they didn’t prepare enough of it in the autumn. The lack of food forced the insurgents to go out of their shelterto search for more, leaving Anna alone with a piece of meat and 2 kg of flour. She survived only thanks to her ability to consume food just once a day and drink melted snow. In the spring of 1952, the men came back to the bunker together with commander «Hrom»,  expecting to bury Anna according to Christian tradition. But they discovered her alive. Shortly after, she reunited with Luka Hrynishak after his escape fromcaptivity. The following winters they spent together, hiding in village huts, barns and bunkers in the forest.

A trap for «Dovbush»

To find the betrayer «Dovbush», the Soviet security service created a special agent-fighters troop that consisted of the former OUN members recruited by the MGB. to the plan was to imprison the insurgent “Kurinny” to reach the commander «Hrom». This action was excepted to create favorable conditions for the liquidation of OUN in the whole Stanislav region. The MGB knew that «Hrim» had moved from the Rozhniativ region to the Nadvirna region, and that he he was hiding together with «Dovbush» boivka (military unit).   

In September of 1953, on the hillside of Berezovachka mountain, not far from Rivnia village, the insurgents built a bunker where Colonel «Hrim» together with his wife Olga, «Dovbush», Anna Popovych, «Derkach» and «Yarkyi» (Yaroslav Obrubanskyi) stayed the following winter. The bunker was so well disguised that the local shepherd who grazed around never noticed it. The bunker was supplied with the groundwater source, a double ceiling of logs, ventilation, a room for different activities and rest, a hall, a toilet and a cellar for goods and tools. It was constructed secretly without any noise or the sound of tools: а saw was covered with a towel, and axes weren’t used.

In January, 1954 the Soviet state security service together with a battalion of soldiers made several raids in the mountains not far from Zelena, but they weren’t successful. Generally, according to MGB, 17 insurgents of OUN who formed four fighting groups led by the leader of Carpathian SB «Hrom» were hiding in Nadvirna, Solotvyn, Perehyn regions. During the meeting of commanders of these fighting groups «Hrim» ordered to stop the distribution of partisan literature and bofons (monetary documents) among the population. The groups of insurgents had to keep in touch with each other and at the same time keep the information about their locations in a secret from each other. 

 At the beginning of May 1954 trying to restore  lost contact between some groups of insurgents, «Hrim» sent «Yarkyi» and «Dovbush» to Loeva village to contact the commander of OUN of the Yaremchansky region, Anton Vadiukov «Dub». On their way to the meeting «Dovbush» didn’t know that his friend had been recruited by MGB in July 1953 under the call sign «Pavlo Ivanovych» ,and had been actively helping Soviet security service. He already cooperated with the Soviet intelligence service as a member of the provocative group led by sotnyk «Hmara» (Petro Melnyk), but later he betrayed the Soviets and went back to insurgents. This time, he was included into a group which was tasked  capture «Dovbush».              

On the night of May 11-12, 1954, “Dub” drugged Luka Hrynishak with sleeping pill «Neptune» during the meeting in Loyeva village. Being captured by the enemy for the second time, «Dovbush» tried to buy time with hopes that commander «Hrim» would follow the previously discussed plan and would change the place of the underground’s hiding location in case the messengers  did not return by May 15. Only on May 16 did he show the Soviets the location of the bunker on the map. «Dovbush» hoped that «Yarkyi» who left to his wife in Dolyna, who notice his absence at the meeting place on May 14, and immediately report it to «Hrom». But «Yarkyi» decided to wait for one more day. On the morning of May 17, the group of MGB agents started the raid on the bunker.

«We are ready already…»


Before «Dovbush» left Anna had a bad dream, which informed about danger. She tried to convince commander «Hrom» not to let «Dovbush» go and meet «Dub», as she foresaw a danger in it. She cried and bagged her lover not to go, affirming that he would never see her again. When «Dovbush» didn’t return till suggested date (May 15), Colonel «Hrom» sent Mykhailo Zelenchuk («Derkach») to investigate, he was supposed to return on May 18. Having a feeling of danger Anna asked «Hrom» to leave the bunker. The Commander instead asked her to trust him and wait until  the morning of May 17. That night Anna didn’t sleep expecting something bad to happen.

On May 17, 1954 at 6 AM, Annaheard someone wandering around the bunker, she thought that «Dovbush» had returned, she opened the main door and saw the rubber boots and a military overcoat behind the bush. She immediately understood that insurgents were in a great danger. She woke up «Olha» and commander «Hrom» immediately. Upon learning about the situation, the latter only said: “We are  prepared…” ( means “we are ready to die”). Anna gave to commander and his wife the embroidered shirts which she made them for their birthdays. But «Olha» couldn’t believe her, thinking that Anna got crazy, so she went out to check what was going on – as soon as she opened the door, the bullet whistled over her head. Luckily, was not injured. Negotiations for surrender began and lasted until 5PM. Soviet security service closed all the vents so insurgents could barely breathe in the bunker. Commander «Hrim» was eager to learn who brought MGB to this place. Then he heard the voice of «Dovbush”» and asked him how he was feeling. The answer was «I’m like killed sheep.»

