Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs

Share

Hits: 7354

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).

Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November 1918 as a result of German’s defeat in WWI. The period of the so-called Polish Republic, which lasted until 1939, was characterized by the rampant Polish nationalism. The attempts of ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Russians and Lithuanians – to preserve their national identity were quelled in the cruelest way. The regime of Juzef Pilsudski and its supports were reluctant to respect the basic minorities’ rights. It had greatly weakened Poland making it doomed to collapse as soon as Germany military delivered the first strikes in 1939. It suffered defeat not only due to military superiority of Wehrmacht over the Polish armed forces but rather because of internal divisions tearing up the Polish society from inside – only few were ready to offer staunch resistance to defend the country which was more like stepmother than motherland.

Here is the historical paradox. Winston Churchill made an apt remark calling Poland the «Greedy Hyena of Europe». For many Western historians this role of Poland paled once it became the victim of Hitler’s military intervention. The same way the crimes of German Nazism made pale the ethnic cleansings and rough treatment of dissidents that the regime of Pilsudski used to commit in its concentration camps.

Long before the notorious Nazi concentration camps where built in the Third Reich, Poland had acquired vast experience of getting rid of the dissenters who disagreed with the ruling regime. In 1934 the first concentration camp was organized in Bereza Kartuska (the territory of contemporary Belarus) to imprison those who were accused of «anti-state» activities: the activists of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Jewish national movements, Communists, members of underground groups and Orthodox Church clergymen…There were no clear rules about who to imprison – they were putting all dissenters without distinction into the camp. The «correctional education» included inhumane conditions, exhausting labor, harassing labor, beatings and tortures.

Polish “law enforcement” officers were closely linked to its Nazi German colleagues, the same way as their bosses, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring regularly visiting Poland, foreign relations chiefs Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Beck were often seen together. Józef Kamala–Kurhański, the commandant of the camp in Bereza-Kartuska, had even received training in Germany. Ironically, he perished in Auschwitz in 1941. Germans were extremely pragmatic: when you are done, you can go.

Germany needed Poland to do what it wanted – ethnic cleansing in Kresy (today’s Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, as well as Lithuania) captured by Poland as a result of the 1920 war with the Soviet Russia. Nazi wanted those lands to be free from «aliens» like Ukrainians, Belarussians and Jews. The Polish regime coped with the task perfectly. Everyone non-Polish was forced to leave, the regime inspired Jewish pogroms in urban areas and coercive polonization was gaining momentum. No matter “aliens” accounted for 40 % of Kresy population with Orthodox Church parishioner prevailing, they were banned of their right to speak, read and teach children in their native tongues, as well as to pray in their churches. Only 37 Belorussian schools out of 400 remained in Western Belarus. 1300 Orthodox churches were demolished and plundered.

In order to increase the Polish population Piłsudski’s regime used to offer extensive land lots to the retired Polish military officers making them and their families settle down in Kresy (mostly in Volhynia). They were at the forefront of assimilation policy to evoke the feeling of hatred among non-Poles. Dr. Gennady Matveev argues that the regime made Poles hostages of their own ethnocratic policy leading to international strife, in particular the Volhynia massacre of 1943-1944, which claimed the lives of 80 – 100 thousand Poles and Jews killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

Another aspect is that UIA had its own Nazi ideology which left no place neither for Poles, nor Russians or Jews on the Ukrainian soil. Hitler used the gangs of Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych to cleanse the Volhynia-Podolian region, as well as some other areas of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, of Poles and Jews. Inhuman atrocities committed by Bandera followers became a routine matter. They formed special «instruments» to do the job – from battalion Nachtigall to Galicia Division. The Volyn massacre was not spontaneous, it was actually a paramilitary operation, thoroughly planned and “effectively” carried out by the UIA.

