Polish President accuses Ukrainian nationalists of genocide against Poles in 1944
Polish President Andrzej Duda accused Ukrainian soldiers and nationalists of committing genocide against the Poles in the village of Huta Pieniacka in 1944. However, he said that the Poles still want good relations with Ukrainians, Evropeyska Pravda reports.
On Sunday at the site of the Huta Pieniacka village in Ukraine’s Lviv province, an official Polish delegation paid tribute to the memory of the Poles who were killed there on February 28, 1944. During the ceremony, state secretary of the Polish President’s Office Adam Kwiatowski read an address by Polish President Andrzej Duda which spoke of “the genocide against the Poles” committed by Ukrainians in Huta Pieniacka.
“The crime of genocide, committed here by Ukrainian soldiers and police in the service of Hitler’s Third Reich and Ukrainian nationalists, led to the annihilation of roughly a thousand people: the Polish inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka, as well as the Jews and refugees from the cities of Volhynia and Podolia whom they were hiding,” President Duda wrote.
He added that “the innocent death, inflicted only because they were Poles, is frightening in its tremendous brutality”. According to the Polish President, it is the duty of modern Poles “not to forget the crimes in Huta Pieniacka” but rather “to remember and draw conclusions”.
The Polish President emphasized that Poland wants good relations with Ukraine, but that the future must be “built on the basis of the truth, not on lies or denials”.
“Our countries need each other for both of our countries to be strong and safe. And so we also need the memory and the truth of what took place here on February 28, 1944. To ensure that nothing of the kind ever happens again, and to ensure that our relations are based on a solid foundation and mutual trust,” Duda remarked.
The village of Huta Pieniacka, whose population consisted of Poles, was razed to the ground in February 1944. Roughly 1000 Poles were killed. Historians have several theories about what took place. Ukrainian historians believe that the village was destroyed by German troops, whereas Polish historians believe that divisions of the SS Galician division was also involved in the massacre.
The Huta Pieniacka memorial was opened in 2005. In January 2017 it was partially destroyed by unknown persons.