COLLABORATION AND COLLUSION
(Truth About UPA)
Historian Reuben Ainsztein has chronicled the widespread and voluntary help given by the Ukrainian Nationalists to the Nazi exterminations in Western Ukraine. In his classic Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe, he states that at the beginning of the Nazi occupation, the OUN leaders:
"Stetsko and Bandera proclaimed the creation of a "free Ukraine" and organized a 31,000 strong militia . . . The militia played a most important part in making it possible for the Einsatzkommando to carry out their task of genocide and terror until the middle of August  . . . The militia was then disbanded and 3,000 cut-throats were allowed to enroll in the Ukrainian auxiliary police which was to play such an abominable role in the annihilation of the Jews in Eastern Europe."6
In the first eight months of Nazi occupation of Western Ukraine, 15 per cent of Galician Jews - 100,000 people - were slaughtered by the joint actions of the Germans and Ukrainian Nationalists.7 Jewish-Canadian survivor and decorated anti-Nazi partisan Nahum Kohn describes the Ukrainian fascist role in the holocaust in Ukraine's Volyn region: ". . . whenever Jews were slaughtered, four or five Germans would participate, 'helped' by 100 or 200 Ukrainian Nationalists. When the Ukraine was virtually Judenfrei ('cleansed of Jews'), the Banderovtsy (OUN-Bandera) turned on their Polish neighbors."8 In his autobiography, Kohn describes how his partisans came to the rescue of the Polish inhabitants of Pshebrazhe, ravished by Banderite fascists who had slaughtered 40 per cent of the villagers. 9
(...). In July 1941 in Lviv, the OUN Nationalists declared a "Day in Honor of the Memory of Petliura" and turned the streets red with the blood of Jewish victims. As holocaust historian Lucy Dawidowicz states:
"In Lwow the Germans and Ukrainian [Nationalists], in house-to-house hunts for Jews, shot them randomly on the spot. Belatedly avenging the assassination . . . of Petliura, notorious anti-Semite . . . the Ukrainians staged mammoth pogroms, slaughtering thousands and carrying off other thousands of Jews to Einsatzgruppen headquarters. Within hours or days, those Jews who had been taken away were machine-gunned en masse at some remote desolate area. The disaster was epic . . ."15
Another full-page Black Deeds tribute honors the Nazi "Major" and murderer Roman Shukhevych, commander of the bloody Nachtigall Battalion. 16 Following the reorganization of his troops into Nazi Schutzmannschaft battalions in the summer of 1941, Shukhevych, under Nazi direction, led his men into Byelorussia to slaughter partisans, Jews, and peasants. Later in the war, this recipient of the Nazi Iron Cross commanded the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), which Ainsztein describes as "the most dangerous and cruel enemies of surviving Jews, Polish peasants and settlers, and all anti-German partisans."17
Like the fascist policemen washing their boots at the well, the Ukrainian Nationalists of the Banderivtsy, SS units, Auxiliary militia, etc., are confronted with the problem of washing away the blood spilled during the Nazi occupation. Many thousands who fled to Germany and elsewhere in the wake of the retreating Nazi armies, had to cover up their personal and collective guilt in the holocaust and betrayal of their country. There is in fact a conscious attempt to disguise the past of such persons, and to distort the role of Ukrainian Nationalists in the Nazi holocaust. Such cover-ups are sub-themes in the famine-genocide campaign, for the credibility of famine-genocide allegations is undermined by direct association with war-time collaboration and atrocities. (...).
But the relationship between German Nazism and Ukrainian Nationalism was no brief honeymoon. Both represented forms of extremist nationalism which by the late 1920s had reached some common ideological grounds. (...).
