Huta Peniatska

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Melnyk
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Huta Peniatska

Post by Melnyk » 13 Mar 2003 20:18

Does anyone have any information about the supposed involvment of Ukrainian units in the incident at the vailage of Huta Peniatska in 1944?

Somosierra
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Post by Somosierra » 13 Mar 2003 20:48

Investigation of the Crime Committed at the Village of Huta Pieniacka


The Head Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation received new, previously unknown documents regarding the murder of about a thousand of Polish inhabitants of the town Huta Pieniacka by the 14th sub-unit of the SS Division "Galizien" on February 28th, 1944.
Up to this point, 80 witnesses have been interrogated. According to the witness' testimonies, and in light of the documentation collected, there is no doubt that the 4th battalion of the 14th division of SS "Galizien" committed the crime. In the Chronicle of Military Operations of this division, a following note has been found regarding the Huta Pieniacka crime: "Our division began to write its history with blood." This fragment comes from the document received by the Head Commission from the Center in Ludwigsburg in 1999.

The Head Commission also turned to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine asking for any documents pertaining to the 14th division of SS "Galizien," particularly to the crime committed by members of this formation in Huta Pieniacka. On Feburary 14th, 2000, the General Prosecutor's Office answered that the Archives of the Security Office of Ukraine in the Tarnopol region lacks materials pertaining to the murder of about a thousand of inhabitants of the village Huta Pieniacka (located about 50 kms away from Tarnopol) on Feburary 28th, 1944.

In January 2001, British television showed a film entitled "SS in Great Britain." During the film a document entitled "The List of names of SS members nominated to non-commissioned officers" was shown. The list contains 48 names. The Head Commission turned to the author of the film, Julian Handa asking him about the source of the previously unknown document. The film was based mainly on documents of the investigation currently conducted in Poland. The author of the film informed that this document comes from the National Archives in Kiev.

The prosecutor conducting the investigation turned to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, once more, requesting to institute a search for documentation pertaining to the 14th division, referring to the information obtained from Julian Handa. Recently, the General Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine sent certified copies of previously unknown documents, coming from the Ukrainian National Archives in Kiev. Among the documents, there is a fragment of the "Chronicle of February 25th, 1944. Information inferred from the "Chronicle" remains in contradiction to the hitherto established facts of the investigation.

In the light of the hitherto established facts, the crime was committed by the 4th battalion of the 14th division on the 28th of February. On that day, early in the morning, soldiers of this division, dressed in white, masking outfits, surrounded the village. The village was cross-fired by artillery. SS-men of the 14th Division of SS "Galizien" entered the village, shooting at civilians, who were rounded up at a church. The rounded civilians, mostly women and children, were divided and locked in barns which were set on fire. Those trying to run away were killed. Witnesses interrogated by the prosecutors of the Head Commission described the morbid details of the act. The crime was committed against women, children and newborn babies. After murdering the inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka, the local Ukrainian population robbed the remaining property of the murdered.
It is difficult to regard the statement included in the "Chronicle," saying that these were other German troops, not the entering 14th Division of SS "Galizien," as true. The "Chronicle" does not show which German troops committed this crime. Polish witnesses testified that only at the beginning of the criminal action orders were given by German officers. The orders were, however, executed by the Ukrainian members of that division.

Because of the film "SS in Great Britain," by Julian Handa, showing that 8,000 members of the 14th Division and other Ukrainian formations were admitted to the territory of Great Britain in 1947 with the right of residence, British prosecutors were to arrive in Poland. They were to get acquainted with the outcome of the investigation currently conducted in Poland, and to receive witnesses' testimonies related to the crime of Huta Pieniacka. The SS membership alone, that is considered to be a criminal formation, is not subject to prosecution due to the expiry of validity. The SS-men, who are alive, may be prosecuted for their complicity in the genocide.

In the fragments of "The Chronicle of the 14th Division of SS Galizien," there is the following entry on the criminal activity of Ukrainian guerilla fighters: "In the village of Demydkowycze, the underground army fighters encountered the heavily fortified bunkers nearby where Jews were hidden. The underground army fighters crushed the bunkers. They killed two hundred Jews."

