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The bleeding land of Volhynia – Hell on Earth


The Genocide of the Polish Population in Volhynia Conducted by the Ukrainian Nationalists 1939-1945
ScreenHunter_2648 Jul. 10 15.19ScreenHunter_2652 Jul. 10 15.48
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ScreenHunter_2647 Jul. 10 14.50

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Wolyn 43

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Anna Cichobłazinska talks to Ewa Siemaszko, the author
of the publication about the massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern
Galicia conducted by the Ukrainian nationalists.
Anna Cichobłazinska: – Could you outline the
historical background of the Polish-Ukrainian conflict, which was the
basis of the massacres of Poles conducted by the Ukrainians during World
War II?
Ewa Siemaszko: – Such an outline should begin
from the turn of the 19th and the 20th centuries when the Ukrainian
national awareness was formed and at the same time among the
intellectual Ukrainian elite, mainly in the territory of the Polish
Commonwealth under the Austrian partition, there were increasing desires
to create a Ukrainian state. The First World War was an occasion to
gain independence by Poland and the Ukraine. The Polish people thought
about returning to the borders before the partitions whereas the
Ukrainian elites living in these lands desired to have their own
country. The military clash of the Polish and Ukrainian aspirations for
independence happened in the years 1918-19 in the territory of Eastern
Galicia, especially in the fights of Lvov, during which the Galician
Ukrainians were defeated. Poland did not only maintain Galicia but also
defended herself against the Bolsheviks’ onslaught in 1920, the
consequences being the peace treaty with the USRR and USRS in Riga. Thus
Volhynia and Eastern Galicia – the territories where Poles and
Ukrainians had lived together for several centuries – were granted to
Poland. The Ukrainian circles having independence ambition could not
accept this situation and they organised themselves in anti-Polish
organisations, which exerted considerable influence on the Ukrainian
society: the Ukrainian Military Organisation (UWO) in the years 1920-29
and from 1929 the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In the
inter-war period both organisations conducted terrorist anti-state
activities, i.e. sabotage, diversions, assassinations and anti-Polish
agitation, especially conducted by the OUN. The anti-Polish activities
were fought back by the Polish state, which having regained independence
after 123 years of captivity, cared for preserving territorial
integrity and its state of possession, and these activities evoked
dissatisfaction of the Ukrainian masses and an increase in the
popularity of the OUN. The conflict of the Ukrainian and Polish
interests, which could not be overcome at that time, need not have led
to the massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Galicia in the years 1943-46.
The main reason for the massacre was the extremely fascist doctrine of
Ukrainian nationalism of Dmytro Doncov, which the UON accepted as its
ideology. To realise its national aims this ideology presumed using
ruthlessness, fanaticism, hatred, the so-called creative violence, which
was connected with the UON concept of the Ukrainian state as a
homogenous country as far as the ethnic aspect was concerned. An example
of the vision of the future country without any ethnic groups was the
appeal of the Great Assembly of the Ukrainian Nationalists in August
1939, which postulated, ‘Ukraine for Ukrainians! Do not leave an inch of
Ukrainian land in the hands of the enemies and aliens!’ Therefore, the
OUN decided to struggle for the Ukrainian state by ruthless and
merciless cleansing of non-Ukrainians, first of all the Polish
population, from the territory of their future country, not excluding
massacres of Poles. The OUN regarded World War II as a historical
occasion to realise their desire and the first wave of crimes against
the Polish population, conducted by both the Ukrainian nationalists and
communists, rolled over in September 1939. The so-called Soviet order
imposed after the invasion of the Soviet Union against Poland on 17
September stopped the massacres of Poles by the Ukrainians. The invasion
of Germany against the Soviet Union in June 1941 was used by the OUN,
which had actually collaborated with the Nazi Germany since 1933, to
proclaim the Ukrainian state in Lvov, which was immediately annulled by
the German authorities. Nevertheless, under the German occupation the
situation favoured the OUN: the Germans tolerated the anti-Polish
actions of the Ukrainians. So, commencing with June 1941 the OUN made
intensive efforts among the Ukrainian society to evoke hatred towards
the Polish neighbours with whom they had had proper relationships
earlier and they tried to convince the Ukrainians that Poles had to be
annihilated. That happened at the beginning of 1943 when the OUN created
the so-called Ukrainian Insurgent Army.
– The peak of the massacres of Poles in Volhynia took
place in July and August 1943. The Sunday of 11 July became a symbol of
the genocide in these territories but actually the massacre of the
Polish population had lasted for several months and ended much later
after that date…
– The first alarming attacks took place in Volhynia
in 1942, especially in the second half of the year. The victims were
individuals and families. Most likely it was a kind of test to the
Polish reaction, checking whether the Poles living there had some
organised defence. Mass massacres happened from the beginning of 1943.
In the first big attack on 9 February 1943 the Polish settlement of
Porosle in Sarny county was completely exterminated. Then 150 people
were killed. Two northern-eastern counties of Kostopol and Sarny were
seized with terror and from April the attacks spread to the remaining
eastern counties, in June the central county of Lutsk was included. The
pick of the massacres took place in July. The OUN-UPA attacked the
Polish population in the western districts, which had remained quiet, of
Horochow and Wlodzimierz Wolynski, part of Kowel county, and some
attacks happened in smaller areas of the remaining counties. 11 July is
the symbolic date of the genocide of the Polish population in Volhynia.
All anniversary celebrations focus on that day because it was exactly on
that day (it was Sunday) that the OUN-UPA attacked ca. 100 Polish
settlements at the same time. What was characteristic was that they
attacked believers in their churches in Kisielin, Poryck, Chrynow,
Zablocce and a chapel in Krymno. Three priests were killed in these
attacks. But these parishes do not end the list of the sanctuaries where
the faithful were killed. There were also assaults on other days and
furthermore, dozens of churches and chapels were destroyed and burnt.
And the attackers were Christians… In August there was another wave of