Today neither Warsaw nor Kiev seem to be willing to recall these stories. Moreover, they demonstrate rare solidarity when it comes to fighting the Russian national-liberation movement in Donbass. Polish involvement on the highest political level in punitive actions in Novorossia was repeatedly reported (e.g. check the cases of Othago private military company run by the former Internal Affairs Minister  Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and Jerzy Dziewulski, the security advisor to ex-President Aleksander Kwasniewski).

Unsurprisingly, the Poles and Ukrainians who used to exterminate each other 80 years ago, today are united on the basis of Russophobia. Ideological descendants of Josef Piłsudski, disguised in democratic clothes, are using multiple rocket launchers and white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Donbass. Piłsudski and Poroshenko regimes are not exactly twins, but evidently birds of the feather flocking together.

It will hardly be a surprise if the Poles share their Bereza Kartuska experience with Poroshenko and Avakov. In June 2014 Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence came out with an initiative to build filtration camps for all adult people of Novorossia, including women, to find those who have ties with the «separatists». He suggested that others should be deported to other regions.

Again, as dozens of years ago, political leaders agitate people to make their wild instincts come out. The majority of Ukrainians and Poles are hardly prone to xenophobia and intolerance to another opinion, but they are directly incited to be hostile to the neighbors who want to speak another language and prey in different churches.

We don’t want to make open old and still hurting wounds; we’re not calling on the Polish people to always make Ukrainians remember that they were responsible for the Volhynia massacre. But the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Back then Hitler connived at Pilsudski supporters who were cleansing eastern Kresy of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. Then Hitler’s special services were condescending when the UIA militants massacred dozens of villages to cleanse them of Poles. If Warsaw convinces itself that Russia is the main enemy and the Ukrainian ultra-Nationalists are their best friends, it will face another Volhynia tragedy. Perhaps it would be called differently but the consequences may be even more tragic.

No doubt if Poland admits its guilt and takes on responsibility for the deeds of the predecessors, the country situated between Western and Eastern Europe, would pave the way for new promising international prospects and play an important role defining the fate of the Old Continent.


