Władysław Siemaszko

Last updated

Władysław Siemaszko (born 8 June 1919) [1] is Polish publicist and lawyer. Former member of the Polish resistance Armia Krajowa. Author of numerous publications focusing on the massacres of Poles in Volhynia. Father of writer Ewa Siemaszko, co-author of Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na ludności polskiej Wołynia 1939-45 (English: The Genocide Committed by the Ukrainian Nationalists on Polish Citizens of Volhynia in 1939-45) consisting of two volumes of 1500 pages of research.

Poland republic in Central Europe

Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 312,696 square kilometres (120,733 sq mi), and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.

Ewa Siemaszko Polish engineer

Ewa Siemaszko is a Polish writer, publicist and lecturer; collector of oral accounts and historical data regarding the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia. An engineer by profession with Master's in technological studies from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Siemaszko worked in public health education and also as a school teacher following graduation. She is a daughter of writer Władysław Siemaszko with whom she collaborates and shares strong interest in Polish World War II history.



Siemaszko was born in Curitiba, Brazil, to a Polish diplomat who was sent there by the Second Polish Republic to a diplomatic post. Władysław moved with his family back to Poland in 1924, and settled in Wołyń Voivodeship. The Siemaszko family had lived in Volhynia since January Uprising of 1863, after which Wladyslaw's grandfather bought some land from the Ukrainians in the area of Wlodzimierz Wolynski. [2]

Curitiba Municipality in South, Brazil

Curitiba is the capital and largest city in the Brazilian state of Paraná. The city's population was 1,879,355 as of 2015, making it the eighth most populous city in Brazil and the largest in Brazil's South Region. The Curitiba Metropolitan area comprises 26 municipalities with a total population of over 3.2 million, making it the seventh most populous metropolitan area in the country.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Brazil borders every South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

Second Polish Republic 1918-1939 republic in Eastern Europe

The Second Polish Republic, commonly known as interwar Poland, refers to the country of Poland in the period between the First and Second World Wars (1918–1939). Officially known as the Republic of Poland, sometimes Commonwealth of Poland, the Polish state was re-established in 1918, in the aftermath of World War I. When, after several regional conflicts, the borders of the state were fixed in 1922, Poland's neighbours were Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania, Latvia, Romania and the Soviet Union. It had access to the Baltic Sea via a short strip of coastline either side of the city of Gdynia. Between March and August 1939, Poland also shared a border with the then-Hungarian governorate of Subcarpathia. The Second Republic ceased to exist in 1939, when Poland was invaded by Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union and the Slovak Republic, marking the beginning of European theatre of World War II.

Władysław Siemaszko joined the 27th Volhynian Division of the Home Army (AK) during World War II and remained in Volhynia until 1944. In 1940, the Soviet authorities captured and sentenced him to death, but reduced the sentence to 10–year imprisonment. Initially Siemaszko was imprisoned by NKVD in Lutsk, until the Nazi German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. Siemiaszko managed to survive the massacres of Polish political prisoners carried out by the retreating Soviet military units and the NKVD. In 1945, Siemiaszko was arrested again by the Soviets and transferred over to Polish communist authorities. He was imprisoned for two years in Poland until 1947 and released in 1949. Siemiaszko graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Jagiellonian University of Kraków and became a legal advisor and defence lawyer.

27th Home Army Infantry Division (Poland)

27 Volhynian Infantry Division was a World War II Polish Armia Krajowa unit fighting in the Volhynia region in 1944. It was created on January 15, 1944, from smaller partisan self-defence units during the Volhynia massacre and was patterned after the prewar Polish 27th Infantry Division.

World War II 1939–1945 global war

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 30 December 1922 to 26 December 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk.


Siemiaszko's first research project based on witness accounts related to the Volhynian massacres of Poles began in mid 80s. It was inspired by the initiatives of the surviving community of combatants of the 27th Volhynian Division of AK, and the apparent lack of historical documentation resulting in numerous misconceptions. Initially, Władysław Siemiaszko was asked to assist military historian Józef Turowski of the Polish Society of War Veterans, gathering materials for a memorial project. Turowski died on July 24, 1989, before their collaborative work, kept unpublished for four years by the authorities, became first available in Poland in 1990 as limited edition print. [3] [4]

Massacre incident where some group is killed by another

A massacre is a killing, typically of multiple victims, considered morally unacceptable, especially when perpetrated by a group of political actors against defenseless victims. The word is a loan of a French term for "butchery" or "carnage".

