The massacre in Volhynia 80 years ago was not just a Holocaust-like genocide but was particularly horrific because of the way the Poles were butchered with axes and chainsaws and were burned alive, Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Tuesday.
“It was an act so cruel that it should be called Genocidium atrox, a horrific genocide,” he told a crowd gathered to commemorate the victims of the atrocity.
The Polish prime minister pointed to the tomb under the Volhynia cross in which there was earth from hundreds of Polish villages and townships, “earth soaked with the blood of 100,000 of our countrymen in the period between 1942 and 1947.”
He went on to say that this was the ground that witnessed an unimaginable crime and the hell that was prepared by Ukrainian nationalists against their neighbors. It was a crime caused not by a state’s machinery but by hatred, he added.
Morawiecki promised the crime would never be forgotten.
“We Poles will not rest until all the remains of the victims are found and commemorated. There can be no full Polish-Ukrainian reconciliation without all these remains being identified and honored,” he said.
July 11 is known as “Bloody Sunday” because on this day in 1943 a coordinated attack took place in 150 Polish-dominated villages and townships, orchestrated by Ukrainian nationalists.
The attack was inspired by the nationalist movement led by Stepan Bandera whom the Ukrainians regard as a national hero because he fought the Soviets, even though his forces cooperated with Nazi forces during World War II.