“It is not for revenge, but for remembrance, truth and dignified burials that the Victims of Genocide cry out for”. Appeal of the Families of Genocide Victims to the Episcopates of Poland and Ukraine

We publish the Appeal of the Families of Genocide Victims to the Episcopates of Poland and Ukraine. Its motto is “Not for revenge, but for remembrance, truth and dignified burials, the Victims of Genocide cry out.”

Below is the full text of the appeal

Eminences, Cardinals!

Excellencies, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic Church of the Roman and Greek Catholic Rite in Poland and Ukraine!

On June 15, 2023, at the House of the Archbishops in Poznań, a meeting was held of His Excellency Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, President of the Conference of Polish Bishops, with representatives of the Families of the Victims of the Genocide of Poles and Polish citizens of other nationalities.

We would like to thank Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki for inviting us and listening attentively to our reports and postulates. One of the fruits of this meeting, held for the first time, is the appeal below.

We, the descendants and relatives of the Victims of Genocide, often coming from mixed families, are very interested in a sincere and true Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation. However, we believe that the following conditions must be met for this to happen.

First, truth. Therefore, the genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists on the citizens of the Second Polish Republic should be called by name, without resorting to half-truths and euphemisms such as “Volhynia tragedy”, “Volhynia crime”, “ethnic cleansing” or “anti-Polish action”.

The nationalities of the Victims of the Genocide should also be mentioned, because at the hands of members of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army as well as the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police and Ukrainian SS police regiments, not only Poles, but also Jews, Czechs, Armenians, Roma and those righteous Ukrainians who saved Poles died. It should also be emphasized that the genocide took place not only in Volhynia, but also in Polesie and Lubelszczyzna as well as in Eastern Lesser Poland, i.e. in the former Lwów, Stanisławów and Tarnopol voivodeships. It lasted not only in 1943, but also in the years 1939-1947. In the case of Polish victims, they were mostly villagers, including priests and nuns.

Secondly, exhumations and burials of the victims. The lack of these burials, as well as the official ban on exhumation, still upheld by the Ukrainian state authorities, is the most painful wound in Polish-Ukrainian relations. It is also contrary to both the conventions of international law and the elementary principles of European civilization based on Christian values and the principles of Roman law. The promises of the authorities of both independent countries, which have not been fulfilled for 30 years, as well as the constant excuses of politicians that this is “the wrong time and the wrong moment”, only deepen this wound and cause additional suffering to the families of the victims. The more so that in the burials of other victims, such as the Katyn Massacre or the Holocaust of Jews, there are no such obstacles. An example is the cemetery of Polish officers murdered by the NKVD in Kharkov.

Therefore, we turn to Your Eminences and Excellencies to join us in appealing to the Presidents and Prime Ministers as well as the parliamentary authorities of both countries for dignified burials of all Genocide Victims. These burials should be of a religious nature, in accordance with the denomination or rite of the victims. The places of extermination should be marked with commemorative crosses, which would not only be a commemoration, but also a warning for future generations.

Third, opposition to the cult of criminals. The aforementioned ban on the burial of victims in Ukraine is also connected with the glorification of persons and organizations that have committed crimes against humanity. We regret to say that bishops and priests as well as the faithful of the Greek Catholic Church and some branches of the Orthodox Church very often participate in this glorification. Examples include the blessing of numerous monuments and commemorative plaques dedicated to those who actively participated in the murder of Poles and Jews or inspired these crimes.

Eminences and Excellencies!

Without meeting the indicated conditions, we are not able to take part in the events that are to take place under the motto “we forgive and ask for forgiveness”. Moreover, we believe that this formula, taken from the letter of Polish bishops to German bishops of 1965, does not apply to current Polish-Ukrainian relations. Since the end of World War II and the Nuremberg Trials, the German people have radically distanced themselves from the criminal ideology of National Socialism. In Germany, monuments to genocide are not erected, their crimes are not glorified and burials of victims are not prohibited. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, as described above, it is exactly the opposite. In such a situation, the aforementioned formula would be just an empty gesture, having no value.

As for this year’s other commemorations of the 80th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Volhynia, we propose that their patrons should be Roman Catholic priests murdered during the celebration of holy mass, and those righteous Ukrainians who saved Poles and who were murdered by the Banderites for their Christian attitude. Following the suggestion of Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, we propose as the patron of the Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation Blessed Grzegorz Khomyszyn, a Greek Catholic bishop-martyr from Stanisławów, who, unlike Archbishop Andrzej Szeptycki, opposed Ukrainian nationalism.

We also propose that on July 11 at At 10.00, when 80 years ago Poles gathered in churches for Sunday masses were brutally murdered, the bells in all churches and churches rang. It will be a tribute to contemporary Christian martyrs.

