Слике страница
PDF
ePub

posed of several hundreds of peasants, priests, and intellectuals, and their purpose was to present to the emperor a memoir in which the abuses of Polish authorities during the election period were set forth; but Oasimir Badeni. who was then prime minister, succeeded in preventing the reception of this deputation by the emperor.

1897.—The elections to the Austrian Parliament brought about a repetition of electoral terrorizing in order to hinder the Ukrainian peasants from taking part in the elections. The peasants, profiting by their experience of 1895, began to resist in a body. In many localities the gendarmes fired upon the peasants; several were killed and many wounded. Among the most notorious murders was that of Peter Stasuk at Tchernief, district of Stanislaviw. After the elections, trials of Ukrainian peasants took place, and the total of the prison sentences amounts to more than a hundred years. These elections caused some lively debates in parliament and have been called, in history, the "bloody elections of Badeni." There appeared in parliament only three Ukrainian deputies of the opposition and a few Polish favorites of Ukrainian nationality.

1900.—In 1900 elections for the Austrian Parliament took place. Again the same methods were repeated. Ukrainian peasants are not allowed to vote; Ukrainian electors are arrested wholesale; political trials are instituted against them. Only four Ukrainian deputies of the opposition appear in parliament and some Ukrainians who are in the service of the Poles.

1901.—Elections to the Galician Diet proceed in the same manner.

At the University of Lviv takes place (November. 1901). an exodus of Ukrainian students. At the beginning of the semester the Ukrainian students ask the president for permission to hold their meeting in one of the halls, in order to discuss the question of the Ukrainian University. They are refused. The Ukrainian students paid no attention to this refusal. Then the president decided to have the meeting dispersed by the janitors of the university and the Polish students. He issued thereupon a proclamation in which he called the Ukrainian students "savages." As a protest against this proclamation the Ukrainian students left the University of Lviv and entered other Austrian universities.

1902.—All over East Galicia general agricultural strikes occurred. The Ukrainian peasants refused to work on the land of the great Polish proprietors. The strikes assumed a national character and turned into a light of the Ukrainian peasants against the Polish proprietors. The Polish authorities tried to stop the strike by force of arms; gendarmes and soldiers were sent against the peasants. Arrests took place in the villages; neither old men. nor women, nor children were spared. They were handcuffed and led in long lines, tied together by long poles. These processions recalled the methods of the Mongolian hordes who led the Ukrainian population into slavery in the same manner. The total of prison sentences amounted to several centuries of imprisonment.

Similar strike agitations were repeated every year. The Polish authorities suppressed them by the same methods.

1903.—The manifestion of the Ukrainian students against Mr. Fialek, the president of the university, was offensive on the part of the Ukrainian students. Being provoked, they threw rotten eggs at him. The authorities of the university took the matter before the courts and some Ukrainian students were sentenced to prison.

1901.—While Koerber. the president of the Austrian Council of Ministers, was in Lviv (August, 1904), there took place in that city a meeting of Ukrainian delegates of the whole country in order to protest against the Polish method of government. After the meeting, a procession passed through the streets of the city. The governor of Galicia, the Polish count, Andrew rotocki, ordered the procession to be broken up by the soldiers. The last act of these events took place before the courts.

1905-1907.—A great Ukrainian movement in favor of universal suffrage for the Austrian Parliament takes place. The governor, Andrew Potocki, suppresses this movement by the gendarmes and soldiers. lie makes in person the tour of the country, assembling the peasant delegates and threatening them with the gallows. In order to disperse the meetings ot peasants, the gendarmes and soldiers used their arms frequently. In the village of Ladske, in the district of Towmacz, five peasants were killed by rifle shots.

1901).—This year saw demonstrations of Ukrainian students at the university (March, 1900), provoked by the refusal of the president to permit meetings for the purpose of establishing the Ukrainian University. These demonstrations ended in a regular battle between the Polish and Ukrainian students. The same events were repeated in December, 1906.

