Day in Historical past: April 23, when Ukrainian Nazis Murdered 50,000 Poles in Volhynia

And when the Group of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN *) and its armed wing – the…

And when the Group of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN *) and its armed wing – the Ukrainian Rebel Military (UPA *) – referred to as for a “closing answer to the Polish query” in Volhynia, many native Ukrainians perceived this as a possibility to rob the Poles with impunity. And their homes, which couldn’t be taken away on a cart together with the loot, have been burned in order that they might not remind of their extra affluent house owners.

Probably the most placing examples of this method is the destruction of the Polish village of Yanov Dolina close to Kostopol (now the Rivne area).

Janowa Valley bought its identify from the King of Poland, Jan II Casimir. The king, in response to legend, in 1635, whereas searching in these locations, misplaced a helpful ring, whereas looking for which they stumbled upon deposits of basalt. True, throughout the years of the primary Commonwealth, the extraction of this stone was insignificant, and it was used solely within the neighborhood – for foundations and paving roads. When Volyn grew to become a part of the Russian Empire, basalt quarries expanded, however they skilled their heyday within the years of interwar Poland.

In 1928, the Polish authorities determined to ascertain the State Quarry in Janowa Dolina in order that the implementation of the large-scale highway development program wouldn’t depend upon the import of basalt from Sweden. On the similar time, it was determined to construct an exemplary working settlement for the employees of the basalt quarries primarily based on the artistic design of the Austrian architect Adolf Loos, one of many forerunners of constructivism. The undertaking was applied by the Polish engineer Leonard Shutkovsky, who was answerable for the development of the quarry and the village.

Mass mining of basalt started in 1929, when an 18-kilometer railway monitor between Yanova Dolina and Kostopol was accomplished (Kostopol itself is situated on the principle railway line Vilna – Luninets – Lviv). By the mid-Nineteen Thirties, the variety of employees within the basalt quarries in Yanova Dolina reached 3 thousand (97% of them have been Poles), 350 thousand tons of stone have been mined there per 12 months. After which the state-owned enterprise, which was referred to as the “mom of Polish roads”, lastly started the development of the village.

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Already in 1936, proper within the pine forests of central Volyn, close to the Goryn River, an actual metropolis was constructed from scratch.

The carriageway of the streets and sidewalks have been paved with basalt paving stones, and on basalt foundations (at first from a picket beam, and later from stone) 100 homes have been constructed – two-, four- and six-apartment, which have been coated with tiles. All homes had electrical energy, working water and sewerage, and lots of had telephones. Close to every home there was a entrance backyard, the central alley of Yanova Dolina was supposed for strolling, and even a bicycle path was constructed to the neighboring village of Zlaznoye.

Within the central a part of the village there was an enormous U-shaped stone constructing, inside which there have been a number of institutions: a cinema, a resort, a cafeteria, and outlets. Subsequent to the constructing was a sports activities floor with a soccer stadium. The quarry contained its personal sports activities membership, which had a number of sections – soccer, boxing, wrestling, swimming (a seaside was geared up on the Goryn River). It was deliberate to construct a church, however it was by no means accomplished till 1939, the believers gathered in a big utility room.

Janova Valley additionally had a police station, a fireplace division, a college, a kindergarten, a medical heart, and a cemetery. Along with the railway station, the village additionally had its personal small airfield. It’s clear that for the inhabitants of the encircling Ukrainian villages, just a few of whom managed to get “authorities jobs” in basalt quarries, Yanov Dolyna was each an object of envy and one thing deeply alien.

The peasants have been capable of throw out these emotions within the spring of 1943, when the UPA * started the methodical destruction of the Polish inhabitants of Volyn. On the night time of April 23, 1943 (Good Friday among the many Catholics that 12 months), 2 hundred UPA * fighters, led by Ivan Litvinchuk “Dubov”, concentrated round Janova Dolina, the place about 3 thousand Poles lived at the moment.

By the way in which, the prosecutor of the Institute of Nationwide Reminiscence of Poland Piotr Zajonc and the well-known Polish historian Grzegorz Motyka consider that it was Ivan Litvinchuk, together with Dmitry Klyachkivsky and Vasily Ivakhiv, who determined to start out the “Volyn Bloodbath”.