June 26th, 2001.

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http://www.ipn.gov.pl/eng_inv_huta.html
_________________
APOCALYPSIS IOANNIS 21, 8:
--
Timidis autem et incredulis et exsecratis et homicidis et fornicatoribus et veneficis et idololatris et omnibus mendacibus, pars illorum erit in stagno ardenti igne et sulphure, quod est mors secunda.

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Post by Somosierra » 13 Mar 2003 20:50

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1104560.stm
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story ... 72,00.html
--

Police investigate claims that ex-SS men are living in Britain

Jamie Wilson
Tuesday January 9, 2001
The Guardian

The Metropolitan police yesterday confirmed it was investigating allegations that members of a Ukrainian SS division responsible for a string of atrocities during the second world war are living in Britain.
According to an ITV documentary as many as 8,000 members of the notorious Galizien Waffen SS division were allowed into Britain in 1947 without having their wartime activities properly investigated.

Many of the men subsequently emigrated to Canada and Australia, but the programme makers estimate that as many as 1,500 are alive and well in Britain today.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Met confirmed the force was looking into the matter, but refused to specify if it was investigating any particular individuals.

"We can confirm that the Metropolitan police has received a number of allegations which were recently passed to us by the Home Office," the spokesman said.

The spokesman said the matter had been passed to the anti-terrorist squad, which has taken over the role of the now disbanded war crimes unit.

Lord Janner, of the all-party parliamentary war crimes group, said the Home Office should set up an immediate inquiry into how members of the unit were allowed into Britain in the first place.

"If there is sufficient evidence against individuals, it should be put before a jury so that these men can receive the justice that they denied to their victims."

The programme, broadcast on Sunday, revealed how members of the Nightingale battalion, a Ukrainian police unit which later joined the SS Galizien division, took part in the mass murder of thousands of Jews in Lvov in June 1941.

Galizien troops also murdered more than 800 Polish civilians in the village of Huta Pieniacka in February 1944, and killed 44 unarmed civilians, including children, in the village of Chlaniov in August of the same year.

Members of the Ukrainian Self Defence Legion, another unit which later merged with the division, suppressed the Warsaw uprising in autumn 1944. Some of the men now living in the UK helped capture downed British and American airmen, who were then handed over to the Gestapo, the programme, made by Yorkshire Television, claimed.

Image

IN MEMORY OF POLES MURDERED IN OVER 2000 TOWNS AND VILIGES OF VOLHYNIA AND SOUTH-EASTERN POLAND IN YEARS 1939-1947 BY UKRAINIAN NATIONALISTS OUN-UPA WITH A PRAY MAY NATIONALISM SHALL NOT GUIDE TO CRIME

CO-PATRIOTS ANNO DOMINI 1999

(Warsaw Basilica, May, 21 1999)

Melnyk
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Incident at Huta

Post by Melnyk » 14 Mar 2003 10:07

Here are some interesting facts about this occurance. Readers should evaluate what has been stated above by 'Somosierra' are make up their own minds about his personal agenda.


1. In late February, parts of the II battalion of the 4th Galician Police Regiment were involved in an attack on the large Polish village of Huta Peniatska. This village (with approximately 488 inhabitants) is openly acknowledged to have become a well fortified outpost for both Polish and Soviet led partisan groups whose numbers along with civilians from neighbouring villages increased the population to nearly 1,000. Positive verification of Soviet collaboration with the Poles in Huta Pieniacka can be found in Mieczyslaw Juchniewicz, "Z dzialalnosci organizacyjno-bojowej gwardii ludowej w obwodzie lwowskim ppr-gl," in Wojskowy Przeglad Historyczny, (Warsaw), Nr. 4 (48), pp. 153-154.

These partisans, in addition to attacking German supply columns and disrupting the rear areas of the German Army, also are known to have fought against the UPA as well as terrorising the local Ukrainian population by raiding the surrounding villages.

