Ethnic Cleansing or Ethnic Cleansings? The Polish-Ukrainian civil war in Galicia-Volhynia

Ethnic-Cleansing

 

2014/06/29 • Featured, History

Galicia and Volhynia have, over their history, long been subject to changes of power. In the twentieth century and with the outbreak of both World Wars, this fact could not revisit itself more often. The region, home to both Poles and Ukrainians, became locked in war between the two groups as they struggled for post-war sovereignty against a sprawling Germany and Soviet Union. While these two groups have not always been on amiable terms (primarily due to the centuries-long struggle for Ukrainian independence), World War II brought any and all tensions to the forefront, and it is under these multiple occupations that a devastating civil war and series of ethnic cleansings were made possible. Known as the Volhynian slaughter in Polish and Volhynian tragedy in Ukrainian, the Polish-Ukrainian conflict in Galicia-Volhynia was a tense and pitiless struggle between Poles of the Home Army (AK), partisans, and self-defense formations and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalist’s (OUN) Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). Some scholars ascribing to certain national narratives, however, fail to realize the scale and reciprocal nature of the conflict from beginning to end, even though both sides struggled for identical goals through identical means. This period was not limited to a single campaign of ethnic cleansing, but rather an ongoing chain reaction of cleansings that began and culminated under the auspices of multiple occupational regimes actively seeking to provoke and maintain this state of chaos. By looking at the events that took place as part of an extended continuum with multiple actors, and not as an isolated or one-sided event that spanned only a handful of years, we can better understand both the causation that led to and perpetuated this conflict, as well as the true gravity of events that unfolded for both sides.

Thrice Occupied

The ethnic cleansing that occurred between Poles and their Ukrainian neighbors cannot be simplified or viewed as an isolated, sporadic, or one-sided event that occurred without precedent, evocation, or meaning. Even within the contemporary framework of it occurring as a byproduct of their mutual civil war, to fully understand the causal relationship that set these events in motion, one must place this civil conflict within the context of the World War that it paralleled. The instability of Galicia-Volhynia and the bordering region in general, can most easily be explained by its geographical misfortune of enduring a “triple occupation” that occurred in four successive waves.

Polish occupation fostered the growth of later insurgency

The first of these occupational waves took place in the aftermath of the First World War. The attempted creation of nation-states in Poland and Ukraine carried with them the same transitional issues similarly situated European states endured. In this transition away from an agrarian to a modern polity, cross-border friction over land ownership was only made worse by the authoritative policies of the Polish state at the time. With the newly reformed Polish state no longer imperial in design, ethnic cleavages were especially pronounced in the voivodships within Galicia and Volhynia where the Polish elite continued to rule as a minority of the population. On a local level, first hand reports cite the killing of Ukrainians along the San River. On an official level, Poles ruled heavy-handedly from 1920-39. In defiance of the League of Nations and its attempt to demarcate a border between two ethnic groups (known as the Curzon Line) Poland occupied and proceeded to divide Ukrainian lands with the Soviet Union. Ukrainians considered Polish occupation to be thrust upon them, whereas Poles considered western Ukrainian lands to be a necessary possession for state security.  British commentary on government policy exclaimed that persecution provided Ukrainians with an “added consciousness and solidarity” and that Polish severity actually “increased the insecurity of the south-eastern frontier of the republic.” The Polish narrative tends to ignore the behavior and consequences of its interwar government. It should have come as no surprise, though, that the repressive policies of Jozef Pilsudski and the Polish colonization of Ukrainian territory fostered the growth of later Ukrainian insurgency.

Soviet occupation spawned even more hatred among the Ukrainian population, radicalizing it.

The second wave of occupation occurred in 1939 following the Soviet invasion of Poland. Already a region conducive to violent inter-ethnic conflict, the San now acted as the boundary between the zones established by the Soviets and Nazi Germany. Following the division of Poland, “everything changed.” Massive, state-organized political and ethnic violence carried out by both parties introduced a divided Poland to its first exposure of massive ethnic cleansing. From 1939 to 1941, “an unprecedented terror swept the recently conquered areas of Western Ukraine.” For Poles, tens of thousands were killed and hundreds of thousands were deported by both occupational regimes – Ukrainians also suffered immensely. Soviet occupation is said to have “decapitated” Polish and Ukrainian society, in which Galicia especially was completely torn apart. The mass devastation notwithstanding, Soviet occupation spawned even more hatred among the Ukrainian population, radicalizing it.

Nazi occupation had a clear cause and effect, with massacres beginning as early as 1941

The third wave, that in which Nazi Germany occupied Galicia and Volhynia, was the most decisive in converting these pent up frustrations into fully realized ethnic cleansing. While inter-ethnic violence between Poles and Ukrainians had been longstanding, Nazi occupation had a clear cause and effect, with massacres beginning as early as 1941. Under this new occupation the San River no longer acted as an important boundary. Instead, Volhynia was placed under the administration of the Nazi German colony called the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, and Galicia within the Generalgouvernment, which was part of Greater Germany itself. New social and political divisions were established in a short period: in Galicia, Ukrainians were elevated to positions of authority whereas in Volhynia, Poles retained authority within the German administration. Volhynia faced a harsher occupation in general, and due to its northern location, quickly became a battleground for Soviet partisans. Volhynian society was reduced to chaos by 1943.

Two soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army from Bukovyna with captured Soviet and German weapons

Two soldiers of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army from Bukovyna with captured Soviet and German weapons

Panic & Desperation

Hitler’s genocidal policy to exterminate Europe’s Jewish population, the Final Solution, began in 1942, but prior to this the population was already well exposed to an immense population displacement enforced by the Germans. Meanwhile, from Soviet Ukraine, propaganda promoted the possibility of a free and united “great Ukrainian people,” one that included Galicia and its crown jewel, Lviv. On the whole, the precedent for ethnic cleansing and the popularity of fascist and Bolshevik nationalism made perfect ingredients for what remained of a devastated society to reciprocate the words and actions of the newly imposed authority.

1937 Linguistic map of the region

1937 Linguistic map of the region

The prelude to full scale ethnic cleansing by Ukrainian insurgents ends in 1943. Ukrainian leaders believed the war would end with attrition warfare exhausting both Germany and the Soviet Union. Out of this, a resurgent Poland would be the primary obstacle in the way of Ukrainian statehood. The Soviet counteroffensive that followed the battle of Stalingrad in January of 1943 led to a westward push by Soviet forces as they recaptured Ukraine proper, leading Ukrainian leaders to reason that a preemptive elimination of Poles from Ukraine would be the most they could aspire for in a relatively short period. In the words of Roman Shukhevych on 25 February 1944, due to the success of the Soviet forces it was “necessary to speed up the liquidation of the Poles,” “they must be totally wiped out.”

