Wolyn in World War II

Soviet Invasion

In 1939 Wolyn was one of the 16 provinces in Poland. It had an area of 35,754 square Km. The population of Wolyn was slightly over two million.

The breakdown is as follows;

Ukrainians

68%

Poles

16.6%

Jews

9.9%

Czechs, Germans, and Russians

5.5%

On September 23 1939 when Soviet tanks entered the Wolynian town of Nowy Dwor, their escort consisted of a infantry unit commanded by a captain riding a stolen horse from it's Polish owner. He then gathered all the Ukrainians in the main square and began a speech.

On this day you have been freed by the Red Army from the yoke of Polish capitalism. This whole wealth accumulated by the bourgeoisie now belongs to you. You must exterminate the bourgeoisie! Your rulers will henceforth be peasants and factory workers. I will make arrangements for you to form police units composed of workers.

This in turn was a signal for all the Ukrainian elements to come out of hiding, the so called police units were composed of the worst dregs of society, they contained murderers, arsonists, crooks, etc;. On the same day this unit along with local Ukrainians attacked the estate of a Polish Nobleman Pomorski, he was arrested, locked in a cell and then deported to Siberia. During this time the Ukrainian mob completely looted his property.

In the spring of 1940 the Soviets formed the first collective farms in the region. Some Poles and Ukrainians who didn't wish to become part of the collective were severely penalised. If no bribes could be produced to the Soviets then two options remained, one was to join the collective and the other was jail.

At this time the first seeds of OUN and UPA nationalism were introduced by Ukrainian agitators in certain Ukrainian villages within Wolyn.

I'm also forced to bring to attention the behaviour of the district's Jews. The Wolynian Jews, who in general had been better off than the Polish gentiles, showed their "gratitude" to the Poles. They (the Jews) enthusiastically welcomed and supported the occupying Soviet powers. They collaborated with the Russian Communists, and generally they themselves sowed the seeds of anti-semitysm in Wolyn.

One night in Ostrogi - a village in Wolyn

Military Units

Monument to the Murdered Inhabitants of Wolyn and Polesie

Wlodzimierz Wolynski on 19/09/1939

In the evening of 19 September 1939 Soviets tanks entered Wlodzimierz Wolynski and after surrounding the Non Commissioned Reserve (Artillery) Officer school, demanded it's surrender. General Smorawinski sent two officers to the Soviet commander Bogumlow with a message that the surrender will take place only if the soldiers can get sent across the river Bog. The proposition was accepted and on it's basis the surrender was accepted. The act of surrender was signed by both sides, under it's agreement the whole garrison with it's equipment is supposed to in the morning of the 20/09/1939 cross the river.

On the 20/09/1939 the whole garrison in a column formation marched out towards Uscigi under the command of Gen, Smorawinski. But in the forest it was stopped and all were informed that due to "international changes all officers are to surrender their arms and as of this moment are classed as prisoners of war". Any forms of defense was futile, because the column was ringed with tanks and the enlisted men were without any arms. The column was turned in the direction of Luck. This was the first of the Soviet lies.

The unarmed Polish soldiers were herded at a very quick tempo towards Luck, the Soviets were assisted in this task by the local police compromised evenly from local Ukrainians and Jews.

German Invasion

June 22 1941, a new and terrible chapter begins for the inhabitants of the Wolyn District. The German Invasion of the Soviet Union has begun and almost immediately the barbaric treatment of the Polish populace begins. The Germans also promised Ukrainians a "Free Ukraine", this hollow promise is eagerly accepted by Stepan Bandera. The German commissioner for the Ukraine tries very hard to persuade the Ukrainians to collaborate with them, a large number of Ukrainians start to wear yellow armbands and spread anti-Polish placards and place posters on walls which say "Ukraine for Ukrainians"

Ukrainian collaborators along with their German masters murder 51 professors and 100 of their students in Lwow on 4th July 1941.

The Germans create a 4000 strong Ukrainian Police unit under the command of Roman Szmulewicz. At the same time Stepan Bandera plans to form a Ukrainian SS Division. Ukrainian youths flock to join the UPA and there is also a very large influx of recruits to the Ukrainian SS being formed by S. Bandera. To be precise over 80.000 Ukrainians volunteered for the 14 SS Grenadier Division.

According to the German view the Ukrainians were labeled as an inferior people. They were also to be used as tools for mass extermination of the Polish population from Wolyn, and reduce the remnant to be the servants of the Germans. The OUN and UPA accepted that task with relish.

 

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More can be read on the UPA and Soviet barbarities in a book "Wolyn Aflame"