The first attack which was made on 23rd February, 1944, failed and resulted in the deaths of two Ukrainian soldiers. Their bodies, reported to have been found naked and mutilated, were recovered for burial after a second successful assault made five days later during which between 8-12 Ukrainians were wounded, one of whom fatally. The first two casualties were Roman Andriichuk & Oleksa Bobak, who were burried at the Heldenfriedhoff, Brody, on 2 March, 1944. The third soldier Yurii Hanusiak, was wounded and died a few days later in hospital in L'viv. He was buried in the city on 7 March.

The subsequent 'pacification action' which included the destruction of the village and the liquidation of many of the civilian population which is known to have taken place shortly after has remained the subject of a great deal of controversy to this day.

Mykhailo Khronoviat, one of three members of the Military Board, who visited the Regiment at the time, witnessed the entire event. In the account that he gave, he described how after the village had finally fallen and the Ukrainians had moved on, a German [Schutzpolizei] unit (unspecified) arrived which destroyed the village, setting fire to the houses (which began exploding because of the ammunition stored in them), and killing many of its inhabitants.

In contrast, several Polish and Soviet sources allege that Ukrainian soldiers from the battalion were present and took part in the pacification but have produced inconclusive evidence in support.

See for example Antoni B. Szczesniak and Wieslaw Z. Szota, Droga do nikad (Warsaw, 1973), p.127. This account as well as those of other Polish or Soviet authors is largely based on the report on the action sent less than a month later by the underground Polish Armia Krajowa to the Polish Government in exile in London which states;

"On February 27, 44 at 5.00am the 14th Division of the Ukrainian SS (sic) surrounded the village Huta Pieniacka from three sides, shooting from a distance at houses, set some buildings on fire and then entered the village, plundering all the belongings of the inhabitants. The people were gathered in the church or shot in the houses. Those gathered in the church, men women and children were taken outside in groups, children killed in front of their parents, their heads smashed on tree trunks or buildings then thrown into the burning houses. Men and women were partially shot in the cemetery, partially gathered in barns, where they were shot at and then set on fire with a grenade. The village was completely burned down. The only people who saved themselves were those who on finding out about the approaching Ukrainian SS, managed to hide in the forests (only men) or those who pretended to be dead or managed to hide in potato holes in the basements. Right now it is difficult to establish how many survived as they spread themselves around the area. Many injured with burned arms and legs are being treated, impossible to say how many since people from surrounding villages took them to their homes after the SS left. Not a single shot was fired on the SS division on the part of the inhabitants since they were considered part of the German army.

Reported by Uta WSK Huta Pieniacke who survived badly burned. The action of the SS was to be a revenge killing for 4 SS men on Feb 23 who in the number of about 60 entered the village in the evening and begun to plunder the houses. Since they wore German uniforms and spoke Ukrainian, they were taken for a disguised band. Thus the local defense action started killing 2 for sure and wounding several. Since the Ukrainian SS came to the area such cases may repeat themselves in every Polish village." A copy this report can be found in the Huta Pieniacka Case files at the Cracow Regional Office of the Polish Main Commission [for the investigation of crimes against the Polish nation].


In the documentary referred to entitled "The SS in Britain", to substantiate the allegation that UKRAINIAN soldiers pacified the village two 'eye winesses' are interviewed. According to the testimony of one of them at that time [ that is when the village was first attacked on 23/2/44] "there were no partisans in the village. Only one civilian armed with a single shot carbine who shot at the Ukrainian soldiers".

This version of the events and subsequent witness statements by survivors, relate the event in graphic and dramatic detail but contain several significant discrepancies. For example in the programe - for which I was interviewed, I stated:
"It is almost inconceivable in my opinion that a reconnaissance group of company or even squad strength (witness estimates of the number of men involved varies from 40 - 120: For simplicity I have taken the lower figure), who had undergone at least six months basic training (albeit within the German Polizei establishment) and who were comparativley well trained and equipped- some with automatic weapons, were then effectively forced to retreat by one single man armed with a single shot carbine. Such occurences are far more likely to be found in Hollywood".

This remark along with 1 hour 27 minutes worth of my interview, was edited out of the final programme.

