Kiev screening of Polish film on WWII massacre postponed
PR dla Zagranicy
The Polish Institute in Kiev has postponed a special screening of a new film set against the backdrop of WWII massacres after a "strong recommendation" from Ukraine’s foreign ministry.
Actress Michalina Łabacz, who plays the central character in Smarzowski's film. Image: PISF
Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski’s 'Volhynia' (Wołyń) is the first feature film to deal with the Volhynia Massacres, a traumatic page in Polish-Ukrainian history.
The screening was planned for Tuesday in Kiev, with the director and Ukrainian guests invited, including the country’s president, prime minister and MPs. It was to have been followed by a discussion.
But in a letter to the Polish embassy in Kiev, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said it "strongly recommends" calling off the screening for the sake of "public order".
Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Rafał Sobczak said the screening had been postponed and that talks were underway with Ukraine on a new date.
The film follows the plight of a young Polish woman who wants to marry a Ukrainian from the same village, contrary to her parents' wishes.
In the midst of World War II, the pair are caught up in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing.
The region of Volhynia, which had lain within Polish borders prior to World War II, was first occupied by the Soviets in 1939, and then by the Nazi Germans in 1941.
According to historians, up to 100,000 ethnic Poles were slaughtered in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia from 1943 to 1945 by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a guerrilla force that sought Ukrainian independence, and by local Ukrainians.
Reprisals by Poles claimed the lives of some 10,000-12,000 Ukrainians, including 3,000-5,000 in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia.