First, thank you Krystyna for sending this to me. Any comments are
Review of Armia Krajowa w WicyniuTarnopolskiej wsi, by Jan Goniewski
(1998). Krakow 1998.
Reviewer: Mr. Jan Peczkis
The Battle for Survival of the Zloczow-area Poles during WWII.
Title: THE HOME ARMY (AK) AT WICYNA TARNOPOL-AREA VILLAGE. Wicyn is
located 17 km SSW of the town of Zloczow, which in turn is located 75
km east of Lwow.
The fascist-separatist OUN-UPA imitated, against Poles, Hitler's
actions against the Jews. At least 2,000 Poles were murdered at over
100 localities within a roughly 20-km radius of the town of Zloczow.
(pp. 8-9). WARNING: The deeds of the Bandera barbarians are
graphically described. A Polish man was bound hand and foot with
barbed wire, and thrown into a fire. Another man was wrapped and
chained to a tree in the forest, and left to die in prolonged agony.
Some victims of the UPA had eyes gouged and tongues cut out. Etc. etc.
Polish defenses were at first passive ones. To avert deportation by
the Soviets, and later by the Germans, and to avoid being murdered by
the UPA at night, Poles slept in the nearby fields and forests, or
hid in well-concealed underground shelters on their properties. (p.
32, 38, 70).
In the summer of 1943, surviving Poles gathered at Wicyn to form a
samoobrona (defended village). To obtain arms, they retrieved hidden
1939 weapons, disarmed German colonists while pretending to be
Ukrainians (p. 63), waylaid individual Ukrainian police and UPA in
surprise attacks, and bought weapons from corrupt Germans. They also
used friendly persuasion, in the form of a noose from a tree, to get
a local Ukrainian known to be in possession of 1939 weapons, to turn
them over. (p. 54). And, in a shootout worthy of the American Wild
West, Poles returning with purchased arms evaded and fought off an
encircling and pursuing UPA band. (pp. 58-59).
The Wicyn AK successfully hid a local Jew (p. 64), and later
sabotaged the railways. (pp. 65-66). The UPA never dared attack Wicyn
(p. 38, 53, 69), but did attempt to induce the Germans to repeat the
catastrophe they had visited upon Huta Pienacka. The Germans came in
force to pacify the village, and the AK fled to the woods, ready to
fight. (pp. 69-75). The Germans arrested the remaining 200 men, while
the women wailed and pleaded for their menfolk to be spared. A German-
speaking Polish priest calmed the Germans, who removed the 200 for
interrogation instead of summary execution. Despite tortures, none of
the 200 admitted possessing firearms. And, realizing that Ukrainian
reports of Soviet partisans being housed at Wicyn were lies, the
Germans released the men. Wicyn was spared.
Far from all Ukrainians were of an anti-Polish, separatist mindset.
While the 200 men were being marched through a local Ukrainian
village, ostensibly to be shot, some Ukrainians rejoiced that
the "Polish ghetto" was about to be liquidated, while other
Ukrainians cried. (pp. 71-72). Also, some Zloczow-area Poles survived
the UPA genocide by moving their families and livestock in with
friendly Ukrainian farmers. (p. 80).
One might suppose that the re-arrival of the Red Army, in July 1944,
would've made obvious the irrelevance of Poles and Poland to the
future of these territories, and hence the UPA murders would've
ceased. In fact, they continued. The Soviets formed both Polish and
Ukrainian "Istriebitielnyje Bataliony" (Battalions of Destruction).
The Poles used theirs to defend themselves against the UPA, and to
conduct retaliatory raids against the same.
The Churchill-Roosevelt betrayal of Poland at Teheran in 1943
legitimized the 1939 Soviet conquest of the Kresy, and the Soviets
expelled Wicyn's Poles by September 1945. For all the talk of the
privations faced by the German expellees, the Polish expellees didn't
have it easy either. At one point, they went two weeks without a
roof. Only the favorable weather prevented illnesses and deaths. (p.
It's a small world. A woman who survived an UPA massacre at
Nowosiolki (near Wicyn) recognized the murderers years later--in
postwar Wroclaw. They were officers in the Communist-terror security
forces (UB: Bezpieka). (p. 46). (After the Jews, the Ukrainians were
the most conspicuous non-Polish members of the hated UB).