As the Soviet and German armies waged war on one another for control of Eastern Europe, the Polish-Ukrainian civil war continued to be fought for sovereignty over land that neither side still controlled. Nonetheless, claims were made whose terms were unnegotiable: politically active Poles wanted to restore the 1939 borders whereas Ukrainians called for primacy over their own ethnic territory. Ukrainian concerns of Polish intentions were not unfounded, and with the question of legitimate rule over Galicia-Volhynia reopened, political proposals had already been made to deport up to 500,000 Ukrainians from an imagined ‘post-war Poland with pre-war frontiers’. Dmowski’s National Democrats went as far as desiring the entire expulsion of Ukrainians from the Polish state. Talks that did take place were fruitless, as was the case in Lviv of 1942 between the OUN and Polish government-in-exile, the latter of which insisted Volhynia was a “mixed territory.” While some historians contest the legitimacy of Polish claims to these lands, Poles had indeed lived on these lands for centuries; Volhynia alone had a pre-war presence of 400,000.

The rejection of Polish land rights was not a view held among the radicalized; even moderate Ukrainians failed to see any legitimacy in Poland’s aspirations. However, the radical among the OUN were passionately determined to prevent the clock from being rolled back and instead wanted to revisit attempts to begin a Ukrainian nation-state. This was a difficult proposal, though, because the creation of states is harder to accomplish than the restoration of states. To expedite the process and acquire legitimacy among its population, ethnic cleansing was seen in this instance as a distinct political answer.

Debated Origins

In determining where, when, and how the conflict began and who threw the first stone, Polish and Ukrainian views differ greatly. Some Ukrainians are of the opinion that the conflict began with the killing of Ukrainian underground soldiers and activists by the Polish underground, who considered them German collaborators. Others reject this notion and claim that the killings began as an OUN initiative, unrelated to the prior actions of the Home Army. Another claim is that the Ukrainians of Volhynia turned on the Poles after Polish Soviet partisans arrived in region, singling out the Ukrainian population.

German and Soviet authorities actively pursued a policy of provocation to pit the two sides, Polish and Ukrainian, against each other in order to divide and conquer.

Regardless of which side shot the first bullet in the sequence of events culminating in the ethnic cleansing of 1943, neither side acted independently. Just as social tensions were brought to a boil by the multiple occupations the region endured, the German and Soviet authorities actively pursued a policy of provocation to pit the two sides, Polish and Ukrainian, against each other in order to divide and conquer. It is this factor which explains the issue of competing historical narratives of victimization from each side. Beginning in 1939, Soviet agents provoked conflict between Poles and Ukrainians in order to bring about “revolution” and justify the extension of the Ukrainian SSR into Polish territory beyond the San. In order to colonize the region and expand their Lebensraum (living space), Germans utilized preexisting tensions to let the colonized kill themselves off. In an example of “German meddling,” Germans offered Ukrainians a chance to persecute Poles in 1941-1942, and then, following Ukrainian desertions en masse to join the UPA, conscripted Poles to persecute Ukrainians the following two years. Another tactic used by Germans was to deploy, for example, forces against the Ukrainian population dressed as Polish soldiers, and vice versa. These provocative measures succeeded, so that each side remains steadfast in its conviction regarding victimhood and the actions of the historical “other.” These provocations proved to be extremely successful, but how did they result in such widespread violence between both societies? The simple answer is that the attrition of war wore down both sides to such an extent that ethnic cleansing could not be prevented. A complete breakdown of governance and justice essentially decapitated civil and local society, leaving both sides to rely on their respective underground military organizations as the only source of authority. The Ukrainian organization in particular by 1943 was left only with its youngest and most radical supporters.

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Ukrainian Bloodshed

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army’s program of ethnic cleansing began in earnest in March 1943, but sporadic killings had already started through the fall of 1942; the earliest accounts being in the Sarny region of Volyn and continuing throughout the winter. Since Ukrainian police held a more significant role in Volhynia than Galicia, this made for an explosive situation when in March 1943, Ukrainians abandoned their roles in the German police, taking with them their weapons and firsthand experience in implementing German atrocities. The UPA’s forces in Volhynia would reach as many as 20,000 troops; however, approximately ninety percent of the UPA’s attacks would collectively take place in the Galician provinces of Stanislaviv, Drohobych, Ternopil, and Lviv. The majority of the UPA’s attacks in Volhynia aimed at cleansing the region occurred throughout March-April, July-August, then in tailed off by late December of that year. Many victims included innocent Polish civilians, but some analysis has shown that main targets still included AK and partisan formations, indicating that the UPA’s presence was not limited to punitive actions against ethnic Poles but also retained its military purpose in this war. The goal of the OUN was not to exterminate each and every Pole, but rather to swiftly and brutally enforce the resettlement of all Poles to the west of the Curzon Line, preventing any future possibility of claims toward the territory being “mixed.” In addition to Poles, factionalism within the OUN caused Ukrainian insurgents to kill tens of thousands of Ukrainians for siding with either the Melnyk or Borovets factions. Ukrainians who converted to Roman Catholicism were also killed.

By January 1944 the war had spread to Galicia but demographic conditions favoring Poles likely caused a reduction in the violence. Polish families, unlike in Volhynia, were presented a warning with the option of flight. Notices left on doors of Polish residences in Galicia stated the rationale behind their actions: “Because the Polish government and Polish people collaborate with the Bolsheviks and are bent on destroying the Ukrainian people on their own land, [name] is hereby called upon to move to native Polish soil…” Ethnic cleansing by the UPA was highly political in nature, and in addition to Poles and Melnykite Ukrainians, the course of the war tallied an estimate of 22 thousand pro-Soviet Ukrainian civilian losses at the hands of the UPA. By the spring of 1945, the UPA and AK had come to a truce, but conflict between Ukrainians and Soviet and pro-Communist Polish forces continued.

and Polish Bloodshed

Even prior to the “official” outbreak of ethnic cleansing by Ukrainians, massacres aimed at the Ukrainian population of Kholm had started as early as 1942.

