Volhynia massacre shocks with cruelty and planned methodology

The Volhynia massacre shocks not only with the number of those killed, not only with its cruelty, but also with its planned methodology, President Andrzej Duda wrote in a letter read at ceremonies in Warsaw on Wednesday marking the 75th anniversary of the tragic events.

As the president noted in the letter, July 11, 1943, was the massacre's culmination. "On this horrific day (...) Polish inhabitants of nearly a hundred towns were attacked and cruelly murdered. On this one day, 8,000 Poles died. Around 100,000 of our compatriots were killed in the whole Volhynia Massacre, men and women, children and the elderly. This is one of the most tragic and painful pages of Polish history during World War II", the letter read.

The Polish president also mentioned his Sunday visit to Ukraine. "I was in Lutsk at the cemetery in Olyka and the site of the no-longer existing Polish village of Kolonia Pokuta to testify, on behalf of the Polish Republic and the whole Polish community, to testify about our memory of the murdered, to lay flowers on their nameless graves, in the place of their lives and martyrdom, and to pray together in their intention," Duda wrote, pointing out that the Volhynia massacre was aimed at ethnic cleansing.

As he added, "there can be no justification for any of the initiators and perpetrators of this genocidal massacre." "No such crime can be silenced or omitted, it should not remain without moral judgment and condemnation, which is why we observe the National Day of Remembrance of Victims of Genocide by Ukrainian nationalists against Poles during World War II.

The observances are attended by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Culture and National Heritage Piotr Gliński and President of the Institute of National Remembrance Jarosław Szarek. (PAP)

The Volhynia Massacre of Polish nationals in the pre-war eastern-Polish regions of Volhynia and Galicia started on July 11, 1943, when the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) attacked some 100 Polish villages. July 11 marks the massacre's culmination throughout the Volhynia district in what became known as the Volhynia Bloody Sunday.

According to historians, around 100,000 Polish nationals were killed in the massacre, including 40,000-60,000 in Volhynia and 20,000-40,000 in Eastern Galicia, and at least 4,000 on the territory of today's Poland. According to Poland's National Remembrance Institute, some 10,000-12,000 Ukrainians were murdered during Polish retaliatory operations by the spring of 1945.