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Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn: Recollections of the Ukrainian Nationalist Ethnic Cleansing Campaign Against the Poles During World War II Paperback – 30 Aug 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 331 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (30 Aug. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078644245X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786442454
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 2.5 x 25.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,198,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"survivors tell of the brutal torture and murder of thousands of Poles. ...vividly document[s] a terrifying episode in history"--Booklist/RBB --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

A native of Wolyn, Tadeusz Piotrowski and his family lived under both the Soviet and the German occupations of Poland's eastern territories until August 1943. He is a professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. He is also the author of The Polish Deportees of World War II (2004), Poland's Holocaust (1998) and Vengeance of the Swallows (1995), all from McFarland. He lives in Manchester.


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In the post-World War I reconstruction of Europe, Wolyn (the western part of Volhynia, now a part of northwestern Ukraine) became one of the eastern provinces of the Second Republic of Poland. Read the first page
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Tadeusz Piotrowski is a Polish-American professor based in New Hampshire. His book "Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn" deals with a little known campaign of ruthless ethnic cleansing during World War II in Volhynia, an area in the western part of the Ukraine.

During the interwar years, Volhynia had been controlled by Poland. During the war, control over the area shifted several times between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was active in Volhynia. The UPA was the armed wing of the OUN-B, a fascist and terrorist organization led by the notorious Stepan Bandera. The OUN-B had a record of collaboration with Nazi Germany, but also had several fall outs with the Germans. Nominally, the UPA was an independent force, fighting both the Nazis and the Soviets. In reality, they concentrated their attacks on the Communists, while attempting to win Nazi support.

Professor Piotrowski documents that the UPA had other interests as well. They waged a ruthless war of extermination against Polish villages in Volhynia. By killing men, women and children of Polish nationality and burning down their settlements, the UPA hoped to create an ethnically pure Ukrainian region. Unsurprisingly, they also attacked Jews. Interestingly, the UPA systematically terrorized the Ukrainian population as well, more or less forcing the local peasants to enlist in the UPA on pain of death. Naturally, they also killed Ukrainians who were brave enough to aid the Poles, not to mention Ukrainians suspected of Communist sympathies. Finally, UPA also forced two competing nationalist groups, OUN-M and another "UPA", to join their forces.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8ec9ca14) out of 5 stars 23 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8d850240) out of 5 stars A moving must-read. 7 Jan. 2009
By R. Hnat - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I could not put this book down. It is a very moving, emotionally taxing collection of testimonies by the Polish survivors of the Volhynian genocide. The titular Rescue refers to the help provided by the brave and noble Ukrainians to their Polish neighbors at the risk of their own lives. In fact, every survivor's story could be told because a Ukrainian helped them hide, provided food, clothing or transportation to get them out of danger, or just simply did not denounce them to their nationalistic compatriots. This is a beautiful tribute honoring those Ukrainian righteous among the nations. Thousands of Ukrainians in Volhynia perished at the hands of their own fascist-chauvinist countrymen, many tortured with the same medieval barbarity as were the Poles. This was an eye opener for me, as I had not been aware of the scale of Ukrainian on Ukrainian atrocities.
To the Ukrainian reviewers of this book I would have this question: are the Ukrainians who helped their Polish neighbors heroes, worthy of honor and remembrance, or are they traitors of the Ukrainian national cause? We know how the UPA perpetrators would answer this question at the time described in this book. What is your answer? To Piotrowski and the quoted survivors they are the angels of mercy, the best the humanity has to offer.
Read this book. You'll never be the same.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e52c900) out of 5 stars Very interesting 16 Sept. 2005
By Jarema - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book tells us about a well hidden secret that Ukrainian historians tried to suppress for a long time. And they had plenty of allies in doing this. Today, there are no Polish village communities in Wolyn and East Galicia (Ukraine), in opposition to numerous Polish communities in Belarus and Lithuania which exist. Piotrowski explains why this is so. All because of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, organisations that orchestrated a genocidal campaign to wipe out the Poles of Wolyn and East Galicia. Interestingly enough, it was not even Stalin that destroyed completely the Poles of Wolyn. Despite expulsions from Belarus, Poles survived there. In Ukraine, specifically in Wolyn and East Galicia, the Poles were largely murdered in their homes and later the Soviet expulsion was accompanied by the OUN-UPA terror in the form of collective murders in order to force the remnants of the Polish community from the territory.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f2d489c) out of 5 stars Bitter truth about UPA child murders finally revealed 26 Jan. 2006
By Tomeo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The story of Polish civilians of Wolyn massacred by UPA-OUN Nazis finally see the light... In contrary to what's been said here by UPA-OUN apologists the book by Piotrowski is not one-sided. I don't know, but Ukrainians probably expected reaching out to the times of by Polish nobility like Jarema Wisniowiecki in 17th century to show Poles were guilty of bad deeds too, but hey - folks this book is placed in WW2 times, and it's not about history of Ukraine.

I am very glad that massive amount of historical material and proves that 'glorious' UPA-OUN commited crimes on women and children that would put Hitler's SS to shame (a hedgehog into pregnant woman's womb, cutting a man in half, hanging children by barbed wire around their necks etc). Arguments that these massacres of Polish peasants (about 60.000 people - mostly woman and children) were provoked by Polish attacks doesn't hold the water for anybody who know a little bit of history and demographics of that region. Polish elites had been already deported to Siberia by Stalin's order and Poles (mostly peasants) constituted only 16% of ethnic mosaics there. Additionally they were under oppressive Nazi rule. How these people could attack anybody? Only UPA-OUN whitewashers would know.

