Zawadka Morochowska Memorial to Victims of 1946

The page was written by Justin Houser. He is the owner and author of this page.

The following names appear on a monument on the site of Zawadka Morochowska, woj. Podkarpackie, Poland. The monument is located in the old parish cemetery where several delineated trenches mark mass graves of the victims.

Zawadka appears on records as early as the year 1567. It was a small Lemko village on either side of the the Boroniec stream. The population as of 1936 was 328. In 1939, there were 49 farms. Apart from houses, a church, and a brick school (constructed at the outset of World War II), the village also boasted a tavern. Every other building in the village had been made of wood. As of January 1945, there were said to be 425 Ukrainians there. The village appears to have been mostly Lemko and Greek Catholic, with about a dozen or so Roman Catholic and a dozen or so Jewish residents at any given time. The Greek Catholic Church of the Circumcision of Our Lord was built there in 1870. It apparently replaces an older church built there ca. 1830 although some sources give the date of construction as 1856. It was a filial church of the church in nearby Morochow, which is much older.

As it was not on a main route, the village generally endured through World War II until 1944. That year, however, members of the Armia Krajowa (AK), the Polish Home Resistance, were active in the area, and some evidence shows that OP-23, commanded by Adam Winogrodzki, "Corvinus," a branch of the AK, stayed in Zawadka for several nights during July and August. The Germans discovered this and, in retaliation, burned all of the buildings except the church, the school, and one other building. The villagers were spared from execution only because Anna Masliuk, a villager, convinced the Germans that the villagers were not involved in any AK or resistance activity. After the burning, most of the residents lived in makeshift huts and trenches.

This village was the subject of brutal repression by the Soviet-sponsored Polish Army in early 1946 as part of a campaign which was ostensibly to eliminate suspected support for the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) but which was more generally a pretext for the forced removal of ethnic Ukrainians from the region. As early as 1944 a "population exchange" had been signed by representatives from a Polish Communist puppet state and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, with the end goal being that the Poles living on the eastern side of the Curzon line dividing postwar Poland from the Soviet Union would be expelled to the west, while the Ukrainians living on the west side of that line would be expelled to the east. The communist governments felt that these relocations would quell the independent nationalistic spirit of the populace. When people did not "voluntarily" evacuate as per the plan, however, military actions were increasingly taken to "encourage" them to do so. In the case of Zawadka, the villagers were accused of supporting UPA and it was decided to take action against them. While UPA support was the excuse given, it appears increasingly likely from research that the true motivation was an attempt to hasten the evacuations and to appropriate the villagers' land. The action itself was taken by the Second Battalion of the 34th Wojsko Polskie Regiment from Sanok, under the direction of Col. Stanislaw Pluto and Capt. Gutowski. Many individuals, old and young, men, women, and children, were mercilessly slaughtered.

On January 23, 1946, the soldiers came into the area, and launched offenses against Bukhovitsa, Ratnitsia, and Zboiska, among other places. They were searching for an alleged 800 UPA members led by "Rena." They attempted to engage the UPA forces near Zawadka Morochowska. Part of the village burned in this skirmish. The Polish Army was forced to retreat, leaving two wagons, rolling stock, and two 82 mm mortars in the field. They could not retrieve their weapons the next day. The first action was taken against the villagers on January 25, 1946, as a reprisal for their alleged support of UPA. One hundred twenty soldiers entered the village, including supporters from the nearby village of Niebieszczany. Twenty-seven houses were burned, many were killed, and much property was stolen.

The second action occurred March 28, 1946, when an unidentified Russian Captain led the same Battalion into the village. Most of the population fled, but those who did not were arrested and taken to the school building. Eleven men were selected for execution to encourage the villagers to stop supporting the UPA and to go to Ukraine. Every building was burned except the school and the church, "so that the women and children have a roof over their heads before they depart for the Soviet Union." The last two cows and one horse were taken away.

The third action was taken on April 13, 1946. The villagers were attacked, killing six, the makeshift habitations and the school were burned down, leaving only the church, and the survivors were given three days to evacuate to the Soviet Union.

The fourth raid occurred on April 30, 1946. The 78 remaining inhabitants (74 women and 4 men) were rounded up in the village square and taken to a railroad station in Zagorz, from whence they were deported to parts unknown in the Soviet Union. Only a few villagers, who had been away at the time, remained, and these last 15 individuals were removed from the area as part of Akcja Wisla in 1947. At this point, only the church remained, and its ruins were destroyed in the early 1950s. The site of the village is now a field.

For many years, annual processions to the graves at Zawadka were organized by the Orthodox Church in Morochow and the Greek Catholic Church in Mokre, both claiming to be the true successor of the original parish at Morochow that included Zawadka as a filial church.

In 1998, a monument was erected to commemorate the victims of this tragedy. Thanks to documents provided to me by gmina Zagorz, we know that, on October 23, 1997, the Social Committee for the Commemoration of Residents of Zawadka Morochowska, headquartered in Mokre, and chaired by Ryszard Kochanowski, on behalf of itself and the Mokre Board of the Union of Ukrainians in Poland, contacted the Council for the Protection of the Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom, in Warsaw, seeking permission for the construction of a monument to commemorate the victims who died at Zawadka. On January 27, 1998, the Council approved the request. There was some discussion concerning the accuracy of the number of victims at Zawadka. The Council referred to two sources, E. Misilo's "Akcja 'Wisla' - Dokumenty," published by the Archives of Ukraine 1993, page 249, footnote number 2, I. Siwicki's "Dzieje konfliktow polskoukrainskich," published in Warsaw in 1994, pages 315-319, document 65, and the relation of Volodymyr Bilas. Both set the total at 73 victims, as is commemorated on the monument.