Yours faithfully. God bless!

The letter was signed by:

  • Władysław Siemaszko (Warszawa) –Knight of the Order of the White Eagle, author of publications about the genocide of Poles in Volhynia
  • Adam Macedoński (Kraków) – Knight of the Order of the White Eagle, Honorary Citizen of the City of Krakow
  • Ewa Siemaszko (Warszawa) – Custodian of National Remembrance, author of publications on the genocide of Poles in Volhynia
  • Władysława Poliszczuk (Kanada) – a native of Wołyń, wife of the late Wiktor Polishchuk, a Ukrainian author of books about the crimes of the UPA
  • Prof. Leszek Jazownik (Uniwersytet Zielonogórski) – co-organizer of the construction of the Monument-Mausoleum of the Victims of the OUN-UPA Genocide in the Eastern Borderlands
  • dr Maria Jazownik (Uniwersytet Zielonogórski) – co-organizer of the construction of the Monument-Mausoleum of the Victims of the OUN-UPA Genocide in the Eastern Borderlands
  • Prof. Bogusław Paź (Uniwersytet Wrocławski) – organizer of scientific conferences and author of publications on the genocide in the Eastern Borderlands
  • Dr Michał Siekierka (Wrocław) – President of the Association for Commemorating the Victims of Crimes of Ukrainian Nationalists
  • Witold Listowski (Kędzierzyn-Koźle) – President of the Patriotic Union of Borderland and Veteran Organizations
  • Mjr dr Zbigniew Kopociński (Żary) – World Congress of Borderlanders
  • Antoni Dąbrowski (Dębno, Zachodniopomorskie) – saved as a child from annihilation by the UPA of the village of Biłka (Stanisław’s voidvodship)
  • Małgorzata Gośniowska-Kola (Wschowa) – president of the Huta Pieniacka Association
  • Janusz Horoszkiewicz (Przeworsk) – Custodian of National Remembrance, founder and organizer of the campaign of erecting the Crosses of Remembrance in Volhynia
  • Zbigniew Walczak (Jarocin, Podkarpacie) – head of the commune of Jarocin, chairman of the Social Committee for the Construction of the Volhynian Monument in Domostawa
  • Jan Skalski (Bytom) – president of the World Congress of Borderlanders
  • Danuta Skalska (Bytom) – editor of “Lwowska Fala” in Radio Katowice
  • Stanisław Szarzynski (Przemyśl) – president of the Polish Thermopylae and Borderlands Remembrance Association named after Fr. Bronislaw Mirecki
  • Prof. Andrzej Zapałowski (Uniwersytet Rzeszowski) – councilor of the city of Przemyśl, author of a publication about the crimes of the OUN-UPA
  • Bogdan Stanisław Kasprowicz (Bytom) – president of the Lviv Institute in Warsaw, representative of the Armenians in the Joint Commission of Government and National Minorities
  • Grzegorz Waśniowski (Canada) – President of the Józef Piłsudski Association ‘”Orzeł Strzelecki”
  • Andrzej Mosiejczyk (Prabuty) – president of the Prabuty Association of Borderlanders
  • Edward Bień (Dzierżoniów) – honorary president of the Borderlanders Association in Dzierżoniów
  • Piotr Szelągowski (Poznań) – President of the Greater Poland Association of Borderlanders
  • Zdzisław Koguciuk (Lublin) – chairman of the Civic Initiative for the Construction of the Monument to the Murdered in Volhynia
  • Prof. Włodzimierz Osadczy (Lublin) – prof. PANS in Chełm – president of the Association Institute of Remembrance and Heritage of the Borderland
  • Dr Lucyna Kulińska (Kraków) – author of scientific publications on Ukrainian nationalism
  • Dr Tadeusz Samborski (Legnica) – president of the Cultural Association “landscapes”, organizer of commemorations of the victims of the UPA
  • Dr Paweł Wróblewski (Wrocław) – deputy director of the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Wrocław
  • Mirosław Kowzan (Chodzież) – vice-president of the Society of Lovers of Lviv and the South-Eastern Borderlands, Branch in Piła, author of books on borderlands
  • Przemysław Lasota (Chodzież) – president of the Chodzież Patriotic Association
  • Paweł Zdziarski (Warszawa) – president of the “Community and Remembrance” Association, organizer of the “Wołyń to Powązki” campaign
  • Krzysztof Always (Canada) – co-author of the publication “Kresowianie za Oceanem”
  • Tadeusz Isakowicz-Zaleski (Radwanowice) – Custodian of National Remembrance, chaplain of borderland communities

Not. AW

Source: Isakowicz.pl

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