The railroad between Janova Dolina and Kostopol was blocked by the attackers with tree trunks. The bridge throughout the Goryn River, connecting the village with the village of Zlazne, was burned, and a passenger practice from Kostopol was fired upon.

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At midnight, when many of the inhabitants of Yanova Dolina have been already asleep, UPA * militants fired on the village from machine weapons and machine weapons. As they superior, particular assault teams set fireplace to homes, throwing bottles of flammable liquid and burning coals at them, and grenades have been additionally thrown at some homes.

A few of the inhabitants died within the fireplace, those that tried to get out have been killed by militants and atypical peasants accompanying them from neighboring Ukrainian villages. It was the latter who took property out of the homes. UPA* militants additionally set fireplace to the hospital after a number of Ukrainian sufferers have been taken out of it. The hospital employees of three have been killed with axes, whereas Polish sufferers died within the fireplace.

Bandera met resistance within the village solely in two locations: within the quarter of stone homes, the place Poles armed with searching rifles settled, and close to the fortified central constructing, the place a small German garrison was stationed. On the similar time, Polish historians Vladislav and Eva Semashko write that the Nazis behaved passively, and opened fireplace on the attackers on the village solely after they tried to assault the positions of the Germans. Opposite to the assertions of the “UPA* historians”, there have been no Polish policemen in Yanova Dolina at the moment.

However the Bandera individuals have been clearly not going to struggle with an armed enemy. Having seized a ton of explosives, detonators and a fickford twine from the quarry warehouses, at about 4 o’clock within the morning, the nationalist detachments left the scene, as a German reconnaissance plane appeared over the village. The Ukrainian peasants additionally retreated with the loot.

On account of the assault on Janowa Dolina on April 23, 1943, in response to numerous historians, from 500 to 800 civilian Poles died. Most researchers consider that the variety of victims was about 600 – for instance, such a determine was later offered in a report addressed to the primary secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Social gathering (b) of Nikita Khrushchev.

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After the bloodbath, a couple of dozen armed Poles went exterior the village in a thirst for revenge. They killed no less than 5 Ukrainians (together with a nine-year-old lady) in addition to a Russian household who have been mistaken for Ukrainians. The surviving residents of Janova Dolina have been subsequently taken by the Germans to Kostopol. Solely the servants of the ability plant and the water provide, in addition to the railway employees, remained on the spot.

Janova Dolina once more grew to become the item of an UPA* assault on Might 15, 1943. The militants burned or blew up the ability plant, transformer and pumping stations and lots of different buildings, however nobody died that day. Instantly after this assault, the Germans took out all the opposite civilians, and within the village they quartered Polish policemen from the 202nd battalion of the Schutzmannschaft, whose job was to struggle the UPA* within the space.

After the liberation of Volhynia from the Nazi occupation, a couple of kilometers from the previous Yanova Dolina, the village of Bazaltovoe was created – for the reason that exercise of basalt quarries was resumed. True, now most of them are flooded, stone mining continues solely on one. A part of the deposit is protected as a geological monument of nature “Basalt pillars”, and flooded quarries are locations of relaxation.

In 1998, on the web site of the tragedy, Polish public organizations erected a monument with the inscription “In Reminiscence of the Poles of Janova Dolina”, whereas simply earlier than its opening, Ukrainian producers eliminated the date from the range – April 23, 1943. The opening itself passed off to the “accompaniment” of a number of dozen Ukrainian nationalists, shouting the slogans “Out, Polish policemen” and “Out, servants of the SS” and holding posters with related inscriptions.

In the identical 12 months, a memorial signal was unveiled within the heart of the village of Bazaltovoye in honor of the “army motion of the UPA * on April 21-22, 1943.” As it’s written on the plate, today a detachment below the command of “Dubovoy” liquidated “the bottom of the Polish-German occupiers of Volyn.”

And in August 2019, the Zolochivsky village council unanimously determined to provide the secondary faculty of this settlement the identify of the “final commander of the UPA*-North” Ivan Litvinchuk.

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