We will never allow the Volhynia Massacre to be erased from memory: PM

Photo: PAP/Grzegorz Michałowski

“We will never forget the martyrdom of many tens of thousands of Poles, as well as the heroism of those who defended them; and we will never allow this terrible and important part of history to be erased or falsified,” the Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated on the National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists.

The National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists on the citizens of the Second Polish Republic is a holiday celebrated annually on July 11. It is dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Volhynia massacre. It was established on July 22, 2016. On this day a March of Remembrance for the Victims of the Volhynia Massacre is organised in many cities around Poland. The marches passed with people silently displaying patriotic symbols.

Prime Minister Morawiecki noted that this crime was taboo in the People's Republic of Poland (PRL), but in many places the memory of the genocide was kept vivid.

“With great pain and difficulty, my mother, who was born and lived in Stanisławów, told me about those events. The city was terrorised by the Soviets from September 1939, and by the Germans from the summer of 1941. At this point in time people did not know whether they would survive to live another day. In the eastern villages, especially from 1942, people mostly feared death at the hands of Ukrainian murderers, who specialised in dozens of methods of brutal and extremely cruel murder,” the prime minister wrote.

He added that some Ukrainians were also brutally murdered in the Volhynia Massacre because they did not want to take part in the monstrous crime or were caught helping Poles.

“We want to be understood and have the best possible relations with all our neighbours. However, that is only possible on the basis of the complete truth about the most painful experiences of the past,” the head of the government emphasised.

The Volhynia massacres consisted of anti-Polish genocidal ethnic cleansings conducted by Ukrainian nationalists, the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists−Bandera faction (OUN-B) and its military wing, called the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The massacres took place within Poland’s borders between 1943 and 1945, not only in Volhynia, but also in other areas with a mixed Polish-Ukrainian population.