1907.—In January, 1907, the protest of the Ukrainian students of the University of Lviv was renewed. This time the Ukrainian students losing patience demolished the reception hall and beat the professors. The president asked for the help of the police; the latter arrested all the Ukrainian students and threw them into prison, where they were kept until the trial should take place. As the examination was dragging on, the Ukrainians protested by a hunger strike.

The affair became known throughout the whole State and even beyond its borders. Then the court decided to free the students. Later on, some of the students were sentenced to severe imprisonment.

The Polish writer, Henry Sienkiewicz, wishing to disparage the Ukrainian students, wrote in the Vienna paper "Die Zeit" that the hunger strike of the Ukrainian students had been a mere sham, and that in reality the students held banquets and guzzled champagne. The Ukrainian students sued him before the court at Vienna, which sentenced Sienkiewicz for slander.

1908.—At the beginning of the year, elections for the Diet of Galicia took place. The Ukrainians made a vigorous electoral campaign in which the slogan was "universal suffrage for the Galieian Diet." The Galician governor. Andrew Potocki, decided to make the victory of the Ukrainian candidates impossible by every means in his power. In the course of a conversation with the Ukrainain deputy, Eugene Olesnytsky, he declared that he would prepare for the Ukrainians a second "Rerestetchke'' (during the war of Khmelelnytsky the Poles had defeated the Ukrainian army near Berestetchko). The gendarmes prevented the electors from voting, shooting some. The best known is the murder of Marko Kahanetz in the district of Bouchach.

On the 12th of April. 1908. the Ukrainian student Miroslav Sichinsky obtained an audience with the Polish governor, Andrew Potocki. and killed him with a revolver shot. He gave a very concise and clear explanation of his deed: "The assassination of Kahanetz called for the death of Potocki."

The whole Ukrainian Bociety assumed the responsibility for the deed of Sichinsky and the people glorified him like a national hero.

The Poles in their turn directed their wrath against the whole Ukrainian nation, calling it a "nation of assassins." Wherever the Ukrainians depended in any way upon the Poles, they were rigorously persecuted. At the risk of losing their positions, the Ukrainians employed in public service, in private and public institutions, were compelled to join the Roman Catholic Church and to become Polonized.

Sichinsky was sentenced to death. Thanks to the efforts of the Ukrainian deputies, the emperor pardoned him and commuted his death sentence to imprisonment for 20 years. Later, Sichinsky escaped and lives now in the L'nited States.

The mental condition of that time may be shown by the following example: In December, 1908, the rumor was spread that the government had the intention of making a concession to the Ukrainians by making two Ukrainian assistant professors full professors. The Polish students showed their dissatisfaction by throwing rotten eggs at the Galician governor, Bobrzynski, an eminent Polish politician, at the occasii n of his official visit at the university.

1910.—On July 1, 1910, there occurred another demonstration of the Ukrainian students who voiced their wish to see the foundation of the Ukrainian University.

The Polish students at the invitation of the president of the university got up a counterdemonstration. Revolver shots were fired. The Ukrainian student Adam Kotsko was killed. Others were wounded. The police surrounded the university and arrested all the Ukrainian students.

1911.—In consequence of this demonstration, a lawsuit was started against 101 LTkrainian students. This lawsuit lasted a few months. The Ukrainian students were sentenced.

1910-1914.—The L'krainian deputies of the Galician Diet fight for universal suffrage. Every year at every session of the Diet, the Ukrainian deputies block proceedings in order to obstruct the sessions. The purpose of such obstructions is to compel the Polish deputies to accept universal suffrage. But the Ukrainian deputies are too few in number to obtain any result; and so they accepted a compromise in 1914 which compromise increases the number of Ukrainian deputies. The purpose of this compromise was to bring into the Diet a larger number of L'krainian deputies who would begin anew the light for universal suffrage with increased ardor and vigor as their chances of success would be increased.

The Poles Aoaixst The Ukrainians During The War 1914-1918.