The monument itself was blessed by priests, with faithful arriving from both the Greek Catholic community at Mokre and the Orthodox community at Morochow, together with local government officials, representatives of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland, the Association of Ukrainians in Poland. Today, a joint procession from both faiths holds a special Parastas at the cemetery site on the second day of Easter.

The monument's text is reproduced below. The original text is in Ukrainian and Polish. Editorial comments and notes are in [brackets].

Memorial to the Victims of the Totalitarian System
Village Zavadka Morokhivska [Ukr] / Zawadka Morochowska [Pol]
Here 73 of its inhabitants were killed
25 January, 28 March, 13 April [Ukr] / 14 April [Pol]

[Dates of death are presumed to be 25 January 1946 unless otherwise given. Differences in names and ages, and supplemental information from a report later circulated by the UPA, are given in brackets. This report frequently listed the specific injuries and brutalities inflicted on each victim, which are not reproduced here. Some additional family information from Justin Kirk Houser's research is also given in brackets.]

Bilas, Kateryna, 50 [age 60]
Bilas, Pelaheia, 50 [Melania; age 50]
Bilas, Eva, 38 [age 30; mother or grandmother of Jerzy Bilas, who has written much about Zawadka]
Bilas, Teodor, 65
Bilas, Ivan, 48 [age 46; 28 March]
Bilas, Mariya, 38 [age 33]
Bilas, Sophia, 7
Bilas, Kateryna, 9
Bilas, Ivan, 36
Bilas, Teodor, 40 [28 March]
Bonchak, Osyp
Bonchak, Mariya
Bonchak, Kateryna, 11 [wife of Osyp]
Bonchak, Dmytro, 50 [brother of Ivan]
Bonchak, Ivan [brother of Dmytro]
Hrynio, Ivan [age about 76; son of Dmytro and Anastasia Hrynio]
Bonchyk, Volodymyr, 18 [possibly 13 April; possibly the older brother of Stefan Bonczak who lived in Mokre ca. 1998]
Dobrianskiy, Mykola
Dobrianskiy, Vasyl, 35 [28 March]
Dobrianskiy, Volodymyr, 15 [13 April]
Dobrianskiy, Ivan, 22 [13 April]
Dudynchak, Osyp, 40
Dydynchak, Anastaziya, 40
Izdebska, Kateryna, 6 months
Izdebska, Eva
Izdebskiy, Mykhailo
Izdebskiy, Petro
Izdebskiy, Nestor
Kereleyza, Mariya, 41 [born in the United States; wife of Ivan]
Kereleyza, Anna, 16 [daughter of Ivan and Mariya]
Kereleyza, Kateryna, 15 [daughter of Ivan and Mariya]
Kereleyza, Dmytro, 48
Kereleyza, Ivan, 42 [13 April; born in the United States; a wealthy resident who kept an oil-mill]
Kereleyza, Yaroslav
Schurkalo, Yakym [age 40; 28 March]
Rofychak, Volodymyr [age 18; 13 April]
Klemchyk, Anna
Klemchyk, Mykhailo, 28 [Klepchyk; 28 March]
Kmatchyk, Dmytro [Klemchyk]
Kozlyk, Kateryna
Kozlyk, Anna
Kozlyk, Eva
Kozlyk, Stepan, 18 [28 March]
Maksym, Andriy, 70 [age 50]
Maksym, Mariya
Maksym, Anastaziya
Maksym, Stepan, 10
Maksym, Kateryna, 4
Maksym, Anna, 1
Nechysta, Anna [age 45] [wife of Hryhoriy (George) Nieczysty, 1899-1982, of Pottsville, Pa.]
Nechysta, Kateryna, 20 [daughter of (George and) Anna]
Nechystiy, Mykhailo [28 March; age 38]
Nechysta, Kateryna
Nechysta, Sofia, 8
Nechysta, Mariya, 6
Nechystiy, Taras, 3 [age 7]
Nechysta, Mahdalyna, 17
Nechystiy, Andriy [brother of Ivan]
Nechystiy, Ivan [brother of Andriy]
Nechystiy, Mykhailo, 38 [father of a number of the children]
Nechystiy, Senko, 3 [13 April]
Tomash, Kateryna
Tomash, Mariya [son of Kateryna]
Tomash, Anna [daughter of Kateryna]
Tomash, Stepan [son of Kateryna]
Tsyhanyk, Vasyl [survived 3 weeks after being shot]
Tsyhanyk, Kateryna [mother of Vasyl]
Tsyhanyk, Ivan
Masliuk, Ivan, 46 [28 March]
Masliuk, Mykola, 26 [28 March; son of Ivan]
Masliuk, Teodor, 25 [28 March; son of Ivan]
Masliuk, Orest, 27 [13 April]
Zhadorsky, Nestor, 40
[Total: 73 names]



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