Korosciatyn Massacre

The Korosciatyn massacre took place on the night of February 28/29, 1944, during the province-wide wave of massacres of Poles in Volhynia in World War II. Korosciatyn, which now bears the name of Krynica and is located in western Ukraine, was one of the biggest ethnic Polish villages of the interwar Poland’s within Buczacz County in Tarnopol Voivodeship (pictured). Located along the railway line from Tarnopol to Stanislawów, in 1939 it had some 900 inhabitants, all of them being ethnic Poles. Korosciatyn had an elementary school, a Roman Catholic church and a railway station. It belonged to the Latin Rite Roman Catholic parish of nearby Monasterzyska, which also covered several nearby villages. Among the most famous of the citizens of this parish, are Rev. Stanislaw Padewski (bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Kharkiv), professor Gabriel Turowski (personal physician of John Paul II) as well as two scientists, professor Michal Lesiow of Lublin’s Maria Curie University and doctor Jan Zaleski of Krakow’s Pedagogical College. Altogether, in 1939 the Deaconry of Buczacz had around 45 000 Polish inhabitants.

All of the residents of Korosciatyn were ethnic Poles (as was the case also of the village of Debowica). Some 2,000 ethnic Ukrainians lived in the surrounding villages in the area. Soon after joint Nazi and Soviet attack on Poland in September 1939, the Ukrainian nationalists murdered the inhabitants of a Polish settlement of Kolodne near Wyczolki, then the Soviets deported leaders of the Polish community to Siberia. Among those deported, was the village administrator of Korosciatyn, Jozef Zaleski and his wife. Zaleski died in Siberia on September 14, 1941.

In June 1941, when German units pushed the Red Army out of the area, local Ukrainians of the village of Czechow murdered their Polish neighbors. All victims were buried in a mass grave - 11 Poles (including 6 kids), as well as 6 Ukrainians, who opposed the murders. It was a prelude of later events. On Christmas Eve of 1943, Ukrainian auxiliary police shot one Pole, Marian Hutnik, and on Christmas Day 1943, five additional Poles were killed. The Ukrainians returned on Boxing Day, killing additional four Poles.

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