Historians in the Ukrainian diaspora focus on the Polish “retaliatory” actions that occurred during this conflict, and rightly so. Much like the preemptive nature of the Ukrainian attacks in Volhynia, as early as 1941 Poles equated war with Germany to war with Ukrainians for Galicia-Volhynia, and sought to achieve a quick “armed occupation.” In order to carry out retaliatory actions against Ukrainian aggressors, Polish partisans created self-defense formations. Retaliation, however, was carried out inch for inch, and was ‘hardly less fierce’. Warnings to Ukrainians made in 1943 stated that every village burned would result in two Ukrainian villages being razed, and for every Pole killed, two Ukrainians would be killed in his place immediately. Orders issued in February of 1944 by Polish Home Army commander Lt. Kazimierz Babinski said only children would be spared; however, a month later a massacre by Polish partisans occurred in Kholm killing 1,500, of which 70% were women and children. The largest groups (namely the Wiklina, Kozaka, Korczaka detachments of the Polish Home Army) played a considerable role, cleansing the Ukrainian population from Kowal, Wlodzimierz, and Lubomel in 1943-44. By the middle of 1944 the feeling of many Poles was that they would still retake or even extend territory into Ukraine. That summer approximately 150 villages, home to 15,000 Ukrainians, had been razed in so-called retaliatory measures. Attacks aimed at eliminating civilian populations were not uncommon from the Polish side. Even prior to the “official” outbreak of ethnic cleansing by Ukrainians, massacres aimed at the Ukrainian population of Kholm had started as early as 1942. Often, even when no direct orders from the Polish government-in-exile were given, this had no bearing on impeding retaliatory measures, causing Ukrainians civilians in many cases to be killed indiscriminately and on sight. Retaliation also took place by proxy, whereby upon hearing new of killings in Volhynia, for instance, Poles in Galicia would take up arms against local Ukrainians.

Members-of-the-Polish-27th-Home-Army-Infantry-Division-300x217

Members of the Polish 27th Home Army Infantry Division, created from from former Polish policemen to fight the UPA who had, like many in the UPA, deserted German service.

Following the German retreat, Poles ethnically cleansed their environs to an even greater degree, spreading from neighboring villages to isolated settlements. By late 1945 and into 1946, the modus operandi of the Polish Army was to attack UPA units in order to justify attacking Ukrainian settlements, wait for Ukrainian retaliation, and use that as further justification for “retaliation.” These methods were cyclical, and clearly illustrate the reciprocal nature of this conflict. A multidimensional conflict, Polish retaliation and instigation took several forms: fighting Ukrainians as German policemen, NKVD battalions, Soviet partisans, and as self-defense militias and members of the Home Army.

From 1944-47, during the final occupational wave in the region, Soviet forces in collaboration with local Polish communists enacted a broad and final act of ethnic cleansing to end the conflict once and for all. Much like the original goals proposed by Polish and Ukrainian leaders, Soviet-mandated ethnic cleansing was used as a means to an end with violence utilized to solidify and legitimize state control. Polish veteran officers who had served as partisans during the Second World War were unsympathetic, and like the UPA in 1943, they knew that the war would only be won by “drastic measures.” Ultimately, both Ukrainians and Poles were purged of their land on a staggering scale. In order to solve this “Ukrainian problem,” a series of deportations and forced relocations, named Operation Vistula, acted as a direct successor of, and brought an end to, the ‘ethnic redefinition’ of Poland and Ukraine as states virtually homogenous in their ethnic composition. The goal of each side was finally, painstakingly, actualized.

The Toll

Figures of the conflict are largely a contested matter requiring further impartial research due to current estimates being far from narrowed or consistent.  Polish scholars have  evidenced 34,647 deaths to date, and as a general rule, cumulative deaths in Volhynia range from 35 thousand on the low end, but can go as high as double that or more; most reasonable estimates cap at the 50-60 thousand range, however. Totals from Galicia go as low as 10 and high as 25 thousand; and Lublin and Rezeszow 5 thousand (which equaled Ukainian deaths by Poles). Part of this discrepancy is likely due to Polish historians inflating figures, and another reason is due to a lack of accounting for deportations and executions that occurred during this triple-occupation. For this latter reason, Ivan Katchanovski believes the lower bound of the Volhynian figure to be more accurate. Ukrainian deaths from this period of ethnic cleansing are also estimated to be as high as 30 thousand in Ukraine. In Poland, 11 thousand Ukrainians are said to have been killed, exceeding the 7 thousand Poles who perished there as well. All said, when comparing the most modest of findings, over 50 thousand Polish in comparison to a rough excess of 40 thousand Ukrainian casualties (and recalling the tens of thousands of additional Ukrainians who were killed in intra-ethnic violence), further illustrates the mutually exhaustive nature ethnic cleansing was for both sides in this conflict.

Both sides were positioned, motivated, and subsequently suffered in a relatively equal manner during the events that took place in Galicia-Volhynia. What may have begun as a series of sporadic clashes was provoked and focused into an exhaustive ethnic cleansing campaign that not only brought upon itself retaliation, but reciprocation. The Ukrainian campaign was especially brutal in its earliest months but as time wore on the Polish response made for substantial losses on both sides. Presented to be a force that acted in retaliation, in reality, the Polish forces are equally as guilty as the Ukrainian for aggression in the battle to stake the post-war claim to Galicia and Volhynia. Taking place in the heart of the eastern front, the actions of both Nazi and Soviet genocide and ethnic cleansing transferred to the local levels, and continued well beyond the end of the war. What began as two states trying to carve out their very own legitimate nation states in the face of losing what they once had, in the end resulted in neither attaining their wish.


Article by Mat Babiak & co-published on Ukrainian Policy

Footnotes & Bibliography

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  • sandy miller

    Interesting article. In America the impression has always been that Ukrainians were more brutal and killed more. No info has ever been given in the context of history. Thank you.

    • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

      Ukrainians did kill more, just to be clear. Just not as lopsidedly as its often referred.

  • Łukasz Łowiński

    This is madnes . You’re wrong on facts and on conclusions . And just to make it clear , i supported Ukraine from the start . And it was more then 100 000 poles that were killed in that genocide .

    • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

      It wasn’t 100,000 and it wasn’t genocide. That’s simply revisionism which is unsupported by any legitimate scholar.

      • Łukasz Łowiński

        You’re whitewashing UPA crimes , and how about Norman Davies ? And what is you’re description of a genocide ? Why dont you read and post on you’re page descriptions of this “civil war” from those who survived the carnage ?

      • Wojciech Mucha

        Sick. How You can say:

        “By late 1945 and into 1946, the modus operandi of the Home Army was to attack UPA units in order to justify attacking Ukrainian settlements, wait for Ukrainian retaliation, and use that as further justification for “retaliation.”

        when Home Army was officially disbanded on 19 January 1945?

        Whole text is full of things like that. Some ignoramus wrote this stuff.

