In 1986 the UCRDC initiated a major project to create a documentary film about Ukraine in World War II. With the independence of Ukraine in 1991 it became possible to include new research and information that has become available in recent years. The Centre chose Slavko Nowytski, the award-winning director of the film Harvest of Despair, to serve as producer-director of this film. He has directed and produced such films as Sheep in Wood, Pysanka, and a film about Ukrainian Canadians: Reflections of the Past. In 1996 a contract was completed and the plan for the film’s production and release early in 1998 was established.
The film, Ukraine in World War II, will portray the titanic struggle which took place on the territory of Ukraine between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia. The destructive scorched earth policy of both totalitarian powers, the Ukrainian guerilla armies and the people fighting both the Nazi and the Soviet Armies for Ukrainian independence, the 2.3 million Ukrainian slave labourers (Ostarbeiters) taken to Germany, the terror and executions of innocent people and finally the loss of an estimated 8 to 10 million Ukrainians — will all be part of this tragic story of Ukraine in World War II.
The UCRDC Archives, with over 800 video and audio interviews, is providing eyewitness documentary material for the film. Experts have been already interviewed, including Norman Davies of the University of London and author of Europe: A History, John Armstrong, author of Ukrainian Nationalism, Robert Conquest of Stanford University, author of The Harvest of Sorrow and The Great Terror, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Foreign Policy Advisor to the U.S. President. Material on the tragedy of the Jews including the testimony of Ukrainians who saved Jews from the Nazi terror will be part of the film. Photos and documents have been obtained from the Museum of World War II in Kyiv. Rare film footage and significant photos relating to the war have been collected for the film.
It is planned to have the film available in both English and Ukrainian and it will be translated into other languages such as, French, Spanish and Russian. It is expected that — just as the previous UCRDC film Harvest of Despair – the documentary filmUkraine in World War II will reach an audience of millions of people around the world. Sponsors and major donors to the film will be included in its credits.