The Poles of Galicia wished to take advantage of the World War in order to deal a death blow to the Ukrainian population. The Polish authorities declared the whole Ukrainian population traitors to Austria because they considered them Russophiles. and then began their persecution. At the command of these authorities, Ukrainian peasants, priests, and intellectuals were arrested wholesale and were sent to concentration camps where the majority found a frightful death as a result of epidemics. Many others, also arrested were brought before courts-martial at the denunciation of tho civil authorities. In these courts-martial Bat many Polish officers. One militaryjudge alone, the Polish lawyer Zagorski, has pronounced more than 200 death sentences against Ukrainian peasants and witnessed personally their hanging. The number of the victims of the Polish authorities amounts to several tens of thousands.

All the authority which the Austrian Government had given to the Poles was used by the latter for the purpose of exterminating the Ukrainian element by making them appear traitors to the cause of Austria.

When the Austrians had taken Galicia back from the Russian? and wanted to restore the land that had been devastated by war. the Poles ruined the Ukrainians economically. The money allotted by the Austrian Government to repair the destruction was used by the Polish authorities in repairing merely the large Polish landed estates and Polish city industries. As for the Ukrainian peasants, they received nothing and had to seek refuge in cabins where typhus, the result of many privations, caused manv victims. The Ukrainian manufacturers were not included in the distribution of the sums appropriated for restoration any more than artisans and merchants.

During the war, the Austrian Government issued the following orders according to which the land was to be cultivated: Local authorities were authorized to take any measure to compel farmers and farm laborers to devote themselves to work in the fields. The Polish authorities took advantage of these orders and obliged the Ukrainian peasants to cultivate the estates of the great Polish proprietors. Gendarmes gathered the peasant women (all men being at the front) earning them off from their own fields and for the moderate wage of 1 to 3 crowns a day they compelled them to work in the fields of the large Polish landowners. This violence caused in the whole country revolts of the people which were repressed by arms and wholesale arrests.

In general the Polish yoke weighed during the war more heavily on the Ukrainians of East Galicia than ever. The Poles, to whom Austria-Hungary and Germany had promised East Galicia, treated the Ukrainian people like cattle intended for eternal slavery.

The Ukrainian-polish War.

The proclamation of Ukrainian rule in East Galicia and the union of our republic with the Ukrainian Republic were acclaimed by the Ukrainian peasantry with the liveliest enthusiasm because this signified liberation from the Polish yoke. To the appeal of the Ukrainian Government, all, young and old, responded joyously, enrolling themselves in the Ukrainian army to free their natal soil from Polish invasion. Ukrainian soldiers from the Austrian army, who for some years had not seen their families, left directly, without first going home, the Russian front and the Italian front in order to participate in the struggle which should drive the Poles, out They passed an entire rigorous winter in the trenches, without clothing and shoes, repu sing the attacks of the Poles, often inflicting serious blows upon them.

For the Ukrainian peasantry, this was a war against the hereditary enemy.

The Poles speak much of the atrocities practiced by the Ukrainian soldiers. Against these accusations we must protest energetically; the Ukrainian army is perfectly disciplined and has waged war in conformity with international principles. The Ukrainian Government has seen to it that no excesses have been committed by the army.

If there was a single exception, we can only see in it the innate animosity of the Ukrainian people against the Polish element.

And even one such exception would pale into nothingness compared with the plan systematically employed against the Ukrainians upon their own territory by the Polish civil and military authorities. At Lviv, from the 22d of November, 1918,—that is, from the first day—all Ukrainian societies and organizations were at the mercy of Polish soldiery. Nothing has survived. I cite, for instance, those schools which were supported by the Ukrainian Pedagogic Society, which were so demolished that there now remain but the four walls, bare and dilapidated, with broken window panes.

To the misdeeds of the soldiery, there followed the tyrannical orders of the civil authorities. Upon order of the Polish Government, Ukrainian associations and organizations were closed with the exception of the banks. The publication of the newspapers was forbidden; then, a little later, they were authorized to appear only upon the condition that the Ukrainian text should be accompanied by the same text in Polish letters. The majority of the Ukrainian papers refused to submit to such humiliating restrictions and preferred to cease appearing. Soon but two papers were appearing of the Ukrainian Social-Democratic Party, which cherished the hope that the head of the Polish Republic, the Socialist Pilsudzlri, would at last show some justice to Ukraine. Vain hope. These papers were suspended in their turn, their editors arested, and accused of gross crimes against the safety of the Polish State.

