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to Council of Europe, European Union, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Supreme Council of Ukraine, Sejm of Republic of Poland, President of Ukraine, President of Republic of Poland
We, representatives of ethnic Ukrainians deported by Communist totalitarian regimes of Poland and Ukrainian SSR from the paternal Ukrainian lands of Pidlishia, Kholm, Nadsiannia, Lemky, Boyky Areas in 1944-1951, the public veteran organisations that defend rights and interests of over million deported Ukrainians and their descendents living compacted in Volhyn, Ivan-Frankivsk, Kyiv, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil regions and the city of Kyiv
Having met on the occasion of opening and blessing the Monument ‘To Victims of Terror and Deportation of Kholm Land Ukrainians in 1938-1947’, and at the eve of the All-European Memory Day of Victims of All Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes to be celebrated on August 23rd pursuant to the Resolution of European Parliament dd. April 2, 2009, on European Conscience and Totalitarianism,
Are addressing the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Supreme Council of Ukraine, the Sejm of Republic of Poland, President of Ukraine, President of Republic of Polandto restore the historical memory and truth about genocide of Ukrainians in the 20th c. done by the Polish totalitarian regime against its citizens of Ukrainian nationality that mass slaughters and mass deportation of about one million of ethnic Ukrainians.
Material, physical, and moral losses of Ukrainians due to the genocide are irremediable: the subethnic culture was destroyed, inter-generation family links were broken, spiritual shrines – destroyed, and the whole layer of spiritual and material culture, an integral part of All-Ukrainian one, was ruined. In fact, the thousand-year’s old being of the upmost Western branch of Ukrainians on their historical Motherland was brought to the end.
Since the proclamation of Polish independence in 1918, the Polish state implemented a genocide policy against the Ukrainian population aimed at Catholiczing and Polonizing, spiritual and physical destruction of Ukrainians that made the largest nationally conscious minority of the Second Rzech Pospolita at that time.
The Polish inter-war governments did not listen to the natural demands of Ukrainians for political, economical, cultural, and religious rights, initiating the total terror against them as they considered Ukrainians an obstacle for establishing a new uninational and unireligious Polish state.
The program document ‘State Policy of Poland for Ukrainians of Kholm and Pidlishia Lands’ specified their complete transformation into Poles in 10-20 years. Within this anti-Ukrainian program of ‘Polish nation solidifying’ all Ukrainian schools and cultural-educational institutions were closed, over 400 Orthodox churches were destroyed or redesigned into Roman Catholic ones. Only in Kholm Land in the course of anti-Orthodox campaign 112 churches were demolished and 106 transformed into the Roman-Catholic ones for three months of 1938.
During WWII and after it hundreds of Ukrainian intellectuals, priests, thousands of peaceful residents of Ukrainian villages and towns became victims of armed attacks, bloody massacres performed by Armia Krajowa and other underground Polish nationalist groups due to the terror unheard-of for its cruelty and mass scale.
This was how the leaders of Polish resistance movement forced local Ukrainians to leave their native lands and move beyond the Buh as the Polish chauvinists considered Ukrainian nationalists, that was equal to Ukrainians in general, their main enemy instead of German occupants.
Just Armia Krajowa’s records state 180 Ukrainian villages attacked, 4670 Ukrainians killed, 2268 families looted, and 304 villages burnt down. Chronology and scale of these events prove their thorough planning and good organisation. The Polish gangs encircled Ukrainian villages at night, burnt farms to the ashes, murdered their peaceful residents. And often this was not just murder but martyrdom for children, women, and old people.
The martyr’s death symbol for Kholm Ukrainian population is the village of Sagryn where on March 10, 1944 the Army Krajowa soldiers slaughtered atrociously its peaceful residents: during one night over 300 Ukrainian farms were burnt, over 1200 Sagryn inhabitants and those who came from the neignbouring villages were tortured and murdered.
