The massacre at koniuchy



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. As Liekis points out, the number of Poles in the Soviet partisan movement in Lithuania was “absolutely insignificant.”

37 Ruzhka Korchak states most of the Jewish women attached to the partisan units in Rudniki forest took part in partisan operations: “There was almost no military or economic expedition, diversionary action or ambush in which young women would not participate.” See Korchak, Plamia pod peplom, 324. See also Zizas,Žudynių Kaniūkuose pėdsakais,” Genocidas ir rezistencija, no. 1 (11), 2002.

38 The “Death to the Occupiers” detachment of the Kaunas Brigade was formed in October 1943 and was made up of about twenty partisans, mostly escaped Soviet POWs, and led by Kost Radionov, a paratrooper. See Ginaite-Rubinson, Resistance and Survival, 129. According to Israeli historian Dov Levin, who was a member of the unit, some 180 members of the Jewish underground from the Kaunas ghetto made their way to Rudniki forest and were accepted into the “Death to the Occupiers” detachment, where Jews were said to be in the majority. See Levin, Fighting Back, 122, 188, 198. Alex Faitelson, another member of that detachment, states that the number of former Soviet POWs “was not large but they all occupied positions of command. … Apart from individual Russians, the rest were all rabid anti-Semites.” See Faitelson, Heroism & Bravery in Lithuania, 1941–1945, 316. However, the statistics are not consistent or particularly reliable. According to Šarūnas Liekis, a Lithuanian historian who reviewed the Soviet partisans’ personal files, of the 224 members of the “Death to the Occupiers” detachment, 93 were Russians, 79 Jews, 5 Lithuanians, and 47 others. According to another Lithuanian historian, in July 1944, its membership consisted of 104 Russians, 51 Jews, 3 Lithuanians, and 6 others. See Zizas, “Raudonųjų partizanų ir Pietryčių Lieutovos kaimų savisaugos ginkluoti konfliktai 1943 m.,” Genocidas ir rezistencija, no. 1 (15), 2004. Some of the Jewish partisans who took part in the assault on Koniuchy are mentioned in Dmitrii Gelpern’s Kovno Ghetto Diary, cited later on; others (for example, Mikhail Robinzon) are mentioned in Zizas,Žudynių Kaniūkuose pėdsakais,” Genocidas ir rezistencija, no. 1 (11), 2002.

39 Zizas,Žudynių Kaniūkuose pėdsakais,” Genocidas ir rezistencija, no. 1 (11), 2002. Lithuanian historian Alfonsas Eidintas, basing himself on Rimantas Zizas, writes: “an exceptional role in the destruction of Kaniukai [Koniuchy] was played by the Mirtis okupantams ‘Death to Occupiers’ Unit. Former prisoners of the Kaunas Ghetto … were amongst the ranks of this unit, which included female partisans, who apparently had participated in this action.” Eidintas offers the following untenable motivation for the attack on Koniuchy: “Quite possibly, Red partisan leadership made use of the hatred of former prisoners by attacking a village of Lithuanian policemen, which was loyal to the government. They associated such people with Lithuanian executioners, and this motivated them into enacting a brutal operation.” See Eidintas, Jews, Lithuanians and the Holocaust, 307.

