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The OUN-UPA Genocide of Poles: Early Descriptions from Polish and Ukrainian Documents, December 26, 2008

Jan Paczkis|Friday, October 30, 2009

TITLE: The Anti-Polish Actions of the Ukrainian Nationalists of Little Eastern Poland in the Light of Documents...). Unlike many other works which rely on recollections years and decades after the events, this one consists of documents which date to the very years of this genocide. This rules out the possibility of the many massacres of Poles documented in this work being later inventions, and contrasts with some Ukrainian works of the 1990's which describe never-before-heard-of Polish atrocities against Ukrainians that are likely fabricated.


The first sign of the genocide was a series of posters and tracts, at Volyn in the late fall of 1942 (p. 321), inciting Ukrainians to kill Poles. Similar tracts originating from Brzezany, a hotbed of OUN activity, turned up in other places in eastern Galicia. (p. 67). Possibly the NKVD was also involved. (p. 181). A document attributed to Taras Bulba-Borovets orders the wholesale extermination of Poles (p. 455), contradicting the claim in his memoir that only the Bandera faction was responsible for the genocide. Ukrainians were completely terrorized by the fascist OUN. (p. 231).

Ukrainian documents that accuse Poles of killing Ukrainians (p. 198, 370, 371) keep referring to Zamosc, Hrubieszow, and Podlasie (hereafter ZHP). The fact that they don't mention anything else (other than the transparently-bogus claim of Poles killing 14,000 Ukrainians at Krakow: p. 70) is also consistent with the premise that recently-described Polish killings of Ukrainians are fabrications.

According to Ukrainian documents, the number of Ukrainians killed by Poles at ZHP totals up to 1,000 (p. 198, 371), which would hardly justify a 100-fold disproportionate Ukrainian response against Poles. However, the ZHP theme, repeated to this day, ignores the fundamental fact that the Ukrainian (and German) settlements attacked by Polish guerillas were part of the German-sponsored (Odilo Globocnik's) forced replacement of Poles with Germans and Ukrainians.

OUN-UPA apologists continue, to this day, to make much of the fact that Poles were warned to leave in advance. To begin with, this wouldn't make it any less genocide. From conversations with survivors, I have learned that the early killings were without any warnings. Many of the written warnings, such as the one about Poles being pro-Bolshevik (pp. 195-196), and about Poles needing to leave a village, and all other villages within a 50-km radius, in 48 hours (p. 331), are clearly designed to whitewash the genocide rather than give the Poles a realistic chance of saving their lives. Finally, the warnings are counterbalanced by all of the assurances of safety by local Ukrainians, who also insisted that the Poles stay. (e. g., p. 123, 160).

Recurrent Ukrainian accusations of Poles collaborating with the Germans and Soviets (e. g., p. 198), repeated to this day by OUN-UPA apologists, are laughable in view of the fact that Kresy Poles were, almost to a person, anti-Nazi and anti-Communist. Furthermore, Ukrainian-Soviet and Ukrainian-Nazi collaboration had always been much more widespread than its Polish counterparts.

An estimated 70% of the Ukrainian Nazi-collaborationist police had deserted their posts to form the core of the UPA. (p. 328). At times, the Germans accepted the UPA's proffered help in fighting "those pro-Bolshevik Poles" (p. 401, 403), and not only at well-known places such as Huta Pienacka and Hanaczow. At other times, the Germans suppressed UPA operations by arrests (p. 435), shootings of local Ukrainian hostages, etc. (pp. 337-338). The latter are, of course, selectively remembered in UPA memoirs.

In many cases, the UPA murderers fled west to avoid justice. They often assumed the identities of their victims. (pp. 342-343, 345).
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