massacres in the western counties and selected regions of other
counties, where a similar number of Poles was killed. At that time the
Volhynia massacres began in the whole territory of Eastern Galicia,
where at first, as in Volhynia, there were few attacks, but from the
beginning of 1944 mass attacks were organised. At the beginning of 1940
the villages in Volhynia were practically cleansed of Poles and in 1945,
where the remaining Poles were expatriated from Volhynia, still several
dozen people were killed. The time of the massacre in Eastern Galicia
was moved for one year as compared with Volhynia. There the year 1944
took the heaviest toll of lives and the massacres occurred until the end
of the repatriation in 1946.
Why do both the Ukrainian and Polish states avoid
using the term ‘genocide’ to describe the crimes against the Polish
population conducted by the Ukrainian nationalists?
– The Ukrainian state is not only going to
acknowledge the Volhynia-Galician massacres as genocide (moreover, they
‘will never acknowledge’, as the known Ukrainian historian Ihor Iliuszyn
said to Poles on the Polish Television last July, on the occasion of
the 65th anniversary of the massacres in Volhynia) but also the massacre
is not a problem for Ukraine at all, apart from the fact that Poles did
not manage to make some forms of commemoration at the sites of the mass
graves in Volhynia and Galicia and that in Poland the crimes of OUN-UPA
were discussed to the least extent. The glorification of the UPA, its
‘rehabilitation’ – the activities coming from Volhynia and Galicia, i.e.
the areas where the UPA originated and conducted its activities and
where one can see an increasing Ukrainian nationalism – are to
constitute the anti-Soviet historical tradition, i.e. own Ukrainian
tradition, on which the national-state identity would be built. These
actions are supported by false publications, teaching in schools,
celebrations to commemorate the OUN-UPA and their commanders, erecting
monuments to them, and all of that is being done under the patronage of
President Yushchenko. In this situation acknowledging that OUN-UPA
committed the crime of genocide would seriously violate the heroic image
of these organisations, their activists and members. In turn, Polish
politicians seem to think that meeting the expectations of the Ukrainian
nationalists, which they wrongly treat as the expectations of the whole
Ukraine, when in eastern Ukraine there are more opponents of the UPA
than its sympathizers, is to oppose a repeated subordination on Russia,
favouring Ukraine to keep her independence. This conception lacks logics
since supporting the Ukrainian nationalists who are ‘contaminated’ by
the anti-Polish bug and at the same time they are strongly anti-Russian,
i.e. do not incline to return to the situation before 1991, can be
harmful to Poland in some longer perspective.
Both this year and last year the representatives of
the government and Parliament avoid participating in the official
celebrations and conferences on this genocide in Volhynia. Can closing
our eyes to these crimes really help the Polish-Ukrainian relationships?
Or can it only postpone the problem? Will the ghosts of the dead speak
up for the truth? Will those who survived the massacres and their
families, dispersed all over world, live to see to be treated with
respect?
– These behaviours are not only expressions of the
false conception not to ‘irritate’ Ukraine but also expressions of the
intellectual, moral and personality weakness of our politicians, which
shows the weakness of the country. Since the absence of the President,
representatives of the government and of the Parliament in the
celebrations resulted from the intervention of the Ukrainian Embassy and
Ukrainian environments. Thus our authorities have shown that they could
be subordinate to an alien state. And one should see that as a
dangerous phenomenon. Closing our eyes does not eliminate the problem.
It will return. Downplaying the massacre means accepting evil and
accepted evil causes next evil. One should remember of the obligations
of the state as far as the victims and their families are concerned. The
state officials do not fulfil these obligations. The genocide of the
Polish citizens, members of the nation that has their state, is treated
worse than the victims of natural cataclysms.
Historians still argue about the number of the
victims of the massacre in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. What was the
scale of the extermination of the Polish population in these territories
according to your research?
– In Volhynia ca. 60,000 Polish people were murdered
whereas in Eastern Galicia, i.e. in the territories of three southern
voivodships: Lvov, Stanislawow and Tarnopol, ca. 70,000 Poles,
altogether ca. 130,000. These numbers are the sums of documented and
estimated numbers, i.e. resulting from analysing the events and
estimating the possible victims. Several dozen years after the crime one
cannot settle its scale with all certainty, and especially the personal
data of the victims. That’s why, one can expect some corrections.
What do you think of honouring those Ukrainians
that protected the Polish population against death in Volhynia and the
Southern-Eastern Territories (the so-called Kresy)?
– This is a right initiative. Many people living in
these territories feel grateful to the Ukrainians who contributed to
their rescue and want to honour them properly. A suitable gesture would
be to establish some medal or award. However, that involves many
problems. One should notice that the majority of ‘righteous’ Ukrainians
is not known by name. Moreover, the ‘righteous Ukrainians’ are dead,
considering that they were old then, and those who showed courage and
felt moral obligation to save their Polish neighbours, belonged to this
social group. Their descendants are alive but the question arises
whether they would be pleased to receive such a distinction, which would
juxtapose the official myth of the heroic OUN-UPA promoted by the
Ukrainian country… In the light of the ideology and practice of these
formations those who saved Poles were treated as traitors, some paid the
price of life for this ‘treason’. And that’s why, today in Volhynia and
Galicia one can meet Ukrainians who are afraid of speaking about the
massacres of Poles, afraid of showing where the destroyed Polish
settlement and graves were. Those living in the Eastern territory
include inscriptions commemorating all the Ukrainians, without
mentioning their names, who saved the Poles, on the tablets and
monuments if this is possible. Other suitable forms of remembrance are
descriptions of the cases of Ukrainian help offered to Poles in all
publications concerning the genocide in the Kresy and even the special
study ‘Kresowa ksiega sprawiedliwych’ [The Kresowa Book of the
Righteous] written by Romuald Niedzielka and published by the Institute
of National Remembrance.