On «Hrom»’s request, the chief of the Stanislav KGB, Colonel Arseni Kostenko, was asked to attend the meeting. When Mykola Tverdohlib asked what would happen to them if they would give up, Kostenko answered: “Only women can give up while being alive, but you decide your destiny by yourself”. Then he gave them 5 minutes to think about it. The first one to shoot herself was “Olha”. “Hrim” at first went to the exit and used some bullets to shoot at the Soviets, the last one he left for himself. He wanted to kill himself by shooting under the throat, but the shot wasn’t accurate. So being wounded and still alive he crawled to Anna asking her to kill him. The girl was supposed to be the last to be shot in order to make sure that commander wasn’t captured alive by the Ssoviets. But before  death, Mykola Tverdohlib ordered her to stay alive: “You are brave and you should stay alive, your time to die hasn’t come yet”, – he said. Carrying out his instructions Anna made three attempts to shoot him, but the bullet/gun was jammed. Them “Hrim” asked her to give the gun to him and then she lost consciousness for a while. When she got over it she was outside and arrested already. The police asked her if “Hrim” was alive, she said she didn’t know. So they make her enter the bunker again, where she found the commander dead.  

Report to the chief of KGB V. Nikitchenko about the liquidation of “Hrom” and arrest of Anna Popovych

In KGB shade

Anna Popovych and Luka Hrynishak were brought to the prison in Stanislav for investigation. Their chambers were opposite the interrogation room. In exchange for Anna’s confession, she wasn’t beaten severely, but the agents used various psychological tortures, like imitating the punishing of other prisoners. “Dovbush” was sure that Anna committed a suicide, thus he refused to consume food for eight days, demanding to see her dead body. He also tried to kill himself by hanging in his chamber. Anna, on the other hand, asked them to pass “Dovbush” a goodbye letter from her, which she wrote on May 17.          

Luka […] this is my last request to you. Forgive me all the crimes I did towards you and forgive me for the last moment during our last meeting. If you can be happy, don’t hold the grudge. Personally I feel sad though, for your coldness during our last meeting.  

In some months, the KGB did a simultaneous interrogation of both of them. When Anna entered the interrogation room, she saw a gray-haired Luka next to the wall. Suddenly he got up and started kissing her with regret, saying that he was wrong not listening to her, otherwise he wouldn’t have been captured. After 2 years of investigation, on February 9-16 1956, Anna Popovych and Luka Hrynishak were on trial. The Military Court sentenced L. Hrynishak to death penalty through shooting, thus he was executed on August 13, 1956 in Kyiv.

the last letter of Anna Popovych to Luka Hrynishak, May 17, 1954

Anna at first was sentenced to 25 years of prison which later was changed to 10 years. She endured punishment in Kemerovo and Irkutsk regions, Mordovia. All these years twice a week she was called in for interrogations, to confess, assuring her that it would reduce her term, but she didn’t tell anything. Being kept in inhumane conditions she managed to preserve her faith and love of God. She was released on May 17, 1964. As later she remembered, being free was a lot worse than being imprisoned, as she was always and everywhere chased by KGB agents. She was fated to get married to Pavlo Mateiko, a former member of Ukrainian liberation movement who now was cooperating with Soviet security service. Anna died on March 12, 2015, two month before her 90th birthday.  


Архів Управління Служби безпеки України в Івано-Франківській області. – Ф. 5. – Спр. 32603. 

Галузевий архів Служби безпеки України. – Ф.2. – Оп. 37 (1960 р.). – Спр. 25; Оп. 28 (1960 р.). – Спр. 23; Оп. 99 (1954 р.). – Спр. 13.

Записи усних свідчень Анни Попович (1925 р.н., с. Зелена, Надвірнянський район Івано-Франківської області), здійснені в 2012-2013 роках Тарасом Химичем, Оленою Химич, Тарасом Чолієм, Любомиром Соломченком

Літопис УПА. Кн. 5 (Серія «Події і люди»): Грім» – полковник УПА Микола Твердохліб. Спогади і матеріали. / Упоряд. Р. Грицьків . – Торонто-Л.: Літопис УПА, 2008.

Зеленчук М. Останні Сальви: 50-річчя УПА / М. Зеленчук. – К., 1992.  


Translated by Halyna Vyliika