News from Poland: Polish Sejm takes first step to recognize Volhynia massacre as genocide

14:54 Jul. 20, 2016

Polish Sejm takes first step to recognize Volhynia massacre as genocide

General view of the Sejm (Lower chamber of Polish Parliament) on October 1, 2014 in Warsaw (Getty Images)

July 11 to be established as a Day of Remembrance of Genocide Victims

Two commissions of the Polish Seim, the lower House of the Polish parliament, adopted in the first reading a resolution recognizing the mass killings of Poles in Volhynia as genocide.

The resolution establishes July 11 as a National day of mourning and remembrance of the victims of genocide, committed by the Ukrainian nationalists against the residents of II Rzeczpospolita [Second Polish Republic] during WWII, Radio Poland reports.

The draft law, initiated by the ruling Law and Justice party, was taken as a basis for the resolution, however with several amendments made.

One of the amendments says that the crimes, which claimed lives of more than 100,000 people, took place in in 1943-44, but not in 1939-45 as it was stated before.

Polish MPs pointed out that during the Second World War, Volhynia endured the encounter of two totalitarian systems – the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. Actions of these countries led to the incitement of hatred towards ethnic and religious minorities.

Read also Source of Volyn massacre crimes lies in Russia – Polish Defenсe Minister

Commissions of the Seim also underlined that representatives of other nations, including Ukrainians, also died while trying to protect the victims.

Parliamentarians expressed their gratitude to these people and called on the president to honour them with state awards.

At the same time – the resolution says – while recalling the crimes of the Ukrainian nationalists, one cannot keep silent about the Polish retaliation, which also resulted in killings of civilians.

Read also Apologies for Historical Injustices and Other Ways for Reconciliation

The document expresses solidarity with Ukraine currently fighting for its unity and independence against an external aggressor, and says that truth is the only way to reconciliation.

Earlier this month Polish Senate, the upper chamber of the parliament, urged Sejm to recognize the Volhynia massacre as genocide.

The document has been approved by 60 out of 84 senators.

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