Although most of UPA 'heroes' fans would deny that (natural psychological reaction of perpetror) the REAL Ukrainian heroes were those who hid their Polish neighboours from UPA child murderes. As far as I know there were a couple of hundreds of them SHOT by UPA for helping Poles. To this very day some of these people who survived are afraid to reveal their names fearing UPA cheerleaders' revenge.

Only in truth there can be reconciliation and only in truth both of our nations can move along - whitewashing UPA's genocide against Polish civilians from 1943 will not help that. All in all, recommended reading for anybody interested in mechanism of ethnic cleansing.

P.S.

Apart from this book I strongly recommend book 'Genocide' by Siemaszko's.
31 of 39 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8dc04540) out of 5 stars Ukrainian Chauvinists Try to Rewrite History 15 Sept. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Piotrowski tells us of the unspeakably brutal murder of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists. The barbarity is difficult to fathom, and is rivalled only by the mendacity of Ukrainian reviewers who try to divert the blame to Polish victims. It is obvious that, to some Ukrainians even today, the disemboweling of a Polish child, or the putting out of the eyes of a Polish woman, by the cowardly UPA cutthroats (REZUNY),was a great patriotic act. Let us keep past wrongs in perspective: The past injustices which Ukrainians underwent at the hands of Poles are NOT REMOTELY equivalent to the systematic murder of 100,000 Polish men, women, and children. The past wrongs of Poles against Ukrainians were mostly economic, and very rarely culminated in serious mistreatment or murder. Despite mutual nationalistic tensions, the Ukrainians in prewar Poland enjoyed a considerable degree of cultural autonomy, and even had representatives in the Polish parliament. The so-called pacification of 1932, in reprisal for earlier Ukrainian acts of sabotage, murder, and arson, involved the deaths of only some 32 Ukrainians. During this same time, Stalin was starving some 7 million Ukrainians, yet the OUN was not planning genocide against Russians because of this at all. Later, rhe number of Ukrainian civilians killed by Poles as a result of reprisals during the war, as well as in the "Operation Vistula" after the war, also were drops in the bucket compared with the over-100,000 Poles sadistically murdered by Ukrainian chauvinists during the German occupation. Without doubt, both the Germans and Russians committed far, far graver wrongs against the Ukrainian people, by ANY standard, than did the Poles, yet the Ukrainian nationalists did not lash out with open genocide against either Germans or Russians. I suppose that this is because they knew that Poles were too ethically-minded to retaliate with a counter-genocide, whereas both the Russians and Germans would see to it that Ukrainians were hanging from every tree no sooner than the cowardly UPA bandits attempted genocide on them.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e40f858) out of 5 stars A democratic socialist genocide? 1 Sept. 2010
By Ashtar Command - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Tadeusz Piotrowski is a Polish-American professor based in New Hampshire. His book "Genocide and Rescue in Wolyn" deals with a little known campaign of ruthless ethnic cleansing during World War II in Volhynia, an area in the western part of the Ukraine.

During the interwar years, Volhynia had been controlled by Poland. During the war, control over the area shifted several times between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) was active in Volhynia. The UPA was the armed wing of the OUN-B, a fascist and terrorist organization led by the notorious Stepan Bandera. The OUN-B had a record of collaboration with Nazi Germany, but also had several fall outs with the Germans. Nominally, the UPA was an independent force, fighting both the Nazis and the Soviets. In reality, they concentrated their attacks on the Communists, while attempting to win Nazi support.

Professor Piotrowski documents that the UPA had other interests as well. They waged a ruthless war of extermination against Polish villages in Volhynia. By killing men, women and children of Polish nationality and burning down their settlements, the UPA hoped to create an ethnically pure Ukrainian region. Unsurprisingly, they also attacked Jews. Interestingly, the UPA systematically terrorized the Ukrainian population as well, more or less forcing the local peasants to enlist in the UPA on pain of death. Naturally, they also killed Ukrainians who were brave enough to aid the Poles, not to mention Ukrainians suspected of Communist sympathies. Finally, UPA also forced two competing nationalist groups, OUN-M and another "UPA", to join their forces. The leader of the other "UPA", Taras Bulba, complained that the UPA spend more time attacking Polish civilians than waging a war against Communists and Nazis!

"Genocide and rescue in Wolyn" contains both eye witness accounts of the massacres, county by county, a general historical overview of the OUN-B and the UPA, and excerpts from various contemporary documents. In some documents, the UPA blames the Poles for collaboration with the Nazis. Piotrowski admits that thousands of Poles in Volhynia did join the Nazi-controlled local police forces, but only after the *Ukrainian* collaborators had quit and joined the UPA! Besides, it was the OUN-B and the UPA which were guilty of most of the Nazi collaboration. Also, the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Poles of Volhynia started long before the Nazi decision to recruit Poles, and had always been a stated aim of the OUN, a predecessor to the OUN-B.

I admit that this book might strike the general reader as very obscure, and will perhaps mostly interest advanced students of Polish or Ukrainian history. (The anti-Jewish activities of the UPA are mentioned mostly in passing.) My interest in this subject is due to the fact that the UPA attempted to pass themselves off as "democratic socialists" (!). Some left-wing groups were fooled by these pretences after the war, including the Fourth International and the supporters of Max Schachtman in the United States. The primary conduit seems to have been one Ivan Majstrenko, a refugee from the Soviet Union who formed a small left-wing group on arrival in the United States. I believe it was called the UPRP. Still during the 1990's, some left-wing magazines published glowing accounts of the "democratic socialist" UPA which fought both Hitler and Stalin. This is quite absurd, indeed, even perverse. Piotrowski's book isn't the first scholarly exposure of the UPA. Unfortunately, many left-wingers don't want to be weaned from their little myths.

Perhaps "Genocide and rescue in Wolyn", written by a survivor of the terrible carnage in Western Ukraine, can open the eyes of some people.
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