      • Rick

        100 000 isn’t quite on the *scale* of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, but genocide it most definitely was! Ukrainian forces carried out carefully planned mass murders of Polish villagers who posed no military threat to them at all. Any Ukrainian who was bold enough to defend his Polish neighbours was also murdered. Ukrainian men were even ordered to kill their Polish wives or face execution themselves.

        Poles were often brutally tortured before they died. Women, children and babies were tortured and slaughtered as mercilessly as their menfolk. Pregnant Polish women had their babies ripped out of their bodies before they themselves were finished off. In this respect the genocide was even worse than that of Rwanda. It’s no use trying to deny it, as there’s all too much evidence in the archives, including photographs of the mutilated bodies of little children hung out as macabre trophies on village fences.

        In some localities even the Germans were appalled by the cruelty of the Ukrainians and secretly provided Poles with guns so that they could defend themselves!

        It was all very well organized. First Ukrainian men went to do the killing. Then their women and children came to do the looting.

        Another very disturbing thing is the fact that many members of the Uniate (or “Greek Catholic”) church condoned the slaughter and even held services to bless those who were on their way to carry it out. Perhaps that explains why they are still in denial about Bandera?

        • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

          I don’t know who taught you this stuff, but it’s quite sad.

  • Jarosław Banaszek

    Halftrue is not true. Please Ukrainians, start to work like real historicans not propagandists. In Poland are published more and more good historical works. You tell legends and myths. There are no evidences of soviet provocations. OUN planed extermination of Poles since its begining. They killed many polish before the II war. Polish historicans estimate that 60-70 thousand od Poles were killed in Wolyn and 40 thousand in Galicja. Polish revange, which often was very cruel, took about 10 thousend Ukrainians. I talked with people who survived, such cruelty, killing children and women, slaughter, they still afraid to talk about it. If you want real peace with Poles you must admit that it was genocide.

    • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

      Calling a civil war “genocide” and pretending Soviets didn’t provoke conflict (a position which can only be supported by Soviet/Russian propaganda) will do nothing to mend the memories.

      • Jarosław Banaszek

        I’m not supporter of Russia, they are bigger nationalists than OUN. Killing of innocent kids and women you call civil war? On 11 July 1943 100 villages and cities were attacked at one time. Wasn’t it planned genocide. Didn’t you read political programm of OUN? You just telling lies and fairy tales. Show some proves and documents. Tell something about SS Galizien. You call Poland occupants. Did Ukrainians have their own state? You are the one helping Russians to divide Poles and Ukrainians.

        • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

          SS Galicia is a different topic altogether.

          And yes Ukrainians did have their own state, which Poles occupied following the Ukrainian-Soviet War.

          The article tackles why it was a civil war so I’m not going to get into that. It’s a position held by scholars, not simply a theory or misapplication of the word. “Killing innocents” is a reduction of the battle as a whole, where regular units faced each other and each side attacked civilians. This makes it an especially brutal war, but brutality doesn’t make it not a war. Ethnic cleansing occurred in the Yugoslav Wars as well, which were also civil wars, by way of comparison.

        • stanczyk

          @UkrainianPolicy
          >occupied
          I’ve heard too many times to count “If people in Donbass don’t like Ukraine, they should move Russia”.
          So if Ukrainians were not happy to live within borders of Poland (which, BTW, were recognised by Ukrainian leader Petliura) they could have moved to Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. I guess that Uncle Joe would fed them well.

  • Tim Bucknall

    Bravo for having the courage to tackle it but I Concur with the criticism.

  • Rick

    Fortunately, thanks to the work of the impartial Ukrainian scholar Viktor Polishchuk / Poliszczuk — who did not work for the Canadian-based UPA propaganda machine — we have a much more accurate account of what really happened. The fact that Matthew Babiak studiously avoids making any reference to the work of such a major predecessor speaks volumes.

    The sooner Ukrainian politicians (and, even worse, members of the Uniate clergy) realize that glorifying those Ukrainians who took an active part in Nazi (i.e. German) -inspired genocide against Poles and Jews is a road that will get them nowhere, the better for the Ukraine and for Polish-Ukrainian relations, for the whole truth *will* come out in the end.

    Rather than erect monuments to people like Bandera — who never expressed any sorrow for what happened (even later on in his life) — Ukrainians should be erecting monuments to Petlura, who was Poland’s ally in the Polish-Soviet war.

    The sad truth is that some Ukrainian leaders were stupid enough play the German card and side with Hitler. That explains why — before WWII — they assassinated all Ukrainians or Poles who worked for Polish-Ukrainian understanding and during the war they were only too eager to distinguish themselves as exemplary guards in German death camps, going down in history as incomparable sadists. As one Ukrainian once put it on Radio Free Europe: “Like the Poles, we Ukrainians are in dire need of a book entitled ‘The History of Stupidity in Our Country’.”

    All attempts to create a false version of Ukrainian history will ultimately fail. By trying to doctor the truth, Ukrainian historians are merely playing into the hands of Russia and Germany, neither of which want a strong Ukraine or a strong Poland. Indeed, what they fear most is a new European Union of Central and Eastern European states on the lines of the old Polish Republic. No one is more aware of this and no one fears this “danger” more than Vladimir Putin.

    Intelligent politicians like Tiahnybok should make a radical re-think of their overall strategy. The first step is to ditch “heroes” like Chmelnytsky and Bandera, who sold Ukrainians into slavery and ignominy. Bring back Petlura and put him together with the heroes of the Maidan. And — while you’re at it — replace “Ukraine” with a statue of Our Lady on that big column in the middle of Kiev.

    • Tom

      Ukrainian leaders were not stupid to play the German card. After the invasion of Poland, if Ukrainians would have played the Allies card they would have had absolutely no chance to even think about having any freedom under Joseph Stalin rule (btw how can you live under a tyrant that caused a human made famine that resulted in millions of people dead, not to mention a long list of other repressive programs, including murder and deportations). Playing the German card was a better or the two evils, as under German control the Ukrainians could have at least hoped to be able to establish some sort of semi-autonomous state in parts of Ukraine (lets remember that Poland joined the Allies prior and Ukrainians noticed where Poland ended up with the British-French “help”, also they didn’t know much about German oppressions yet, but they knew a whole lot about the Soviet ones).

