On June 20, after two months of discussion, the Polish Senate passed a resolution accusing the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) of «ethnic cleansings with signs of genocide» which took place in 1943 in Volynia. In response, several deputies of the Ukrainian parliament spoke of the possibility of passing a similar resolution with regard to the Armia Krajowa (AK), which was operating during the same period.
The Polish Sejm stated in its resolution, which was passed by unanimous acclamation without a vote in 2009, that the OUN/UPA conducted «an anti-Polish campaign: mass killings which had the character of an ethnic cleansing and the marks of genocide», emphasizing that it «honors the memory of the soldiers of the Armia Krajowa, the Self Defense Force of the Eastern Lands and the Peasant Battalions which rose up in a dramatic struggle in defense of the Polish civilian population».
Today, to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the Volynia massacre on July 11, a resolution has been drafted in the Polish Sejm describing the massive atrocities and killings of Poles by Ukrainian bandits from the UPA as «genocide». However, the ruling Civil Platform party intends to strike this definition from the text. To put it simply, Warsaw is trying to cover things up and twist historical truth out of political expediency, so as not to spoil the game before the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius and not to interfere with drawing Ukraine into its sphere of influence under the pretext of «joining Europe». In this two-part article we will attempt to answer the question of why petty politicos today are slighting the memory of tens of thousands of Poles who were the victims of Ukrainian fascists.
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The Volynia tragedy was the climax of the mass killings of the Polish population of Western Ukraine by the followers of Bandera in July 1943. The planned nature of the campaign is confirmed by numerous documents, including German ones. Note, however, that the Polish population had a chance to save their lives! At first the OUN / UPA tried to force the Poles to leave the «ethnic lands of Ukraine» using «only terror» without mass killings. The semi-official newspaper of the Banderovites «Do Zbroi» wrote in the July 1943 issue: «let them build Poland on native Polish lands, as here they can only hasten their own ignoble deaths».
However, the local Polish population had received an order from the leaders of the Armia Krajowa, which was subordinate to the London government, not to obey the Ukrainians! Otherwise, Poland would lose Volynia! It was this order that doomed the thousands of Poles who obeyed it to a horrible death at the hands of the nationalist beast. The Polish leaders who gave this order knew perfectly well what the likely consequences would be, as the systematic annihilation of the Polish population by Ukrainian nationalists began in Ukraine from the first days of Nazi occupation.
On June 30, 1941 Bandera's deputy Yaroslav Stetsko and others, proclaiming the creation of an «independent Ukrainian State» in the «capital of Galicia», accompanied this with a massacre of the Polish and Jewish population of Lviv. Even the Nazis were dumbfounded by the atrocities committed by their Ukrainian «allies»; they decided to install their lackeys in the place of those who had taken the bloody initiative and send the most zealous to concentration camps. However, subsequently they did not bother to hinder the Slavic «subhumans» from destroying one another. On October 14, 1942 Bandera's OUN proclaimed the creation of the UPA (the Ukrainian Insurgent Army) and from then on the systematic annihilation of the Polish population of Volynia began and continued until the occupation of these territories by the Red Army in 1944.
The Polish leadership knew perfectly well how «sane» the OUN members were. The Banderovites did not simply shoot the official couriers of the London government and the command of the AK, delegated in 1942 to negotiate with the leadership of the UPA regarding joining forces against Germany; they dismembered them alive with horses. But still the «Londoners» and the AK command continually ordered the Poles not to listen to the Ukrainians' threats!
Meanwhile, the OUN/UPA operation for the «depolonization of the land» spread to encompass the entire territory along the border of pre-war (September 1939) Poland: In March 1943 the Sarny, Kostopol, Rovno and Zdolbunov districts, in June the Dubno and Lutsk districts, in July the Gorokhov, Kovel and Vladimir districts, and in August the Lublin district (the westernmost district)…
At first the Ukrainians just intended to «push» the Polish population to the West. The operation, according to Polish historians, usually began with giving the Poles an ultimatum to leave their homes within 48 hours and move beyond the Bug. But as a rule, the Polish population did not submit to the Ukrainian ultimatums, remembering the order given by their leaders in London and counting on the support of the local AK detachments. They, in turn, figured that the Ukrainians' punitive actions would only fill their ranks with Polish victims…
Then UPA detachments mobilized their lowlife compatriots of both sexes from nearby Ukrainian settlements (deserters, relatives of polizeis, etc.) and surrounded the Polish villages and farms. With brutal cruelty they killed the residents and burned houses, churches, gardens and crops. They destroyed everything that could be burned in order to deprive the Poles of the hope of returning to the frightening burned-out wastelands.
