Another disaster was around the corner for Ukraine. In eight years after the famine, in 1941, Nazi Germany began occupation of the territory of USSR and Ukraine was one of the first soviet countries on the way to Moscow. It seems that Stalin did not expect aggression towards USSR from Hitler as the former planned to cooperate with the Third Reich. Therefore Soviet Union was unprepared for the war. Ukraine and Byelorussia were buffers between Nazi and Russia. Therefore most of bloodiest battles took place in the territory of Ukraine.
Two evils united for poor Ukrainians: totalitarian communist regime and Nazi ideology. But actions of Germans were really bold and rude. Hitler ordered to apply the most brutal means against partisans even against women and children. It’s clear that the partisan resistance was the only defense method for Ukrainians at the beginning of the war. According to the Nazi ideology people of Ukraine as well as other Slavic people were classified as Untermensch (sub-humans) and Hitler wanted to colonize Ukraine and completely annihilate Ukrainians or turn them into slaves. Thus Ukrainians, Russians, Byelorussians and other people had no choice but had to fight for their lives. Hitler hated Slavic people almost as much as Hebrews. I do not know the reason why. Neither can I figure out how could those Nazi guys burn children and women. They were programmed robots or zombies. So after so much innocent blood being shed without any rhyme or reason, Slavic people had to unite, in spite of mistakes of the totalitarian government of USSR, to kick Hitler's ass as it was an affair of honor.
The main interest of Nazi Germans in Ukraine was the world's best black earth (a highly fertile soil) and slaves. These Nazi guys had no mercy. They separated families, ruined houses, raped and tortured people, let alone millions of Ukrainians being killed. They transported trainloads of fertile Ukrainian soil to Germany, thousands of Ukrainians served as slaves in Hitler's Nazi Germany. Ukraine had been occupied by Germany for three long years and apparently this country was the greatest victim of World War II as it is recognized that Ukraine had suffered the greatest material damage and human losses of any other country in the was. Ukrainian people fought shoulder to shoulder with Russians, Byelorussians, Poles and other people to break the backbone of the fascist regime. I am proud that my ancestors were strong and brave enough to disturb the Hitler’s Blitzkrieg plan. Hitler thought that conquering USSR would be as easy as a pie, but he was wrong...
So Nazis were beaten but losses of Ukraine in World War II were terrible. As I mentioned above Ukraine was the buffer between German Army and Moscow which was target of Hitler. Considerable forces of both armies were concentrated in Ukraine. Ukrainians suffered three years under German occupation. Only a little part of Russia was occupied while Ukraine was completely under control of German Army. Actually Ukraine was a bloody mass and complete ruin. According to statistics population of Ukraine decreased from 41 657 000 (in 1941, beginning of the war) till 27 382 000 (in 1945, end of the war). Edgar Snow, a foreign correspondent from America visited Ukraine in 1943 and at the end of the war in 1945 and was so astonished at the enormous losses it had suffered that he wrote an article for Saturday Evening Post titled "Ukraine Pays the Bill." It could be said that "The Allies won the war but Ukraine paid the bill."
When you travel to Ukraine you can notice monuments to World War II heroes as well as graves of killed solders almost in every big city and small town. There is hardly a family which did not lose someone in Ukraine. Even now people find unexploded ordnance, and these shells kill people even today. Even now people find members of their families which their lost during the war. And so many are not still found. We say “the war is not over until the last solder is buried” and we still find bones in the fields and forests of Ukraine. We are still recovering from that war. Our fields are seeded with bones and poured with blood of the war victims. May their memory live forever!