The small, thin man introduces himself simply as "Stetsko, prime minister of Ukraine."

Nearly 40 years ago, at age 28, Yaroslav Stetsko and other members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists seized Lviv, then capital of Ukraine, from the Soviets, and convened a national assembly. The assembly appointed Stetsko prime minister of the new independent government. But on the day he took office he knew what awaited him. Two weeks later, because of his lack of cooperation with Hitler, he says, the Germans arrested him and put him in Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

Stetsko spent the next three years in "the bunker" -- the prison he says the Germans reserved for "the serious cases." Slowly and carefully, he describes the solitary confinement, the physical and mental torture. "I was alone with only my spirit telling me to continue," he says, shaking his head. "I couldn't give up no matter what happened to me."

The prime minister and his wife, Slava, were in Washington last week for the 23rd observance of Captive Nations Week, celebrating the 40th anniversary of renewed Ukrainian statehood. "It is something so important to us," says Slava Stetsko, who was imprisoned for nine months by the Nazis. "We have dedicated our total selves to our country."

They return to stories of the war, their voices at times shaking with emotion. In the concentration camp, Stetsko says he refused to resign his office even when he knew that 65 of the 70 prisoners in that camp had died. He couldn't give up, he explains, his troops were still fighting for Ukrainian freedom.

Once the war was over, he says, "The one thing in my mind was to conquer that Communist empire."

In 1946 he became president of the anti-Bolshevist Bloc of Nations, and still holds the office. Today 33 subjugated countries, including Poland, Lithuania and Afghanistan, belong to the group. He is also head of the Ukrainian Liberation Movement.

His involvement in these organizations, he says, has placed him in danger. In 1959, the man who admitted to the murder of Stefan Bandera, Stetsko's friend and chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, said he was about to assassinate Stetsko in Munich, which is his home.

"There is always someone on our heels," says Slava. "We have to travel in such secrecy. We cannot live openly. We cannot live secure lives because of what we believe."

They travel widely, visiting Ukrainian emigrants and gathering moral and political support. When the Ukrainian nationalist army "was completely crushed" in 1951 by the Soviets, Stetsko says the country was defeated only physically. "It was not a moral defeat," he insists. "We can't be squashed. We are fighting for the great ideal -- the liquidation of the Soviet supremacy."

He sighs deeply. For a moment, the 68-year-old man's eyes sadden. He picks up a copy of the speech he gave to members of Congress at a luncheon. Suddenly, his energy returns. "Synchronized national liberation revolutions within the Russian colonial empire are the only alternative," he reads aloud with power in his words. "Soviet Russia has skillfully exploited western fear of nuclear war by blackmailing the West into meekly acquiescing to ever-increasing coquests."

Another pause. He has faith that the youth of subjugated countries will carry on this war against communism. "In our country, the younger generation has found strength in the graves of our heroes," says Slava. "They take pride in our great historical past."

The Stetskos do not have children. "We have put all of our strength to Ukraine," the woman says, fingering the gold cross around her neck.

"I have given everything," her husband adds, "and I will continue to fight until my death."