Can Poland put aside resentment over Volhynia Massacre?
On 11 July, Poland commemorates the victims of the Volhynia Massacre. Ukrainian nationalists murdered tens of thousands of Polish civilians in 1943 in western Ukraine, which at the time was occupied by the German Wehrmacht. This event has put a strain on relations between Poles and Ukrainians for decades. This year, however, Polish commentators adopt a conciliatory tone in view of the Russian war against Ukraine.
Remembering without instrumentalisation
The journalist Michał Szułdrzyński writes in Rzeczpospolita:
“The anniversary of the genocide in Volhynia takes on a special significance this year. In my opinion, a little too much. Of course, this also has to do with the statements of the former Ukrainian ambassador in Berlin, Andriy Melnyk, who relativised this crime ... So what should be done? Remember, communicate clearly to Ukraine our expectations, but also be patient. We should also take this opportunity to remember the Ukrainians who saved their Polish neighbours during the massacre, even at the risk of their own lives. ... The instrumentalisation of the memory of Volhynia, especially today, will not bring any benefits. ... Either for the Poles or for the Ukrainians.”
Our friends have other worries right now
Wiesław Prostko, a member of the right-wing Catholic party Prawica Rzeczypospolitej, calls in wPolityce for understanding for the people of Ukraine:
“In this time of patriotic awakening and the strengthening of their sense of nationhood which is costing them such a great blood sacrifice, let us not expect our friends, the Ukrainians, to sympathise with us right now in our common tragedy. With God's help, this will be possible in the future, but today it is our task to be magnanimous and to show understanding for their tragic fate. Thus, we remember Volhynia, remember and honour the victims! And at the same time: glory to free Ukraine!”