Józef Turowski Polish historian

Józef "Ziuk" Turowski was a Polish military historian associated with the Polish Society of War Veterans. He wrote the first, ground-breaking publication dealing with the number of Poles massacred by OUN-UPA in Volhynia during World War II, published in 1990, soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Turowski died shortly before the book, kept from publication for four years by the authorities, became available in Poland in a limited edition.

Polish Society of War Veterans and Former Political Prisoners created in April 1990, is an official and the largest Polish Veterans association.

Subsequently, Władysław with daughter Ewa Siemaszko, in their own ten-year-long research project went on to document murders committed on Polish citizens by Ukrainian Insurgents in some 1,865 villages and towns of Volhynia during the Nazi and Soviet occupations. Their books were based on witness accounts, court documents including transcripts from trials of Ukrainian war criminals, as well as the Polish national archives and statistical censuses. [5] They were published and distributed by a Polish non-governmental organization KARTA Center. The Siemiaszko's collaborative work continues. In 2010 the Institute of National Remembrance (Bulletin No. 7–8, 116–117) published an overview of their joint research with the following up-to-date table of collected data. [6]

The KARTA Center or The KARTA Center Foundation is a Polish non-governmental public benefit organization, whose aim is documenting and popularizing the recent history of Poland and history of Eastern Europe and strengthening tolerance and democracy.

Institute of National Remembrance Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives and prosecution powers

The Institute of National RemembranceCommission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation is a Polish government-affiliated research institute with lustration prerogatives, as well as prosecution powers. It was created by legislation enacted by the Parliament of Poland. The Institute specialises in the legal and historical examination of the 20th century history of Poland in particular. IPN investigates both Nazi and Communist crimes committed in Poland between 1939 and the Revolutions of 1989, documents its findings and disseminates the results of its investigations to the public.

Polish people murdered by OUN-UPA and other Ukrainian nationalists in 1939–1948: documented numbers and approximations
     Voivodeships     Recorded number of settlements where the murders took placeDocumented number of Poles massacred (a  round number) [7] Number of Polish victims known by their namesEstimated victims above numbers already established [8] Approximated number of murdered Poles (a  round number) [7] + [8]
Wołyń 1,865~ 38,60022,11321,400 [7] ~ 60,000
Lwów 1,007~ 15,4006,3979,395 [8] ~ 24,800
Stanisławów 422~ 11,7003,8436,700 [9] ~ 18,400
Tarnopol 850~ 23,00010,1434,585 [10] ~ 27,600
Total4,144~ 88,70042,49642,080~ 130,800


According to the Ukrainian historian, [11] Yaroslav Tsaruk, [12] who studied the materials collected by Siemaszkos, the number of ethnic Poles given by them, in some of the villages he is familiar with, does not correspond with the Ukrainian statistical data. [12] According to Tsaruk, Siemaszkos included in the number of Polish casualties those who emigrated before the commencement of hostilities, and included population points which were never separate administrative units, thus enlarging the number of Polish inhabitants while minimizing the Ukrainian casualties. [12] Tsaruk claims that in the Volodymyr region initially there were attacks on Ukrainian villages by Polish-German police which were retaliated in self-defence. He writes that according to Siemaszkos 1,915 Poles died in the hands of Ukrainian Nationalists in that area, but according to him – only 430. [12] Siemaszkos replied in their monograph by saying, that this type of criticism is based on statements made by Ukrainian villagers today, decades after the war ended. Therefore, the discrepancies in what has been said by the locals can be "explained by psychological defense mechanisms". [3]

Volodymyr-Volynskyi City of regional significance in Volyn Oblast, Ukraine

Volodymyr-Volynskyi is a small city located in Volyn Oblast, in north-western Ukraine. Serving as the administrative centre of the Volodymyr-Volynskyi Raion, the city itself is also designated as a separate municipality within the oblast as the city of regional significance. The city is the historic centre of the region of Volhynia and the historic capital of the Principality of Volhynia. Population: 39,074 (2015 est.)