Originally published on 2018-08-26

Original source in Russian: Strategic Culture Foundation

The original text was adapted by ORIENTAL REVIEW

Source: Oriental Review

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
How US Criminal Politicians are Turned into Saints
The week-long deification of the late John McCain was quite the deep-state performance:  Three “state funerals”(in Phoenix, D.C., and Annapolis) accompanied by the constant clucking of the “mainstream” media about how the epitome of a deep-state insider — son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals, mass murderer of Vietnamese peasants, “Keating Five” criminal conspirator, friend of “the right kind” of Middle East terrorists, lifelong government employee whose senate office was ground zero for defense industry lobbyists for the past several decades — is somehow an anti-establishment “maverick.” The televised sobbing of the very appropriately named Senator Jeff Flake was rich, ...
READ MORE
Dr Udo Ulfkotte – A German Well Known Journalist and Author on RT
A famous German journalist Dr Udo Ulfkotte is speaking about Western media propaganda against Russia, orchestrated Western media Russophobia, Western fals flags and fake news about Ukraine and other things related to global politics.  Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
President of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo (AAK) Ramush Haradinaj, a Kosovo Albanian former guerilla commander who served briefly as prime minister, speaks during an interview with Reuters at the AAK headquarters in Pristina December 4, 2012. REUTERS/Hazir Reka
Key facts about Kosovo’s Islamic Albanian minority of Serbia and the century long drive by Islamic extremists to exterminate Kosovo Serbs from that region: 1389—Muslims defeat Christian Serb defenders in Kosovo, depopulate the area and invite mountain tribe of Albanians, in exchange for converting to Islam, to take over pillaged land from Serbs. 1594—Sinan Pasha, an ethnic Albanian, who was a commander in the Ottoman Turkish Empire, burned the relics of St. Sava at Vracar, Belgrade. St. Sava is the Saint that brought Serbs into Christianity. 1878—Albanian nationalist leaders meet in Prizren, known as the First League of Prizren, to announce the creation ...
READ MORE
Lithuania Promotes a False Holocaust Narrative
The Kaunas Garage Massacre of the Jews in June 1941It was with great interest that I read the op-ed jointly penned by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his Lithuanian counterpart, Gabrielius Landsbergis, in last Friday’s Jerusalem Post. As could be expected, such initiatives are usually written to offer a rosy picture of the wonderful relations between two countries and the bright prospects for future cooperation. As a descendant of Lithuanian Jews, a frequent visitor to Lithuania ever since independence, and the co-author of a recent book on the rampant Holocaust distortion orchestrated by successive Lithuanian governments, I didn’t know whether to ...
READ MORE
What is the Best Solution To the Ukrainian Crisis?
The current Ukrainian crisis and, in fact, a civil war which started at the very end of 2013 are grounded in for decades lasting internal interregional antagonisms between the western and the eastern regions of Ukraine. The crisis is fully fueled by the Western governments which armed far-right “European” Kiev regime giving to it a comprehensive political, financial and diplomatic support for the policy of brutal Ukrainization and even Nazification of the whole country but primarily at the expense of the Russian-speaking population at Ukraine’s East. A similar example we experienced in “European” Croatia in the 1990s when the same ...
READ MORE
Towards the Creation of a “Greater Albania”: Historical Roots & Imperial Ambitions
IntroductionToday it is quite obvious that the Western-backed process of creation of a Greater Albania is not any propaganda myth but rather visible reality. South Serbia’s province of Kosovo-Metochia is already, de facto, part of “united” Albania from June 1999 and current political situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is surely going to the direction of the separation of North-West Macedonia mainly populated by Albanians who succeeded with the crucial Western support to promulgate a new language law in Macedonia’s Parliament according to which, the Albanian language is going to be a second state language (i. e., together ...
READ MORE
Palestine: There’s no Conflict, There’s an Illegal Occupation
Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, Ph.D. in Constitutional and International Law, Associate Professor of Law of Birzeit University, West Bank, speaks of ways to consolidate the Palestine State, and definitely end Israeli crimes against humanity in the Palestinian territories.Edu Montesanti: Dear Professor Doctor Asem Khalil, thank you so very much for granting this interview. How do you evaluate the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15? “I’m looking at two-State and one-state” formulations, President Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with ...
READ MORE
The Hidden Structure of U.S. Empire