The Calvary Road for ethnic Ukrainians started with anti-law secret agreements made by the marionette Polish Committee for National Liberation and Governments of the USSR and UkrSSR in 1944 on the Polish-Ukrainian state border and resettlement of the Ukrainians from Poland to the UkrSSR and the Poles from the UkrSSR to Poland. Pursuant to these agreements in 1944-1946 the Communist Polish government concerting with the Stalin regime carried out the forced resettlement of 482thou Ukrainians to the Soviet Union and the deportation of 150thou to the former German lands annexed to Poland within the Operation Vistula. This specific military operation became a final phase for Ukrainian ethnic cleansing though the deportation continued also in 1948 and 1951.
The most dishonourable symbol of the Polish Communist power became YAVOZHNO concentration camp, a former branch of terribly known Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. 3873 Ukrainians were imprisoned there non-accused and non-sentenced and spent almost two years in inhuman sufferings. About 200 concentration camp prisoners died due to tortures, starvation, and exhausting work.
The Polish power, having outraged the international law rules, committed a direct genocide against Ukrainians for ethnic and religious attributes, almost eliminated the Ukrainian population that had been living for centuries on those lands, destroyed its spiritual and material culture, and appropriated its cultural and material values.
Over 175 thousand Ukrainian families appeared outside the native land. This was the time of inhuman ordeals, humiliation, and abuse, separation of whole communities and families, loss of the property gained through years, heartless treatment of the deported by the Soviet power that was aimed at breaking the private owner’s spirit of migrants, making them work in the kolkhozy as rightless serfs, practically not paid. The deported Ukrainians did not receive the promised land and recovery for the lost tangible and intangible assets.
Deporting hundred thousands of Ukrainians was a ‘closed’ subject for a long time. And only after the spilt-up of the Soviet Union the real scales of the tragic destiny of ethnic Ukrainians forced to migrate from Poland became known.
For the years of Ukraine’s independence the NGOs uniting the forced migrants, the regional councils and state administrations of territories where the deported Ukrainians live compactly have many times addressed the legislative and executive powers of Ukraine with demands on settling the most acute issues caused by the deportation. Nevertheless, so far these demands have been ignored by the national authorities, the issues being left unsettled.
The last generation of forcedly deported Ukrainians is passing away, the people who have been suffering from the brutal neglect of their human rights, illegal property expropriation, suppression of the truth about genocide and deportation by the Polish and Ukrainian powers for over six decades. Thousands of martyred Ukrainians lack their own graves where their children, grand, and great grand children might bring flowers.
Whereas the national state authorities of Ukraine and Republic of Poland keep on suppressing the truth about the genocide of ethnic Ukrainians on the territory of Poland in the 20th c., ignoring consideration of numerous appeals of deported Ukrainians, NGOs defending their rights and interests, local authorities concerning these issues,
We are addressing the Council of Europe, the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
- pursuant to the Resolution 260 (III) of General Assembly of the United Nations Organisation dd. December 9th, 1948 ‘On Genocide’, Resolution 1481/2006 of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly ‘On Need for international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian communist regimes’, to carry out an international investigation and, backed with existing documents and evidence, make an unbiased assessment of the genocide performed by the former Polish totalitarian regime against its citizens of Ukrainian nationality on the Ukrainian ethnic lands;
- to promote communication about the crimes performed by the Polish power against its Ukrainian citizens, in Europe
- to contribute to the settlement of issues caused by the forced deportation, by Ukrainian and Polish governments as well as adoption of the relevant national laws by Ukraine
- to support the Ukrainian NGOs defending the deported Ukrainians’ rights, participating actively in studying and collecting the documents related to the crimes performed during the totalitarian regime time
- to respect the memory of the killed and tortured to death in the prisons and concentration camps, the Ukrainian Rebellion Army (UPA) soldiers who defended heroically, sacrificing themselves, the Ukrainian civil population against the elimination and deportation during the war events, and to express the particular respect and gratitude to those Poles who helped and saved their Ukrainian next-doors at the cost of own life.
We are appealing to the Supreme Council of Ukraine, Sejm of Republic of Poland, being in line with the international commitments on protecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms, to make a new assessment of the own past, to condemn the policy of deporting hundred thousand Ukrainians from their native lands by the Communist totalitarian regimes of Poland and UkrSSR, pay the tribute to the memory of innocent victims, express sympathy to the deported and their relatives, and lay down the foundations for the reconciliation for the sake of our peoples future.
