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Who was Jarosława Bandera and what it was like to be the wife of a nationalist who was feared in the USSR even after his death. Photo

Stepan Bandera was married only once

The deologue of the Ukrainian nationalist movement, Stepan Bandera , has become a nightmare for many of Ukraine's enemies, who are still afraid to mention him to this day, and during the Soviet Union did everything possible to demonize the patriot. One can read about his political activities and influence on the development of Ukrainians in history textbooks and watch biographical films, but very little is known about the heartfelt experiences of the national hero.

It is believed that there were three women in Stepan Bandera's life, but he married only one of them, Jarosława Opariwśka. OBOZ.UA decided to find out what is known about the revolutionary's family.

According to some sources, Jarosława grew up in the Eastern Lemkivshchyna in the town of Syianok. She was an educated girl with pro-Ukrainian views, although they could not be called safe at the time.

In 1936, the Ukrainian graduated from the Emilia Plater Women's Gymnasium in Syianok, after which she entered Lviv Polytechnic, Faculty of Agronomy, from which Stepan Bandera himself had graduated two years earlier. Although geographically they were in the same region, the future lovers met in Krakow.

Who was Jarosława  Bandera and what it was like to be the wife of a nationalist who was feared in the USSR even after his death. Photo

In 1940, Stepan Bandera organized a congress of Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists activists in the Polish city of Warsaw, and there he married Yaroslava in the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

For a while, passion took over the nationalist's thoughts, so he retired from his activities to spend a few weeks with his bride on a honeymoon trip and hide from the pursuit of Soviet spies.

Who was Jarosława  Bandera and what it was like to be the wife of a nationalist who was feared in the USSR even after his death. Photo

It is said that Jarosława's life with her husband was difficult and mostly consisted of underground activities, persecution, fear for herself and her beloved, emigration, and waiting for him to return from prison. Two years after the wedding, as soon as the couple gave birth to their first daughter, Natalia, Stepan Bandera was arrested by the Germans and imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Jarosława Bandera suspected that in order to influence her husband, the enemies might persecute his beloved and daughter, so she escaped and hid in her mother's house.

Almost four years passed in fear and anticipation until the Ukrainian was released. The family spent the next period of their lives in Germany. Two more of their children, Andrii and Lesia, were born in Munich. They grew up believing that their father was a journalist named Stefan Popel.

Who was Jarosława  Bandera and what it was like to be the wife of a nationalist who was feared in the USSR even after his death. Photo

The couple's relatively quiet life lasted until Stepan Bandera's assassination in 1959. At that time, Jarosława and her children were forced to emigrate to Toronto, where she lived out her life.

Before Jarosława, the Ukrainian nationalist had romantic feelings for Yulia Yakymovych and Anna Chemerinska. Nothing is known about his relationship with the former or the reason for their breakup. Perhaps it was this careful secrecy that allowed the girl to survive.

Chemerinska ignored Bandera's advances because she fell in love with another Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists  activist, Yaroslav Baranovsky, who was killed later

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