Ewa Siemaszko

The author of works on the genocide of the Polish population
conducted by the Ukrainians during World War II; co-author of the
exhibitions ‘Zbrodnie NKWD na Kresach wschodnich II RP, czerwiec –
lipiec 1941’ [The Crimes of the NKWD in the Eastern Territories of the
Second Polish Republic, June – July 1941] and ‘Wolyn naszych przodkow.
Sladami zycia – czas zaglady’ [Volhynia of Our Ancestors. In the Traces
of Life – the Time of Genocide], and of the study ‘Z dziejow konspiracji
wojskowej na Wolyniu 1939-44’ [From the History of Military Conspiracy
in Volhynia 1939-44] in the collection ‘Armia Krajowa na Wolyniu’ [The
Holy Army in Volhynia]; ‘Terror ukrainski i zbrodnie przeciwko ludnosci
dokonane przez OUN-UPA na ludnosci polskiej na Wolyniu w latach
1939-1945’ [The Ukrainian terror and crimes against the Polish
population in Volhynia conducted by OUN-UPA in the years 1939-1945] in
‘Studia Polonijne’ [Polonia Studies]; ‘Mordy ukrainskie na Wolyniu w
czasie II wojny swiatowej’ [The Ukrainian massacres in Volhynia during
World War II] in the collective work entitled ‘Europa
NIE-prowincjonalna’ [Europe NON-provincial] – the Jozef Mackiewicz
Award. Together with her father Wladyslaw Siemaszko she wrote a two
volume work ‘Ludobojstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistow ukrainskich na
ludnosci polskiej Wolynia 1939-1945 [The Genocide of the Polish
Population in Volhynia Conducted by the Ukrainian Nationalists
1939-1945].

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WARNING; VERY GRAPHIC !
Subtitles are in Polish, but picture can tell a thousand words.
Use your imagination and put yourself in their shoes….
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ScreenHunter_2650 Jul. 10 15.43Volyn then
ScreenHunter_2651 Jul. 10 15.44Donbas now
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 NEVER FORGET!!!

 Long Live Poland
==================

warrior-1ON GUARD !

2 comments on “The bleeding land of Volhynia – Hell on Earth

  1. Pingback: Books about Stalin, Jews, Poles, Ukrainians | Justice4Poland

  2. Pingback: Polacy sprzeciwiają się napływowi Ukraińców | POLSKA PATRIOTYCZNYCH POLAKÓW

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2015 by in Genocide, Ukrainians, War crimes, WWII and tagged , , .

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