For the record, at the time of writing there is no conclusive evidence which is sufficient to substantiate either sides contention beyond all reasonable doubt.

This brings us to the lengthy statement made above by 'Somosierra', and readers are invited to compare our credentials before considering our respective views: For my part

1. I own original copies of ALL the documents mentioned above by 'Somosierra' along with some others otained form various archives.

2. The 'Divisional Chronical' which mentions this episode has been readily available in print since at least 1988 in Canada. For the record I have copies of the original entries obtained from the archive in Kiev.

3. The Chronical does indeed state "Now our Division has begun it write its history in blood". This of course could be taken as its own blood that is the blood of the first two Ukrainian soldiers to be killed in action.

4. I have personally consulted the British investigating team about this matter. Their response was to confirm that an investigation was in process. When asked whether any prosecution was likely they replied "there is virtually no prospect of any trial let alone conviction of any former Ukrainian member of this unit living in Great Britain based on the available evidence."

5. Even if the lower figure of 40 Ukrainian men involved who could be considered 'suspects', you must deduct from that number those who did not survive the war, those who died subsequently and those who do not emigrate to other countries. By my reckoning none of these men are left alive.

6. To my knowledge I am the only historian to have personally interviewed former members of the 4th regiment who are still living - and who although are not suspect themselves - may have known about the episode in question. None were interviewed by the makers of The SS in Britain.


7. Several of the figures quoted above by 'Somosierra' such as the number of Ukrainian vets living in Great Britain were originally supplied by me to the makers of the previously mentioned documentary. They are no longer accurate. At this point in time there are fewer than 900 vets still living in the UK.


My area of expertise is the 14 Galician Division and its affiliated units. I am not an expert on Ukrainian history or Polish / Ukrainian relations. I am willing to discuss openly any aspect of the Galician Division and consider any allegation made against it or any or its former personnel, provided of course that hard and verifyable evidence is quoted to back up any claim. Repetition of circumstantial evidence, hearsay and other peoples work does not in my view constitute sufficient evidence to sustain any debate.

Mike Melnyk

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Post by Somosierra » 15 Mar 2003 21:49

ghost wrote:

many things which would be funny; but actually it is very sad…

- “are known to have fought against the UPA as well as terrorizing the local Ukrainian population by raiding the surrounding villages.”
- “in the deaths of two Ukrainian soldiers. Their bodies, reported to have been found naked and mutilated,”
- “setting fire to the houses (which began exploding because of the ammunition stored in them), and killing many of its inhabitants.”
- “I am the only historian to have personally interviewed former members of the 4th regiment who are still living”.

And so-on…

So summing up, I know the statement: There was no Auschwitz…

I understand it is hard to know what co-patriots did in the past, but it is not my problem. It is also, not my duty to gather documents – I can assure you there are A LOT of documents.

What is it!?! I hear something…(KNOCK, KNOCK) – ah, there are British and Polish prosecutors behind the doors of your witnesses…

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Post by Somosierra » 15 Mar 2003 22:00

ghost = Melnyk

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Benoit Douville
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Post by Benoit Douville » 17 Mar 2003 00:06

Great to see you here Mike Melnyk. Keep up the good work.

Regards

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David C. Clarke
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Post by David C. Clarke » 17 Mar 2003 00:55

Melnyk wrote:

Mykhailo Khronoviat, one of three members of the Military Board, who visited the Regiment at the time, witnessed the entire event. In the account that he gave, he described how after the village had finally fallen and the Ukrainians had moved on, a German [Schutzpolizei] unit (unspecified) arrived which destroyed the village, setting fire to the houses (which began exploding because of the ammunition stored in them), and killing many of its inhabitants.


UH-HUH, so these houses exploded because of munitions stored in them. Must have been one hell of a depot!!! What were they storing, 500kg. aerial bombs?

Regards,
~D

Melnyk
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Exploding houses and exploding myths!

