Dubingiai massacre

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Lithuanian civilians killed by the Armia Krajowa on 23 June 1944 in the Molėtai district.[1]

The Dubingiai massacre was the mass murder of between 20 and 27 Lithuanian civilians in the town of Dubingiai (Dubinki) on 23 June 1944, by a unit of the Armia Krajowa, a Polish resistance group, in a reprisal action for the Glinciszki (Glitiškės) massacre of 20 June.

Background[edit]

Polish-Lithuanian relations during the interbellum period were strained since both sides had laid claim to the Vilnius region.[1] During the Second World War these tensions were exacerbated due to conflicts between the Lithuanian pro-German administration and military units, and the anti-Nazi Polish resistance,[2] as well as the discrimination against Poles by the independent Lithuanian state between 1939 and 1940.[3] On 20 June 1944 members of the Polish resistance killed four members of the Lithuanian police, and wounded several others in the village of Glitiškės (Glinciszki); in retaliation the Lithuanian police killed thirty-six Polish villagers (the Glinciszki massacre).[2] After hearing of this, as well as other information about intensified pacification actions by the Lithuanian forces, the Armia Krajowa ("AK") command for the Vilnius region (under Aleksander Krzyżanowski "Wilk") assumed that it represented a beginning of a new, large anti-Polish operation and only a demonstration of the strength of Polish forces in the region could stop the killings and protect the Polish civilians.[2] Leaflets were distributed through the region that AK was planning to execute members of the Lithuanian units guilty[2] of the Glinciszki massacre,[2] and a raid on the pre-war Lithuanian Republic territory was planned.[2][4] The AK command did not plan, and actually strictly forbade, any reprisals against innocent civilians.[2][4]

In the meantime, elements of the 5th AK Brigade under command of Zygmunt Szendzielarz aka "Łupaszko"[5] learned that some of the responsible individuals and their families were stationed in the police station in Dubingai.[4][6] An AK unit - a company of the 5th Brigade under Jan Wiktor Wiącek "Rakoczy"[2] - decided to destroy the police station in the village as well as to execute several Nazi-Lithuanian informants in the village.[2] There are different versions as to who led the raid on Dubingiai; most sources attribute it to the commander of the 5th Brigade, Szendzielarz[5][6] - although Henryk Piskunowicz, Polish historian and author of several publications about Armia Krajowa operations in Vilnius region, specifically pointed to Wiącek.[2]

The AK headquarters having learned of that initiative, and afraid that the soldiers of the 5th Brigade who have freshly witnessed the aftermath of Glinciszki may not follow the orders forbidding actions against civilians, sent a courier from AK headquarters in Vilnius ordering the 5th Brigade to stay put, the courier, however, did not reach the local commanders in time.[2]

Events in Dubingiai[edit]

The village was warned that the Polish attack was imminent, and many individuals—including the policemen who participated in the Glinciszki massacre—escaped before the Poles began the killings.[2] The AK targeted Dubingiai's Lithuanian populace, using Lithuanian prayer books as a means of identifying Lithuanians,[5] but sparing those intermarried with Poles.[5] While collaborators were supposedly the AK's prime targets,[2] the killings included the elderly, children, and even infants.[citation needed] A Polish woman and her 4-year old son were also reported to have been killed.[7] The total number of victims is estimated at between 20 and 27.[6][8]

Aftermath[edit]

The reprisal actions of AK in Dubingiai, even if premature and unplanned by AK command, marked the beginning of a wider AK operation in which units beyond the 5th Brigade were involved.[2][9] From 25 to 27 June various Polish units entered pre-war Lithuanian territory and carried out a series of actions against Lithuanian Nazi police forces[2] and those labeled as Nazi sympathizers.[2] Bridges and telecommunication lines were destroyed.[2] Polish sources note that a number of civilian casualties, both Lithuanian and Polish, occurred as a result of the wider operations during that period, particularly when several buildings caught fire.[2][10] According to Lithuanian sources[11][12] between 70-100 Lithuanians, including civilians, were killed in total by the end of June 1944 in Dubingiai and the neighbouring villages of Joniškis, Inturkė, Bijutiškis, and Giedraičiai.[12]

Boradyn contends the AK's reprisal of 23–27 June was successful, since there were no further actions by Lithuanian forces similar to the preceding Glinciszki massacre.[2][13] This contention of success against the Lithuanians is, however, largely speculative as the potential for further escalation by either side was cut short by the Soviet occupation of Vilnius (pre-war Wilno) two weeks later.[6]

This chain of events stained the reputation of AK in Lithuania. According to Boradyn this was the only reprisal action against Lithuanians ever undertaken by the AK.[2]