Another Ukrainian historian, Ihor Ilyushin, echoed Tsaruk's observations and questioned whether Siemaszkos approach, based on testimony from one side, can be truly objective – wrote Canadian historian David R. Marples (Heroes and villains). Marples quoted Ilyushin who said that because Władysław Siemaszko was a participant in the conflict he is not a credible witness. However, Marples also noted, that Ilyushin failed to reach a reasonable conclusion in his article and made no distinction between Ukrainian atrocities committed against officials and innocent civilians. [13]


See also

Related Research Articles

Stanisławów Voivodeship

Stanisławów Voivodeship was an administrative district of the interwar Poland (1920–1939). It was established in December 1920 with an administrative center in Stanisławów. The voivodeship had an area of 16,900 km² and comprised twelve counties (powiaty). Following World War II, at the insistence of Joseph Stalin during Tehran Conference of 1943, Poland's borders were redrawn, Polish population forcibly resettled and Stanisławów Voivodeship was incorporated into the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic as Stanislav Oblast.

Kisielin massacre

Kisielin massacre was a massacre of Polish worshipers which took place in the Volhynian village of Kisielin, now Kysylyn, located in the Volyn Oblast, Ukraine. It took place on Sunday, July 11, 1943, when units of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), supported by local Ukrainian peasants, surrounded Poles who had gathered for a ceremony at a local Roman-Catholic church. Around 60 to 90 persons or more, men, women and children – were ordered to take off their clothes and were then massacred by machine gun. The wounded were killed with weapons such as axes and knives. Those who survived escaped to the presbytery and barricaded themselves for eleven hours.

This article presents the historiography of the Wolyn tragedy as presented by historians in Poland and Ukraine after World War II. The Massacres of Poles in Volhynia were part of the ethnic cleansing operation in the Polish province of Eastern Galicia and Volhynia that took place beginning in March 1943 and lasted until the end of 1944. According to political scientist Nathaniel Copsey, research into this event was quite partisan till 2009 and dominated by Polish researchers, some of whom lived there at the time or are descended from those who did. The most thorough is the work of Ewa and Władysław Siemaszko, the result of years of research conducted with the goal of demonstrating that the Poles were victims of genocide. Nonetheless, the 45 years of state censorship resulted in an excessive supply of works described as "heavy in narrative", "light in analysis" and "inherently - though perhaps unconsciously - biased against Ukrainians."

Żeniówka massacre Village (eradicated) in Wołyń Voivodeship, Poland

Żeniówka, also known as Ziniówka, Ziuniuwka or Ziniejowka, was a Polish settlement in the Wołyń Voivodeship (1921–1939), gmina Warkowicze, Dubno county, on the Ikva River, in Second Polish Republic before the Nazi German and Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939.

Kurdybań Warkowicki Village (no longer existing) in Wołyń Voivodeship, Second Polish Republic

Kurdybań Warkowicki, or Kurdyban–Warkowicki, was a Polish village in Wołyń Voivodeship (1921–1939) before the joint Nazi German and Soviet invasions of Poland in 1939. It was located near the town of Warkowicze in Dubno County, in the eastern part of the Second Polish Republic. The village was eradicated during the Polish population transfers after World War II, when the Kresy macroregion was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union.

Stara Huta, Volyn Oblast village in Stara Vyzhivka Raion, Volyn Oblast, Ukraine

Stara Huta is a village in Stara Vyzhivka Raion, Volyn Oblast, Ukraine. The population of the village is 1024 people.

Pańska Dolina Village (no longer existing) in Wołyń Voivodeship, Second Polish Republic

Pańska Dolina no longer exists. The village was liquidated during the Polish population transfers after World War II, when the Kresy macroregion was formally incorporated into the Soviet Union. Pańska Dolina used to be located in Gmina Młynów, Powiat Dubno (county), of the Wołyń Voivodeship, before the Nazi German and Soviet invasions of Poland in September 1939. Its former location can be found near Mlyniv in Dubno Raion of present-day Ukraine.