      Look, Poles played the Allies card. Now where did it get them? Choosing the Allies led to (1) Poland is abandoned by Britain and France in 1939 after Germans invade (the whole military alliance was signed by the allies only to make sure that the war starts in the East so that they would have time to prepare for it), (2) murder of several million Poles (not including Jewish people with Polish citizenship) between 1939 and 1944, (3) loss of independence in 1939 and the complete disintegration of the state apparatus (will have significant consequences for Poland after German defeat), (4) invasion of Russia and the murder/oppression of Polish people on lands captured by the Soviets (Soviets murdered more people in the 50% of Poland it captured between 1939 and 1941 than Germany did during the same time frame), (5) considerable destruction of Polish property/economic output in 1939, (6) Warsaw uprising results in the destruction of Polish capital, death to a significant number of Polish intelligentsia/professionals (helps communists after the war to communise the state with less opposition after the war), (7) huge destruction, capture of all Polish regions by the Soviets in 1944-45 and vasalisation of the country, including forced adaptation of repressive communistic political system, (8) major geographical shift of Poland resulting in 20% land loss (Poland was the only member of the victorious allied forces which lost land as a result of the allied victory over Germany).

      Now lets imagine that Poland would have joined the axis in 1939 like Romania and Hungary did (and assuming that the few hundred thousand extra, rather poorly equipped, Polish troops would have performed similarly to the Italian, Hungarian and Romanian troops in Russia in 1941-44): (1) Poland retains the relatively friendly relations with Adolph Hitler which existed prior to the pact signed between Poland, Britain and France, (2) Poland retains its independence but is subject to some German control over its interior and exterior affairs, (3) no military actions in Poland between 1939 and 1944 (a saving of 100s of thousands of human lives), (4) Poland looses privileges in Gdansk, and Germans build a highway connecting East and West Prussia in the North until 1944, (5) Polish army attacks Russia together with the Germans in 1941 (Polish strategic orientation in 1939 was organized in anticipation of a Polish-Soviet war, not a war with Germany for which it was poorly prepared) (= loss of possibly 10 if not 100s of thousands of military lives), (6) Polish inter-war industrialization program continues for at least several more years raising Poles standard of living and GDP, (7) Poland is forced to transfer Polish Jews to extermination camps in Germany, Czechoslovakia and other German areas but since Germany has no direct control over its lands this process might have been much slower than under fully German controlled areas, saving possibly many many lives (Poland had the largest Jewish population in Europe prior to the war), (8) no Polish citizens are send to extermination camps (= a saving of up to 3 million lives), (9) huge destruction, capture of all Polish regions by the Soviets in 1944-45 and vasalisation of the country, including forced adaptation of repressive communistic political system, (10) major geographical shift of Poland resulting in 20% land lost (Hungary, Romania, Italy lost less land even though they were in the axis department).

      Well I would say that in the end the 2nd option would have probably been better for Poland. However, we can’t say that Polish politicians in the 1930s were wrong to have made the decisions that they did as they really didn’t know what the future was going to be like. But they should have noticed some strong signs where the winds were blowing (e.g., Britain agreeing to lend the Polish government a huge amount of money to modernize their military, almost none of which was released to Poland, Poland requested (but never attained any of it) decommissioned military equipment from their allies to strengthen their own defenses. All this in line with the notion “why invest into a country that you know will be overrun by the Germans once the war starts?”

      • Rick

        It’s nice to speculate. Here’s my favourite:

        What if Hitler hadn’t been violently antisemitic but “merely” anti-Slav and — after invading Poland — had instead asked the considerable local Jewish population to help him annihilate the Polish nation more quickly and more efficiently? As you no doubt know, the Germans under Hitler planned to relocate all Slavs eastwards and turn them into slaves working for the Third Reich. How many Jews would have collaborated and how many would have refused?

        In the early 1930s there were even attempts on the part of some German Jews to find a modus vivendi with Hitler in order to facilitate an orderly transfer of Jews to Palestine under German auspices. There was even a fledgling Zionist quasi-fascist movement which was supported by Mussolini and — initially — by the Germans themselves. This, of course, is now a taboo subject in these times of political correctness.

        Was Hitler’s ultimate rejection of the Jewish hand of friendship his biggest mistake?

  • Tom

    Few clarifications. (1) Leader of UPA Shukhevych issued an order in 1944 to falsify documents claiming that the murders in Chelm (Kholm) were done by Poles rather than Ukrainians. My personal note: Note that the murders happened in a considerable city under the German occupation and Ukrainians in this part of the country did work together with the German authorities (in other regions, Ukrainians had their own military formations under German supervision, including the SS, had police units that followed German orders, and even guarded most of the concentration/extermination camps in the generalgouvernement region, armed Poles were only in the underground in this part of Europe). It would be impossible for Poles to have killed so many people in a German occupied city at this time without capturing the city itself. But Ukrainians, with German approval, could do as they pleased and, as indicated by the author, were encouraged to do so. (2) Between 1920 and 1944, Polish repression in these lands against the Ukrainian people were mostly economic/social/religious etc, Ukrainian repressions against Poles in these areas was most notably done through assassinations prior to the war and then ethnic cleansing during the war (I mean what would you expect in a region where Ukrainians had little political control but the ethnic tensions were so high). Ethnic cleansing was a tool used to a far greater extend by the Ukrainians than Poles, I suspect partially because during the war, when the social-political control of the state apparatus is weakened (when such acts occurred) Poles had far fewer opportunities/means/resources to conduct such actions, at least on the scale that the Ukrainians paramilitary groups were able to do.

    However, after the war it is highly possible that Polish Peoples Republic army together with the Soviets might have conducted some atrocities in the region against ordinary citizens (aside from evictions of people from their land and capture/killings of partisans or anyone opposed to the communist rule). This period of time was deeply covered by the communists, is relatively poorly understood and should be studied/discussed a lot more.

    • Kostecki

      150 000 isn’t quite on the scale of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but genocide it most certainly was. In German-occupied Poland Ukrainian forces carried out a mass slaughter of Polish villagers who posed no military threat and whose only crime was that they were not ethnic Ukrainians.

      The slaughter was as horrifying as it was methodical. No one was spared. Ukrainian men with Polish wives were ordered to kill them or face execution themselves. Worse still, many of the Polish villagers were brutally tortured and mutilated before they died. When the killing was over, it was time for the wives and children of the killers to come and help with the looting.

      Men, women, children, old people and babies all shared the same fate. Pregnant women’s babies were often ripped out of their bodies before they themselves were finished off by Ukrainian militants. Any Ukrainians who dared to defend their Polish neighbours were also killed as traitors to the Ukrainian nationalist cause.

      It’s no use trying to deny it, Matthew, as there’s only too much evidence in the archives, including photographs of young children’s bodies strung up together on village fences as some sort of macabre trophy.

