The chaos of war in Ukraine:
How many former Waffen SS men acheived the highest Soviet military distinction?
One did for sure. Hryhoriy Hevryk was born in Drohobych, Western Ukraine and enlisted in the 14 Galician Division in the spring of 1943.
He completed his training and in late June 1944 was sent to the eastern front then situated in western Ukraine, when the 14 Galician Div was deployed as part of XIII A.K in the Brody sector. Here in mid July, the Soviets launched a huge summer offensive and XIII AK including the 14 Galician Div was surrounded. The situation inside the pocket was chaotic. An organised breakout attempt was made but ultimately it became every man for himself. Hryhoriy Hevryk survived the battle and like several other Ukrainians from the Division, left its ranks and was hidden by some Ukrainian civilians. He initially escaped detection and managed to make his way back to his home town, but eventually enlisted as a civilian into the advancing Red Army. He was killed in action in the offensive on Berlin on 29 March 1945, near the Polish railway station Prukhna. On June 29 1945 he was posthumously awarded the highest Soviet military distinction (the only Galician to be awarded it) the Hero of the USSR.
For those of you who read Ukrainian further details can be found in the veterans publication Visti Kombatanta (Combatants News), in an article entitled “Tragedy of a Hero”, Za Vilnu Ukrainu, L’viv, 1952 No 6-7, p8.
Also, we had family friends in the US with the last-name Hevryk. I wonder if there’s any relation.