The ideological background of Ukrainian Nationalism was a contributing factor to support for Hitler fascism. Ukrainian Nationalist ideologue Dmitro Dontsov (who was allowed to settle in Canada after World War II) attempted to justify Hitler's seizure of power in Germany, describing pre-Nazi conditions, in part: "The third factor of the decay was the international Jewish community who attacked the collapsed country like locusts in order to, jointly with the victors, freely dispose of it, to smear literature, music and theatrical art with the evils of pornography . . . to smear pure art with the ideas of Bolshevism."32 Well-connected to Nazi intelligence circles following Hitler's seizure of power, the OUN's fascist views led directly to the wartime alliance with the Third Reich.: "the xenophobic, anti-democratic, and anti-semitic nationalism of the OUN meshed easily with Nazism." 33
Following Konovalets' death in 1939, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists split into two factions: the OUN-B headed by Stepan Bandera, and the OUN-M led by Andrei Melnyk. Testimony of German Abwehr officer Erwin Schtolze at the Nuremberg war crimes trials revealed that both Melnyk and Bandera were on the Nazi payroll prior to Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union:
"It was pointed out in the order that for the purpose of delivering a lightning blow against the Soviet Union, Abwehr II . . . must use its agents for kindling national antagonisms among the people of the Soviet Union . . . I contacted the Ukrainian National Socialists who were in German Intelligence Service and other members of the nationalist fascist groups . . . Instructions were given by me personally to the leaders of the Ukrainian Nationalists, Melnyk (Code Name 'Consul I') and Bandera (Code Name 'Consul II') to organize . . . demonstrations in the Ukraine in order to disrupt the immediate rear of the Soviet armies . . . Apart from this, a special military unit was trained for subversive activities on Soviet territory . . ."34
Ukrainian Nationalist battalions were trained in Germany prior to the war and some were used by the Nazis in their 1939 invasion of Poland. As the Nationalists' own encyclopedia states: "The first Ukrainian unit was formed by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists on the eve of the Polish-German War. Approximately 600 men strong, it consisted of former soldiers of the Carpathian Sich. Commanded by Col. Roman Sushko, it marched into Galicia with the German Army in September 1939."35
When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, his forces included the Nachtigall and Roland battalions of Ukrainian Nationalists. The bloody record of butchery by the Nachtigall Battalion of Jews and Poles in Lviv will never be forgotten. The formation of these units is admitted by the Nationalists' encyclopedia: " On the eve of World War II, as a result of an agreement between some German authorities and the Bandera OUN faction, two Ukrainian volunteer detachments (Nachtigall and Roland) were formed on German territory . . . They took part in the military operations of the German army . . . [In late 1941] they were reorganized . . . into the Police Battalion 201 and deployed in Byelorussia..."36
Thus we have seen that the Ukrainian Nationalist alliance with Nazism predated "the beginning of the war." At the same time, the alliance was not without contradictions. While the Nationalists pinned their hopes on the Nazis as the vehicle to gain control of Ukraine, the German fascists were not about to cede any part of their power. United by their opposition to the Soviet Union, the Nazis' direct rule of Ukraine also stood as an obstacle to the Ukrainian Nationalists' ambitions. This contradiction has been wildly exaggerated in the post-war coverup of Nationalist collaboration and complicity with the Nazi holocaust; it is hoped that the retroactive transformation of "junior partner" collaborators into [so-called] "anti-Nazi patriots" will win them acceptance as "allies of democracy," the better to serve the contemporary anti-Soviet crusade.
Ivan Bahryany, for example, offers the following alibi in Black Deeds of the Kremlin: "Ukrainians are not war criminals because they fought against Hitler and Stalin. They fought against both before the war and they fought against both during the war."37
Of course no one has ever claimed that Ukrainians as such are war criminals. (...). But if by Ukrainians, Bahryany refers to the Nationalists, then he stands condemned as a liar of the stature of Goebbels himself. The Ukrainians who fought Hitler were in fact among the main targets of Nationalist armed units.
And who is Ivan Bahryany? During the Nazi occupation, he was one of the few Ukrainian writers permitted to have works published through the Nazi-controlled Ukrainian Publishing House. That this publisher was Nazi-authorized is confirmed by Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia: "Late in 1939, by permission of the German authorities, the Ukrainian Publishing House (Ukrains'ke Vydavnytsvo) was established in Cracow, in close association with the Ukrainian Central Committee. The Ukrainian Publishing House had the exclusive right to publish Ukrainian newspapers, journals and books within the 'Generalgouvernement.'"38
One notes that this collaboration commenced in German-occupied Poland, a full year and a half before the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Its authority was later extended to the Nazi-occupied areas of Ukraine, and it also published pro-Nazi Ukrainian papers such as Volyn (1941-1944), Krakivski Visti (1940-1945), and Lvivski Visti (1941-1944), to name a few.39 It was an important tool of German political, literary and social control over Ukrainians living under occupation.
