Дата публикации

The damned and the forsaken

On the last day of January 2020, in Bielsk Podlaski (Poland), for the first time after canonization, the memory of 30 martyrs from the village of Starye Pukhaly who suffered for Christ as a result of terrorist acts by one of the units of the Polish anti-communist underground under the command of R. Rais ("Bury"), committed in January–February 1946. On the same day, an exhibition was opened which was dedicated to the tragic events associated with the massacres of Orthodox Belarusians by Polish extremists living in the Bialystok Voivodeship.

In January 1946, the illegal armed group of "Bury" in the Bialystok region for several days detained and robbed local residents of the Orthodox faith. Only those who knew how to cross themselves in Catholicism and read the prayer "Our Father" in Polish were released. During this extremist action, 5 villages were burned down and 79 Orthodox Belarusians, including women, children and old people, were killed on ethnic grounds. On 31 January 1946, in the forest near the village of Starye Pukhaly, 30 Orthodox Belarusians, captured by order of Rais, were killed with special cruelty — with the butt of an ax. In October 2019, 30 martyrs from the village of Starye Pukhaly who died for the Orthodox faith were included in the Assembly of Holm and Podlaskie Martyrs by the decision of the Council of Bishops of the Polish Orthodox Church.

It should be noted that this is a unique case, which is evidence of the desire to restore historical justice not only on the part of the hierarchy of the Polish Orthodox Church, but also as a result of a balanced political position. Polish society as a whole is sympathetic to the interpretation of the tragic pages of its country’s recent history and the need to preserve the memory of the innocent victims of post-war extremism and terror. Poland’s political associations and government officials take this trend into account in the implementation of official historical policy.

On 23 February 2020, the fifth march of Polish ultranationalists, timed to coincide with the National Day of Remembrance of the "Damned Soldiers", was held in the town of Hajnowka, Podlaskie Voivodeship, where ethnic Belarusians live compactly. However, the action of the right-wing radicals, in which only about 150 people, who came from most of the regions, took part, looked dull. The event "Eternal Memory" in honor of the innocent victims of the post-war political terror gathered three times more participants. Moreover, among them were the deputies of the Sejm, including those representing the country in the European Parliament, as well as scientists from the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The full article is available in the Russian version of the site.