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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki paid homage to the victims of the Volhynian Massacre, which occurred 80 years ago, during a visit to the now non-existent village of Ostrówki in Ukraine. The massacre, carried out by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), claimed the lives of thousands of Polish inhabitants.
At dawn, Prime Minister Morawiecki, accompanied by a descendant of Ostrówki’s Polish residents and Dr. Leon Popek, a researcher of the Volhynian Massacre, placed a wooden cross at the site of the former cross and offered a prayer. He then lit a candle in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary, standing where the ostrowiecki church once stood. The premier also visited the cemetery where the victims of the massacre were laid to rest, laying a wreath at the memorial erected in their memory.
Tragic Demise of Ostrówki: A Village Erased
Dr. Popek, guiding the Prime Minister through the tragic locations of Ostrówki, revealed that the village, founded in the 16th century, ceased to exist in August 1943. Within a few hours on August 30, 1943, Ostrówki, along with neighboring Wola Ostrowiecka and over 30 other villages in the Luboml County, was surrounded and annihilated. UPA kuren led by Ivan Klymchak “Łysy” was responsible for the brutal massacre, resulting in the deaths of 475 people in Ostrówki and 580 in Wola Ostrowiecka, totaling over 1,050 victims.
Among the victims of the Volhynian Massacre were Dr. Popek’s grandfather, Jan Szwed, and his aunt, along with her husband and two children. Tragically, over 20 relatives were lost in the horrific events. Dr. Popek emphasized that the perpetrator, Ivan Klymchak, later reported having exterminated everyone and seized their belongings for the kuren’s use.