The authors sought to demonstrate the scale of the catastrophe that Ukrainians went through during World War II, besides incurring combat losses. The project was released on the 80th anniversary of the start of the Nazi occupation of Ukraine.
Ukraine, with its territory partitioned among a number of states before the war began, was one of the nations most affected by the war.
For Ukrainians, World War II started in March 1939, with the protection of Carpathian Ukraine, and ended in the 1950s, following the famine, massive repressions, and deportations in Soviet Ukraine.
Researchers still debate the scale of Ukraine’s human losses in the war, and the project by Texty.org.ua should not be seen as an attempt to end the discussion, the authors say. Some of the numbers have differing interpretations, some were long known, some will be clarified, while others will remain unknowable.
The fronts crossed Ukraine twice, ravaging everything in their pass. Also, OUN (Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) and UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) fought an independence war against the Nazi and the communists. Besides those battles and the Nazi occupation, there were also arrests, executions, and forced resettlement by the Soviets before, throughout, and after the war.
The project authors structured and visualized the data on Ukraine’s human and material losses in World War II, also illustrative of the life under the occupation. To mine the data, the authors went through 14 research works by Ukrainian historians, they also worked with a renowned Ukrainian historian Yuriy Shapoval.
Some of the data were digitalized for the first time ever, like the data visualized through interactive maps showing nearly 600 villages burnt mostly in the North and in the West, and over 700 camps and ghettos set up all across Ukraine by the Nazi.
The data journalism project “Occupation. Losses of Ukraine during World War II caused by the Nazi and the communists” is available in English at the link.