Under the Nazi Heel
Walking Out of War, Book 2
For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.
Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army just in time to be thrown against the invading Germans in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursued a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.
To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance. He soon finds the Germans are not the only enemy. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.
Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.
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Excerpt from Under The Nazi Heel
Excerpt 2: Forbidden Newspapers
One day in December, Komorski rushed from the back of his café, brandishing a new German-language newspaper. “America has declared war on Germany, Italy and Japan!”
“The US is taking the side of the USSR?” Maurice asked. It seemed impossible.
“Your enemy’s enemy is your friend,” said Vasyl, sipping someone else’s drink.
Another day, Komorski spread the official, German-sanctioned and edited Ukrainian newspaper on the table, smoothed it out and gestured for the other men to gather round. “What good is that sheet?” one man growled.
Komorski held a finger in front of pursed lips and then opened the newspaper. Inside, between the folds, was a single printed sheet titled Free Ukraine. It was a newspaper printed in Kyiv by Andriy Melnyk’s faction of the Ukrainian Nationalist Organization, OUN-M. Maurice glanced over his shoulder, out the window, nervous in case anyone was on the street. Can we trust everyone in here? Possession of the paper meant summary execution if the Germans discovered it.
Its contents were slightly more reliable than those of the Russian, German or approved Ukrainian newspapers, but Maurice knew it equally a propaganda piece. Still, he put more credence in its stories about the German advance stalling west of Leningrad and Moscow, and of the gas lines freezing in the mechanized wehrmact.
When there were no newspapers, the men at Komorski’s would sip hot water and tell Maurice what had happened in their village when he was away in the army. “The Germans had it easy at first,” Vasyl liked to say. “They didn’t even bother sending an armed force here. Just two soldiers on a motorcycle with a sidecar. They took off the muffler so it made so much noise, everybody ran away.”
“In some villages, girls brought flowers to the Germans,” said Mykal Kolody, an older farmer, echoing Maurice’s sister. “They said they were liberating Ukraine from the communists. OUN declared an independent Ukraine in June, with Melnyk as President. The Germans arrested the whole bunch two weeks later, including Bandera.”
“They shot most of them on the spot,” Komorski said.
“As if that weren’t bad enough, that bastard Bandera has his men killing Melnyk’s people,” said Kolody.
“Melnyk’s an old man, and OUN-M are a bunch of old men,” said Ivan Husar, a thin young man, just 18, who always trembled when the door opened and fidgeted with cutlery as he drank tea. “OUN-B is taking action against Ukraine’s enemies.”
“OUN-M are getting results in Kyiv,” Kolody retorted. “And they’re focused on the real enemies, not killing other Ukrainians.”
“Ukraine is no more free now than we were under Poland,” said another old man, Babiak. Another Babiak, Maurice thought. How many people here are named Babiak? “We’re in the generalgouvernement now.”
“We’re better off than eastern Ukraine,” said Komorski. “They’re under the Reichskommissariat—direct military control by the SS. They’re brutal.”
“Don’t you realize what generalgouvernement means?” old Babiak said. “We’re part of Germany now. The re-established German Empire. They’re going to start pushing us out to make room for more of them. Haven’t you heard of ‘lebensraum’?”
The word chilled Maurice. He thought of Professor Posmychuk, the gentle teacher in Ternopyl who had sheltered him that night he had come home. “When the Germans win this war, they’re going to get rid of the Ukrainians and the Jews.”
“That’s enough of the political talk for now,” Komorski growled. “It’s best not to spend too much time talking about these things.”
About the author:
Scott Bury is a journalist, editor and novelist based in Ottawa, Canada. He has written for magazines in Canada, the US, the UK and Australia.
Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.
After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.
Under the Nazi Heel is the sequel to Army of Worn Soles. They describe the real life experiences of Maurice Bury, a Canadian living in Ukraine during World War 2.