History Podcasts

Did Austrian chief of staff Franz Riml say that the only way to correct the Russophile Ukrainians is to exterminate them?

Did Austrian chief of staff Franz Riml say that the only way to correct the Russophile Ukrainians is to exterminate them?

Several Russian pages claim that Austrian general Franz Riml von Altrosenburg said the following:

Galician Russians can be divided in two groups: a) Russophiles and b) Ukrainophiles.

If it is at all possible, the only way to correct Russians is by applying means of unprotected terror. In my opinion, all Russophiles are radicals and must be exterminated without mercy.

Original Russian text:

"Галицийские русские разделяются на две группы: а) русофилов и б) украинофилов. Если вообще можно русских исправить, то это возможно единственно при применении средств беззащитного террора. Мое мнение, что все русофилы являются радикалами и их следует беспощадно уничтожать".

This quote is mentioned quite widely in Russian search engine Yandex (5 pages of search results if you enter that quote).

According to Wikipedia (German) Franz Riml was indeed chief of staff in Lemberg and had the rank of a colonel.

Did Franz Riml actually said that Russophies must be exterminated?

If yes, please provide source information.

Update 1: Found some references to documents containing Riml's statement in Lemberg, Lwow, and Lviv 1914-1947: Violence and Ethnicity in a Contested City by Christopher Mick (see yellow highlights in the image below):

Yes, he did

As @LangLangC wrote in a comment, the relevant document is available at the Austrian State Archive (Nottendorfer Gasse 2, 1030 Wien) under the numberÖStA AVA MdI Präs. 19/3. Zl. 17256/15. The staff will give you a folder, slightly bigger than A4 that looks like this:

(click images for higher resolution)

Inside this folder there are multiple handwritten and typed documents, including the "Report on impressions and perceptions after reconquest of Lemberg by major general Riml, 1915" (Bericht über Eindrücke und Wahrnehmungen nach der Wiedereroberung Lembergs v. Gm. Riml). Its cover looks like this (note the red handwritten text17256/15in the upper right corner):

The statements we are looking for are located on pages 15 and 16 of this document.

Page 15:

Page 16:

Here are the relevant fragments of the original German text.

Page 15

b) Ruthenen

Zerfallen im Großen in 2 Gruppen:

1) Moskalophile (Staatsfeindliche und Hochverräter)

2) Ukrainer (Österreicher)

b) Ruthenians Can largely be split up into 2 groups:
1) Moscowphiles (subversives/enemies of the state and high traitors)
2) Ukrainians (Austrians)

Page 16

Daß die Russophilen Hochverräter sind, bedarf hienach wohl keiner weiteren Erörterung; diese müßten ekrasiert und hiezu kein Mittel gescheut werden. Wenn die Russophilen [… ] überhaupt zu bekehren sind, so nur durch rücksichtsloseste Strenge.

Die öfters zum Ausdruck gebrachten Ansichten über "gemäßigt russophile" Parteien oder Personen gehören in das Land der Märchen.

Meiner Ansicht nach sind alle Russophilen radikal und müßten ausnahmslos unbarmherzig verfolgt werden.

That the Russophiles are traitors does not need any further discussion; they should be pruned and no means should be spared for this. If the Russophiles [… ] can be converted at all, then only by the most ruthless severity.
The views often expressed about "moderate Russophile" parties or persons belong in the land of fairy tales.
In my opinion, all Russophiles are radicals and should be mercilessly persecuted without exception.

Watch the video: Why Ukrainians speak Russian Honest History. Episode 2 (January 2022).