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Polish WWII drama depicting carnage in Nazi-occupied Ukraine takes home movie award

March 21, 8:25 UTC+3 WARSAW

The film also received an audience choice award

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Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski

Polish director Wojciech Smarzowski

© AP Photo/Keystone/Martial Trezzini

WARSAW, March 21. /TASS/. A new film by director Wojciech Smarzowski, ‘Wolyn’, recounting the story of crimes committed by pro-Nazi Ukrainian nationalists against ethnic Poles in the western region of Volhynia during World War II has received the main Polish movie award, the Eagles.

The Polish Film Academy that awards the prize announced the winners on Monday night. ‘Wolyn’ (aka ‘Hatred’) also received an audience choice award.

The plot of the film, which is based on the novel ‘Hate’ by Stanislaw Srokowski, embraces a period of spring 1939 through to summer 1943. It explores the crimes of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army against peaceful Poles.

A total of 130 actors took part in the filming, including 30 Ukrainian actors.

The director shows the arson of whole villages, the scenes of bloodletting and manslaughter, rapes, torture, including the outrage on babies, and a multitude of other crimes committed by the Ukrainian nationalists through the plight of several families and the protagonist, Zosia Glowacka. It also shows the retaliatory action undertaken by the Poles to avenge their families.

"My main goal was to produce a film spearheaded at hatred and nationalism," Wojciech Smarzowski told reporters. He made it clear he would not like to see anyone use the film for political purposes but he believes it will unavoidably trigger "a return of the theme as such".

"First there will be shock but when the emotions melt away this film will help establish an honest dialogue based on truth," he said.

The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), an ultra-right radical force that was active in what is western Ukraine now, set a goal for itself to create and independent Ukraine. To achieve it, OUN used extremism and terrorist acts, among other methods.

During World War II, OUN launched struggle with Soviet government in cooperation with security services of the Third Reich. In 1943, it set up the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

Ukrainian nationalists embarked on a campaign to exterminate the Polish population of Volhynia in February 1943. The punitive operations reached their peak on July 11, 1943, when the OUN/UIA units attacked about a hundred Polish townships and villages killing about 100,000 people there, mostly women, children and the elderly.

The Polish Sejm passed a resolution on July 22, 2016 equating the OUN/UIA crimes against the Polish population of Volhynia in 1943/1944 to acts of genocide. Is also made July 11 the Day of Memory of the Polish Victims of Genocide.

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s national parliament reciprocated on September 8 with a resolution condemning the Seim’s decision. It said the Polish deputies’ assessment of the Volhynia tragedy was irrelevant from the political and legal points of view.

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