I did not have time to comment on the Volyhnia article when you first posted it, but allow me to do so now. It is an important topic to all of us and is worth revisiting. It is a long comment and yet incomplete. It is apparent to me that Kim has little understanding of what happened nor the scope of the crimes. The number of Poles murdered by Ukrainian Ultranationalists is closer to 250,000 and not 60,000. The 60,000 is close to the number murdered by the SS-Galizien in four months in 1944 in Tarnopol and Lwow provinces alone just before the Russians marched in.
In Volhynia, 1942-43 at least 160,000 people were brutally murdered. The killings by OUN began in 1939 and did not end until 1947.
This is an old article from 2003 but it illustrates the success of the Soviet and Ukrainian Nationalist propaganda. Kim takes the murders of Poles in Wolyn and Kresy in general, out of context of the crimes of genocide of WWII, and instead portrays them as fratricidal struggle on which we can not make any judgments Kim is probably unaware of what OUN or UPA was and its relationship to the Ukrainian SS, the Auxiliary Police (Armed Units) and their role in Nazi crimes. All the SS and Auxiliary Police Units were recruited from OUN regiments that Bandera handed over to the Nazis in 1939. The history of these collaborators reads like the history of the Jewish Holocaust and of Polish Genocide. Without the participation of Auxiliary Police and the SS it would have been impossible for the OUN-UPA to murder of a quarter of a million Poles. Omission of this collaboration with Nazis diminishes any value that this article might have had.
The issue is not whether we need reconciliation and an apology from the Ukrainians but whether the majority of Ukrainians are willing to declare OUN, UPA, the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police and the Ukrainian SS criminal organizations, condemn them and where possible prosecute them. This is exactly what the Germans did in regards to the Nazi Party, the SS and others involved in Nazi crimes. Imagine if Germany today still did not condemn the Nazis and was not willing to punish the guilty for crimes against Jews, Poles and others. That is exactly what the Ukrainian nationalists are doing and seem to have enough influence to stop any attempts to condemn their crimes. They are acting very much like the Turks and the Russians in denying their crimes.
I dont expect Ukrainians from Zytomir, Kiev or Kharkow to apologize since they did not commit any crimes against Poles individually or collectively. In fact majority of prisoners in our posiolek were Ukrainians from around Kharkov, Kiev and surrounding provinces in Ukraine, and they greeted us as their long lost brothers. They trusted us and confided in us, something they would not do with most other prisoners. There is no need to reconcile with them. I feel very comfortable with them. But, I do expect the vast majority of Ukrainians to condemn the OUN, UPA and their leaders like Bandera and Melnyk as criminals and publicize their crimes. Instead, recently there was an attempt to build a monument for Melnyk who can be best described as a brainless murderer. Many individual Ukrainians already have condemned them. It is ironic that Kuczma at the time of this article was written, did not want to condemn OUN and UPA when asked but during the Orange Revolution he did condemn them and tried to link Yushchenko to the ultranationalists (unsuccessfully).
The notion that Bandera was imprisoned and his people were fighting the Nazis and the Communists is an absurdity. Killing Poles and Jews is not the same as fighting Communism. Bandera was confined to house arrest, and not imprisoned in Berlin, only because he declared independence of Ukraine. But, he negotiated with the Nazis and once more subordinated his people to them in exchange for using the Ukrainian SS and Auxiliary Police to ethnically cleanse the area of its Polish population. The Germans first gave him permission in Wolyn in late 1942 and 1943 only, but in February of 1944 they gave him a green light to kill Poles in Galicia under the pretext they were hiding Jews, AK Partisans and Soviet Partisans. The leaders of OUN-UPA were not just willing collaborators but instigators of all the violence perpetrated on the Poles. Let me repeat however, that the mass murders of Poles were possible only because of their collaboration with the Nazis. Their crimes are in fact the last unpunished crimes of WWII.
