The Secret of Bandera Road

Australian Legacy of an Antisemitic Banderite

It appears that Australia was the first country to have a street named for the Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, beating Ukraine to the punch by decades.

By the 1970s in Penrith, a small city less than an hour’s drive west of Sydney, George Borec, a businessman and land developer from western Ukraine, got the Penrith City Council’s approval to name at least three streets: Bandera Road, Mazepa Avenue, and Lemko Place. (Mazepa Avenue was 1968, so the others were probably around that time. A 1973 article in the Sydney Morning Herald referenced a Bandera Road in Penrith.)

Borec was a veteran of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and a high-level member of Bandera’s clandestine Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) in Australia. Borec became a wealthy man in Penrith, and the city council named another street after him—Borec Road, intersecting with Lemko Place as a nod to his origins.

In 1986, Stepan Bandera’s successor Yaroslav Stetsko died, Ukrainian Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk’s high-profile trial began in Jerusalem, and Oxford University Press published The Harvest of Sorrow, Robert Conquest’s book on the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine. Also that year, the Australian association of UPA veterans published a 110 page screed against “Jewish Bolshevism” and “Ukrainophobia” titled Why is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others? It made repeated references to “the Jewish holocaust,” apparently refusing to capitalize the “H.”

George Borec, known as “Chumak” in the UPA, compiled and wrote much of the book under the pseudonym Yuri Chumatskyj. Borec authored about 40% of it, including most of the introduction, titled “On the Path to a New Holocaust?” According to him, after World War II ended, “a prominent segment of world Jewry… remained willing servants of Moscow’s empire-building apparatus.”

As of the mid-1980s, Borec still insisted, “A section of world Jewish leadership seems intent on forcing its will on many world governments.” Following Borec’s introduction is an old article on the 1932-33 famine by Kalenyk Lissiuk, a Ukrainian American associated with the John Birch Society. It feels necessary to quote Lissiuk’s reprinted 1963 article at length in order to convey the delusional, bloodthirsty antisemitism of George Borec’s book:

Having the majority in the USSR administration, the Jews were involved in all decision-making including the settlement of Jews in Ukraine and Crimea, plus the plan to build “Zion” in Ukraine. Planning of the Ukrainian famine was still a few years in the future… The Jewish farmers were warned in advance and they left their homesteads moving to the nearby cities and villages. The Jewish population did not starve as the warning enabled them to store food in anticipation. In 1933 the majority of European and American press, controlled by the Jews, were silent about the famine… Stalin gradually relieved the Jewish administrators of their positions and replaced them with Russians. Therefore the Jewish leaders’ dreams of establishing a “Zion” on Ukrainian soil were thwarted. They were also unsuccessful in assuming control of the USSR which they helped create with their substantial financial support. The legacy of this endeavor fell to eight million Ukrainian victims of the famine and this the Ukrainian nation will never forget!

The middle-section of the book, “Jewish support for Ukraine,” is perhaps entirely fraudulent. It includes three articles, with one based on the forged memoir of a fictitious Jewish Ukrainian woman named Stella Krenzbach. The other two articles are attributed to an also dubious David Belamud, allegedly a “well-known Jewish activist and patriot from Israel.”

One of “Belamud’s” articles, “Shame to Ukrainophobes,” was previously published in the official newspaper of the OUN-B—the Banderite faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, which Borec was a member of. The other Belamud piece practically began, “Is racial discrimination practiced in Israel? If so, then against one national group only — the Ukrainians.”

There is much more to say about this monstrous book, but let’s skip to the appendix. Part B (“They Dare to Speak Out”) is written by John Bennett, then a major Holocaust denier in Australia. “Holocaust propaganda is so effective in brainwashing people,” Bennett bemoaned in the pages of Borec’s book, “that revisionist historians who claim there was no plan to exterminate Jews, there were no mass gassings and that fewer than 1 million Jews died of all causes during WWII are persecuted, and their books banned by trade boycott.”

Jonas Petras Kedys, a Lithuanian nationalist and editor of the Sydney-based News Digest-International, wrote Part C of the appendix. On the last page or back cover of the book is an advertisement for the News Digest-International, letting readers know this is just the thing for you if you want to learn about “Trotsky’s secret trip by sea from New York to Russia with about 260 Zionists—the future rulers of Russia,” as well as “who is behind the ‘Nazi hunt’ campaign.”

According to one historian, Kedys’ quarterly journal, published by “a group of right-wing Baltic migrants,” was a “significant source of Australian anti-semitism.” They were apparently associated with the Australian branch of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), chaired for life by OUN-B leader Yaroslav Stetsko.

The ABN has been aptly described as the “largest and most important umbrella for former Nazi collaborators in the world.” The News Digest-International boasted of its alleged “contacts with the underground publications behind the Iron Curtain,” and J.P. Kedys was a member of ABN-Australia’s Central Committee, or “Central Delegacy.”

