Today the sad, 66th anniversary of Volhynian slaughter is celebrated by the former inhabitants of Polish Kresy, the lands lost by Poland to Soviet Russia after WWII. The massacres took place in the years 1943 and 1944 with a peak in June and July 1943. The most murders were peformed on Sunday, 11th July when at dawn the Ukrainian nationalist partisans entered Polish homes in Volhynia, armed with axes and hammers, and killed several thousand people. Many Poles were killed while leaving churches after the mass. Overall, some 60 000 Poles were murdered in Volhynia (Wołyń). Today masses are being held in the memory of the dead countrywide.
The Volhynian slaughter was a part of a wider process of genocide Poles were subject to from the hands of Germans, Russians, and the Ukrainians during World War II.
Ceremonies to commemorate 60 000 Poles killed during Volhynian slaughter. On July 11th, 2009 In Chełm, a town in Eastern Poland, a 'Volhynian Cross' monument was unveiled during a day-long ceremonies, reported hourly live by Polish TV3.
I have also watched on Polish TV first channel a documentary film entitled 'The was a little town' (Było sobie miasteczko) by Tadeusz Arciuch and Maciej Wocjciechowski. It tells the history of Kisielin, a town in Volhynia in which until WWII several nationalities lived in concord -Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Germans, Czechs. On July 11th 1943 Ukrainian nationalists brutally murdered large part of Polish inhabitants while they were attending a Sunday mass. The rest of Poles escaped, leaving their homeland forever. The narrators of the story are the Debski family – which lived in pre-war Kisielin,
his mother, brother, son, and niece. The Ukrainian inhabitants of today Kiesielin also take part in the film. Music composed by Krzesimir Dębski greatly illustrates this moving, although unemotionally made film.
The film is now online, although not yet with the English subtitles. (50 minutes approx.)
A couple thoughts from an amateur historian of Polish history... Correct me if I'm wrong... First off, what I will write is NOT meant to be an excuse for Ukrainian actions. From what I understand, Ukrainians had no homeland till basically the break-up of the old Soviet Union. Historically, their lands were under Polish and Russian jurisdiction. From what I've read, Poland controlled their land for a long time. In fact, if I remember right, the Ukrainians migrated there--in other words, they did not have a solid claim on the land. I think the land was sparsely populated, though quite fertile, till what became present-day Ukrainians moved in. This might have been related to the Tatars destroying most of the original inhabitants. This might help us to understand how they came to be under Polish control. The Nazis made great use of this and aroused the Ukrainians to help them kill Poles as well as fight Russians. They probably told the Ukrainians they would give them a homeland if they helped the Fuhrer... With such a large percentage of participation in the killings, the Ukrainians shamed themselves. They acted like the present-day Rwandan tribe, where a quite sizable portion of the tribe becomes involved in the blood-lust, instead of just the military men. There can be forgiveness, but first there must be accountability. It is a huge stain that the Ukrainians have to reckon with--otherwise, many of their moral efforts will be rendered useless, due to the huge 'gorilla' of genocide in their living rooms. Why waste your energies trying to ignore the gorilla? 'We were being used by the Germans. We did not have the subtlety to hide our actions like the Germans and Russians did.' Well, then, you have the job of apology made easier. The Germans and Russians could hide behind the ruse that they knew nothing about the killings they did, or that secret police-types did the killings. But genocide is genocide. There is probably no kind of genocide worse than others. Now you just have to be mature adults.
From what I understand, Ukrainians had no homeland till basically the break-up of the old Soviet Union.
They had their homeland because they had always lived in the area. They didn`t have their own state, though.
Historically, their lands were under Polish and Russian jurisdiction.
From what I've read, Poland controlled their land for a long time. In fact, if I remember right, the Ukrainians migrated there--in other words, they did not have a solid claim on the land.
They had a quite solid claim as I said before.
I think the land was sparsely populated, though quite fertile, till what became present-day Ukrainians moved in. This might have been related to the Tatars destroying most of the original inhabitants.
It was quite densely populated, of course not so densely as in Western Europe.
This might help us to understand how they came to be under Polish control.
Poland was a better organized state which spread its culture onto Eastern neighbours.
The Nazis made great use of this and aroused the Ukrainians to help them kill Poles as well as fight Russians. They probably told the Ukrainians they would give them a homeland if they helped the Fuhrer...
Yes, they believed Nazis would help them create their own state.
With such a large percentage of participation in the killings, the Ukrainians shamed themselves. They acted like the present-day Rwandan tribe, where a quite sizable portion of the tribe becomes involved in the blood-lust, instead of just the military men.
We should remember what kind of people lived in the territory. It was complete outback, and they were utter barbarians. Polish centennial rule didn`t make them civilised, unfortunately.