Stanisław Jastrzębski is a Polish writer, lawyer and historian.

Szczepan Siekierka Polish writer

Szczepan Siekierka is a Polish writer, prolific essayist, and the President of the Polish Society for the Remembrance of the Victims of Crimes Committed by Ukrainian Nationalists SUOZUN, registered in 1992 and located at ul. Oławska 2 street in Wrocław, Poland. Siekierka is a frequent contributor to SUOZUN Society's own periodical Na Rubieży, established also in 1992. Siekierka was the initiator as well as the President of the Committee for the Building of Monument to Victims of the Volhynian Genocide, since October 1994, selected by a joint committee of several other organizations. He is the co-author of several monografies on the subject of massacres of Poles across the Kresy region in World War II, written in collaboration with other writers including Henryk Komański, former member of Polish self-defence from Wołyń Voivodeship. Szczepan Siekierka has defended Operation Vistula, the forced deportation of 130,000–140,000 ethnic Ukrainians from southeastern Poland.

Parośla I massacre

The Parośla I massacre was committed during World War II by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) under the command of Hryhorij Perehijniak "Dowbeszka-Korobka" on 9 February 1943 against the ethnic Polish residents of the village of Parośla in the Nazi-controlled Reichskommissariat Ukraine. It is considered a prelude to the ethnic cleansing of Poles in the Volhynia region by the UPA, and is recognized as the first mass murder committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in the area. Estimates of the number of victims range from 149 to 173.

Derazhne Village in Rivne Oblast, Ukraine

Derazhne is a village in Kostopil Raion, Rivne Oblast, Ukraine. In 2001, Derazhne had 2102 residents. Postal code — 35053. KOATUU code — 5623481601.

Bruckenthal was a village located in what is now Sokal Raion, Lviv Oblast, of Western Ukraine.

Chrynów massacre

Chrynów massacre was a massacre of Polish worshipers which took place in the Volhynian village of Chrynów, Gmina Grzybowica, Powiat Włodzimierz, Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. It took place on Sunday, July 11, 1943, when a death squad of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) as well as armed deserters from the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, supported by local Ukrainian peasants, surrounded local Roman-Catholic church where the Poles had gathered for a religious ceremony. The parish priest Jan Kotwicki was shot along with a group of women, when attempting to escape through the vestry. During the attack on the village Ukrainians murdered some 150 Poles. A week after this events all buildings in the village and the church were burned down to the ground, and the village ceased to exist.

Wiśniowiec massacres

Wiśniowiec massacres . In the monastery of Discalced Carmelites and in the city Wiśniowiec (Vyshnivets) in February 1944 an armed group of the OUN massacred 300 Poles who had sought refuge there. Most people were hiding in the monastery and in the abandoned Vyshnivets Palace. At the same time in the village Wiśniowiec Stary take place another massacre where 138 Poles were killed by UPA.

Głęboczyca massacre

Głęboczyca massacre was a mass murder of ethnic Poles carried out on 29 August 1943 by the troops of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army aided by the Ukrainian peasants. It exclusively targeted Polish inhabitants of the Głęboczyca colony, located in the Włodzimierz County of the Wołyń Voivodeship in the Second Polish Republic. About 250 Poles were killed, including 199 known by name including women and children. Głęboczyce does not exist anymore. It was swept from existence during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia, along with the neighbouring settlement of Ostrówek in powiat Luboml.

Budy Ossowskie massacre

Budy Ossowskie massacre was a mass murder of ethnic Poles carried out on 29–30 August 1943 by a death squad of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army aided by the Ukrainian peasants during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. About 290 people were killed, including women and children, all of them, Polish inhabitants of the Budy Ossowskie village, located in the Kowel County of the Wołyń Voivodeship in the Second Polish Republic. Budy Ossowskie village does not exist anymore. It was burned to the ground by the OUN-UPA. The charred remnants of the village were cleared in Soviet Ukraine for grazing cattle. Overall, in the Kowel County some 7,300 ethnic Poles were murdered.

Gurów massacre

Gurów massacre was a wartime massacre of the Polish population of Gurów, committed on 11 July 1943 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army death squad from Group "Piwnicz" and Ukrainian peasants, during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. Crime scene was the prewar village of Gurów located in Gmina Grzybowica, Powiat Włodzimierz in the Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. Gurów village no longer exists.