      The massacres were so appalling that even some members of the German army were moved to secretly provide Poles with arms so that they could defend themselves!

      Another disturbing aspect of this genocide was the fact that it was condoned by many members of the Uniate or “Greek Catholic” clergy, who held services to bless the militants beforehand. Perhaps that explains why they are still in denial about Bandera, who later in his life never expressed any sorrow for what happened.

      Fortunately the impartial Ukrainian historian Viktor Polishchuk / Poliszczuk — who steadfastly refused to support the Ukrainian Canadian UPA propaganda machine — has also left us an account of what really happened. The fact that in his article Matthew Babiak makes no reference to the work of Polishchuk speaks volumes about his academic credibility.

      Deleting readers’ posts will not solve the problem. By clumsily attempting to doctor the historical truth Ukrainian “historians” are doing a great disservice to the Ukrainian nation. How do you think Ukrainian teenagers are going to feel when they eventually discover what the Bandera people really did?

      Glorifying Bandera is a road to nowhere. If you want to put up statues, then put them up to Petlura and the heroes of the Maidan. Can’t you see that it’s time to ditch “heroes” like Khmelnytsky and Bandera, who were stupid enough to sell Ukrainians into slavery and ignominy?

      The sad truth is that between the two world wars some Ukrainian nationalists (and no, I have nothing against nationalism!) succumbed to the temptation to side with Germany in return for German support. That explains why they assassinated any Pole or Ukrainian who actively worked for Polish-Ukrainian understanding.

      When Poland was divided up between Germany and Russia they continued to play the German card. And play the German card they did! Many Ukrainian nationalists became guards at Nazi death camps, going down in history as unparalleled sadists, while others took part in massacres of Poles and Jews, whose presence spoilt their dream of an ethnically pure Ukraine.

    • Kostecki

      I have noticed that Matthew Babiak has deleted Tom’s post showing photographs of the massacres carried out by Ukrainians on the Polish people during World War II. I therefore strongly encourage everyone to do a Google search for:

      Volyn massacre

      Massacres of Poles in Volhynia

      Ukrainian ethnic cleansing

      … so that they can see for themselves how sadistic and disturbing those genocidal campaigns carried out by the Bandera people really were.

      Deleting readers’ posts won’t solve the problem. Think of the shame and anger young Ukrainians are going to feel when they finally discover that — from the relative safety of Canada — the children of those Ukrainians who gladly collaborated with Hitler in his plans to exterminate whole nations have deceived them into thinking that the Bandera people were heroes!

      Can’t you see that this kind of propaganda is no different from that of Putin’s Russia?

  • Tom

    Here is a site with some photographs showing results of mostly Ukrainian massacres of Poles during WW2 as well as Soviet/Polish ones from post-war era (Please be advised the photographs are graphic !!!!!!!!!!!)
    Note, for those who can look at those photographs, the horrendous evidence of torture and dismemberment, especially on the bodies of Polish children and women!
    http://nnm.me/blogs/VIPER1966/especially-for-the-residents-of-england-and-the-usa/

  • Ksawery MetaKowalski

    If I believed in conspiracy theories I would say, that you were supported by Russians to write this article with so many errors(for example number of killed Poles) as your article does a GREAT job of dividing Poles and Ukrainians – just when we both need the opposite. Poland and Ukraine need to support each other. We should talk openly about everything bad that was done on both sides in the past. But if your idea is to take everything down to a level of “they both killed equally” than this is wrong idea. Even in the times of biggest Polish repression towards Ukrainians, Poland would never even think about killing people on mass scale as OUN/UPA did. Poland was occupied by Germans, Russians…but even in sickest dreams we would never think about doing to Germans/Russians, what OUN/UPA did to Poles. It was just mad and sick and Polish revenge was just what was triggered by this animal behavior of UPA.

    Good to see us talking about our history, but as I can see there is a long way ahead of us. Good luck with Russians!

    • http://ukrainianpolicy.com/ UkrainianPolicy

      What errors in particular? The number of killed Poles is accurate and attributed by multiple western scholars. It’s unfair to say “Poland would never even think about…” this when it did happen, on a large scale – again, fully supported and documented, no conjecture. It wasn’t equal in scale for a number of reasons, but is it really fair to compare two wrongs?

      And like the article states, local Poles were committed massacres before the OUN started and the Polish Army was doing its own in the years that followed. It’s an inconvenient truth, it seems, but you need truth to have reconciliation.

      Maybe the timing is wrong and Ukraine needs Poland’s support – absolutely – but the UPA is a relevant topic at the moment because of Russian propaganda and there was a certain repetitiveness between Euromaidan/Crimea/Donbas articles, and figured this was a more original topic.

  • Kostecki

    150 000 isn’t quite on the scale of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but genocide it most certainly was. In German-occupied Poland Ukrainian forces carried out a mass slaughter of Polish villagers who posed no military threat and whose only crime was that they were not ethnic Ukrainians.

    The slaughter was as horrifying as it was methodical. No one was spared. Ukrainian men with Polish wives were ordered to kill them or face execution themselves. Worse still, many of the Polish villagers were brutally tortured and mutilated before they died.

    Men, women, children, old people and babies all shared the same fate. Pregnant women’s babies were often ripped out of their bodies before they themselves were finished off by Ukrainian militants. Any Ukrainians who dared to defend their Polish neighbours were also killed as traitors to the Ukrainian nationalist cause.

    It’s no use trying to deny it, Matthew, as there’s only too much evidence in the archives, including photographs of young children’s bodies strung up together on village fences as some sort of macabre trophy.

    The massacres were so appalling that even some members of the German army were moved to secretly provide Poles with arms so that they could defend themselves!

    Another disturbing aspect of this genocide was the fact that it was condoned by many members of the Uniate or “Greek Catholic” clergy, who held services to bless the militants beforehand. Perhaps that explains the fact that they are still in denial about Bandera, who later in his life never expressed any sorrow for what happened.

    Fortunately the impartial Ukrainian historian Viktor Polishchuk / Poliszczuk — who steadfastly refused to support the Ukrainian Canadian UPA propaganda machine — has left us an account of what really happened. The fact that Matthew Babiak makes no reference to the work of Polishchuk in his article says a lot about his academic credibility.

    Deleting reader’s posts will not solve the problem. By clumsily attempting to doctor the historical truth Ukrainian “historians” are doing a great disservice to the Ukrainian nation. How do you think Ukrainian teenagers are going to feel when they eventually discover what the Bandera people really did?

