Editor: S. Naylor
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
―William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun
It is a hundred years since the very first concentration camp was created—in Galicia, intended for Russians and Eastern Orthodox believers.
September 4, 2014 marks a hundred years since the tragedy of the concentration camps Talerhof [Thalerhof] and Terezin [Theresienstadt], where tens of thousands of victims met their violent end, martyred for their Orthodox faith, for the refusal to betray their beliefs, for the refusal to call themselves Ukrainian.
The Year 2014—foreboding and violent as it was—coincides in a very symbolical way with two tragic anniversaries in our history; a hundred years since the beginning of WWI, and a hundred years since the blood of martyrs was spilled in the concentration camps of Talerhof and Terezin. Yes, September 4, 1914¹, when the Hell’s gates of Talerhof opened wide, became a day of sorrow—not only for Orthodox Ruthenians of Transcarpathia, victims of horrific tyranny at the hands of minions of the Vatican, but for the entire Russian universe as a whole. It was not by mere accident that the first mega-war and the first concentration camp simultaneously defiled our existence, like two horns of Satan: the sudden treacherous strike that led to the extermination of God’s creatures on a scale previously unimaginable. The war and the camp—made at the same factory, headquartered in the underworld—became the main tools of annihilation of the human race in the Industrial Era.
In 1914-17 the government of Austria-Hungary, with the explicit support of Germany and with the direct participation of Poland, engaged in the systematic extermination of the Orthodox populations of Transcarpathia, Galicia and Bukovina. Researchers have estimated that the Ruthenian population of the Austro-Hungarian Empire numbered between 3.1 and 4.5 million people by the beginning of the twentieth century . These people were subjected to the worst persecution, mockery, indignities, tortures, and horrific slaughter. Tens of thousands of Ruthenians paid with their lives for their loyalty to their faith and their heritage, for their right to remain Russians.
The second half of the nineteenth century saw the renaissance of Ruthenian culture in Austria-Hungary. The people once again became conscious of their place in a pan-Russian culture, in belonging to an indivisible Russian Universe—from Kamchatka to the Carpathian mountains. In fact, the leadership of Ruthenian national organizations in Bukovina, Galicia and Transcarpathia was in the hands of partisans of the idea of a “Greater”, united Russia. To call oneself or someone a “Ukrainian” was not an ethnic, but rather a political kind of label, describing the anti-Russian minority.
The rulers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, deeply concerned about a sudden resurgence of Orthodoxy, responded by mass arrests among Russian Transcarpathians and Bukovinians. It was as an antidote to pro-Russian feelings that the imperial government created, and then encouraged, the growth of so-called “ethnic self-discovery”—the notions of “Ukrainian” ethnicity and Ukrainian nationhood among those parts of the population susceptible to such a subversion. “Ukrainians” thus were created by Polish and Austrian masterminds as a means of swaying Orthodox believers into an artificial variation of Catholicism and into an artificially created new “Ukrainian” language. But the concentration camps of Terezin and Talerhof showed the true face of the “enlightened” Catholic European reaction to the renaissance of Orthodox faith in their backyard. This was the reaction of the modern EU’s prototype, not yet covered by a fig leaf of “tolerance” and similar worthless verbal trash, to the resurgence of the Russian Universe, the Third Rome, Sacred Russia.
In the book written by Yavorsky, entitled “The Terror in Galicia in 1914-15” we read this terrible testimony: “They were taking anyone, without any due process—anyone who called himself a Russian, who carried a Russian name; anyone who kept—even in secret—a Russian newspaper, a book, an icon, or even a postcard. They arrested alike members of the intelligentsia or peasants, men or women, the elderly or children, sick or healthy. Their prime targets were, of course, the Orthodox clergy, priests—those selfless leaders of congregations, “the salt of earth”, the essence of Galician-Russian lands. They bore the brunt of the cruelty—tormented, tortured, mocked, incessantly sent from prison to prison, dying of hunger and thirst, beaten until they lost consciousness, chain-ganged, executed by firing squad or by hanging… Countless innocent victims, boundless suffering, bloodbath martyrdom, streams of tears of orphans.”
This was genocide, an ethnic cleansing directed at Russians, at the Orthodox. The round-ups of entire villages happened on a regular basis—men, women, elderly, babies… Over 100,000 ethnic Ruthenians were physically exterminated by the Empire. It is a telling fact that, until the winter of 1915, Talerhof concentration camp had no barracks. The inmates lived their last days under open skies—be it sun, rain or snow. They were hanged, shot or bayoneted. Before the executions they were subjected to horrific tortures—their limbs, fingers, lips, ears sliced off. A further 150,000 died in the same camps—not by executions, but of disease, exposure, and starvation. Hundreds of thousands managed to escape by going into exile. The only “crime” of those persecuted: the refusal to become “Ukrainians”, refusal to accept the Pope as their suzerain, refusal to betray their allegiance to the Orthodox faith, Russian ethnicity and Russian language.
This terrible crime is not something they like to reminisce about in modern Europe. One of the few reminders—a memorial stone in Lychakovski Cemetery in Lvov. Engraved on the stone: ” To the victims of Talerhof—Galician Rus”. Back then, Russia did not intervene to save the lives of their brethren in West Ukraine. Now, a century later, history repeats itself; the events follow the old familiar scenario of impending tragedy. The war and [filtration] camps, like two-pronged horns, are aiming once again at a familiar victim, identified by two traits—Russian and Orthodox. In the thousand years of the permanent state of war between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, East and West, Christ and Antichrist, the last century was the bloodiest ever. As you read this, hordes of new Cains, fratricidal possessed Ukrainians, are spilling the blood of their brothers on Donbass lands, and new filtration camps are being built in Zhdanovka (Donbass oblast) and Martynovka (near Nikolaev). According to official statements, these foreboding structures, surrounded by tall walls and barbed wire, are meant “to temporarily house illegal immigrants.” But Mikhail Koval, a high ranking general of the Ukrainian Army, publicly stated a different aim: “We shall perform a full filtration of the populace. We shall employ certain filtration techniques to make sure that no people, including women, who harbour separatist sympathies remain… We shall of course separate the women and men for treatment…. After the filtration we shall resettle those deemed trustworthy in remote regions… We shall take a close look at any of the participants in “information warfare” as well. Our special forces will be searching computers, telephone connections, friends…”
Thus, 1914 repeats itself. Will Russia find the spiritual strength and bravery to stand up and halt the attack by the forces of darkness this time around? Our Day of Judgement depends on the outcome.
¹Correction: As noted in several comments, ‘concentration camps’ were established by the British during the Second Boer War. Similar camps have a long and brutal history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internment#Concentration_camp