Polish Sejm recognizes Volyn tragedy as genocide

Дата: 22 July 2016
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The Polish Sejm (the lower house of the Parliament) voted for the resolution on declaring July 11 as the Day of Commemoration of the Poles, victims of the genocide committed by the OUN-UPA Ukrainian nationalist organizations.

This is reported by the Ukrayinska Pravda online newspaper with reference to the Telewizja republika Polish media outlet.

442 MPs voted in favor of the resolution, no MPs voted against and ten MPs abstained from voting.

The resolution was based on the draft of the Law and Justice ruling party. After the amendments were passed, the document emphasizes that the crime took place in 1943-1945.

The Parliament wants to pay tribute to the “citizens of the Second Polish Republic, who were brutally killed by Ukrainian nationalists.”

The resolution expresses solidarity with Ukraine, which is struggling for its territorial integrity against the external aggressor. It is emphasized that path to reconciliation is the only way to truth.

Head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory Volodymyr Vyatrovych considers that adoption of the document on genocide by the Polish Parliament is “a convenient tool for concealing the crimes committed by the Polish side.”

“This means absolutely one-sided responsibility of Ukraine and Ukrainians for annihilation of the Poles during the World War II. Although the documents show that the annihilation was mutual. Ukrainians murdered Poles, while the Poles murdered Ukrainians,” he said in an interview with the Ukrayinska Pravda on July21.

Vyatrovych notes that opinion polls already show significant deterioration in the relations of Poles toward Ukrainians – only one third of the Poles have positive attitude to the Ukrainians.

And these events may cause symmetrical action and the negative sentiment toward Poles will start to rise among Ukrainians” the historian said.

The Volyn tragedy (referred to as the “Volyn Massacre” in the Polish historiography) is the bilateral ethnic cleansing of Ukrainian and Polish population committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Polish Home Army with participation of the Polish Schutzmannschaft battalions and the Soviet partisans in Volyn region in 1943, during the World War II.

The purpose of actions of Ukrainian nationalists in Volyn was, above all, the desire to prevent future claims of the Polish Government to western Ukraine (as it happened after the World War I). In addition, the population disloyal to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army was potential support for Germany and the USSR. The traditional Polish historiography biasedly perceives as ethnic cleansing of exclusively Polish population; the Ukrainian perceives it like an “action in response to” the atrocities of the Poles against the Ukrainian civilians.

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