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AKCJA WISLA (OPERATION VISTULA) 55th ANNIVERSARY

Declaration of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) 

 

In 1947 the Government of Poland forcibly deported over 140,000 Ukrainian men, women, children and the elderly, from the indigenous Ukrainian territories of eastern and south-eastern Poland. Code-named the "Operation Vistula" (Akcja Wisla), the deportation was carried out without warning or consent of the victims, often in a brutal fashion, by Polish Army and security units. The deportations were carried out without regard for the rights of the deported population as citizens of Poland, whose constitution guaranteed their right of property and choice of place of residence.


Many Ukrainians, particularly leading members of the community, priests of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Orthodox Churches, and even women and children, were imprisoned in the Jaworzno concentration camp (formerly a Nazi concentration camp of the Auschwitz complex). Many died there as a result of intolerable conditions and ill treatment.


According to Polish government documents from the period, the purpose of this ethnic cleansing was "to solve the Ukrainian problem once and for all". The intent was to destroy the indigenous Ukrainian community in Poland by dispersing it throughout the newly acquired northern and western territories of Poland, resulting in its total assimilation.


Ukrainians in Poland lost not only their individual property, their land and buildings, but also their communal property, including schools and churches. Ukrainians also lost all practical means for normal social and cultural development and political representation in the Polish Sejm (Parliament).


The Ukrainian community was deeply traumatized by this forcible deportation and dispersal within the generally hostile Polish population. Nevertheless, over the years, it appealed many times to the Government of Poland for redress. All appeals were ignored.


With the emergence of newly democratic Poland, Ukrainians hoped that the new Polish society, its Sejm and Government would finally begin to rectify the injustice of "Akcja Wisla" by returning confiscated property, compensating the victims and their descendants for their losses and suffering, and enabling the Ukrainian community's political representation in the Polish Parliament and Government.


Sadly, despite expressions of regret by Poland's President Kwasniewski, the Government of democratic Poland has thus far done very little for its Ukrainian citizens.


Nevertheless, the victims of "Akcja Wisla" and their descendents, and indeed Ukrainians throughout the world, have not lost hope that Polish society and its influential Roman Catholic Church, will impress upon the Polish Sejm and the Government of Poland the need to condemn "Akcja Wisla", redress the injustices, and prosecute those responsible for perpetrating this atrocity.

This would, finally, bring the "Ukrainian problem" in Poland to a just conclusion.


Ukrainian World Congress                                                                                   Ukrainian World Congress Office
225 E. 11 Street. New York NY 10003, USA                                                           295 College Street, 3rd floor
(212) 254-2260, (212) 979-1011                                                                         Toronto, ON    M5T 1S2, CANADA

                                                                                                                        (416) 323-3020, (416) 323 -3050 (fax)

                                                                                                                        congress@look.ca

                                                                                                                        www.ukrainianworldcongress.org

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Note
There is a large body of documentation, including scholarly publications, monographs, books and memoirs, which detail the events of the "Akcja Wisla". See, for example, the collection of Polish government documents, Akcja "Wisla", compiled by E. Misilo (Archiwum Ukrainske, Warsaw, 1993, in Polish; also in Ukrainian translation, published by the Naukove Tovarystvo im. Shevchenka, Lviv, 1997). The fate of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Poland is documented in Martyrology of the Ukrainian Churches Vol. II The Ukrainian Catholic Church, O. Zinkevych and T. R. Lonchyna, Eds. (Smoloskyp Publishers, Toronto 1985; in Ukrainian) and Church in Ruin by O. Iwanusiw (Shevchenko Scientific Society, Ukrainian Studies, Vol. 56, 1987; Ukrainian and English).

AKCJA WISLA (OPERATION VISTULA) 55th ANNIVERSARY
  The soldiers of Internal Security battalion
  "Poznan" evict Ukrainian population

        Photo from: archives.gov. ua
       (click the image to enlarge it)


April 13, 2008

 
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