Feverishly casting about for some "proof" of anti-Nazi combat, the Nationalists and their apologists claim that the Ukrainian Insurgent Army * (UPA) was actually a patriotic "national liberation army" which strove to drive the Nazis from Western Ukrainian territory. The Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies of the University of Alberta - publisher of the Canadian edition of Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow - has published a book in which the OUN-Bandera's UPA is even described as being on a par with the French Resistance.40 Ihor Kamenetsky, another example, states in Hitler's Occupation of Ukraine that the Nationalists' "...partisan movement in Ukraine had a considerable influence on the weakening of the German war effort in the East."41 In reality, the so-called UPA "partisans" took pressure off the Nazi front lines by helping to clean out Soviet [and Polish] partisans and secure the German rear areas of supply and occupation.
Let us examine the fabric from which authors like Kamenetsky attempt to weave their historical disguise. Kamenetsky utilizes inventions about non-existent clashes between OUN-Bandera's UPA and the Nazis. For example, he claims that the Chief of Staff of the German SA, Victor Lutze, was killed by a UPA detachment on the highway between Kovel and Brest in May 1943.42 The fact that other Nationalist historians and their followers give different and contradictory locations for the alleged assassination of Lutze does not add to the credibility of this post-war invention.
The truth of the matter is that Lutze was injured in an auto accident near Berlin and died in a Potsdam hospital hundreds of kilometers from where the Nationalists claim the UPA killed him.43 According to Goebbels' diaries, Lutze's funeral was attended by Hitler, Goebbels and other top-ranking Nazis. As a result of Lutze's mishap, Goebbels writes, Hitler warned the German leadership that cars bearing Nazi party plates must limit their speed to 50 miles per hour.44
Elsewhere, Kamenetsky implies that a German anti-partisan offensive in Volyn was directed against the Nationalist UPA:
"In the big action in the summer of 1943, conducted by SS General Bach-Zelewsky against the Ukrainian partisans in Volnia and Polyssa, 50 tanks... and nearly 10,000 German and auxiliary police were used. In addition several Hungarian detachments and eastern volunteer battalions participated." 45
While it is true that the Nationalist UPA "partisans" fought in Volyn in this period, they were not fighting the Nazis. Reuben Ainsztein writes:
"It was then that [Soviet partisan leader] Aleksei Fyodorov-Chernigovskiy arrived with his brigade group from the Chernigov region in the area where Brinskiy's brigade was operating. Within a couple of weeks Fyodorov turned that part of Volyn into partisan territory where Germans had lost all control and began his systematic campaign against the railway network at a time when the Kursk battle was reaching its climax. The Germans assembled a 15,000 strong force made up of SS and Wehrmacht troops, Lithuanians, Vlasov units and Ukrainian police, as well as 5,000 Ukrainian Nationalists, and in August launched a massive operation against the partisans . . .