Post by Melnyk » 17 Mar 2003 22:03

1. In a previous message the following statement was made:

"Some of the men [ie; 14 Galician Division] now living in the UK helped capture downed British and American airmen, who were then handed over to the Gestapo, the programme, made by Yorkshire Television, claimed. "

Sure this claim was made and it was me who gave them the information.
Interestingly there is NO evidence to say that any harm came to them. The ONLY documentary evidence is a statement and subsequent investigation which is chronicled in the file AIR 402315, Public Records Office London, England. The secret report from Provost Marshal R.A.F, M.A.A.F, C.M.F to Provost Marshal R.A.F., Air Ministry, Ref PM/2072/1/4. Document WO 108/107, AIR 402315, PRO contains the statement of Flight Sergeant Parker in which he states "[....] On the morning of 10 March, 1945, we received another alarm. I was moved from the hospital to the hills, on March 11th. I was hiding under a cliff with partisans when I was captured by German troops of the UKRAINIAN DIVISION that would be about 07.00 hours. With the party captured were three Slovacs [sic], one a man of 45 years of age, and two boys about 16 years of age. The man and one of the boys had been in the same hidden hospital as F/Sgt.Calder. .[...]....I myself never witnessed any atrocities committed by the UKRAINIAN DIVISION OR THE 14 SS DIVISION". (capitals as in original report).

2. Exploding houses:
This occurrence was by all accounts quite common whilst conducting anti-partisan operations. Herewith a quote by a GERMAN, about another action which took place in the Generalgouvernment- (report Fernschreiben, + kdr LbL nr 298 16/5/ 1530, an den höheren SS-u. pol.führer ost - führungsstab roem. eins a - Cracow, betr.: roem.eins a banden meldung. geheim.) it reads:

"[i]13.5.44 reconnaissance detachment ahead. zabuce [map reference] 0 516 and soltysy 0 516, (eastwards of the Bug), 23km south of wlodawa). 6 partisans captured. 35 partisans and partisan helpers shot while fleeing or offering violent resistance. In 16 houses hand grenades exploded when incendiary ammunition was used. Villages 80 percent razed [by fire]. 2 attacks by small partisan groups, from the woodland eastwards and south of the aforementioned villages, successfully repelled[/i]."

It is worth considering that many of the house in this area were built of wood and therefore inflammable. The Germans also used incendiary ammo from time to time in addition to which house which were used to store 'munitions' would likely catch fire thereby setting off the contents.

Mike Melnyk

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Post by Somosierra » 17 Mar 2003 23:29

„It is worth considering that many of the house in this area were built of wood and therefore inflammable.”

You right, the church also… The main carnage happened inside and near the church…
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For example: Kazimierz Wojciechowski (the commander of Polish self-defense unit in Huta Pieniacka) was taken in front of the church, poured by gasoline and burnt alive. Just minutes before bandits from SS Galizien murdered his wife and daughter and three Jewish women, who were protected by Poles at his house…

And so-on.
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http://strony.wp.pl/wp/pbellum/pb_wydar ... iacka.html

Melnyk
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"No partisans in Huta"

Post by Melnyk » 25 Mar 2003 22:51

Your are right. Here we have the statement:
"SS-men of the 14th Division of SS "Galizien" entered the village, shooting at civilians, who were rounded up at a church".

This is corroborated by several of the Polish witness statements which state unequivocally "there were only CIVILIANS in the village. There were NO PARTISANS"

Interesting then to read about the presence of Kazimierz Wojciechowski (the commander of Polish self-defense unit in Huta Pieniacka). Doesn't sound much like a 'civilian' role to me. Do civilians have 'commanders'?

And so-on.

Mike Melnyk

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Post by Somosierra » 25 Mar 2003 23:39


Somosierra
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Re: "No partisans in Huta"

Post by Somosierra » 25 Mar 2003 23:49

Melnyk wrote:Your are right. Here we have the statement:
"SS-men of the 14th Division of SS "Galizien" entered the village, shooting at civilians, who were rounded up at a church".

This is corroborated by several of the Polish witness statements which state unequivocally "there were only CIVILIANS in the village. There were NO PARTISANS"

Interesting then to read about the presence of Kazimierz Wojciechowski (the commander of Polish self-defense unit in Huta Pieniacka). Doesn't sound much like a 'civilian' role to me. Do civilians have 'commanders'?