My father was a doctor in the British Royal Navy, and I grew up traveling by troop-ship between the last outposts of the British Empire – Trincomalee, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Malta, Aden, Singapore – and living in and around naval dockyards in England and Scotland.The British naval bases where I grew up and the fading empire they supported are now part of history. Chatham Dockyard. a working dockyard for over 400 years, is now a museum and tourist attraction.  Trincomalee Dockyard, where I was born, has been in the news as a site where the Sri Lankan Navy is accused of torturing and ...
READ MORE
Krymas: Rusijos aneksija ar JAV/NATO/ES agresija?
Šį straipsnį paskatino parašyti JAV specialiųjų tarnybų bei Lietuvos politinio elito sukelta ir eskaluojama plataus masto karo su Rusija propaganda ir tautinės nesantaikos kurstymas visame pasaulyje ir ypač Lietuvos viešoje erdvėje. Masinės Vakarų informacinės agresijos prieš Rusiją pretekstu tapo globalinė JAV-NATO karo nusikaltėlių gaujos klastotė 2014-03-16 Krymo pusiasalio gyventojų referendumo rezultatai ir jų pagrindu įvykęs Krymo prisijungimas prie Rusijos, savo istorinės, etninės Tėvynės. Vakarų reakcija į šį absoliučiai teisėtą Krymo gyventojų pasirinkimą, Vakarų inicijuotas ekonominis karas prieš Rusiją yra absoliučiai neteisėti tarptautinės teisės požiūriu – Vakarų sankcijos Rusijai už Krymo prisijungimą yra tik dar vienas globalinis JAV-NATO valstybių tarptautinis nusikaltimas. ...
READ MORE
Russia and the United States: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood
“A battle lost or won is easily described, understood, and appreciated, but the moral growth of a great nation requires reflection, as well as observation, to appreciate it”. – Frederick Douglass (former slave who would later become a great American statesman and diplomat)It has always been an utmost necessity to exercise caution when reading the historical accounts of great periods that threatened to change the course of the world. As is widely recognised though not reflected upon enough, ‘history is written by the victors’, and if this be indeed the truth, than we must be aware of what lens we ...
READ MORE
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Miloš Zeman said in an interview for the Serbian newspaper Večernje novosti, that recognition of Kosovo’s independence has opened a Pandora’s Box and called the Kosovo deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi a war criminal. Zeman, among other things, confirmed that he will travel to Moscow for the celebrations of the end of the Second World War because the Soviet army liberated most of the former Czechoslovakia. The Czech president has openly expressed himself on Kosovo in the past, for example he labeled the country a very strange state with a strong narco-mafia influence. This article originally appeared at Hospodářské Noviny. Translated for RI by Anthony Grulich The recognition of ...
READ MORE
An Albanian family around 1910
The topic to be addressed in this text is the basic misconception on the question of the Balkan Albanian ethnogenesis and national identity that was framed by extremely geo-politically coloured German-based “Illyrian” theory of the Albanian ethnic and cultural origin. This (quasi)theory, unfortunately, has very deep and negative regional political-security consequences. The implementation of the “Illyrian” theory of the Albanian ethnogenesis was accepted firstly by the Rilindja, (the Renaissance) – the Albanian nationalistic and chauvinistic political movement in 1878–1913 for the sake to create the ethnically pure Greater Albania as a national state of all Balkan Albanians composed by self-interpreted ...
READ MORE
Bipartisan Neocons Infesting Washington: What Prospects for America?
US duopoly power replaced the eras of Jefferson, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. No JFKs exist, President Kennedy as we recall was a peacemaker assassinated for opposing war, urging nuclear disarmament and the normalization of relations  with the Soviet Union.   New Deal, Fair Deal and Great Society programs are heading for history’s dust bin. Bipartisan neocons infesting Washington want social justice ended, neoliberal enslavement replacing it, fascist police state harshness enforcing it.America is a gangster state, criminals running it – beginning in the 1990s under Bill Clinton, hardened under George W. Bush, institutionalized under Obama, certain to worsen no matter who succeeds him.US ...
READ MORE
U.S. Airstrikes are Wiping Out Entire Families in Yemen and Syria
The United States is killing entire families in Raqqa, Syria, and enabling Saudi Arabia to do the same in Yemen.In June of this year, the U.S. led a campaign to retake the city of Raqqa from ISIS fighters while the Russian and Syrian militaries were also attempting to do the same thing. In the first week of fighting, U.N. war crimes investigators warned that the U.S. had already killed 300 civilians from air strikes alone in that seven day period.Rather than heed that warning, the U.S. has continued the same strategy of pounding Raqqa into the ground despite the likelihood of civilian casualties. Pentagon ...
READ MORE
Russia vs. America