While Fyodorov took the brunt of the fighting against the Germans, Brinskiy's brigade was given the task of engaging the [very seriously mis-named in here] Ukrainian Partisan Army [UPA] battalions, which supported by German bombers and mortar batteries, tried to push the partisans into the bag prepared by the Germans." 46
Composed of criminals and executioners, former members of the hated Ukrainian police, security gendarmes, SS-men and fascist Legionnaires, the UPA and other Nationalist gangs were certainly not "known" for their anti-Nazi combat. As Ainsztein states:
"Assured of German assistance in arms and, when necessary, outright military cooperation, the UPA gangs, which became known as the Banderovtsy, proved themselves under the command of Shukhevych, now known as Taras Chuprynka, the most dangerous and cruel enemies of surviving Jews, Polish peasants and settlers, and all anti-German partisans. . . . The fanaticism and nationalistic madness of the Banderovtsy, Bulbovtsy and other Ukrainian nationalist gangs reached depths that appeared incredible even to Soviet[, Polish], and Jewish partisans, whose ability to be horrified by what man could do to man was blunted by their daily experiences of the Nazi New Order. The Jewish partisan Bakalczuk-Felin . . . has left us a description of entire Polish villages wiped out, their inhabitants invariably tortured and raped before being slaughtered with knives and axes, the babies murdered with the same kind of savagery as had been the fate of Jewish children." 47
Kamenetsky and his ilk do not have an enviable task in trying to transform Hitler's Ukrainian auxiliaries and terrorists into anti-Nazi partisans. But then this is not the first time we have encountered such duplicity in Ukrainian Nationalist portrayals of their history. Not surprsingly - and remniscient of scholarship demonstrated in [fictional] famine-genocide accounts - two-thirds of the "evidence" for Kamenetsky's assertions come from ideological colleagues. Out of 49 references in Chapter 5 of Hitler's Occupation of Ukraine used as substantiation for the allegedly anti-fascist role of the UPA, no fewer than 28 come from Nationalist apologist Krypyakevich and 5 from anti-semite Petro Mirchuk.48
Similarly distorted (...) is the role of the Ukrainian, 14th Waffen SS Galizien Division (also known as the Halychyna Division). Formed in 1943 with OUN-Melnyk support and reconstituted after its crushing defeat at Brody in 1944, the 14th Waffen SS Division's main function was brutal anti-partisan work in several countries. Ukrainian Nationalists and their apologists generally seek to give the impression that the Galizien Division, unlike other Waffen SS units, was almost a patriotic Boy Scout organization with no political attachment to the Nazi cause. History shows otherwise. In his May 1943 appeal for Galicians to join this SS unit, Volodymyr Kubijovych stated:
"The long-awaited moment has arrived when the Ukrainian people again have the opportunity to come out with guns to give battle with its most grievous foe - Muscovite-Jewish Bolshevism. The Fuehrer of the Great German Reich has agreed to the formation of a separate Ukrainian volunteer military unit under the name SS Riflemen's Division "Halychyna" . . . You must stand shoulder to shoulder with the unbeatable German army and destroy, once and for all, the Jewish-Bolshevist monster."49
Citing Himmler's speeches contained in the U.S. National Archives, the Canadian Bureau of the Simon Wiesenthal Center describes the unsavory record of this SS unit:
"On May 16, 1944, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler congratulated the officers of the 14th Waffen SS Division (Galician [Ukrainian] No. 1) for having improved the beautiful Ukrainian landscape by ridding it of its Jews. Himmler added that he was aware that nothing would please the division more than hand out the same treatment to the Poles but the timing of that action would be decided by Hitler, the man to whom they had pledged absolute obedience." 50
The 14th Waffen SS, led by Nazi officers from the top practically down to the company level, with no independent Ukrainian Nationalist command, was instrumental in giving military training to the UPA. This could only have taken place with the planning, knowledge and approval of the top SS command and the German officers leading the division. Indeed, certain Nationalist historians openly admit that the UPA was assissted by the 14th Waffen SS. Wasyl Veryha, an SS veteran and Division historian in Toronto, wrote in Visti Combatanta (a Ukrainian SS veterans' magazine):
"While recalling the fairly well known facts that the personnel trained in the division [14 Waffen SS] had become the backbone of UPA, it should be mentioned that the UPA command also sent groups of its people to the division to receive proper military training . . . This reinforced the UPA which was left on the Native land [after the Nazi retreat], in particular its commanders and instructors."51