And so-on.

Mike Melnyk


Yes, the civilians had commanders, because they were in great danger from OUN-UPA bandits and SS killers…

Here you are your heroes – little brains with little faith, but with great hate.

Runes together with holy cross – I can hear laughter of the devil.


Image


And so-on.

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Post by michael mills » 26 Mar 2003 02:29

In the foregoing exchange between Mike Melnyk, who seems to be a quite rational individual, and Somosierra, there are references to Polish self-defence units.

What exactly were those units?

Were they illegal, underground formations?

Or were they formations that the German authorities had allowed the ethnic Poles to set up, and to which they had given weapons, in order to allow them to defend themselves both against Soviet partisans and against marauding Ukrainian insurgents?

As I have pointed out in previous posts, there are documented cases where Polish partisans in territories annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 co-operated with and were supported by the German authorities in fighting against Soviet partisans.

Accordingly, I believe it possible that the Polish self-defence units referred in accounts of the Huta Pieniacka massacre were formations set up and tolerated by the German authorities, rather than underground formations fighting against the Germans.

There is one interesting element in the accounts of the massacre which reinforces me in my surmise, and which has been ignored by both Mike Melnyk and Somosierra.

It is apparent from the accounts that the Polish self-defence unit in Huta Pieniacka, and the ethnic Polish inhabitants distinguished between units of the German army and Ukrainian insurgent units such as the UPA, which might be dressed in German uniforms (because many UPA members were former German auxiliary police who had deserted).

It is obvious that the Polish inhabitants did not regard units of the German army as dangerous. Thus, when the unit of the Galizien Division attacked for the second time, the Polish self-defence unit did not fire on it because they thought it was a German, ie FRIENDLY.

By contrast, when the first attack by members of the Galizien Division was made, the Polish self-defence unit fired on it becasue they believed the attackers were not members of the German Army but rather UPA partisans dressed in German uniforms, ie HOSTILE.

It is clear that the Polish survivors regarded the massacre carried out in the context of the second attack as revenge by members of the Galizien Division for the deaths of their colleagues killed during the repulse of the first attack. The implication is that the second attack and the attendant massacre were undeserved, since the fact that the Polish self-defence unit had fired on the first group of Galizien men was a case of mistaken identity; they were thought ot be UPA, and hence a danger to the village. The further implication is that the Polish inhabitants of Huta Pieniacka would not have fired on men of the Galizien Division, because they regrded as being under German control, and hence not dangerous, since the Germans were their friends and allies.

Although I had never heard of the Huta Pieniacka massacre before, my reading of the material introduced by both Mike Melnyk and Somosierra leads me to the conclusion that it was an action by ethnic Ukrainian members of SS Division Galizien carried out on their own initiative, and not on the orders of their German commanders, and that the motivation was an ongoing inter-ethnic feud between Poles and Ukrainians. I think it highly unlikely that the German authorities would have ordered an attack on Huta Pieniacka, since they regarded the ethnic Polish minority in Belorussia and West Ukraine as friendly and a loyal ally against the Soviet Union (and also against Ukrainian nationalist anti-German insurgents), as attested to by the cooperation between German forces and Polish partisans in those areas.

The true attitude of the German authorities toward the ethnic Polish minority in West Ukraine is shown by what happened when the ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the UPA in 1943 broke out. Local German garrisons helped the Polish refugees who fled to them for protection, and gave them arms to defend themselves; however, they could not do much, since they were spread very thinly over a vast area, and were fully occupied in combatting Soviet forces.

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Post by David Thompson » 26 Mar 2003 07:17

I found an account of the 28 Feb 1944 incident at Huta Pieniacka in a footnote to Logusz, Michael O., "Galicia Division: The Waffen-SS 14th Grenadier Division 1943-1945," Schiffer Military History, Atglen (PA): 1997, pp. 457-59. This work has a lot of valuable material, but I have found the scholarship somewhat uneven. Consequently, I am offering this excerpt without comment or conclusion:
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Last edited by David Thompson on 26 Mar 2003 08:01, edited 5 times in total.

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