    Glorifying Bandera is a road to nowhere. If you want to put up statues, then put them up to Petlura and the heroes of the Maidan. Can’t you see that it’s time to ditch “heroes” like Khmelnytsky and Bandera, who were stupid enough to sell the Ukraine into slavery and ignominy?

  • Jan Chimiak

    It’s heartening to see someone trying to bridge the gap between the two histories (just compare Polish wiki and Ukrainian wiki articles as seen from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacres_of_Poles_in_Volhynia_and_Eastern_Galicia – use an automatic translator if you need to, the differences are obvious and meaningful). I don’t care to elaborate – just bear in mind that the problem is complex and still painful for many. Most people from either perspective – Polish or Ukrainian – will feel that some of the aspects of what is described in the article is either skewed or glossed over. I personally think this is unavoidable, you just cannot put it right in several hundred words… It you think you _know exactly_ what happened and it can be summarized in ten sentences you are wrong, whatever your outlook is.

    For those who like a better insight on how it was like have a look at this Hungarian map from 1942 while covers nationalities in former Austro-Hungarian countries – it is quite possibly incorrect in some places as it originated from a Hungarian perspective in a time of war but it is also quite possibly impartial: http://www.omm1910.hu/hu/egyeb/jakabbfy.jpg.

    I think it is a mistake to think about the past in purely nationalistic point of view. The mish-mash of the early 20th century comes at several layers: language, religon, nationality and socio-economic ties. Each layer shows slightly different picture.

    Furthermore it is impossible to even begin to touch the subject without mentioning the parallel disaster that befell two other nations: Jews (which everyone knows about) and Lemkos (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemkos, again, browse both Polish and Ukrainian interwiki for the big picture).

    Disclaimer: I’m a Pole. My dead lie at Łyczaków and Rossa. Past is past.

  • Tom

    I have noticed that my post showing photograph of the massacres done by Ukrainians on the Polish people during World War 2 were deleted by the moderators (perhaps because they were too graphic). I encourage everyone to search google for “Volyn massacre”, “Massacres of Poles in Volhynia” or “Ukrainian ethnic cleansing” to see how sadistic and disturbing those acts really were.

  • Drohomir

    – I’ve noticed that Matthew Babiak has deleted Tom’s post showing photographs of the massacres carried out by Ukrainians on the Polish people during World War II. I therefore strongly encourage everyone to do a Google search for:

    Volyn massacre

    Massacres of Poles in Volhynia

    Ukrainian ethnic cleansing

    … so that they can see for themselves how sadistic and disturbing those genocidal campaigns carried out by the Bandera people really were.

    Deleting readers’ posts won’t solve the problem. Think of the shame and the anger young Ukrainians are going to feel when they finally discover that — from the relative safety of Canada — the children of those Ukrainians who gladly collaborated with Hitler in his plans to exterminate whole nations have deceived them into thinking that the Bandera people were heroes!

    Can’t you see that this kind of propaganda is no different from that of Putin’s Russia?

    150 000 isn’t quite on the scale of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but genocide it most certainly was. In German-occupied Poland Ukrainian forces carried out a mass slaughter of Polish villagers who posed no military threat and whose only crime was that they were not ethnic Ukrainians.

    The slaughter was as horrifying as it was methodical. No one was spared. Ukrainian men with Polish wives were ordered to kill them or face execution themselves. Worse still, many of the Polish villagers were brutally tortured and mutilated before they died. When the killing was over, it was time for the wives and children of the killers to come and help with the looting.

    Men, women, children, old people and babies all shared the same fate. Pregnant women’s babies were often ripped out of their bodies before they themselves were finished off by Ukrainian militants. Any Ukrainians who dared to defend their Polish neighbours were also killed as traitors to the Ukrainian nationalist cause.

    It’s no use trying to deny it, Matthew, as there’s only too much evidence in the archives, including photographs of young children’s bodies strung up together on village fences as some sort of macabre trophy.

    The massacres were so appalling that even some members of the German army were moved to secretly provide Poles with arms so that they could defend themselves!

    Another disturbing aspect of this genocide was the fact that it was condoned by many members of the Uniate or “Greek Catholic” clergy, who held services to bless the militants beforehand. Perhaps that explains why they are still in denial about Bandera, who later in his life never expressed any sorrow for what happened.

    Fortunately the impartial Ukrainian historian Viktor Polishchuk / Poliszczuk — who steadfastly refused to support the Ukrainian Canadian UPA propaganda machine — has also left us an account of what really happened. The fact that in his article Matthew Babiak makes no reference to the work of Polishchuk speaks volumes about his academic credibility.

    Deleting readers’ posts will not solve the problem. By clumsily attempting to doctor the historical truth Ukrainian “historians” are doing a great disservice to the Ukrainian nation. How do you think Ukrainian teenagers are going to feel when they eventually discover what the Bandera people really did?

    Glorifying Bandera is a road to nowhere. If you want to put up statues, then put them up to Petlura and the heroes of the Maidan. Can’t you see that it’s time to ditch “heroes” like Khmelnytsky and Bandera, who were stupid enough to sell Ukrainians into slavery and ignominy?

    The sad truth is that between the two world wars some Ukrainian nationalists (and no, I have nothing against nationalism!) succumbed to the temptation to side with Germany in return for German support. That explains why they assassinated any Pole or Ukrainian who actively worked for Polish-Ukrainian understanding.

    When Poland was divided up between Germany and Russia they continued to play the German card. And play the German card they did! Many Ukrainian nationalists became guards at Nazi death camps, going down in history as unparalleled sadists, while others took part in massacres of Poles and Jews, whose presence spoilt their dream of an ethnically pure Ukraine.

  • Bobak

    I’ve noticed that Matthew Babiak has deleted Tom’s post showing photographs of the massacres carried out by Ukrainians on the Polish people during World War II. I therefore strongly encourage everyone to do a Google search for:

    Volyn massacre

    Massacres of Poles in Volhynia

    Ukrainian ethnic cleansing

    … so that they can see for themselves how sadistic and disturbing those genocidal campaigns carried out by the Bandera people really were.

    Deleting readers’ posts won’t solve the problem. Think of the shame and the anger young Ukrainians are going to feel when they finally discover that — from the relative safety of Canada — the children of those Ukrainians who gladly collaborated with Hitler in his plans to exterminate whole nations have deceived them into thinking that the Bandera people were heroes!

    Can’t you see that this kind of propaganda is no different from that of Putin’s Russia?

    150 000 isn’t quite on the scale of the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but genocide it most certainly was. In German-occupied Poland Ukrainian forces carried out a mass slaughter of Polish villagers who posed no military threat and whose only crime was that they were not ethnic Ukrainians.