From time to time there occurred on the part of the Polish authorities a systematic hunt after prominent Ukrainians, with subsequent deportation to concentration camps. This terror was carried to such a degree that the Polish Commandant Rozwadowski actually invited by means of a special letter, accompanied by the most violent threats, the Metropolitan of the Ukrainians, A. Sheptytsky, to range himself, together with his clergy, on the side of the Polish oppressors.

In short, Ukrainian life stopped completely.

In the country it was still worse. The entire population was a prey to the excesses of the soldiers of Poland. Woe to the village that passes from the hands of the Ukrainians into the hands of the Poles. The cottageB are in flames, the air is rent by the cries of the peasants beaten with scourges. Thus it is that insurgents against Polish authority are punished. Military conventions, the rights of the people are trodden under foot. To realize these scenes it is only necessary to read these lines appearing in a Polish newspaper: "Celuj zawsze wdom Popalub przynajmniej Diaka," meaning ''Train your guns especially upon the house of the Ukrainian priest, or at least upon that of his assistant."

Ukrainian soldiers falling into the Hands of the Poles were no better treated: To be scourged until the blood came, often to be shot; such was their fate. Polish cripples, the halt and the lame, were armed and made to use their weapons. But when the Ukrainians in legitimate self-defense rendered blow for blow, Polish and foreign papers raised cries of horror.

The Poles were intriguing among the Ukrainians at the front against the Ukrainian Government. When it happened that their spies were discovered, that the guilty were punished in conformity with military law, the Poles railed against Ukrainian severity.

Up to the Polish offensive of May, their atrocities had affected only an inconsiderable part of the Ukrainian population. Now it is the whole land which is suffering: institutions, clubs, schools, churches, everything is closed and dissolved by superior orders of the occupants. Ukrainian peasants are imprisoned en masse, even shot; the educated classes, the priests are imprisoned, interned in concentration camps or shot.

Such then is the reality of the idyll of which the Poles have the audacity to discourse at Paris.

Conclusions.

We have thus seen that the Ukrainian-Polish relations have become more and more strained, until the moment when the Ukrainian-Polish War resulted therefrom.

This development of Ukrainian-Polish relations is thoroughly justified by history. Galicia having been conquered six centuries before by Poland, the latter has always tried and is still trying to create of it an organicallv Polish country.

On the other hand, during the entire duration of Polish domination the Ukrainian nation has sought to recover its independence.

Such relations must necessarily envenom the struggle between these two nations until such moment as the Poles shall have suppressed the Ukrainian element, or the latter shall have receovered its independence.

In short, during the whole period of Polish domination in Galicia, the Ukrainian nation has shown by its conduct that it absolutely refused to remain under any form of Polish sovereignty whatsoever, and that this sovereignty could be established only upon the corpse of the entire Ukrainian people.

Such is the nature of the first truth. The second—this is that the Ukrainian people of East Galicia, have manifested their firm and unshakable determination to lead an independent life in the Ukrainian Republic, one and sovereign, at first by founding its own State upon the ruins of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and, later, uniting its State to the Ukrainian Republic through the unanimous vote of the National Council (Parliament of West Ukraine), on the 3d of January, 1919, and through the solemn proclamation at Kiev, on the 22d of January, 1919.

To solve the question of East Galicia in conformity with the principle of the selfdetermination of nations, we must not lose sight of these two essential truths.

The Ukrainian people of East Galicia have shown their wish. Poland by declaring war on West Ukraine has violated the will of the Ukrainian nation.

The commission for the Ukrainian-Polish armistice had declared that the party which contrary to the will of the peace conference should continue to fight, would assume a great responsibility.

Poland has not obeyed the injunctions of the commission, has not accepted the project of the armistice, and has occupied by force of arms almost the whole of East Galicia.

Therefore Poland assumes the responsibility referred to by the armistice commission.