The assessment of the UPA as a Nazi tool appears to be shared by certain sections among the Nationalists. Perhaps hoping to distance themselves from UPA's bloody record, the Nationalist publication Ukrainskyi Samostiinyk admitted that the UPA "was influenced by and formed after the Nazi standard," and had "acquired the whole of Nazi mentality." Further, it "was not a combat unit of the Ukrainian people but merely a Ukrainian Waffen SS - OUN."52
Ukrainian Nationalist service to Hitler's Third Reich did not end with the expulsion of the Nazis from Ukraine in 1944. As Nazi officer Schtolze revealed at the Nuremberg war crimes trials:
"During the retreat of German troops from Ukraine, Kanaris personally instructed the Abwehr to set up an underground network to continue the struggle against Soviet power in Ukraine, to organize acts of terrorism, subversion and espionage. Competent agents were left behind specially to direct the Nationalist movement. Orders were given to install caches, to store munitions, etc. To maintain liaison with these bands, agents were sent across the front line."53
Further, U.S. historian John Armstrong (usually sympathetic to the Nationalists) admits that after the Germans were driven out of Ukraine and continuing in early 1945, "German military agencies" air-dropped supplies to UPA units, "...which most German officers by then regarded as a useful harassment to the Soviet supply lines."54
As we have seen, collaboration between the Nazis and Ukrainian Nationalists began long before the war and continued throughout the war, even after the Germans were completely driven out of Ukrainian territory. The Nationalists were firmly locked into the Nazi occupation machine. Their police and punitive units mass-murdered Jews and Ukrainians alike. Vast numbers of Ukrainians were also rounded up, with the help Ukrainian collaborators, for shipment to Germany as slave labourers. Thousands of actions were carried out by Nationalist militias, SB, UPA and Ukrainian police units, often under [direct] German supervision. Nationalist-recruited troops served Hitler in Ukraine, Poland, Byelorussia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Ukrainian collaborators assisted in the murder of hundreds of thousands in death camps like Treblinka, Sobibor, Yanowska and Trawniki. 55
Such was the "anti-Nazi struggle" of those whom Nationalists today would present as "national liberation fighters," "heroes of the Ukrainian people" and "patriots who struggled for a free Ukraine."
Collaboration and Collusion
6. Reuben Ainsztein, Jewish Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Eastern Europe, Harper and Row, 1974, p. 252.
7. Ibid., p. 255.
8. Nahum Kohn and Howard Roiter, A Voice from the Forest, New York, Holocaust Library, 1980, p. 121.
9. Ibid., p. 122.
15. Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, New York, Holt, Reinhart and Winston, 1975, pp. 377-378.
16. The Black Deeds of the Kremlin, Vol. I, p. 323.
17. Ainsztein, p. 253.
32. Liturnaukovy Visnyk, May 1939.
33. Joe Conason, "To Catch a Nazi," Village Voice, February 11, 1986.
34. Nuremberg Trial of Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1947, VII, pp. 272-273.
35. Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia, Volodymyr Kubijovyc, ed., Vol. II, Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1971, p. 1086.
36. Ibid., p. 1087.
37. Black Deeds, p. 14.
38. Ukraine: A Concise Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 505. The Ukrainian Central Committe was headed by Nazi collaborationist Volodymyr Kubijovyc, who worked closely under Hans Frank in administering German-occupied western Ukraine. Frank was executed at Nuremberg, while Kubijovyc escaped, edited Nationalist encyclopedias and is cited as a "famine-genocide" expert.
39. Ibid., p. 468.
* Formed in 1943, The Ukrains'ka Povsan'ka Armya (UPA) is usually referred to in English as the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. Sometimes [very incorrectly and mis-leadingly] referred to as the Ukrainian Partisan Army, to its surviving Jewish, Ukrainian and Polish victims it is usually known as the Banderivtsy (Banderists [or Banderites]) - followers of Stepan Bandera's wing of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.
40. Yury Boshyk, ed., Ukraine During World War II: History and its Aftermath, Edmonton, Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, 1986. See pp. 149-150. This book attempts to rationalize the OUN's Nazi service, downplays the anti-semitism and Jew-hunting of the Nationalists, and seeks to run interference on the question of the presence of Nazi war criminals and collaborators in Canada.
41. Ihor Kamenetsky, Hitler's Occupation of Ukraine 1941-1944, Milwaukee, Marquette University Press, 1956, p. 82.
42. Ibid. p. 72.
43. Heinz Hohne, The Order of the Death's Head: The Story of Hitler's SS , London, Pan Books, 1972, p. 385. Hohne cites the Nazi wartime source, Archiv fuer Publizistische Arbeit, August 26, 1943.