Zygmunt Szendzielarz, the commander of the 5th Brigade, which was responsible for the massacre, and later member of the Polish anti-Soviet resistance, was arrested in 1948 by the communist Polish secret police and after more than two years of torture and interrogation was executed by the communist Polish government in 1951.[14] After the fall of the communism, Szendzielarz was rehabilitated and declared innocent of charges which he had been accused of.[15] On 2007 Polish president Lech Kaczyński posthumously awarded Szendzielarz the order of Polonia Restituta, creating controversy in Lithuania.[16][17]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Rimantas Zizas in "Armijos Krajovos ...", pp. 14-39.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t (Polish) Henryk Piskunowicz, Działalnośc zbrojna Armi Krajowej na Wileńszczyśnie w latach 1942-1944 in Zygmunt Boradyn; Andrzej Chmielarz; Henryk Piskunowicz (1997). Tomasz Strzembosz, ed. Armia Krajowa na Nowogródczyźnie i Wileńszczyźnie (1941-1945). Warsaw: Institute of Political Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences. pp. 40–45. ISBN 83-907168-0-3. 
  3. ^ Timothy Snyder, "The Reconstruction of Nations", Yale University Press, 2004, pg. 84 [1]
  4. ^ a b c R. Korab-Żebryk, 'Biała księga w obronie Armii Krajowej na Wileńszczyźnie, Wydawnictwo Lubelskie 1991, p. 135-139
  5. ^ a b c d (Lithuanian) Tadas Galinis. Dubingių skerdynės (Dubingiai massacre) in "Armijos Krajovos ...", pp. 76-80.
  6. ^ a b c d Piotrowski, p.168, p.169
  7. ^ Longin Tomaszewski: Kronika Wileńska 1941-1945 : z dziejów Polskiego Państwa Podziemnego. Warszawa: Pomost, 1992. ISBN 83-85521-09-7, p.45
  8. ^ (Polish) Gazeta Wyborcza, 2001-02-14, Litewska prokuratura przesłuchuje weteranów AK (Lithuanian prosecutor questioning AK veterans), last accessed on 7 June 2006
  9. ^ Kozłowski, p. 66
  10. ^ Patryk Kozłowski confirms that 12 Lithuanians were killed in the area of Joniškis (Janiszki) by the squad commanded by "Maks" ("Jeden z wyklętych ...", p. 64)
  11. ^ (Lithuanian) Rimantas Zizas in "Armijos Krajovos ...", pp. 14-39. Vykdydama atsakomasias keršto akcijas, AK 5-oji brigada Molėtų raj, Dubingių, Bijutiškio, Joniškio, Inturkės ir kitose apylinkėse nužudė apie 100 lietuvių. Translation=During retaliation actions AK 5-th brigade killed around 100 Lithuanians in the vicinity of Molėtai region towns Dubingiai, Bijutiškis, Joniškis, Inturkė and others.
  12. ^ a b (Lithuanian) Arūnas Bubnys in "Armijos Krajovos ...", pp. 6-13. Ypač žiauriai išžudytė Dubingių gyventojus 1944 birželio pabaigoje. Negalutiniais duomenimis lenkų partizanai čia išžudė 70 taikių lietuvių, tarp jų daug senelių ir mažamečių vaikų. | Translation=Especially brutally were murdered Dubingiai inhabitants on the end of June 1944. According to a non final data Polish partisans did kill here around 70 peaceful people, including old men and underage kids.
  13. ^ Arūnas Bubnys as cited in (Polish) Gazeta Wyborcza, 2001-02-14, Litewska prokuratura przesłuchuje weteranów AK (Lithuanian prosecutor questioning AK veterans), last accessed on 7 June 2006]
  14. ^ (Polish) Stanisław M. Jankowski, Strzały na Wileńszczyźnie. Retrieved on 25 March 2008.
  15. ^ IPN, Przeglad Mediow
  16. ^ Jacekas Komaras. Ordinas majorui Lupaszkai – apgalvotas akibrokštas Lietuvai ar dvynių Kaczynskių kvailystė? (Order to major Lupaszko - deliberate slap to Lithuania or stupidity of Kaczynski twins?). Retrieved 2009-03-27
  17. ^ Dubingių žudynių organizatoriui - Lenkijos prezidento apdovanojimas (To organizer of Dubingiai slaughter - award from Polish president). retrieved 2009-03-27

References[edit]

  • (Polish) Kozłowski, Patryk (2004). Jeden z wyklętych. Zygmunt Szendzielarz "Łupaszko". Warszawa: Rytm. ISBN 83-7399-073-9. 
  • (Lithuanian) Garšva, Kazys; A. Bubnys; E. Gečiauskas; J. Lebionka; J. Saudargienė; R. Zizas (1995). "Armijos Krajovos ištakos ir ideologija Lietuvoje" (Beginnings and ideology of Armia Krajowa in Lithuania). Armija Krajova Lietuvoje. Vilnius–Kaunas. ISBN 9986-577-02-0. 
  • (English) Piotrowski, Tadeusz (1997). Poland's Holocaust. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-0371-3. 

Coordinates: 55°04′N 25°27′E / 55.067°N 25.450°E / 55.067; 25.450