    The slaughter was as horrifying as it was methodical. No one was spared. Ukrainian men with Polish wives were ordered to kill them or face execution themselves. Worse still, many of the Polish villagers were brutally tortured and mutilated before they died. When the killing was over, it was time for the wives and children of the killers to come and help with the looting.

    Men, women, children, old people and babies all shared the same fate. Pregnant women’s babies were often ripped out of their bodies before they themselves were finished off by Ukrainian militants. Any Ukrainians who dared to defend their Polish neighbours were also killed as traitors to the Ukrainian nationalist cause.

    It’s no use trying to deny it, Matthew, as there’s only too much evidence in the archives, including photographs of young children’s bodies strung up together on village fences as some sort of macabre trophy.

    The massacres were so appalling that even some members of the German army were moved to secretly provide Poles with arms so that they could defend themselves!

    Another disturbing aspect of this genocide was the fact that it was condoned by many members of the Uniate or “Greek Catholic” clergy, who held services to bless the militants beforehand. Perhaps that explains why they are still in denial about Bandera, who later in his life never expressed any sorrow for what happened.

    Fortunately the impartial Ukrainian historian Viktor Polishchuk / Poliszczuk — who steadfastly refused to support the Ukrainian Canadian UPA propaganda machine — has also left us an account of what really happened. The fact that in his article Matthew Babiak makes no reference to the work of Polishchuk speaks volumes about his academic credibility.

    Deleting readers’ posts will not solve the problem. By clumsily attempting to doctor the historical truth Ukrainian “historians” are doing a great disservice to the Ukrainian nation. How do you think Ukrainian teenagers are going to feel when they eventually discover what the Bandera people really did?

    Glorifying Bandera is a road to nowhere. If you want to put up statues, then put them up to Petlura and the heroes of the Maidan. Can’t you see that it’s time to ditch “heroes” like Khmelnytsky and Bandera, who were stupid enough to sell Ukrainians into slavery and ignominy?

    The sad truth is that between the two world wars some Ukrainian nationalists (and no, I have nothing against nationalism!) succumbed to the temptation to side with Germany in return for German support. That explains why they assassinated any Pole or Ukrainian who actively worked for Polish-Ukrainian understanding.

    When Poland was divided up between Germany and Russia they continued to play the German card. And play the German card they did! Many Ukrainian nationalists became guards at Nazi death camps, going down in history as unparalleled sadists, while others took part in massacres of Poles and Jews, whose presence spoilt their dream of an ethnically pure Ukraine.

  • Paul P. Valtos

    That is why my brother John has always said, “Thank God Dziadek did not miss the boat”. He and his future wife came to America long before WWI and married here. We were not afraid of ethnic cleansing, Maybe some discrimination but what else is new in the world. I remember an aunt talking about the natives(immigrants from England, Ireland and the Scandinavian countries) calling ” Green horn, Popcorn, five cents a piece”. We survived and were successful.

  • Stefan Wisniowski

    Hey Matt –

    It is so interesting to read a Ukrainian-Canadian’s version of events, and how “Canadian” of you 😉 to suggest that everyone was a little guilty and after all, really, it was all the fault of the nasty Nazi German and Soviet Russian occupiers…

    But a closer reading shows quite a few internal logical inconsistencies, which is very disappointing to see from a fellow Canadian and an editor for Euromaidan Press. How can we gain reconciliation if there is no desire to face the ugly truths about the Ukrainian struggle for independent statehood based on 1930’s-style theories about racial struggle and beliefs in the benefits of racial purity?

    1. How could you say that one nation (Poland) “occupied” another nation (“Ukraine”) when the lands were settled by peoples of both nationalities – as the map you put in your own article clearly shows? Even you recognize both nationalities as indigenous by using the term “mutual civil war” (which I must reject as implying some similarity of forces and intentions, when there is no comparison between armed defectors from the German Police and innocent farmers and villagers).

    2. How could you say that “Ukrainians considered Polish occupation to be thrust upon them, whereas Poles considered western Ukrainian lands to be a necessary possession for state security” – implying that only Ukrainians inhabited these lands and omitting that Poles did not?

    3. How could you say that Poland “divided” Ukraine with the USSR? Though Poland’s borders with the Ukrainian SSR were set by the Treaty of Riga following the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920, before World War I, there was no “Ukraine” as your article itself admits (“attempts to begin a Ukrainian nation-state…. because the creation of states is harder to accomplish than the restoration of states). These lands were “occupied” for 150 years by Russia (Volhynia etc.) and Austria-Hungary (“Galicia”). After these empires collapsed, Poland reclaimed the western lands that it had ruled and defended from the eastern hordes, including Leopolis (to use its Latin name), for many centuries prior to the empires’ occupation.

    4. How could you claim that “the goal of the OUN was not to exterminate each and every Pole, but rather to swiftly and brutally enforce the resettlement of all Poles to the west” and in the same breath admit that in Galicia “Polish families, unlike in Volhynia, were presented a warning with
    the option of flight” before they were murdered? [in Volhynia Polish neighbors were sometimes even tricked to stay “oh you will be safe” the day before the attacks]

    5. How could you say “The rejection of Polish land rights was not a view held among the radicalized” and also say “even moderate Ukrainians failed to see any legitimacy in Poland’s aspirations”? This makes no sense, does it?

    6. How could you say that since “the radical among the OUN were passionately determined to… expedite the process and acquire legitimacy among its population, ethnic cleansing was seen in this instance as a distinct political answer” yet also claim that “some analysis has shown that main targets still included AK and partisan formations” – what “analysis” and how do you explain the deaths of tens and hundreds of thousands of civilians if they were not the main targets?

    7. How could you be so deceptive in “The Toll” by claiming to quote a scholarly range of victims, while greatly minimizing the Polish estimates of Polish deaths (generally accepted in Poland at about 100,000 though higher ranges are also claimed), accusing of “Polish historians inflating figures” while yourself greatly exaggerating the Ukrainian deaths (NB many of which were inflicted by the UPA on “righteous” or politically rival Ukrainians.

    For a comparison of Polish and Ukrainian scholarly sources see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacres_of_Poles_in_Volhynia_and_Eastern_Galicia

  • Szymon Szewczyk

    So the Maidan PR aligns with the nazi propaganda to whitewash the fact that Ukrainians were also killed by Ukrainian nationalists, because some Ukrainians wanted to protect the Poles.
    You know, truth can be long hidden, but it never dies. https://www.facebook.com/UkrainianGenocideInPoland?fref=ts