Poland and the “action vistula” – first compensation

Poland and the'aktion weichsel' - erste entschadigung

Deportation of ukrainians 1947. Operation_wis%c5%82a.Jpg:image: public domain

A verdict on the compensation of a ukrainian for a forced resettlement in 1947, which may cost the polish state a lot, politically and financially

After 15 years of negotiations, an 85-year-old man has received from the polish state 390.000 zloty (90.000 euros) compensation from the polish state for a 1947 injustice, gazeta wyborcza rzeczowa news portal reported on friday.

The injustice is called "vistula action". From april to july 1947, the polish military forcibly expelled ukrainians and slavic minorities such as lemkos and boykos and deported them to the west of the polish people’s republic. At the same time, soviet and czechoslovak units blocked the borders. The affected villages were surrounded, people had only a few hours to pack their belongings, their houses and land were expropriated. About 150.000 ukrainians in poland were forcibly resettled.

The reason was the partisan warfare of the upa in the southeast of the new polish state. The partisan struggle of the "ukrainian insurgent army" (upa) continued, which until the mid-1950s fought on the territory of the soviet union for an independent ukraine

The 85-year-old, who now receives the compensation, wants to remain anonymous, because he lives in a village and he is endangered by the wealth. "This was one of my first traps" said his lawyer lukasz kurowski, who pointed out that experienced lawyers had otherwise dismissed the case on the grounds of hopelessness. Until now, the polish courts had rejected all such claims. By winning the case, other poles of ukrainian origin could now feel encouraged to sue the state.

The "aktion weichsel’ was condemned by the polish senate in 1990, but post-communist and nationalist voices in poland at that time considered the forcible resettlement to be justified.

Party that has been in power since the fall of 2015 "law and justice" (pis) takes a more critical stance on ukraine than the liberal vorganger government. Thus, warsaw is taking part in the homage paid to the upa in wide circles of ukraine, which celebrates the partisan organization as a resistance against the soviet union and identifies with the veterans of the upa mainly because of the war in the donbass. In poland, however, the upa is associated with the massacres in the western ukrainian region of volhynia in 1943, to which about 100 people died.000 poles fell victim. The ukrainian partisans wanted to force the polish population to flee through atrocities at that time.

Last year, the head of the municipality, with the help of the all-polish youth, wanted to dismantle a upa monument erected in 1994 in the polish border town of hruszowice, and as a reaction to this, polish excavations in ukraine were banned by kiev. In 1946, 14 ukrainian upa partisans are said to have died there in combat with polish units.

The polish "institute of national remembrance" (ipn) had carried out excavations of skeletons in hruszowice in may to investigate whether they could be killed members of the ukrainian partisan organization. The excavations did not confirm this theory, which caused trouble in ukraine. "Mythmaking" ukrainian deputy prime minister pavlo rozenko criticized polish media reporting on the excavations. The ukrainian politician pleaded for a continuation of the excavations.

The relationship between the two countries has also been marred by a polish law that went into effect in march that seeks to prosecute ukrainian crimes committed against poland from 1925 to 1950 (poland and ukraine caught in the pitfalls of historical politics). Former presidents of both countries, such as polish politician aleksander kwasniewski and ukrainian politician viktor yuschtenko, have recently called for poles and ukrainians to continue to work on reconciliation and not to "hostages of history" become.