Often they did not fire a single shot! They simply slaughtered the entire populace – from infants to old men – with scythes, axes and knives. The recollections of those who miraculously survived contain numerous testimonies of the tearing out of tongues, the putting out of eyes, the driving of nails into victims' heads, fetuses being cut out of pregnant women, quartering, nightmarish desecrations of corpses and sophisticatedly sadistic torture…
In July-August 1943 alone, according to various estimates, between 35 and 85 thousand people were brutally wiped out, mostly children, women and old men (the figures vary widely, as frequently part of the victims from previous or subsequent months are included). The Banderovites spared no one. Along with the Poles they killed all Russians, Czechs, Jews, Armenians… A remarkable fact is that the German command did not send its compatriots to these campaigns, fearing for their psyches. Only the Ukrainian Banderovites, lowlifes from the Galician fascist movement, took part.
Meanwhile, the leaders of the Armia Krajowa were sending their compatriots orders: do not leave the villages – they're Polish land! Their cynicism can only be compared to the statements of some modern Polish public figures such as Richard Szawlowski. While acknowledging that «while the Volynia massacre was the cruelest — all Poles were totally exterminated, from infants to old men, with the use of the most sophisticated and inhuman tortures», these public figures assert that the guilty parties in the genocide are the German Nazis and… the Soviet regime! The one whose army stopped the systematic annihilation of the Polish population and whose partisans (sometimes shoulder to shoulder with AK soldiers) defended Polish villages in Western Ukraine.
The Armia Krajowa, in defiance of the contradictory orders of its own command, conducted several «retaliatory» operations, including so-called «blind» ones, when out of vengeance they wiped out innocent peasants just because they were Ukrainians. The cruelest such campaign was that of the Lviv sabotage division of the AK in April 1944, conducted as part of a Polish offensive begun a month before and coordinated with the operations of the 27th Volynian division of the AK beyond the Bug. In that campaign alone, which was accompanied by the mass burnings of Ukrainian villages, civilian casualties reached several thousand people according to some data. The entire number of Ukrainians killed in revenge for the actions of the UPA varies from 10,000 to 20,000, plus the killings of Ukrainians in the area of Hrubieszow on the territory of Poland.
Ukrainians were being killed not only by AK soldiers, but also by Poles who had survived during the Volynia massacre who had joined polizei and gendarme groups for this purpose. Today leading Polish publications and authors such as Rafal Ziemkiewicz explain that by saying that «sometimes in people who had lost all their loved ones who had died in torment there awakened a mad thirst for vengeance. There were many Poles who, to get it, joined the ranks of German groups in order to participate in the annihilation of the Ukrainian population. Ukrainians were killed by Polish underground divisions as well. However, the scale of such occurrences was incomparably less than that of the OUN-UPA's cold-bloodedly planned and systematically executed genocide; in July 1943, when the terror reached its peak intensity, its mop-up detachments appeared in over 200 settlements».
Polish politicians are trying to play with historical truth and profit even from the tragedy of their own people. They are covering up the guilt of their predecessors in the bloody massacre in Volynia; this guilt lies on the London government, which had no way to stop the lowlifes from the OUN-UPA but still ordered the leaders of the Armia Krajowa to prevent the evacuation of the Polish civilian population to the territory of Poland. The majority of those brutally martyred in Western Ukraine were the descendants of Polonized local residents of the southwestern «Russian» part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, Rus and Samogitia which was transferred to Poland in the Union of 1569. That is why they have practically no relatives in modern-day Poland who could demand justice and truth from their two-faced leaders who are striving to arouse hatred toward… the USSR and modern Russia, which had nothing to do with the Volynia massacre.
Politicians who seek to be honest on this issue, such as former vice marshal of the Polish Sejm Jaroslaw Kalinowski, consider the events in Volynia to be «a planned crime of the OUN-UPS» for which «modern-day Ukrainian politicians» should answer as well, and they urge others to «recognize the OUN-UPA and other Ukrainian nationalist organizations which collaborated with the Germans as criminal organizations». But that is only half the truth. The truth is, as the «Rzeczpospolita» acknowledges, that «out of the numerous crimes committed against Poles in the 20th century, which was a century of genocide, this one is special in that it is perhaps the only one which the Poles are voluntarily erasing from their memories… It is hard to believe the Poles when they state that on the issue of Katynia they are interested in the truth and not politics when at the same time in their relations with Ukraine they renounce the truth in the name of politics».
(To be continued)