Justice indicates but one way to adjust the question of East Galicia: Put an end to Polish occupation, return to the Ukrainians the administration of their own country, give the Ukrainian people the possibility of disposing of themselves—that is, the possibility of becoming a part of the Ukrainian Republic.

Any other solution of the question, and, in particular, dependence upon Foland under any form whatsoever, would force the Ukrainian people to fight to the last drop of blood for the integrity and the independence of the Ukrainian Republic.

The Ukrainian Republic, which at the beginning of its existence framed a law furnishing guaranties for national minorities, will be able to assure conditions for national development to the minorities of Fast Galicia.

But the Ukrainian nation can never consent to the subjugation of Fast Galicia by Poland merely to safeguard the interests of the Polish national minority.

Copy.

August 7, 1919. Mr. J. ft. Bailey,

Russian Division, State Department, Washington, D. C.

My Dear Sir: I wish to call to your attention the unrest created among the residents of this country of Ukrainian parentage by press reports from Paris indicating that the section of Eastern Galicia inhabited bv Ukrainians is to be incorporated in Poland.

A dispatch from Dr. Dillon in the Philadelphia Public Ledger stated that the American delegation at Paris favored such action. An Associated Press dispatch in the Washington Star further asserted that the conference commission on Polish affairs will recommend to the supreme council that Ukrainian Galicia be put under the dominion of Poland. An arrangement of this character would violate the right and the claim of the Ukrainian people to self-government. It would perpetuate the elements of instability in eastern Europe and, I fear, nullify the hope of the world for permanent peace.

But I desire now chiefly to report the harm already done in this country by the spreading of the reports cited. During the war and subsequent to the armistice more than 400 mass meetings and parades have been held in this country by the half million Ukrainians resident in the industrial States. The purpose of all these has been to inform the American people of the situation of the Ukraine, which on every consideration of ethnography, history, religion, and economics are entitled to self-rule.

I need not, I am sure, recall to you the statements of President Wilson and of Secretary of State Lansing, made during 1918, which recognized the justice of the Ukrainian claim to independence. No more is it necessary to revert to the fact that a recognition of Ukraine's integrity as a nation was implicit in the terms of the armistice.

It is important, however, that I, as the president of the Ukrainian Federation of the United States, should record the dangerous feeling of despair which would be engendered among all Ukrainians if the future of their motherland were to be sacrificed to Polish imperialism. At this state of the world, it is surely imperative that the natural desire of a people such as the Ukrainians who have been so much of a bulwark of civilization both against German imperialism and Russian Bolshevism be not frustrated. I can conceive of no action which would more effectually poison the springs of true democracy and transform a right love of independence into that despair which breeds Bolshevism.

In Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut. Massachusetts, Xew Hampshire, Rhode Island, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and elsewhere in industrial America mass meetings hav" been held to protest against the sacrifice of the Ukraine to Polish aggrandizement, 'krainians know too well the horrors of Austro-Hungraian imperialism to (ind reassurance in its substitution by a Polish hogonomy over the libertyloving peoples of Eastern Europe. The memory of ancient Polish Empire which held sway over the Ukraine and Lithuania in no less brutal fashion than did the Hapsburgs and ITohenzollerns after a partition of Poland in 1772 still rankles. How deeply and securely rooted is this feeling may be judged from the fact that many Polish historians attribute Poland's downfall to the unscrupulous religious, national and social oppression of the Ukrainian, freeholders and peasants, by the Polish aristocracy.

A brief while ago even Premier Paderewski acknowledged and supported the validity of the demands of the Ukrainian people. Following the mass meeting of the oppressed nationalities of central Europe held in Carnegie Hall, September 15, 1918, Mr. Paderewski presented the resolution of the meeting to President Wilson. In part the resolution was as follows:

"Resolved, That since the majority of the inhabitants of Austria-Hungary, to wit: Poles, Czecho-Slovaks, Ukrainians, Roumanians, Jugo-Slavs and Italians, have been unjustly and cruelly governed by a ruling minority of Germans and Magyars, we demand the dissolution of the present empire and the organization of its freed peoples according to their own will."

« ПретходнаНастави »