40 A local Polish partisan leader gave the victim toll as 34. See Siemaszko, “Rozmowy z kapitanem Szabunią,” Zeszyty Historyczne, no. 25 (1973): 146; Krajewski, Na Ziemi Nowogródzkiej, 512. A Polish underground report from that period stated that 34 were killed, 14 injured, and the number of persons burned alive was unknown. Of the 50 buildings in the village, only four remained. The reason given for the assault was the villagers’ resistance to raids conducted by the partisans. See Jan Bańbor, “Tło wydarzeń w Koniuchach w polskich i niemieckich sprawozdaniach sytuacyjnych,” Biuletyn Historii Pogranicza (Biaystok), no. 4 (2003): 92. Other Polish accounts simply noted that most of the villagers perished, and indicate that this was one of the impetuses for the Polish underground’s decision to accept an invitation from the Wehrmacht in February 1944 to discuss a temporary cease-fire (from which the Polish side soon withdrew). See Siemaszko, “Rozmowy z Wehrmachtem w Wilnie: Luty 1944,” Zeszyty Historyczne, no. 69 (1984): 90. Lithuanian and German reports from that period, referred to later, indicate 35–36 killed and 13–14 wounded, but do not include those deceased victims taken from the village by relatives or those who subsequently died in hospital. According to more recent accounts and a preliminary investigation by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, the victim count may have been closer to fifty, about 40 of whom have been identified by name. Among the youngest victims were Mieczysław Bandalewicz (9 years old), Zygmunt Bandalewicz (8), Marian Bobin (16), Jadwiga Bobin (around 10), Molis (a girl around 1½), Marysia Tubin (around 4), and Marian Woronis (15). However, more cnt reports indndcate that the number of incinerated victims is unknown. See Czesław Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach,” Nasza Gazeta (Vilnius), March 8–14, 2001; Czesław Malewski, “Masakra w Koniuchach (II),” Nasza Gazeta (Vilnius), March 29–April 4, 2001; Andrzej Kumor, interview with Edward Tubin, “Nie przepuścili nikomu…: Z naocznym świadkiem pacyfikacji wsi Koniuchy rozmawia Andrzej Kumor,” Gazeta (Toronto), May 4–6, 2001; Jerzy Danilewicz, “Zbrodnia bez kary,” Newsweek (Warsaw), May 15, 2005. See also the following reports issued by Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance which are posted on their website : “Komunikat w sprawie wybranych śledztw prowadzonych przez Oddziałowe Komisje Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu,” April 23, 2001, posted online at ; Anna Gałkiewicz, “Informacja o śledztwach prowadzonych w OKŚZpNP w Łodzi w sprawach o zbrodnie popełnione przez funkcjonariuszy sowieckiego aparatu terroru,” Biuletyn Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej, no. 7 (August 2001): 22; Oddziałowa Komisja w Łodzi, “Informacja o stanie śledztwa w sprawie zabójstwa przez partyzantów sowieckich, w styczniu 1944 roku, mieszkańców wsi Koniuchy gm. Bieniakonie pow. Lida woj. nowogródzkie,” March 1, 2002; Oddziałowa Komisja w Łodzi, “Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa przez partyzantów sowieckich, w styczniu 1944 roku, mieszkańców wsi Koniuchy gm. Bieniakonie pow. Lida woj. Nowogródzkie,” September 5, 2002; Anna Gałkiewicz, “Omówienie dotychczasowych ustaleń w śledztwach w sprawach o zbrodnie w Nalibokach i Koniuchach,” May 15, 2003; Robert Janicki, “Investigation in the Case of the Murder by Soviet Partisans of Koniuchy Inhabitants: Investigation S 13/01/Zk, August 5, 2003”; “Informacja o działalności Instytutu Pamięci Narodowej–Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu w okresie 1 lipca 2003 r.–30 czerwca 2004 r.,” Warsaw, January 2005 (Łódź sygnatura akt S 13/01/Zk); “Information on the Investigation in the Case of Crime Committed in Koniuchy,” September 13, 2005; Oddziałowa Komisja w Łodzi, “Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa przez partyzantów sowieckich, w styczniu 1944 roku, mieszkańców wsi Koniuchy gm. Bieniakonie pow. Lida woj. nowogródzkie,” May 16, 2006; Oddziałowa Komisja w Łodzi, “Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa przez partyzantów sowieckich, w styczniu 1944 roku, mieszkańców wsi Koniuchy gm. Bieniakonie pow. Lida woj. nowogródzkie,” October 12, 2007; Oddziałowa Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu w Łodzi, “Śledztwo w sprawie zabójstwa w styczniu 1944 roku przez partyzantów sowieckich kilkudziesięciu mieszkańców wsi Koniuchy wcześniej gm. Bieniakonie pow. Lida, woj. nowogródzkie (obecnie Republika Litewska rejon Sołeczniki),” December 21, 2009; Oddziałowa Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu w Łodzi, “Śledztwa w biegu (stan na sierpień 2010)”; Oddziałowa Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu w Łodzi, “Śledztwa w biegu (stan na styczeń 2012).” Some of these reports incorrectly state that the “Death to Fascism” detachment was made up of various nationalities, whereas in fact its composition was Jewish. These reports and various other articles can be found in the Canadian Polish Congress dossier “The Massacre at Koniuchy” posted at

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