Poland's Foreign and Interior Ministry have banned bikers commemorating Stepan Bandera, founder of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army accused of killing Poles in the 1940s, from entering Poland .
The decision was made at the last minute as the bikers were waiting at the border. The Polish government claims that those participating in the rally attempted to weedle visas from the Polish Consulate.
"We are not judging and we are not talking about history," claims Tomasz Siemoniak, a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior.
The rally has faced much controversy in Poland as Bandera is considered to be something of a terror-figure.
Stepan Bandera, an Ukrainian activist from the first half of the XX century, is considered a nationalist or even a fascist by some Poles and is, meanwhile, praised as a patriot and an example for youth in Ukraine . Bandera was a leader of an illegal Ukrainian movement in Poland in the thirties and a founder of an Ukrainian Insurgent Army, fighting for Ukrainian independence, and responsible for brutal operations against Poles in the forties, when more than 100,000 Polish civilians were killed.
The bikers are riding from the Ukraine, having left on 1 August, to Munich, Germany to finish at the Ukrainian's grave. The rider's planned route was through Sanok, Krakow and Auschwitz, but the bikers will be required to find an alternate route.
Polish archeologists seek forgotten victims of war 26.07.2011 07:42 Archeologists from Poland are to begin a new phase of research in Ukraine on Tuesday, searching for victims of WWII massacres carried out by Ukrainian nationalists.
The work is being carried out near the former village of Ostrowki in the Volhynia region (Wolyn in Polish), thanks to the renewed cooperation of Ukrainian authorities.
According to Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), about 1000 victims may have perished in the area of Ostrowki, which prior to the war lay within Poland's borders.
A campaign to purge Volhynia – then under German occupation - of Polish inhabitants was launched in the Spring of 1943 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).
Historians estimate that over 30,000 Poles were slaughtered by Ukrainian nationalists in Volhynia.
The Polish underground fought back and a tit for tat guerrilla war developed, partly in areas that still lie in south eastern Poland.
Across the entire territories of occupied Poland, it is believed that 70, 000 Poles perished at the hands of UPA. It is estimated that Poles slaughtered some 20,000 Ukrainians.
A mass grave near the now non-existent village of Ostrowski was pin-pointed on 28 July, holding 300 Poles.
Research will continue as before under the auspices of Poland's Council For the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites (ROPWiM).
The council is also creating a memorial on the site of Ostrowski's former graveyard, where the victims remains will be buried.
Today the sad, 66th anniversary of Volhynian slaughter is celebrated by the former inhabitants of Polish Kresy, the lands lost by Poland to Soviet Russia after WWII. The massacres took place in the years 1943 and 1944 with a peak in June and July 1943. The most murders were peformed on Sunday, 11th July when at dawn the Ukrainian nationalist partisans entered Polish homes in Volhynia, armed with axes and hammers, and killed several thousand people. Many Poles were killed while leaving churches after the mass. Overall, some 60 000 Poles were murdered in Volhynia (Wołyń). Today masses are being held in the memory of the dead countrywide. The Volhynian slaughter was a part of a wider process of genocide Poles were subject to from the hands of Germans, Russians, and the Ukrainians during World War II. To read more about Volhynian slaughter: www-kresy.pl/wolyn/english.htm
Polish MPs adopt resolution calling 1940s massacre genocide 22.07.2016 11:55 The Polish parliament on Friday adopted a resolution declaring 11 July a National Day of Remembrance of Victims of Genocide perpetrated by Ukrainian nationalists against Poles during World War II.
The resolution - backed by 432 deputies, with no votes against and 10 deputies abstaining - refers to the Volhynia Massacre, a black page in Polish-Ukrainian relations.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko voiced regret at the decision by Polish MPs.
On 11 July 1943, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) carried out a coordinated attack on some 100 villages largely inhabited by Poles in Eastern Galicia and in Volhynia, which is currently in western Ukraine.
The Volhynia region, which was within Polish borders prior to World War II, was first occupied by the Soviets in 1939, and then by the Nazi Germans in 1941.
Some 100,000 ethnic Poles in total were slaughtered in the 1940s by Ukrainian forces, according to some estimates.
"The victims of crimes committed in the 40s by Ukrainian nationalists have so far not been commemorated in an appropriate manner and the mass murders have not been named - in keeping with historical truth - as genocide," reads the resolution adopted by Polish MPs.
The resolution added: "As a result of genocide perpetrated 1943-1945, over 100,000 citizens of the [Polish] Second Republic were murdered, mainly peasants. Their exact number is still not known, and many of them have not yet had a dignified burial and commemoration."
In the resolution, which also paid tribute to those Ukrainians who rescued Poles, Polish MPs also expressed "solidarity with Ukraine as it struggles with external aggression to preserve its territorial integrity."
