Zbrodnie bez kary

Author: Łukasz Kuźmicz
Publisher: Łukasz Kuźmicz

Publishing Year: 2020 (Second edition)
Pages: 349

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Military operation of “Wisła” Operation Group “Wisła”

It is not true that the “Wisła” Military Operation against Ukrainian Insurgent Army's bands was carried out due to Gen. Świerczewski's death, especially not as an act of revenge. Nevertheless, general's death hastened the decision about the operation. Namely, why the decision was not made earlier? - the questions arises. Well, while considering this matter, some objective difficulties should be taken into account. And these were:

  • Displacement of Ukrainian people to Soviet Union and Polish people from Soviet Union to Poland, accordingly to the agreement concluded between the Polish Committee of National Liberation and the Soviet Union concerning people's repatriation. It was imposed on us by the decision of the Three Great Powers (The United States, Great Britain and The Soviet Union). Poland did not have much to say in this case.
  • 8th and 9th Divisions of Polish Army which returned from the front line and secured Rzeszowskie Voivodeship, by the military actions were reduced to the half of their personnel and were not trained for fighting against partisan bands, but for securing repatriated people and rallying points.
  • 8th and 9th Divisions of Polish Army had to derive from their personnel around 1,500 soldiers with small arms and uniforms in order to put them in the WOP watchtowers on the east and south border of Rzeszowskie Voivodeship.
  • People's Referendum in Poland was planned for June 30, 1946. The army secured majority of polling stations since the state of safety was far from normal.
  • Elections to the Polish Seym were planned for 19 January 1947 and this was not a time for such undertakings as “Wisła” Operation.
  • The age groups of front-line soldiers required demilitarisation and replacing them with the new ones.

The commander of Operational Group “WISŁA”, Division General Stefan MOSSOR who commanded the Polish Army units during battles against Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

All these circumstances in any case were not favourable to undertaking such operation like “Wisła”. On 22 February 1947, right after the elections, new Polish Seym pronounced amnesty which lasted until 24 April 1947 and at that time the army could not undertake any military operations. Therefore, one may ask whether this operation would have taken place if Ukrainian Insurgent Army had not killed Gen. K. Świerczewski. Well, certainly it would have been carried out, because in other case Ukrainian Insurgent Army's sotnias and battalions – which were well-organised, trained and armed with endless economic back-up in form of local inhabitants – would intensify their actions and such an anomaly could not be tolerated. This is why the decision was precipitated after Gen. Świerczewski's death. The operation began on 28 April 1947 and ended on 30 July 1947.

Bieszczady Mountains, 1947, „Wisła” Operation group . From the right: Col. Eugeniusz Kuźmicz, commander of 1st Division of Internal Security Corps and Major Polkowski, the second in command for political-educational errands.

The most characteristic feature of this matter is the fact that today they make a great stir about it, bigger than it was during the operation. It is said that the government made it on purpose to break the clusters of Ukrainian people and polonise them quicker. However, these assumptions do not stand in agreement with reality. And they are fake. If there were no Ukrainian Insurgent Army's bands and armed rebellion which consisted in murdering Poles and joining these areas to Ukraine on those areas, Ukrainians and Lemkos would not have been displaced. Firstly, the crucial factor for displacement was depriving OUN and Ukrainian Insurgent Army of supplying bases. Secondly, without the displacement enormous population losses and no possibilities to eliminate all the bands would have occurred .

Brave “Czumak” chota (Ukrainian platoon) – founded by Voivodeship Office of Public Safety (WUBP – Wojewódzki Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Publicznego) in Rzeszów, which by imitating Ukrainian Insurgent Army's band ascertained the area in the woods where Iaroslav Starukh “Stiah” had a concealed bunker.

Nowadays, Ukrainian Insurgent Army's followers claim that it fought for Ukraine's independence. Indeed, if the army was not murdering on such a scale and recruiting only volunteers, one might say that this fight was for independence – despite the fact that Ukraine gained independence not thanks to Ukrainian Insurgent Army and its fight but it was caused by the Soviet Union's collapse. This fact cannot be attributed to the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. It brought shame and humiliation to Ukrainian nation. Their crimes cannot be replaced by nicely sounding words such as Polish-Ukrainian relations or Polish-Ukrainian conflict. It was not – having almost 50 million inhabitants – UKRAINIAN NATION who stood against 40 million people constituting the POLISH NATION. The one to blame is nationalist to the extreme group of people who gathered in OUN and Ukrainian Insurgent Army and attributed to themselves a right to represent the entire nation, not UKRAINIAN NATION.

June 20, 1946 Uherce, Lesko County – soldiers from 36th Infantry Regiment of 8th Infantry Division going to a fight against Ukrainian Insurgent Army.

Poles were, are and will have a friendly attitude towards Ukrainian nation and it is high time to leave the tragic events behind and start a wide cooperation and friendship, because both new Polish and Ukrainian generations have nothing to do with those crimes. Therefore, while remembering the past, let us build a better future. However, the facts show that this problem cannot be solved by politicians, but with granting appropriate funds and entrusting this matter entirely to Polish Academy of Sciences which in cooperation with Ukrainian Academy of Sciences would work out the history of occupation and postwar events. This solution would be the most accurate because of lack of emotions and controversies.