1970—The framed portrait in the middle is of UPA commander Roman Shukhevych. News Digest-International editor J.P. Kedys is sitting on the right. It’s likely this meeting took place at the OUN-B affiliated youth center that Borec helped build in Lidcombe, a suburb in western Sydney.

One last thing before we get back to Borec—sitting on the left in the above picture is his friend Yuri Mencinsky, who translated several of the Ukrainian contributions to Why is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others?

In early 2020, the Australian and New South Wales leadership bodies of the OUN-B signed a statement distributed to members of the Sydney branch of the OUN-B affiliated Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) announcing the death of Mencinsky, “one of the longest standing members of CYM Sydney.”

Mencinsky joined the OUN-B a few years after CYM, opening various doors such as in 1969, when Mencinsky served as the presiding officer at a “First International Youth Conference” in Manila organized with the goal of establishing an anticommunist “World Youth Corps.” The event began with a speech by Filipino president and soon to be dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

According to a computer-generated (i.e. imperfect) translation, in 2019, the year before he died, Yuri Mencinsky told the OUN-B’s Kyiv-based Ukrainian Information Service, “I am currently an adviser to the OUN Field Leader [of Australia] on foreign affairs. I participate in a discussion group of prominent figures from the United States, Canada, Ukraine and Australia, where we analyze the policy of modern Ukraine…” In 2006, Mencinsky’s son became the treasurer of CYM-Australia and eulogized his “close friend” Mr. Borec:

Even though he was short of stature, Yuri Borets-Chumak [i.e. George Borec] will be remembered here [in Australia] and in his beloved Ukraine as a giant.

When George Borec died, the Penrith Press described him as a “visionary developer” and a “humble man who shaped [the] city.” (In nearby Lidcombe, he financed the construction of an OUN-B affiliated youth center.)

Penrith Mayor Pat Sheehy said Mr. Borec formerly from the Ukraine and a proud Australian citizen for 50 years had a deep passion for Penrith. “George’s passion led him to have a vision for Penrith that was ahead of its time,” Cr Sheehy said. “While Penrith was still a large country town and before it was the vibrant regional city that it is today, George was talking about the need to buy and develop industrial land in the city. Many parcels of land in the city reflect his handiwork… Council and George didn’t always see eye-to-eye and he certainly kept us on our toes, but the interest of Penrith were at the forefront of his mind and humour always in his heart,” Cr Sheehy said… “It’s the end of an era…”

Last November, the Australian leadership of the OUN-B publicly wished a happy 95th birthday to Borec’s wife Tatiana, “one of the oldest members of the OUN in Australia.” The OUN-B’s most visible representative in Kyiv, the editor of its official newspaper, also dedicated a Facebook post to her. George and Tatiana Borec married in Bavaria in February 1949 before emigrating to Australia. Was her husband a Nazi collaborator, a war criminal, and/or a Holocaust perpetrator?

George Borec joined the fascist, pro-Nazi OUN in 1939. In the years to come, he sided with the more radical faction led by Stepan Bandera (OUN-B) and joined its Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in 1943, the year of its formation. In 1941-42, members of the OUN-B infiltrated Nazi auxiliary police units that served at the front lines of the “Holocaust by Bullets” and later defected to the UPA, which waged a massive ethnic cleansing campaign against Poles in 1943-44.

The “Banderite” UPA, launched after the German surrender at Stalingrad, was ostensibly anti-Nazi but secretly reconciled with Berlin in 1944. It sounds like Borec may have had things to hide. On page 12 of Why is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others, he insisted, “catching ‘Nazi war criminals’ is a most dangerous Trojan Horse for the Western world — a Trojan Horse prepared in Moscow by a large propaganda apparatus.”

In the decades since World War II ended, the OUN-B has created a rather large propaganda apparatus of its own, and Borec contributed to that, starting with nationalist novels based on his wartime experiences. As told by Yuri Mencinsky, after the Soviet Union collapsed and Ukraine became independent, Borec “launched himself as a film producer.”

Borec eventually partnered with Oles Yanchuk, a Ukrainian filmmaker associated with the OUN-B, to make a movie based on a book Borec wrote in the 1990s about his years in the UPA. In an introductory “Word to the Reader” in the new edition of the book, published in 2004 to coincide with the release of the film, an elderly Borec made repeated references to Jews controlling the media and doing Moscow’s bidding after World War II ended to besmirch the OUN-UPA.

The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) declared George Borec and Oles Yanchuk’s movie, “The Company of Heroes” (Zalizna Sotnia), “a great-hit with movie-goers” after it premiered in Ukraine. On behalf of Australian Ukrainians, longtime AFUO president Stefan Romaniw joined Yanchuk, the director and executive producer, and Borec, the senior producer, on stage following the film’s first screening in the city of Ivano-Frankivsk.

In 2009, Stefan Romaniw became the international leader of the OUN-B, which he had led in Australia since 1989, three years after the publication of Why is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others?

