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Bullet marks on the Church of Ascension at the Pidkamin Abbey, stormed by UPA on 12 March 1944

Polish graveyard in Podkamien

The Pidkamin massacre 12 March 1944 was the massacre of Polish civilians committed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA) under the command of Maksym Skorupsky (Maks), in cooperation with a unit of the SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien".[1] The victims were ethnic Polish residents of the Eastern Galician village of Pidkamin near Brody, previously known as Podkamień in the former Second Polish Republic's Tarnopol Voivodeship. During the war this area was administratively part of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine (now Ternopil oblast, Ukraine). Estimates of victims include 150,[2] more than 250 [3] and up to 1000.[4][5]


During World War II Pidkamin, (Polish language: Podkamień ), was a shelter for Poles from the neighbouring province of Volhynia, who had escaped the Massacres of Poles in Volhynia and sought refuge in the local Dominican monastery.[2] The complex was surrounded by walls and was located on a hill that dominated the surrounding area and as a result provided a relatively safe haven for refugees.[1] Around 2,000 people[5] were living at Podkamin town and the monastery when it was attacked in March 1944, by the UIA in cooperation with 14th SS Division.[1][3]

The massacre

On the first day of the attack it was repelled by a small self defence group, and that night some of the inhabitants managed to escape. The next day the UIA promised to spare the inhabitants lives in exchange for the surrender of the monastery.[5] While the monastery was being evacuated the UIA opened fire and entered the monastery complex, and massacred a number of people, including the clergy.[6] The bodies of the dead were then thrown into the well. Afterwards the UIA camped in the nearby town of Pidkamin, and between the 12–16 March repeatedly attacked people hiding in the villages. On 16 March, as the Soviet Red Army approached, the UIA withdrew from the area.[5]


Approximately 100 ethnic Poles were murdered in the monastery, and additional 500 were killed in the town of Pidkamen itself. In the nearby village of Palikrowy, 365 Poles were killed. Armed Ukrainian groups destroyed the monastery, stealing all the valuables, except for the monastery's crowned icon.[5] Tadeusz Piotrowski who based his findings on the Home Army or German Police sources, estimates that the number of victims in the monastery and adjacent villages numbered 1000.[7] Among the survivors was the renowned writer and painter, Leopold Buczkowski.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Mikolaj Falkowski, Podkamień. Perła Kretisów. Miejsce pamięci ofiar UPA. Official webpage of the Polish Radio
  2. 2.0 2.1 Grzegorz Motyka, Ukraińska Partyzantka 1942-1960, Warszawa 2006, p. 182, 385
  3. 3.0 3.1 Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Chapter 5 Kiev, Ukraine: Institute of History of the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Chapter written by Ihor Ilyushin. pg. 285
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Henryk Komański, Szczepan Siekierka, Ludobójstwo dokonane przez nacjonalistów ukraińskich na Polakach w województwie tarnopolskim w latach 1939-1946; 1182 pages, format B5, 379 illustrations, hard cover. Pages: 362-363
  6. Pure soldiers or sinister legion: the Ukrainian 14th Waffen-SS Division By Sol Littman, page 75
  7. Genocide and rescue in Wołyń by Tadeusz Piotrowski, page 245
  8. Ziemia Lwowska (Lviv Land), by Grzegorz Rakowski, page 339

See also


  • Grzegorz Motyka, Ukraińska Partyzantka 1942-1960, Warszawa 2006. Pages: 182, 385.
  • Per Anders Rudling, They Defended Ukraine’: The 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr. 1) Revisited, The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 25:3, 329-368 online version

External links

Coordinates: 49°56′40″N 25°19′25″E / 49.94444°N 25.32361°E / 49.94444; 25.32361

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