Assassination of Bronisław Pieracki

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The assassination of Minister Bronisław Pieracki
Part of OUN terror operations in Poland
Pieracki's body.jpg
The body of assassinated minister
LocationFoksal Street in Warsaw
Date15 June 1934
3:30 p.m.
TargetBronisław Pieracki, deputy of Chief of Staff, Poland
Attack type
Shooting
Weapons7.65mm caliber revolver [1]
PerpetratorsOUN led by Stepan Bandera
AssailantsHryhorij Maciejko
MotivePolitical assassination

The assassination of Bronisław Pieracki, referred to as the Warsaw process in the Ukrainian historiography, was a well-orchestrated target killing of Poland's top politician of the interwar period, Minister of Interior Bronisław Pieracki (1895-1934) by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) as a retaliation for the government policy of Pacification which was carried out by the police.

OUN was formed in Poland as an amalgamation between a number of extreme right-wing organizations including the Union of Ukrainian Fascists.[2] From the moment of its founding in 1929, fascism played a central role in the organization, combining extreme ethno-nationalism with terrorism, corporatism, and anti-Semitism.[2][3] The chosen assassin, Hryhorij Maciejko pseudonym "Gonta", was a trusted member of OUN.[4]

History[edit]

The assassination plan was decided at an OUN meeting in Berlin. Maciejko was supplied with a makeshift bomb and a 7.65mm caliber pistol from Bandera.[1] In the morning of 15 June 1934 Maciejko (age 31) appeared at the Foksal Street in Warsaw in front of a social club frequented by Pieracki. He waited there for several hours undetected. The minister arrived in his limousine at 3:30 p.m.; however, Maciejko's bomb failed. He pulled the gun and shot the minister from behind twice in the back of his head.[4] Maciejko escaped successfully with the help of OUN emissaries all the way to Czechoslovakia and further to Argentina.[5] The state funeral of Pieracki was attended by some 100,000 people. The coffin was sent to Nowy Sącz in a special train and laid in his family tomb.[6]

The Polish authorities did not realize at first that OUN was behind the assassination, and blamed the Polish National Radical Camp (ONR) for it. The mistake had terrible consequences for Poland's political life.[5] As a result of this, the Bereza Kartuska prison for dissidents was formed.[4] Only a year later it became known that OUN was behind the assassination of Bronisław Pieracki. The process of OUN leaders before a Warsaw circuit court took place between 18 November 1935 and 13 January 1936. Stepan Bandera, Mykola Lebed and several other members of the OUN were proven guilty of preparation of the assassination. The actual murderer, Hryhorij Maciejko, never faced justice. He died in Buenos Aires in 1966.[5][6]

Accused[edit]

Front page of Kurjer Bydgoski from 20 November 1935 reporting on the beginning of court case against Stepan Bandera and his co-conspirators

During the Warsaw process 16 members of the OUN were tried,[6] including Stepan Bandera, Bohdan Pidhainy, Mykola Lebed, Yaroslav Karpynets, Mykola Klymyshyn, Dariya Hnatkivska, Yaroslav Rak, Yakiv Chorniy, Kateryna Zarytska, Ivan Malyutsa, Roman Myhal and Yevhen Kachmarsky.[citation needed]

Penalty[edit]

After a two-month trial in Warsaw, the court sentenced the guilty as follows:

  • Stepan Bandera, Mykola Lebed and Yaroslav Karpynets sentenced to death, commuted to life in a government amnesty;
  • Mykola Klymyshyn, Bohdan Pidhainy sentenced to life imprisonment;
  • Dariya Hnatkivska sentenced to 15 years in prison;
  • Ivan Malyutsa, Roman Myhal and Yevhen Kachmarsky - 12 years in prison;
  • Kateryna Zarytska - 8 years in prison;
  • Yaroslav Rak and Yakiv Chorny - for 7 years in prison.

The court also denied Hnatkivska, Malyutsa, Kachmarsky, Myhal, Chorny, Zarytska and Rak civil rights for 10 years.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Władysław Żeleński (1973). Zabòjstwo ministra Pierackiego [The Assassination of Minister Pieracki]. Poland: Institut Literacki.
  2. ^ a b Rudling, Per A. (November 2011). "The OUN, the UPA and the Holocaust: A Study in the Manufacturing of Historical Myths". Number 2107. University of Pittsburgh: The Carl Beck Papers in Russian & East European Studies. p. 3 (6 of 76 in PDF). ISSN 0889-275X. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Cooke, Philip; Shepherd, Ben H. (2014). Hitler's Europe Ablaze: Occupation, Resistance, and Rebellion during World War II. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 336. ISBN 1632201593.
  4. ^ a b c Aleksandra Grosicka (30 May 2016). "Zabójstwo ministra Pierackiego i jego skutki dla ONR" [Murder of Minister Pieracki and its consequences for ONR]. Historia. Archived from the original on 23 March 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  5. ^ a b c M.K., Polskie Radio (15 June 2016). "Zamach na ministra Bronisława Pierackiego" [Assassination of Bronisław Pieracki]. Historia. PolskieRadio.pl. Wydarzenie to stało się bezpośrednią przyczyną powstania najcięższego z aresztów w II RP - Obozu Odosobnienia w Berezie Kartuskiej.
  6. ^ a b c Michał Grobelny (22 February 2015). "Zamach na ministra na ul. Foksal" [The assassination of Minister at Foksal Street]. The Warsaw Portraits. Twarze Warszawy.

Further reading[edit]