- Textbook Binding: 319 pages
- Publisher: McFarland Publishing; 1st edition (April 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786407735
- ISBN-13: 978-0786407736
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,109,678 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II 1st Edition
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After the German and Soviet invasions of Poland during World War II, the Polish Christian residents of the province of Wolyn were subjected to a policy of systemic genocide by Ukrainian Nationalists. Piotrowski, a native of Wolyn, lived under both the Soviet and the German occupation of Poland's eastern territories until August 1943; his family's home was burned to the ground and his relatives were killed. Each of the book's chapters represents one of the counties in Wolyn province. In interviews, survivors tell of the brutal torture and murder of thousands of Poles. Polish wives and their "half-Polish" children were murdered by their Ukrainian husbands and fathers. Some Ukrainian clergymen not only actively supported the Nationalists, they also participated in the atrocities. Yet some Ukrainians risked their lives to help save the Poles. These accounts, relatively free of rancor and bitterness, vividly document a terrifying episode in history. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
"survivors tell of the brutal torture and murder of thousands of Poles. ...vividly document[s] a terrifying episode in history"--Booklist/RBB
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The history is repeating - people from the same region are doing similar things again.
During the interwar years, Volhynia had been controlled by Poland. During the war, control over the area shifted several times between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was active in Volhynia. The UPA was the armed wing of the OUN-B, a fascist and terrorist organization led by the notorious Stepan Bandera. The OUN-B had a record of collaboration with Nazi Germany, but also had several fall outs with the Germans. Nominally, the UPA was an independent force, fighting both the Nazis and the Soviets. In reality, they concentrated their attacks on the Communists, while attempting to win Nazi support.
Professor Piotrowski documents that the UPA had other interests as well. They waged a ruthless war of extermination against Polish villages in Volhynia. By killing men, women and children of Polish nationality and burning down their settlements, the UPA hoped to create an ethnically pure Ukrainian region. Unsurprisingly, they also attacked Jews. Interestingly, the UPA systematically terrorized the Ukrainian population as well, more or less forcing the local peasants to enlist in the UPA on pain of death. Naturally, they also killed Ukrainians who were brave enough to aid the Poles, not to mention Ukrainians suspected of Communist sympathies. Finally, UPA also forced two competing nationalist groups, OUN-M and another "UPA", to join their forces. The leader of the other "UPA", Taras Bulba, complained that the UPA spend more time attacking Polish civilians than waging a war against Communists and Nazis!
"Genocide and rescue in Wolyn" contains both eye witness accounts of the massacres, county by county, a general historical overview of the OUN-B and the UPA, and excerpts from various contemporary documents. In some documents, the UPA blames the Poles for collaboration with the Nazis. Piotrowski admits that thousands of Poles in Volhynia did join the Nazi-controlled local police forces, but only after the *Ukrainian* collaborators had quit and joined the UPA! Besides, it was the OUN-B and the UPA which were guilty of most of the Nazi collaboration. Also, the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Poles of Volhynia started long before the Nazi decision to recruit Poles, and had always been a stated aim of the OUN, a predecessor to the OUN-B.
I admit that this book might strike the general reader as very obscure, and will perhaps mostly interest advanced students of Polish or Ukrainian history. (The anti-Jewish activities of the UPA are mentioned mostly in passing.) My interest in this subject is due to the fact that the UPA attempted to pass themselves off as "democratic socialists" (!). Some left-wing groups were fooled by these pretences after the war, including the Fourth International and the supporters of Max Schachtman in the United States. The primary conduit seems to have been one Ivan Majstrenko, a refugee from the Soviet Union who formed a small left-wing group on arrival in the United States. I believe it was called the UPRP. Still during the 1990's, some left-wing magazines published glowing accounts of the "democratic socialist" UPA which fought both Hitler and Stalin. This is quite absurd, indeed, even perverse. Piotrowski's book isn't the first scholarly exposure of the UPA. Unfortunately, many left-wingers don't want to be weaned from their little myths.
Perhaps "Genocide and rescue in Wolyn", written by a survivor of the terrible carnage in Western Ukraine, can open the eyes of some people.
I am updating my previous anonymous review with some new information:
There is another detailed English-language book that discusses these crimes, as well as Polish defensive actions, often against impossible odds. Click on:
There is also an English-language Jewish study of the OUN-UPA genocidal crimes against both Jews and Poles. Click on:
The Holocaust of Volhynian Jews
By far the most comprehensive work on the OUN-UPA's genocide of Poles, presently carried by Amazon, is: Siemaszko, W., and E. Siemaszko. 2000. Ludobojstwo Dokonane Przez Nacjonalistow Ukrainskich na Ludnosci Polskiej Wolynia, 1939-1945. [The Genocide Conducted by Ukrainian Nationalists on the Polish population of Volhynia, 1939-1945], 2 Volumes, von Borowiecky, Warsaw. (ISBN: 8387689343). It catalogues over 1,600 known locations where the murders took place. It also contains numerous documents, photographs, etc., and has an extensive English-language summary. This work also examines and soundly debunks Ukrainian attempts to minimize this crime, blame it on the Poles, or create a false symmetry with a few Polish retaliatory actions to make out of it a mythical "Polish-Ukrainian war." Please click on Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukrainskich na ludnosci polskiej Wolynia t. 1 / 2 (Polska wersja jezykowa), and read the detailed English-language Peczkis review.
Bulls***. That massacre is one of the most terrible atrocities of the XX centuries that went largely unreported because of reasons political correctness (Ukrainians were supposed to be "Soviet people", incapable of such acts!).