Wednesday, May 22, 2019

New Book Addresses Ukrainian Massacres of Poles

Maksymilian Rigamonti

"Recovering the Memories of a 1943 Massacre in Eastern Europe
Maksymilian and Magdalena Rigamonti provide an overdue memorial for those who perished in the Volhynia massacre during World War II" in the New York Times here


  1. It’s good that some can read about the savageries of the ethnic cleansing campaign Ukrainian Nationalists carried out against the Poles in Wołyń. This history is virtually unknown by Americans. A related point is that most Americans are familiar with Hitler’s aggression against European Jewry but few know the comparable atrocities Poles endured at the hands of the Germans and Soviets.

    I have and highly recommend Tadeusz Piotrowski’s work “Genocide and Rescue in Wołyń: Recollections of the Ukrainian Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against Poles During World War II”.

    Some excerpts:

    “One slogan ran: ‘Exterminate the Poles unto the seventh generation, including those who no longer speak Polish.’”

    “In some instances, prior to the attack, Ukrainian peasants would bring their weapons (knives, pitchforks, etc.) to their local church and have them blessed by the priest.”

    “After being plundered, Polish homes and farm buildings would be burned, except those standing within 15 meters of Ukrainian dwellings. At times, all vestiges of the villages would be destroyed – such as orchards, schools, chapels, and churches – to erase even the memory of these Polish villages ever having existed.”

    “The killings were almost always accompanied by a high degree of sadism toward the living, who would eventually be killed, and toward the corpses.” “In Korytnica, Fr. Karol Baran was repeatedly stabbed by the Ukrainian Nationalists, then placed in a wooden trough and sawed in half.”

  2. Why such hatred? And what would have prevented it?

    This is an extract from our Yearbook of 1994, which has a section on Poland.

    It is talking about the immediate post-war period - and the chaos and changes that follow war can be every bit as dangerous as the war itself.

    "Most Ukrainians, including hundreds of our brothers, were relocated to the east, within the new Soviet borders. Before this took place, however, there were numerous outbursts of hatred between the Poles and the Ukrainians living in the eastern and southern parts of the General Gouvernement. The Polish and Ukrainian Witnesses, on the other hand, were at peace. On one occasion, a Polish brother was returning home from a meeting, walking with three Ukrainian sisters, when they encountered Ukrainian guerrillas. The guerrillas tried to seize the brother, intent on shooting him, but the sisters protested, physically intervening on his behalf. The struggle went on for two hours. Finally the guerrillas relented, but first they tore off the brother’s clothes and burned them. Clad only in his underwear, he ran over a mile [2 km] barefoot through the snow to the home of a Ukrainian brother."

    Jesus said, at John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”

    Those Ukrainian sisters risked their lives to save their Polish brother. Doesn't it show how important the Christian preaching work that Jesus left for his followers to do is? It can help us - the damaged children of Adam - to stand firm against all the world's attempts to divide us and turn us on each other.

  3. Hello

    Only 75 years since the tragedy of the Holocaust and yet, the Jews are unfortunately in danger again in Germany.

    Meanwhile in Poland...,16329

  4. Sue's post is misleading. It implies that *only* Jehovah's Witnesses were kind to each other during the Ukrainian massacres of Poles. In fact there are many stories of Poles and Ukrainians who helped each other.

    It's also not at all kind or responsible to imply, as Sue does, that Polish Catholics and Ukrainian Orthodox are not real Christians. This kind of superior judgmentalism makes it impossible for us to understand, to heal, and to prevent future atrocities.

    The facts. Poland is a contested piece of real estate. That's an inescapable historical reality. We need to keep that before us when we comment on historic events, and not pretend that any given group -- including Jehovah's Witnesses -- have some non-existent magic wand that they can wave and make everything hunky dory.

  5. I enjoyed reading the two articles in the links posted by Łukasz.

    In contrast to the kippa warning reported by the BBC article, the Jerusalem Post wrote that the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, tweeted: “The opposite is true. Wear your kippa. Wear your friend’s kippa. Borrow a kippa and wear it for our Jewish neighbors. Educate people that we are a diverse society.” Also, the UK’s Daily Mail reported that German national tabloid Bild-Zeitung published a cut-out version of the kippa that it advised its readership to wear in solidarity with the Jews.

    Regarding the article in The Jewish Star, I’m pleased to see a Jewish publication indicating that relations between Poles and Israelis, at least in the case of the two countries’ tourist classes, are on a positive trajectory.

    Call me overly sensitive, but I see three areas that continue to encumber the betterment of Polish-Jewish relations.

    The first is the misunderstanding of the IPN Law. Sarah Hirsch believes it "will whitewash some Poles’ crimes.” To the contrary, the law prohibits public statements claiming that the Polish government “is responsible or co-responsible for Nazi crimes committed by the Third Reich.” It does not prohibit academic research, artistic activities, or accounts of individual collaboration, i.e., some Poles’ crimes.

    The second is the double standard on individual collaboration with the enemy. Sarah’s husband Naftali correctly states that “Some Poles betrayed Jews during the Holocaust.” What’s not stated is that Polish academics and government officials have publicly acknowledged this fact repeatedly. By contrast, some Jews betrayed Poles to the Soviets; however, this fact has not been publicly acknowledged by Jewish academics or government officials to any significant degree. Sarah Hirsch believes Poland is ready for a discussion “about collaboration by some Poles.” The same needs to be said about the Jewish community’s readiness to discuss collaboration by some Polish Jews.

    The third is not knowing the history, as evidenced by this paragraph: “Shem Olam, a Holocaust museum near Hadera, Israel, said it would no longer include Poland on its small educational trips to Europe. Instead it sent 20 guides this year to Ukraine — a country where collaboration with the Nazis was far greater than in Poland, and which, along with several other Eastern European countries, has also recently passed laws limiting what can be said about such collaboration.”

    The first point is that, at the time, Ukraine was a Soviet Socialist Republic rather than a country. (This may qualify as a nit.)

    The second point is that no distinction is made between individual collaboration by some Poles and the “far greater” organized collaboration by Ukrainian authorities. The many Ukrainian military formations operating under German direction included the OUN-B, OUN-M, OUN-UPA, SS Division Galizien, Hilfswilliger (HIWIs), Nachtigall Battalion, and Roland Battalion. There is an immense difference between individual collaboration that largely occurred under extreme duress and collaboration that was comprehensively organized, officially sanctioned, and violently executed.

    Also, the last part of the paragraph repeats the misunderstanding of the IPN law. As already noted, there is no prohibition of academic research, artistic activities, or accounts of individual collaboration.

  6. Gene wrote:

    'By contrast, some Jews betrayed Poles to the Soviets; however, this fact has not been publicly acknowledged by Jewish academics or government officials to any significant degree. Sarah Hirsch believes Poland is ready for a discussion “about collaboration by some Poles.” The same needs to be said about the Jewish community’s readiness to discuss collaboration by some Polish Jews.'

    Yes. The double standard is always there.

  7. The IPN law has been retracted after Israeli and US pressure.


Bieganski the Blog exists to further explore the themes of the book Bieganski the Brute Polak Stereotype, Its Role in Polish-Jewish Relations and American Popular Culture.
These themes include the false and damaging stereotype of Poles as brutes who are uniquely hateful and responsible for atrocity, and this stereotype's use in distorting WW II history and all accounts of atrocity.
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