Speaking to the audience, Romaniw outlined the AFUO’s plans to distribute the film in Ukraine, including on TV and in schools, and to lobby the Ukrainian government to support this. The Australian OUN-B leader later described the nationalist propaganda movie as “grass roots level rebuilding Ukraine.” Borec would be proud to know how far Ukraine’s “Banderization” has come in the 15 years since he died.

“The Company of Heroes” depicts the OUN-UPA as a valiant anti-Nazi resistance force, echoing the distorted description of Stepan Bandera that George Borec apparently gave the city council of Penrith, Australia long ago. At some point, the spelling of Bandera Road was inexplicably changed to “Banderra.”

It doesn’t quite make sense why someone would add an extra “R” if it had anything to do with objecting to the road’s namesake being a fascist war criminal, unless perhaps somebody wanted to quietly obscure the nod to Bandera and stave off a local scandal. In that case, there wasn’t much of a cover-up. This is the entry for “Banderra Road” in an official history of street names that can be found in the Penrith City Library:

Named by Mr. Borec after a Revolutionary fighter in his native Ukraine. Banderra [sic] was jailed in Germany for many years and eventually put to death in 1959.

Stepan Bandera, in fact, was held captive for just a few years by the Nazis as a privileged political prisoner—they released him in 1944. He spent the rest of his days living in Bavaria, supported by ex-Nazis in the West German government, until a KGB agent assassinated him in Munich. The KGB tried to pin the blame on West Germany, so it’s ironic that if somebody in Penrith tried to learn more about Banderra Road, they might come to think it was named for an anti-Nazi freedom fighter executed by the Germans.

In early 2011, approaching five years after the death of George Borec and on the eve of his 89th birthday, friends and family held a memorial in his honor. Jaroslav Duma spoke on behalf of the OUN-B leadership in Australia. In 2017, Duma was appointed the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Sydney.

In the meantime, the Australian branch of the Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) didn’t allow Mr. Borec to be forgotten, who financed the construction of its original youth center in Lidcombe. Sydney-area Ukrainian nationalists affiliated with the OUN-B honored him during a 2013 event dedicated to the UPA. A young Australian girl, likely too young to remember him, or in any case to know who he really was, dictated a brief story of George Borec’s life, undoubtedly describing him as a great hero of Ukraine. He had arrived to Banderite Diaspora Valhalla.

Ukrainian Youth Centre, Lidcombe, Australia—left to right: Stepan Bandera, Yevhen Konovalets, Symon Petliura, Roman Shukhevych, Yaroslav Stetsko

Today in Lidcombe, a suburb of western Sydney just east of Penrith, CYM has since relocated to a newer building. Upon walking into the front entrance, one is immediately greeted by the above framed portraits of OUN leaders, in addition to Symon Petliura, a World War I-era leader whose military forces carried out pogroms against Jews.

To the right of Petliura is Roman Shukhevych. Before commanding the UPA, Shukhevych served as the captain of a German auxiliary police battalion that certainly massacred Jews.

On the far-right is lifelong ABN chairman Yaroslav Stetsko, who prided Ukrainians as pioneers of antisemitism in 1939, declared his allegiance with Hitler in 1941, and began to agitate for World War III no later than 1946. The OUN-B youth center named its boardroom for Stetsko.

This is the legacy of Banderites like George Borec: shameless historical manipulation, blatant youth indoctrination, and hateful, unapologetic ultranationalism. One of the last things Yaroslav Stetsko wrote was an article titled “Double Standard,” for the OUN-B’s newspaper, then printed in Munich.

“Everywhere two standards!” declared the dying war criminal. Yuri Mencinsky translated Stetsko’s article into English for George Borec as the last chapter of Why Is One Holocaust Worth More Than Others? “Is it not possible, using today’s terminology,” Stetsko asked, nearly on his death bed, “to view the West as collaborators of Hitler’s Germany?”

Now let us turn to the sacrificial lambs of the [Simon] Wiesenthals and other anti-Ukrainian Jewish and non-Jewish defamers. Let us lay to rest the canard, that the Hebrew people are being blamed by us for anything… Ukraine and Ukrainians are fair game to defame, but to answer back with home truths is not allowed — Verboten… When will the Kremlin “sub-humans” stand trial for Vinnytsia, Katyn, or the Ukrainian Artificial Famine of 1932-33? Is Wiesenthal going to chase Kaganovich or Yagoda or the covert KGB assassins in the West? Strange! Is it “something else?” But maybe it is the same “Mafia,” the same crew?

The UPA veterans of Australia published Borec’s extremely antisemitic book in the months after Yaroslav Stetsko died. At his funeral in Munich, up and coming OUN-B leader Stefan Romaniw of Melbourne, Australia spoke on behalf of Ukrainian nationalist youth from around the world. “Standing at your graveside,” he said, “we make this sacred promise. You, our unforgettable friend, are leaving behind people of the younger generation who aspire to accomplish your unfulfilled earthly mission. I bid you farewell, our dear Leader…”

Today in Australia, an abhorrent legacy marches on. . .