As for fighting communism, that is just nauseating propaganda. Frankly they did not fight the Russians but continued to attack Poles long after the Russians took control of the region. The SS-Galizien actually took part in fighting the Russians in Brody, which the Ukrainian Nationalists use as proof of their war against the Russians. The truth is different. As the battle began they were nowhere to be found, and were in fact attacking several Polish villages trying to kill as many Poles as they could before the Russians came. The angry German officers finally ordered them to stop killing the Poles and go to Brody. When the Russians resumed their attack the next they, they scattered and fled and did not stop running until they reached Lvov. The only thing they were good at fighting were unarmed civilians. Therefore, the Germans regrouped them and sent them to kill the Slovaks who were staging an uprising at that time (The Russians halted their attacks in Slovakia, to allow the Germans to crush the rebellion as they did latter during the Warsaw uprising). Those fighters against communism did to the Slovaks what they did to the Poles. As for the fighting after WWII, they were fighting for their lives, because they were pursued by the NKVD. Once NKVD eliminated the AK they turned on UPA.
I think that you are as disgusted as I am with equating AK with OUN and UPA. OUN-UPA had orders to kill all Poles and Jews and enshrined their killings in song. AK had strict orders not to kill civilians and they did not do so in spite mind boggling provocations. They did have continuous clashes with UPA and OUN but did not attack Ukrainian villages. OUN and UPA was supported by the Nazis directly and indirectly as part of their war against the Polish Underground. In the middle of 1944 as the Red Army advanced and occupied the region, suddenly there were pogroms in several Ukrainian villages and some Byelorussian villages which NKVD claimed were committed by AK. In practically all the incidents that I read about, the commanders of the accused AK units have always denied it, and I for one believe them since they did not do this for 5 years of German occupation. Secondly, only those who do not know what NKVD was would believe the NKVD accusations and discount AK denials. I dont know of any serious investigation of these incidents. Therefore, the only evidence, you guessed it, are the NKVD documents and claims, which were then used as an excuse to kill the captured AK soldiers. I do recall reading about one incident in which the men charged with a pogrom were already in prison for some time. It is more likely that the reason these crimes occurred after the NKVD took control of the territory is because they were committed by the NKVD.
The article also has some inflammatory remarks which one has to respond to. Kim chose to quote some fool named Jacek Borkowicz, a commentator for a catholic weekly, who has no clue as to what happened. Here is the quote: It is a sad irony, he wrote, that while the OUN was killing Poles under the motto of fighting communism
under the same motto Polish servants of the Hitler police were burning Ukrainian villages.
I dont know who Jacek Borkowicz is, but I would challenge that imbecile to name the Polish servants of the Hitlers police who burned Ukrainian villages. It is a preposterous lie. The Ukrainian Auxiliaries were the police in Wolyn and Galicia. As you know the Russians accused AK of collaboration with the Nazis, and this looks like something Borkowicz borrowed from that propaganda.
Another quote: In retaliation, the Polish Home Army, the Polish resistance, killed 10,000-20,000 Ukrainian civilians in 1944. That is another big lie, taken from the Soviet propaganda. The AK would have had to conduct pogroms in 500 to 1,000 villages to kill that many people. Most of the AK in Tarnopol or Lwow regions were local young man and boys who were part of the defense corps of their own villages against OUN or UPA. They were not foraging among Ukrainian villages for victims. I would argue that OUN and UPA probably killed more than 10,000 Ukrainians in enforcing their control on the Ukrainian population. Anyone who did not join their ranks risked death by being labeled a Polish collaborator. Their method of killing was to slit the throat and let the still attached head hang over the edge of a horse drawn cart. It was meant to frighten the remaining villagers to join and do as they were told. Being related to a Pole by marriage was proof of collaboration. I suspect that those killings are blamed on the Polish AK.
Almost everything I said about OUN-UPA, the SS and the Auxiliary Police can also be said of the NKVD and the Russian Communist Party. They were all criminal organizations which committed horrendous crimes.
Wladek OrlowskiLucyna Artymiuk <lartymiuk@...>
|Volhynia: The Reckoning Begins
18 July 2003
The first memorial to Poles massacred by Ukrainians in World War II is just one step toward a common account of history.
WARSAW, Poland--Next year, when Poland joins the EU, the relationship between Warsaw and Kiev could prove the key tie across the Brussels curtain that will divide Central and Eastern Europe. Certainly, many in Polands political elite believe their country has a special responsibility to help Ukraine, its formerly partly Polish neighbor, to become more deeply integrated with the rest of Europe.
-------------- edited by WOrl -----------------------------
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