The remains of Polish victims found in Bykivnya, but conflict continues over the search


The Council for the Preservation of Memorials investigative team has found another seven Polish graves of NKVD victims in the Bykivnya Forest near Kyiv. According to the Council’s Secretary Andrzej Przewożnyk, objects found near the remains suggest that these were Poles from the “Ukrainian execution list”.

Mr Przewożnyk asserted that the conflict over searches of the National Historical Memorial Reserve “Bykivnya Graves” do not concern their search which was agreed  with the Ukrainian inter-departmental commission.

As we have already reported, conflict between the Polish investigators and the Ukrainian Institutes concealed with rehabilitation of the victims of the War and political repression have led to the search being interrupted several times.

The present exhumation work began at the beginning of August however on 6 August a representative of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance arrived to protest that the actions of the inter-departmental commission were unlawful. Mr Krutsyk said that they had no complaints against the Polish investigators, but that they accused the inter-departmental commission of unlawful behaviour and said that such exhumations were being carried out with infringements of procedure and could be appealed against.

Information about the mass graves in Bykivnya only became public at the end of the 1980s. It is believed that the territory holds the last earthly remains of between 100 and 120 thousand victims of the NKVD. 

The Ukrainian authorities informed the Polish Institute for National Remembrance that the remains had been found of Polish officers taken prisoner after the USSR invaded Poland in 1939 and shot in 1940. Polish specialists began their investigations last year and have presently covered one and a half hectares of the territory.

The preliminary investigations have found 195 graves with the remains of NKVD victims, among them 21 common graves of Poles from the so-called Ukrainian execution list. According to Polish press reports the list contains almost 3.5 thousand Polish citizens, arrested by the NKVD in Western Ukraine.

Following an order from Lavrenty Beria from 22 May 1940 the Poles taken prisoner were taken to prisons in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Kherson and executed in spring 1940.

The Polish newspaper reports that in the Ukrainian and Belarusian execution lists there were 7.3 thousand Poles.

From material published by UNIAN


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