Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide or Ukrainian-Polish Conflict? The Mass Murder of Poles by the OUN and the UPA in Volhynia
27 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 24, 2014
This paper analyzes the mass-murder of Poles in Volhynia in Western Ukraine during World War II. The mass murder of Poles by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and the Stepan Bandera faction of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) during the Nazi occupation of Volhynia in 1943 became an important political issue in Poland and Ukraine after the collapse of communism. Previous studies by Polish, Ukrainian, and Western researchers offered different and often divergent theories of this historical event. It is often presented in Ukraine as a mutual Ukrainian-Polish conflict. In contrast, in Poland, the mass murder of Poles in Volhynia is often characterized as genocide. A research question is whether this was a Ukrainian-Polish conflict, ethnic cleansing or genocide. This study analyzes a variety of archival documents, historical studies, and eyewitness accounts. It offers an estimate of Polish casualties derived from analysis of OUN-UPA, Polish, and Soviet, and sources and demographic data. This study concludes that the mass murder of the Polish minority in Volhynia by the OUN-B, the UPA, and their security service (SB) represented not a mutual Ukrainian-Polish conflict or genocide of Poles but that it was a part of ethnic cleansing.
Keywords: Ukraine, Poland, Conflict, Genocide, Violence, Ethnic Minorities
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