There is still no decision on allowing the burial of Polish victims of the Ukrainian genocide. Does Ukraine really want to take such an infamous place in history?

I admit that when the Russian aggression against Ukraine took place, and the Poles took millions of Ukrainian refugees into their homes, I was convinced that representatives of the Ukrainian elites would finally start behaving in a civilized manner towards Poland. Unfortunately, the words of the head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, Anton Drobowycz, in an interview for the portal, show that the Ukrainian side does not intend to give up worshiping the genocides of the OUN-UPA and – contrary to the earlier assurances of President Volodymyr Zelensky – may not allow the exhumation victims of genocide committed by Ukrainian nationalists in Volhynia and Eastern Lesser Poland.

And although, as the Polish deputy foreign minister Paweł Jabłoński rightly pointed out, “it is not that Mr. Drobowycz sets the directions of Ukrainian policy”, the decision to allow the exhumation has still not been made, which is barbarism unheard of in civilized international relations.

The mere fact of calling the monstrous, bestial murder, which historians have recognized as genocidum atrox, perpetrated on defenseless Poles by Ukrainian nationalists from the OUN-UPA (Ukrainian Nationalists Association – Ukrainian Insurgent Army), a “Volhynia tragedy” and “a terrible episode between our nations” arouses indignation. And not only because these terms diminish the enormity and monstrosity of the crimes committed by the Ukrainians, but above all because it was not an “episode”, but a long-term policy of part of the Ukrainian leadership aimed at exterminating non-Ukrainian people. Encouraged by the example of totalitarian Germany with which they collaborated, the Ukrainian nationalists decided to “finally solve the Polish, Jewish, Armenian and Czech issues” using methods that still shock with their bestiality. Defenseless Polish peasants and priests were flayed alive, sawed through with saws, and subjected to other elaborate tortures so terrifying that they are still terrifying even today by their mere mention. Free and independent Ukraine has so far not allowed their Christian burial. Meanwhile, the head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance, dismissing this fact, finds fault for the lack of a healthy dialogue on the Polish side.

“I see a lack of interest in historical dialogue, we see no interest in cooperation on the part of the Institute of National Remembrance. We cooperate with independent Polish scientists” – complained Drobowycz. The problem, however, is that it is difficult to have a real dialogue on the Ukrainian side, as it relativizes history, whitewashes the torturers who are erected in Ukraine with monuments, honoring them with their names in places of public use and honor as heroes. At the same time, the Ukrainian authorities do not fulfill their earlier agreements and do not allow the exhumation and dignified burial of Polish victims of Ukrainian genocides.

The head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance also went so far as to blackmail that if the Polish side does not give the UPA monument in Monastery the shape that the Ukrainian side would like, there can be no question of excavations and exhumations of Polish victims of Ukrainian genocides. Anyway, he made it clear that he expected concessions from the Polish side “for the benefit of Ukrainian historical memory”, i.e. the whitewashing of Ukrainian crimes [sic!]. There are those who try to convince that Drobowycz is the head of a small Ukrainian institution and his words mean nothing, but nothing could be further from the truth. He represents what his employer’s think about exhumation. I do not know how about you, but I have not heard, after the interview he gave, that his superiors called him to provide explanations or issued any statement in which they would dissociate themselves from the views represented by him.

There is one more aspect to the whole thing – Russian propaganda that has been playing Banderism for years to isolate Ukraine. The authorities in Kiev should finally understand that by adhering to the cult of genocide and preventing the burial of victims, they exclude themselves from the Western world, while giving the Russians fuel to create a negative image of Ukraine as a country rooted in the ideology of Nazism. For Banderism – historians have no doubt about it – was the Ukrainian version of Nazism.

There remains the question of simple human decency. Historically, armies have stopped hostilities so that each side has a chance to bury its dead. Such a temporary truce was respected and was generally not used for a sneak attack on an adversary, for it is obvious to any civilized commander or leader that the dead deserve a dignified burial. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian side, despite the fact that Poles opened their hearts and homes to Ukrainian war refugees, still refuses a Christian funeral for murdered Polish citizens. This does not fit into any canons and will certainly be in the history books in the future. The only question is whether Ukraine really wants to take such an infamous place in it?

Anna Wiejak

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