GR Editor’s Note Moscow is accused of doping as part of a US dirty tricks campaign to prevent Russia from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. What is the record of the US with regard to doping? The main sports organizations including the NFL, MLB, and NBA have allowed unusually relaxed policies for performance-enhancing drug testing and punishment. The USADA is the US government agency responsible for the implementation in the United States of the World Anti-Doping Code, Yet, the record suggests that the USDA does not actively intervene in “big money sports” and often turns a blind eye ...
READ MORE
Interview With Historian Stephen Cohen on Ukraine
Interview with historian Stephen Cohen, by Patrick L. Smith, published in Salon.com, April 17, 2015 Introduction by Patrick L. Smith: It is one thing to comment in a column as the Ukrainian crisis grinds on and Washington—senselessly, with no idea of what will come next—destroys relations with Moscow. It is quite another, as a long exchange with Stephen F. Cohen makes clear, to watch as an honorable career’s worth of scholarly truths are set aside in favor of unlawful subterfuge, a war fever not much short of Hearst’s and what Cohen ranks among the most extravagant expansion of a sphere of ...
READ MORE
Albert Einstein on Israel
Albert Einstein, along with other Jewish luminaries, including Hannah Arendt, published a letter in the New York Times on December 4, 1948. That was only a few months after Israel had declared its independence and as hundreds of Palestinian villages were being actively demolished after their inhabitants were expelled.The letter denounced Israel’s newly-founded Herut party and its young leader, Menachem Begin.Herut was carved out of the Irgun terrorist gang, famous for its many massacres against Palestinian Arab communities leading up to the Nakba, the catastrophic ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from their historic homeland in 1947-48.In the letter, Einstein, ...
READ MORE
The Russian War Crimes in Syria in 2016-2019: Exclusive Photo Evidence from the Cabinet of Boris Johnson & Theresa May
Exclusive photos of the Russian war crimes in Syria and the Middle East by "Free Media Group" volunteers, 2016-2018 with a proper illustrations of the Russia's militant imperialism. The authenticity of photos and their descriptions are certified by the UK Cabinet of Boris Johnson & Theresa May:  The My Lai Massacre by Russian soldiersThe Russian soldiers at the spot of My Lai Massacre with their victimsAleppo citizen with a daughter during the Russian destruction of the cityRussian Orthodox monk in Moscow in protest against the Russian invasion of SyriaSyrian children of war and the Russian occupant soldier Killed Russian student in ...
READ MORE
Kiev Junta War Crimes
A new Foundation for the Study of Democracy (FSD) report is titled “War crimes of the armed forces and security forces of Ukraine: torture of the Donbass region residents.”It provides graphic evidence of horrendous Kiev war crimes Western media ignore.Earlier articles discussed Kiev’s dirty war. It deliberately targeted civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.It used of cluster munitions, white phosphorous and other chemical weapons, as well as cold-blooded murder of hundreds of captives.Most were abducted civilians. They were brutally tortured, murdered and secretly buried. Eyewitnesses exposed the crimes.FSD’s report provides more damning evidence of junta torture, inhumane and degrading treatment.Over 100 former ...
READ MORE
Ending NATO, a Monstrous Institution
Their anxiety about the future of NATO, recently on full display again when the American president was in Europe, could not be bettered as a measure of the incapacity of Europe’s top politicians to guide their continent and represent its populations. Through its provocations of Moscow, NATO systematically helps increase the risk of a military confrontation. By thus sabotaging its declared purpose of preserving collective security for the countries on either side of the Atlantic, it erases its fundamental reason for being and right to exist. Grasping these facts ought be enough to fuel moves aimed at quickly doing away with ...
READ MORE
How US Criminal Politicians are Turned into Saints
Dr Udo Ulfkotte – A German Well Known Journalist and Author on RT
Kosovo: Key Dates in the Century Long Goal to Create a Greater Albania
Lithuania Promotes a False Holocaust Narrative
What is the Best Solution To the Ukrainian Crisis?
Towards the Creation of a “Greater Albania”: Historical Roots & Imperial Ambitions
Palestine: There’s no Conflict, There’s an Illegal Occupation
The Hidden Structure of U.S. Empire
Krymas: Rusijos aneksija ar JAV/NATO/ES agresija?
Russia and the United States: The Forgotten History of a Brotherhood
Czech President Zeman: Deputy PM of Kosovo is a War Criminal
Albanian Ethnogenesis and Kosovo-Metochia
Bipartisan Neocons Infesting Washington: What Prospects for America?
U.S. Airstrikes are Wiping Out Entire Families in Yemen and Syria
Russia vs. America
Interview With Historian Stephen Cohen on Ukraine
Albert Einstein on Israel
The Russian War Crimes in Syria in 2016-2019: Exclusive Photo Evidence from the Cabinet of Boris Johnson & Theresa May
Kiev Junta War Crimes
Ending NATO, a Monstrous Institution
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share