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    “They died because they were Poles.” 79. anniversary of the Genocide in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia committed by Ukrainian nationalists

    Poland commemorates today the National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Citizens of the II Polish Republic committed by Ukrainian nationalists.

    National Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Genocide of the Citizens of the II Polish Republic committed by Ukrainian nationalists was established by a resolution of the Sejm of the Republic of Poland on 22 July 2016. This day aims to commemorate the victims of the Volhynian massacre and other murders committed against citizens of the Second Republic of Poland by Ukrainian nationalists during World War II.

     

    The holiday commemorates the anniversary of the events of 11 and 12 July 1943, when the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) attacked at least 99 Polish settlements within the Wołyń Voivodeship of the prewar Second Polish Republic under the German occupation. 

     

    Murders took place in churches in, among others, Poryck (now Pawliwka) and Kisielin. Around 50 Catholic churches in Volhynia were burnt down and demolished. The crimes against the Poles were often carried out with unprecedented cruelty. People were burned alive, thrown into wells, axes and pitchforks were used, victims were tortured elaborately before death and women were raped. Researchers calculate that on that one day alone, 11 July, some 8,000 Poles – mainly women, children and old people – may have been killed.

     

     

    The Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s (UPA) action was the culmination of a wave of murders and expulsions of Poles from their homes that had been going on since the beginning of 1943, as a result of which approximately 100,000 Poles were killed in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. The perpetrators of the Volhynian Massacre were the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) – Stepan Bandera’s faction, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) subordinated to it, and the Ukrainian population participating in the murders of their Polish neighbours. The OUN-UPA called its actions an “anti-Polish action”. This term concealed the intention, which was to murder and expel Poles.

     

    The term “Volhynian Massacre” refers not only to the mass murders committed in Volhynia, i.e., the former Volhynian Voivodeship but also in the provinces of Lviv, Tarnopol and Stanislaw (Eastern Galicia), as well as in the provinces of Lublin and Polesie.

     

    “Today we pay the tribute to the Victims of the massacre in Volhynia, which was carried out by Ukrainian nationalists during the Second World War,” Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland wrote on Twitter.

     

     

    “President Andrzej Duda in Volhynia. A wreath in a field. In a place where there used to be a Polish village. Maybe that’s the most crucial photograph I have ever done,” Marcin Czapliński wrote. 

     

     

     

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    79. anniversary of the Genocide in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia on July 11

     

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