Massacre of Ostrówki

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Massacre of Ostrówki is located in Poland
Ostrówki
Ostrówki
Location of the Massacre (map of Second Polish Republic from before the invasion)
The second exhumation in Ostrówki (August 2011)

Massacre of Ostrówki was a mass murder of Polish inhabitants of a Volhynian village of Ostrówki, located in the interbellum in the gmina of Huszcza, Luboml county, Volhynian Voivodeship of the Second Polish Republic, now known as Ostrowky, located in the Manevychi Raion of the Volyn oblast, Ukraine.

On August 30, 1943, armed members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) murdered 438 Poles. Among the victims there were 246 children under 14 years of age.[1] On the same day, the insurgents murdered 529 Poles in the neighboring village of Wola Ostrowiecka (see Massacre of Wola Ostrowiecka).[2] After the massacre, Ostrówki was burnt to the ground, and all goods were looted by local peasants. In September 1943, commandant of the local UIA unit Lysiy reported to the UIA's headquarters: "I have carried out the operation in the villages of Wola Ostrowiecka and Ostrovky. I have liquidated all Poles, from the youngest to the oldest ones. I burnt all buildings, and appropriated all goods".[3]

The massacre followed a scheme similar to other such events. The village was surrounded by Ukrainians armed with firearms, knives, axes and pitchforks. All Poles were ordered to assemble at a local school, to discuss ways of fighting the Germans. Males were then murdered, followed by women, girls, and then small children. All bodies were then thrown into a pit. Those Poles who remained, were locked in the school, where they either burned alive, or died from grenades.[4] Some time during the massacre, which began at 10 a.m., German soldiers came to investigate the village. Their arrival spurred the murderers to hurry, and a number of women and children were killed in the nearby field. After the Germans had left, the Ukrainians began calling out in Polish that the area was clear. Those survivors who responded, were killed.[5]

Polish survivors of the massacre and their families organized the first trip to Ostrovky in 1990. They met with inhabitants of the neighboring Ukrainian village of Sokil, but none of the Ukrainians wanted to talk about it. Tomasz Trisiuk, a Polish survivor of the massacre who was 13, remembers that most victims died due to the use of hammers and axes. Another survivor, Helena Popek, who was then 20, stated that the UIA oppressors at first pretended to be friendly, giving out candy to children and telling the Poles to calm down.[6]

On August 17, 1992, an exhumation took place in what once was the village of Ostrovky. Altogether, Polish scientists of the Medical Academy from Lublin found 330 bodies, which were reburied on August 30, 1992, on the 49th anniversary of the massacre. All were buried on a local cemetery, and in 2003, a metal cross with a small chapel dedicated to Virgin Mary were erected here.[7]

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References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Roman Mądro, Badania masowych grobów ludności polskiej zamordowanej przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich w roku 1943 w powiecie lubomelskim. Część II - Przebieg i wyniki ekshumacji w Ostrówkach, (w:) Archiwum Medycyny Sądowej i Kryminologii, tom 43, nr 1, Kraków 1993, s. 64-78;
  • Wołyński testament, (oprac.) Leon Popek, Tomasz Trusiuk, Paweł Wira, Zenon Wira, Lublin 1997, Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Krzemieńca i Ziemi Wołyńsko-Podolskiej, ISBN 83-908042-1-2;

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Coordinates: 51°04′22″N 25°41′27″E / 51.0728°N 25.6908°E / 51.0728; 25.6908