We are addressing the President of Ukraine, President of Republic of Poland:
- to establish an inter-state Ukrainian -Polish commission with participation of experts and historians representing both sides who could suggest a settlement for certain issues of concern in the Ukrainian-Polish relations accumulated within the 20th c. on the basis of the truth proved by documentary sources;
- to settle an issue of visa free crossing the Ukrainian-Polish border by the deported Ukrainians and their relatives to visit the places of their origin, develop graves and cemeteries, participate in the liturgies, mourning and reconciliation actions.
- to participate in the solemn opening of the Memorial in the former Ukrainian village of Sagryn where about 700 civil Ukrainians, victims of polishterror, were buried.
We are appealing to the Supreme Council of Ukraine to held parliament hearings on the deportation of ethnic Ukrainians from the territory of Poland in 1944-1951 and to adopt a law for acknowledging officially the deportation as Ukrainian national tragedy, establishing the procedure for recovering moral and material losses caused by the deportation to the deported Ukrainians.
We are addressing the President of Ukraine to encharge the Government with following tasks:
- to work out a bill ‘On recognising deported the Ukrainians forced to migrate from the territory of Ukraine’ and to initiate its consideration in the Supreme Council
- to set up a State Commission for settling the issues caused by the deportation of Ukrainians from the territory of Poland to the UkrSSR in 1944-1946, 1948 and 1951, engaging representatives of national and local bodies of power, local authorities, academicians, NGOs protecting the rights and interests of the forcedly moved people
- to create an electronic information register of the deported Ukrainians and their descendents
- to fix, together with public organisations, a Day of Memory for Ethnic Ukrainian Deportation Victims
- to introduce a chapter on the Ukrainian-Polish relations, genocide and deportation of Ukrainians in the 20th c. into the history textbooks to preserve the historical memory and raise the negative attitude to totalitarianism, violence, and human rights violation in the young generation
- to organise a movable exhibition, to publish a collection of documents and materials including evidence of deported Ukrainians, to make a documentary film about these events
- to log official lists of memorial and burial places of Ukrainians died or killed on the territory of Poland and to allocate annually the state budget funds to restore, develop and maintain them properly
We are sure that the full reconciliation between the Polish and Ukrainian peoples having dramatic, often tragic history would come only when the truth wins. When every offence is named, every victim of this medieval in nature 20th c. madness is eternised, and the common pain is calmed, and the peace comes to the souls of these and forthcoming generations.
We hope the European institutions would contribute to the restoration of the truth about the ethnic Ukrainians genocide since suppressing the truth means conserving the hatred and the revenge that would definitely start ‘fermenting’ and break away the European bowl lid.
The Appeal was adopted on August 22nd, 2010 on the meeting of the deported Ukrainians that took place at the border of three Ukrainian ethnic lands – Volhyn, Galicia, and Kholm land, near the Kholm village of Pisochne, Sokal District, Lviv Region, next to the Polish border, on the occasion of opening and blessing the Monument ‘To Victims of Terror and Deportation of Kholm Land Ukrainians in 1938-1947’.
On behalf of meeting participants it was signed by heads of public organisations defending the rights and interests of deported Ukrainians.
All-Ukrainian Public Organisation ‘Congress of Ukrainians of Kholm and PidlishiaLand’, Rivne
Mr Oleksandr Borovyk, chairman
Volhynian Association ‘KHOLMSHYNA’, Lutsk
Mr Mykola Litkovets, first deputy
Kyiv Association ‘KHOLMSCHYNA’, Kyiv
Mr Stepan Romaniuk, chairman
Lviv Association ‘KHOLMSCHYNA’, Lviv
Ivan Banaschuk, chairman
Rivne Association ‘ZABUZHZHIA’, Rivne
Mr Olexandr Stepaniuk, deputy chairman
Kyiv M.Hrushevsky veteran human right defending association of deported Ukrainians, KHOLMSCHYNA, an official representative of deported Ukrainians public organisations in the European Council on Refuges and Exiles
38-44 Dehtiarivska Street, off. 60, Kyiv, 04119, Ukraine
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