b. 12 December, 1890, Drohobych county, Halychyna, d. 1 November, 1964, Koln, Germany

Melnyk was a military and political figure. He was one of the most important leaders of the Ukrainian independence struggle between the wars, and after WWII. After studying in Vienna, he volunteered for the Legion of Ukrainian Sich Riflemen. In 1916 he was taken prisoner by Russian forces, and while interned became a close associate of Yevhen Konovalets. In January 1919 he became chief of staff of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic.

In 1922, Melnyk took over home command of the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO). He was arrested in 1924 and sentenced to five years’ in prison for his UVO activities. He was released in 1928 and was head of the Orly Catholic Association of Ukrainian Youth from 1933-38, and continued his underground nationalist activity in Halychyna. After Konovalets was assassinated in 1938, Melnyk went abroad and assumed leadership of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

Although the Second Grand Assembly of OUN in Rome ratified his position as leader in August 1939, he did not retain the loyalty of the entire membership of OUN, and in 1940, the radical faction, led by Stepan Bandera, split from OUN. Thus, OUN split into two groups – OUN-Melnyk (OUN-M), and OUN-Bandera, (OUN-B).

After Germany’s invasion of the USSR, Melnyk was kept under house arrest by the Germans, and was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp in 1944. During his imprisonment, Melnyk’s deputy, Oleh Olzhych, oversaw the activities of OUN-M on Ukrainian soil.

In 1942, Melnyk, along with several other leading Ukrainian figures, sent a memorandum to Hitler that demanded an end to German destruction of Ukrainian territories. This won Melnyk the further enmity of the Germans.

After the War, Melnyk worked to consolidate the Ukrainian political community in the West. He was active in the formation of the Ukrainian Coordinating Committee in 1946 and the Ukrainian National Council in 1947. He also proposed the founding of a world congress of Ukrainians in 1957; this idea was realized in 1967 with the founding of the World Congress of Free Ukrainians. Melnyk also wrote numerous historical articles on the struggle for Ukrainian independence. He died in 1964.