Zagaje massacre

Zagaje massacre was a mass murder of ethnic Poles carried out on 11–12 July 1943 by the troops of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army group "Piwnicz", aided by the Ukrainian peasants, during the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia. Approximately 260–350 people were killed, including women and children. The village Zagaje was levelled out and does not exist anymore. It was located in the gmina Podberezie of the Horochów County in the Wołyń Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic. Overall, in the Horochów County some 4,200 ethnic Poles were murdered, in nearly hundreds of separate locations before the end of the Polish-Ukrainian conflict. The village Zagaje is not to be confused with the Zagaje colony, located in gmina Czaruków, powiat Łuck, of the same voivodeship.


  1. Who is Who w Polsce. Wydanie II, 2003 r., page 3861. Hübners blaues Who is who. ISBN   3-7290-0040-3
  2. Mariusz Bober's interview with Ewa Siemaszko, Wladyslaw's daughter Archived June 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine .
  3. 1 2 (in Polish) Władysław Siemaszko with Józef Turowski; Zbrodnie nacjonalistów ukraińskich dokonane na ludności polskiej na Wołyniu, 1939–1945. Warsaw, Wydawnictwo von borowiecky Publishing, 2000. Second edition, foreword by Prof. dr Ryszard Szawłowski. ISBN   83-87689-34-3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 11, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
  4. Krzysztof Lada. (2005) in Glaukopis, 2/3 2005 , Pages 340374.
  5. (in Polish) Tomasz Potkaj, Jan Strzałka, "Krzyże z Przebraża" Tygodnik Powszechny 2003.
  6. Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej nr 7-8/2010 (116–117) Archived 2012-09-30 at the Wayback Machine ., July–August 2010; KOMENTARZE HISTORYCZNE: Ewa Siemaszko, "Bilans zbrodni." (PDF – 1,14 MB).
  7. 1 2 3 Władysław Siemaszko, Ewa Siemaszko, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na ludności polskiej Wołynia 1939–1945, vol. 1–2, Warsaw, 2000; pp. 1056–1057.
  8. 1 2 3 See also: S. Siekierka, H. Komański, K. Bulzacki, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na Polakach w województwie lwowskim w latach 1939–1947, Wrocław, 2006. The list of gminas and counties where the murders took place include: Bóbrka, Brzozów, Dobromil, Drohobycz, Gródek Jagielloński, Jarosław, Jaworów, Lesko, Lubaczów, Lwów, Mościska, Nisko, Przemyśl, Rawa Ruska, Rudki, Sambor, Sanok, Sokal, Turka, and Żółkiew; op. cit., pp. 31, 94, 148, 187, 221, 288, 357, 425, 509, 636, 734, 778, 835, 915, 1030, 1113, 1144.
  9. See also: S. Siekierka, H. Komański, E. Różański, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na Polakach w województwie stanisławowskim w latach 1939–1946, Wrocław, 2007, op. cit., s. 36, 118, 169, 258, 292, 354, 419, 508, 591, 650, 716, 769.
  10. See also: H. Komański, S. Siekierka, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na Polakach w województwie tarnopolskim w latach 1939–1946, Wrocław, 2004; number of victims in the following gminas and counties: Borszczów, Brody, Brzeżany, Czortków, Kamionka Strumiłowa, Kopyczyńce, Radziechów, and Złoczów; pp. 58, 99, 137, 200, 225, 251, 329, 517. The remaining gminas not included.
  11. Voladm.gov.ua.  [ dead link ]  "Not Found". By Internet Archive. Retrieved May 4, 2012.[ dead link ]
  12. 1 2 3 4 Google Books preview of Tsaruk publication (front cover). (in Ukrainian) Царук Ярослав - Трагедія Волинських Сіл 1943-1944 - Національна Академія Нaук України, Інститут Українознавства ім. І. Крип'якевича, Львів, 2003. pp. 2021 preview in Ukrainian.
  13. David R. Marples. (2007) Heroes and villains: creating national history in contemporary Ukraine, pp. 213214. Central European University Press.