44. Louis P. Lochner, ed., The Goebbels Diaries, Garden City, Doubleday [& Company], 1948, p. 355.
45. Kamenetsky, pp. 80-81.
46. Ainsztein, pp. 359-360. Emphasis added.
47. Ibid., pp. 253-254.
48. The 28 references are to Ivan Krypyakevych, The History of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 2nd rev. ed., "General Taras Chuprynka From Orders to UPA, May 1945." This revised edition of the original (Lviv 1936) has been updated to include laundered accounts of the Ukrainian fascist military escapades during World War II. The 5 references are to Petro Mirchuk, The Ukrainian Insurgent Army 1942-1952, Munich, Cicero, 1953. By plagiarizing the name of Borovets' (Bulba's) group, it can be made to appear that the OUN's "UPA" was founded in 1942. These books are pioneering attempts to rewrite the history of Nationalist military collaboration with the Nazis. The OUN-Bandera's continued terrorism against Soviet and Polish civilians for several years after Germany's surrender was played up by the Nationalists to gain financial and other support from Western militarists and intelligence agencies who anticipated war with the Soviet Union in the late 1940s and early 50s. Petro Mirchuk's anti-semitism, cover-up of alleged Nazis in the United States [of America], and downplaying of the Jewish Holocaust are outlined by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith in its special report, "The Campaign Against the U.S. Justice Department's Prosecution of Suspected War Criminals," New York, June 1985, pp. 34-37.
49. Lvivski visti, Lviv, May 6, 1943.
50. Canadian Bureau of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, "Simon Wiesenthal Centre: Close Tie Between RCMP and Pro-Fascist Wartime Ukrainian Canadian Organizations Revealed by Documents in Canadian National Archives. Major Ukrainian Umbrella Group Organized by RCMP Agent," Toronto, 1986.
51. Visti Combatanta, No. 5-6 (36-37), 1968, p. 23.
52. Ukrainskyi Samostiinyk, February 1950, cited by V. Khystovyi, A Plot Against the Future, Uzhgorod, Karpaty Publishers, 1983, p. 36.
53. Nuremberg Trial, VII, p. 273.
54. Armstrong, p. 292.
55. In addition to sources previously cited, see Marko Terlytsia, Here is the Evidence, Toronto, Kobzar Publishing, 1984; Michael Hanusiak, Lest We Forget, Toronto, Progress Books, 1976; Richard Rashke, Escape from Sobibor, Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1982; Jean-Francois Steiner, Treblinka, London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1967; Leon W. Wells, The Janowska Road, New York, MacMillan, 1963. [The author also lists many more books that are not mentioned in any of the endnotes or footnotes, but which were also used as sources, in the Bibliography.]
Douglas Tottle, Fraud, Famine and Fascism; The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard, Progress Books, Toronto, 1987.
Douglas Tottle exposes the fraudulent charge of famine-genocide made against the USSR . . . Skillfully Tottle traces the labyrinthine history of the [so-called] "evidence" - documentary and photograhpic - on its convoluted passage from nazi publications to the Hearst press to the misfounded "scholarship" of such present-day Kremlinologists as Robert Conquest. Tottle's sharp and engagingly written investigation is useful and intelligent. The author makes an important contribution by exposing the ways and wiles of anti-communist propaganda.
Clarence J. Munford
Professor of History
University of Guelph, Canada
For almost 70 years the study of the Soviet Union has been trapped in a sea of distortion, lie and propaganda. While this has not always been one-sided, its overall effect has been to stimulate fear, suspicion, and danger of war. In the present age of new thinking about history of socialism in the USSR, it remains necessary to deal with and disperse at least the worst of lies. Tottle's book demonstrates clearly the viciousness surrounding the theory of the [so-called] Ukrainian genocide and hopefully will open the way to genuine study of the Ukrainian road to socialism.
Professor of History
University of Calgary, Canada
Blowback, America's Recruitment of Nazis
Origin of Ukrainian Nationalist Falsifications of UPA's Past
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Created, Researched, and Maintained by the Polish Resistance Movement.
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Copyright © 2002.