Logo Polskiego Radia

Ukrainian nationalists plan protests against Polish anti-defamation law

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 05.02.2018 12:07
Protests outside Polish diplomatic posts in Ukraine are set to take place on Monday in opposition to Warsaw’s plans to penalise anyone who denies crimes committed by Ukrainian nationalists between 1925 and 1950, such as the Volhynia Massacre during World War II, a black page in Polish-Ukrainian relations.
Svoboda party and Ukrainian flags. Photo: svoboda.org.uaSvoboda party and Ukrainian flags. Photo: svoboda.org.ua

Protests organised by Ukraine’s right-wing Svoboda party are to be held outside the Polish embassy in Kyiv as well as consulates in Lviv and four other cities.

The organisers said the protests aimed to block a proposed new Polish law against the “ideology of Bandera,” referring to Ukrainian nationalist leader Stepan Bandera who fought against Poland’s underground army during World War II.

“The bill humiliates Ukraine’s national dignity,” Svoboda said.

The proposed changes to Poland’s law regulating the National Institute of Remembrance (IPN) foresees fines or up to three years in jail for anyone who publicly ascribes blame or joint blame to the Polish nation or state for crimes committed by Nazi Germany or for war crimes or other crimes against humanity.

The bill has been criticised by Ukraine’s president, prime minister and foreign minister.

Between March 1943 and the end of 1944, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) – to which Bandera was linked – carried out genocidal killings in Nazi German-occupied Poland, according to Poland’s IPN, which is charged with prosecuting crimes against the Polish nation.

The IPN said some 100,000 Poles died in the massacres, mainly women and children as men had already been subjected to mass deportations and repressions both by Soviet and Nazi authorities by the time the massacres started.

Meanwhile, some 10-12,000 Ukrainians were killed in revenge attacks by Poles by the spring of 1945, the IPN said.

The new Polish bill has also soured relations between Poland and Israel.

Israeli ambassador to Poland Anna Azari said: “In Israel, this bill is seen as creating a possibility of punishment for Holocaust survivors' testimony”.

In Poland, the planned new law is seen as a way of fighting the use of the phrase “Polish death camps”, which implies Poland's involvement in the Holocaust.

Polish government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska has said: “It was the Germans who attacked Poland, while the Poles and Jews were the victims”.

“There were no Polish death camps, no Polish concentration camps or Polish extermination camps. We must set the record straight by continually explaining and clarifying things,” she added.

GermanDeathCamps.info, a new educational website aimed at debunking misconceptions about Poland’s role in the Holocaust, has been launched by Polish Radio.

The Polish bill needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda before it enters into law. (vb)

Source: IAR

Copyright © Polskie Radio S.A About Us Contact Us