Ukrainian President Poroshenko voiced concern that the Polish MPs' resolution referring to genocide could be used for "political speculation."
"Only by taking joint steps, can we come to Christian agreement and reconciliation. Only together can we shed light on all the facts of the tragic pages of our common history," he said.
Earlier this month, Poroshenko paid tribute to the victims of the massacres at a commemorative monument in Warsaw.
actually a review of the book entitled "Just Traitors - Neighbours of Volhyn - when some run to kill, others run to save. "
It is about those righteous Ukrainian peasants who saved Poles even though they faced death penalty for such acts at the hands of their nationalist compatriots. They hid the oppressed victims in their houses, barns, sheafs, forest shelters and brought them food. They mixed Polish children with their own. Later they sent them to safe places.
It is high time to create another Yad Vashem, this time in Poland and for Ukrainians. Some are still alive, they don`t expect any gratification, they helped because they thought it was their moral duty despite the risk of death. Some righteous Ukrainians mentioned in the book
The book includes stories of known Poles whose familes survived thanks to Ukrainians.
Film on WWII massacres hitting Polish cinemas 07.10.2016 10:00 A film set against the backdrop of WWII massacres in lands that lie in today's western Ukraine hits the cinemas in Poland on Friday.
Director Wojciech Smarzowski’s 'Volhynia' (Wołyń) charts the fate of a young Polish woman who wants to marry a Ukrainian from the same village. In the midst of World War II, the pair are caught up in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing. Smarzowski, who is known for tackling challenging themes, has stressed that his film is about “love in inhumane times.” The production is the first feature film to deal with the Volhynia Massacres, a traumatic page in Polish-Ukrainian history.
It is good that a movie is made about that. In the Western historical conciousness there is a black and white thinking, and in that the Nazi's and Stalinist sovjets were the only bad guys. But people forget the Ukrainian UP, the Ukrainian Waffen SS, the Ukrainian Kapo's in the nazi concentration camps (in which often Ukrainians were as vicious or even more brutal than their German and Austrian SS-Totenkopfverbände (SS-TV) superiors). And next to that the Hungarian, Slovak, Romanian and Croatian collaborators in the Holocaust.
Jewish victims of Arrow Cross men in the court of the Dohány Street Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary.
Ustaše soldiers sawing off the head of Branko Jungić, an ethnic Serb from the village of Grabovac.
Ustaše militia execute prisoners near the Jasenovac concentration camp
The first organized massive massacre of the Serbs in the NDH was committed on April 28th, 1941 when 187 Serbs from the village of Gudovac and its surroundings were massacred. Among the most brutal and sadistic massacres at the beginning of the NDH was in Glina on August 5th, 1941 when some 1.200 Orthodox Serbs dressed in their Sunday best were called to the local Orthodox church from surrounding villages to be converted into the Roman Catholicism. However, instead of the conversion they were locked inside the church and slaughtered by knives. In August 1941 occurred and the Prebilovci massacre of the local Serbs in the East Herzegovina including and the children in the village school. A report on this event by the local Italian commander to Mussolini is very sensitive and anti-Catholic as the commander noticed that after the Prebilovci massacre is shameful to be a Roman Catholic. The organized Ustashi genocide against the Serbs very soon became rapid and efficient that according to the U.S. official reports up to August 1942 there were some 600.000 killed people in the NDH, overwhelming majority of them the Serbs.
You could compare the ethnic cleansing actions of the Ustaša against Serbs, Jews and Gypsies with with the Ukrainian UPA ethnic cleansing of Poles in Volhynia.
A typical round up of Jews in Slovakia prior to their deportation to the gas chambers in the German/Austrian Nazi concentration camps in Poland. A Slovakian policeman carries out orders. Befehl ist befehl!
A Polish Yad Vashem or a Yad vashem for Slavic christian peoples would be good too. By the way, honest jews recognise the suffering of non-jewish victims like Poles, Russians, Gypsies, political prisoners, Jehova's Witnesses, Roman-Catholic priests, resistance people who helped jews and were caught too.
P.S.-Ofcourse the Serbian Chetniks and Tito's Yugoslavian communist partisans weren't saints either, but the Chetniks and Partisans weren't as brutal as the genocidal Ustaše. In our European history books the crimes of these Ukrainians, Croats, Slovaks, Hungarians and also the Dutch, French, Belgian thugs and collaborators -the jew hunters, collaborating police and Dutch, Belgian and French Waffen SS and even Dutch SD members shouldn't be forgotten nor forgiven. The Ukrainian UPA was not part of the Nazi death machine, nor from the NKVD torture and execution aparatus, but it was part of the massacre (slaughter) world and culture in Europe of that five years, between 1939 and 1945. A time in which human rights, humanity and kindness were far away.