The massacre at koniuchy



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Updated in March 2016

Uzupełniono w marcu 2016
THE MASSACRE AT KONIUCHY
MORD W KONIUCHACH
On February 12, 2001, the Canadian Polish Congress wrote to Poland’s Institute

of National Remembrance (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej—IPN) to initiate an investigation into a mass murder perpetrated in the village of Koniuchy (now Kaniūkai, Lithuania) during World War II. According to the count of the perpetrators themselves, some 300 defenceless Poles—mostly women and children—were massacred.
The village of Koniuchy, as well as its civilian population, was obliterated on January 29, 1944. Their only crime was that they were Poles who attempted to protect their lives and property from incessant and violent raids by marauding Soviet partisans. This war crime has been amply documented in accounts written by the actual perpetrators—members of the “Death to the Fascists” and “To Victory” detachments of the so-called Lithuanian Partisans. Not only did they describe the massacre in lurid detail, but they also vilified the victims and glorified their vile deeds.
Our findings were first published in 1998 in the book The Story of Two Shtetls Brańsk and Ejszyszki. An investigation carried out by Nasza Gazeta, a Polish newspaper published in Vilnius (Wilno), has revealed important new information about the crime. They managed to locate survivors of the massacre in Koniuchy who confirmed the gruesome circumstances of the massacre and identified some of the victims by name. Soviet, German and Lithuanian archival documents confirming the massacre have also come to light.
Professor Witold Kulesza, the director of the IPN’s Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation, announced on February 22, 2001, that there would be a formal investigation into this matter, thus bringing to fruition an undertaking commenced by the Congress’ Information Services in 1996. In April, a preliminary report by the IPN confirmed that the crime had indeed occurred: the village was almost entirely wiped out and the victims numbered around fifty. In May, the Council for the Preservation of the Memory of Struggles and Martyrdom announced the planned erection of a commemorative wooden cross at the site of the massacre and a plaque in the parish church in Butrymańce.
The matter has also been referred to the Lithuanian Genocide Centre (Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras) which has undertaken a separate investigation. What remains to be done is to strip Genrikas Zimanas, the partisan commander who oversaw the massacre, of Poland’s highest military distinction, the Virtuti Militari, which was bestowed on him by Poland’s Communist authorities and to bring to justice the perpetrators of this heinous deed, some of whom are living comfortably in the West.
In response to further inquiries by the Canadian Polish Congress, on March 1, 2002, the IPN’s Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation released reports summarizing their investigations of the massacres at Koniuchy and Naliboki. These reports are set out below in both Polish and English.
A memorial cross was unveiled in Koniuchy in 2004, on the 60th anniversary of the massacre. The investigation of the crime is still ongoing.
Another massacre of approximately 130 Polish civilians in the small town of Naliboki, carried out on May 8/9, 1943 by Soviet partisans, is also being investigated by the IPN’s Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation. The circumstances of that atrocity are described within.
POSTED MATERIALS:


  1. Letter from the Canadian Polish Congress to Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – February 12, 2001 (in Polish with extensive citations in English from non-Polish sources)

  2. Letter from the Canadian Polish Congress to Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) – February 20, 2002 (in Polish)

  3. Letter from the Canadian Polish Congress to Poland’s Institute of National Reembrance (IPN) – February 12, 2007 (in Polish)

  4. Releases by Polska Agencja Prasowa (PAP) – February 22, 2001 (in Polish with partial English translation)

  5. Article from the Warsaw daily Rzeczpospolita – February 23, 2001 (in Polish with English translation)

  6. Article from the Warsaw daily Nasz Dziennik – February 24, 2001 (in Polish)

  7. Article from the Warsaw daily Nasz Dziennik – February 27, 2001 (in Polish)

  8. Articles from the Toronto daily Gazeta – February 27, 2001 & March 22, 2001 (in Polish)

  9. H-Holocaust Net Discussion – March 1, 2001 (in English)

  10. Article from the Vilnius (Wilno) weekly Nasza Gazeta – March 8, 2001 (in Polish with partial English translation)

  11. Articles from the Vilnius (Wilno) weekly Nasza Gazeta – March 29, 2001 (in Polish)

  12. Report aired on Telewizja Polska (TVP) – May 11, 2001 (in Polish)

  13. Article from the Vilnius (Wilno) weekly Nasz Czas – January 24, 2002 (in Polish)

  14. Article from the Toronto daily Gazeta – May 4–6, 2001 (in Polish)

  15. Article from the Warsaw daily Gazeta Wyborcza – May 7, 2001 (in Polish)

  16. Articles from the Warsaw daily Nasz Dziennik – August 18, 2001 & August 28, 2001 (in Polish)

  17. Article from the Warsaw daily Nasz Dziennik – October 28, 2002 (in Polish)

  18. Article from the New York weekly Forward – August 8, 2003, coverage by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung – August 12, 2003, and commentary by Andrzej Kumor

(18)Excerpts from the Warsaw weekly Myśl Polska – July 20–27, 1997, and the Bydgoszcz

quarterly Wileńskie Rozmaitości – 2001 (in Polish)

(19)Investigation report of the Institute of National Remembrance – April 23, 2001 (in Polish);

Report in Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 7 (August 2001)

(20)Investigation reports and communiqués of the Institute of National Remembrance on the

massacres in Koniuchy and Naliboki:

March 1, 2002 (in Polish with English translation);

September 5, 2002 (in Polish with English translation);

May 15, 2003 (in Polish with partial English translation);

August 5, 2003 (in English);

Annual Report of the Institute of National Memory to the Seym and Senate of the Republic of Poland, January 2005 (in Polish);

August 9, 2005 (in Polish);

September 8, 2005 (in Polish);

September 13, 2005 (in English);

May 16, 2006 (in Polish);

December 10, 2007 (in Polish);

December 21, 2009 (in Polish);

August 2010 (in Polish);

January 2012 (in Polish);

October 2012 (in Polish);

November 2013 (in Polish);

August 2015 (in Polish);

November 2015 (in Polish);

February 2016 (in Polish)

(21)Polish media reports about the massacre at Naliboki – March 25, 2001 & March 26, 2001

(in Polish with partial English translation) with letter from CPC to IPN

(22)Lithuanian historian Rimantas Zizas about the massacre at Koniuchy – Genocidas ir

rezistencija, no. 1 (11), 2002 (in Lithuanian with Polish translation)

(23)Excerpt from the scholarly historical studies A Tangled Web and The Story of Two Shtetls

(in English)

(24)Soviet, German and Lithuanian reports about the massacre in Koniuchy (in English and

Polish)

(25)Release of the Canadian Polish Congress on the 60th anniversary of the massacre in



Koniuchy (in Polish)

(26)Polish media coverage of the 60th anniversary of the massacre in Koniuchy and the ongoing

investigation (in Polish)

(27)Information about A Tangled Web and The Story of Two Shtetls (in English)





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