From Surviving Lienz:
A little-known story of betrayal and treachery during Operation Keelhaul at the end of WWII will be revealed to Canadians by Professor Doctor Harald Stadler and author Anthony Schlega. They will be visiting several Canadian cities from May 4–16, 2009 to raise awareness of this shameful historical event, and funds for a memorial at the site of the massacre in Lienz, Austria.
Sunday, May 10 – 6pm Holy at Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Winnipeg, MB
Monday, May 11 – 6pm at Mohyla Institute in Saskatoon, SK
Friday, May 15 – 6pm at Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Elia in Edmonton
The Lienz Cossacks were ‘white Russians’ who’d fought bitterly against communism and the rise of the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution. During the Second World War, when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the Lienz Cossacks sided with the Nazis in order to try the topple the communist regime and bring ‘freedom’ to their country.
The Lienz Cossacks who’d fought with the Germans were rounded up by the British. It was up to the United Kingdom to decide what to do with them.
Because of the brutality of the Cossack soldiers, who had murdered and raped their way along with the SS and the German army, the British wanted nothing to do with them and ‘repatriated’ these ‘Russians’ to the Soviet Union, where they ‘belonged.’
Trains and trucks were pulled up and Cossack soldiers were forced into them. As were their wives, families and children – many of whom were not even Russian, having been born in the years after the Lienz Cossacks had left Russia.
The Cossacks didn’t go willingly. British troops had to beat them into submission with billy clubs and rifle-butts. Eventually, almost 35,000 Cossacks were transported to their ‘mother country’ where the Soviets ‘welcomed’ them.
The vast majority of them were sent immediately to labor camps in Siberia, which were little better than the death camps the Nazis had built. Almost all of the Lienz Cossacks ‘repatriated’ back to Russia died in brutal suffering.
The ‘lucky’ ones didn’t even make it that far. Because many of the Cossacks weren’t born in Russia (their parents had left following the Russian Revolution) they were unable to be tried for treason as Soviet Citizens. Therefore the Red Army saved themselves the hassle of a military trial and executed them on the spot, with a bullet through the brains.
Read more about it at Militant Ginger – British Betrayal
Update: Nash Holos blogged about their first stop in Vancouver last week.