If they remain silent - the stones will call out !
♦ pictures ♦ "Bykovnia" (I) ♦ " Bykovnia" (II) ♦ "The Apostles of peace ..."
- Polish Bykovnia
- Polish research
- The Forgotten Golgotha
- We Remember!
In our parish there is quite a unique place - Bykownia. The very first Ordinary of the Kiev- Zhytomyr Diocese - Jan Purwiński - entrusted us with its care. Bykovnia - what is so special and extremely dear to us in this place?
The majority of all news about Bykovnia begins with the words "a village in the north-eastern area of Kiev by Czernihow Road ... " . or, " Bykovnia - it is a symbol of inhumanity, injustice, and death." For us, it is something even greater - it is a place where was found the final resting place of tens of thousands of innocent loved ones - who were unjustifiably condemned, shot, and unworthily buried. The majority were people who refused to accept a satanic system - free people - and true freedom is always carried out by the truth. They were people of truth, whom the system was scared of - and thus, destroyed. How much martyr's blood lies there that unites us with the Sacrifice of Christ - which purifies us and rebirths us? How many of these victims are today our intercessors in heaven?! " ... where sin increased , there still grace abounded all the more "(Rom 5, 20).
In the archives of the Kiev City Council workers council is an order of the Bureau of the Council from March 20, 1937, which officially provided a plot for the special needs of the NKVD URSR. Said plot was part of the forest covering 19-20 squares of Dniprowski Forest near the village of Bykovnia. What were these "special needs"...? - a place to bury the murdered victims of the communist regime.
As mentioned by witnesses, in 1937 a green fence was erected in the Bykovnia forest - two and a half to three meters high - and at night to Bykovnia rows of trucks were arriving covered with tarp, from 3 to 6-cars.
From the recollection of witnesses: At the head of the row and at the end rode cars. They turned off the road into the forest, where there was a special access road , ruts were lined with fascine. Everybody knew that these cars were carrying corpses. (memoirs of local resident Makarenka D. Z.J. Peszkowski, S.Z. Zdrojewski, Kijów.Bykovnia, Lodz, 1999.)
Only the most naive believe the rumors that there was Khrushchev's dacha or artillery warehouses.
The land around the green fence was soaked with blood, the locals saw red-brown stains which were left from the trucks filled with human bodies, but were afraid to talk about it ...
Noise from the car engines only disturbed Bykovnia during the night . Trucks roared into the woods and disappeared behind the green fence. Behind the fence, like watchdogs, penetrated the EMKI (Moskwich cars) with the lights off. After a moment the gate closed and behind the fence the light turned on . Invisible to the unaccustomed eye - the even more terrible work began in the silence of the night. In the morning the cars set off again, and again Bykovnia forest died down ... («Биківня», Радянська Україна, 19.04.1989р.).
Columns were arriving every night, until September 1941 - till the German occupation of Kiev.
Some authors argue - based on the memoirs - that mass burial in Bykovnia began in 1936. However, According to Andrij Ivanovich Amons, (former military prosecutor, author of books and articles on military repression in the Kiev region, co-author of books about the executions from 1930-40 of residents of Kiev - and those buried in Bykovnia) that to clarify the exact time of the operation of a secret cemetery in Bykovnia, it is necessary to take into account that authorization for the allocation of plots was not obtained until March 20, 1937. It was also necessary to prepare roads, and fence-in the area.
One can not fail to mention that the mass killings began in the summer of 1937, and precisely up to that time the Bykownia area was being prepared. In addition to this, records have been found during the excavation: documents, newspapers, and other items from the years 1937 to 1940. It is not excluded that incidents of burying the condemned may have occurred even earlier. It is certain, however, that in previous case materials there are entries about the fact that victims of the NKVD, until the end of 1936, were also buried in the Lukjaniwski cemetery - also during the night - trucks were arriving with the bodies of the executed, which were thrown into mass graves.
To the forest in Bykovnia were transported bodies of those shot in the underground of the Ukrainian NKVD: in the prison at Lukjanowce, in the underground NKVD prison at Korolenka street, and from the Kiev board of the NKVD on. R. Luxembourg street. Mostly the bodies brought to Bykovnia were those who had been shot at Instytuckia street, in the room of the former Institute of noble maidens, whose basement was turned into a transporter of death. (It now houses the International Center of Culture and Arts, nowadays it is used for singing and dancing ...)
Here were carried out decrees for those sentenced to death. Usually done by shots to the head - hands and sometimes feet of the condemned were tied. Sounds of gunfire stifled the noise of car engines.
After the shooting, bodies of the murdered were submitted to trucks carefully covered with with tarp, and taken to Bykovnia where they were buried.
From the confession of witness L.T. Gusak - "I worked as a union technician in the NKVD URSR that occupied space in the Żowtnewe Palace of Culture. From the windows I saw how in the yard stood trucks loaded to the top with bodies; the tops of which were covered with tarp - I think so that this "baggage" was not seen. Also, in order for the slots to not drip blood, the bottom of the trailer was also padded with tarp. (Амонс А.І., Биківнянська Трагедія: Док. й матеріали/ Постійна коміс. з питань поновлення прав реабілітованих при Київ.міськраді. – К.: Укр. Центр духов. культури, 2006. – 560 с.: іл.).
Others - former NKVD staff of Kiev - mention that trucks were loaded with bodies of the executed and covered with with tarp; a small dwarf-like caretaker applied a heavy wheel of the car, then climbed into one of the trucks and the column would ship off. Witnesses said that the commandant of particularly important cases would commit 130 - 150 murders every night in his office: ...the next victim (only one person at a time) was brought out of the basement elevator. The prosecutor had to become convinced that it is the correct person, and the sentenced individual stood facing the wall, bent down his head, and the commandant fired off a gun in the back of his head. The same elevator was used for the lowering of the victim to the bottom. The next person sentenced to be shot was taken, and the still-warm body was thrown into the truck. Then the cars rode to Dnieper, to Bykovnia.
Human bodies were buried along with their belongings, documents, and the little money that was with them. Always in their clothes, and then necessarily covered with lime. (Амонс А.І., Биківнянська Трагедія: Док_ Й матеріали / Постійна коміс_ З питань поновлення прав реабілітованих при Київ.міськраді_ - К_: Укр_ Центр духов_ Культури, 2006_ - 560 с_: Іл_)
In the first days of the occupation, the fascists forced inhabitants of Bykovnia to dig up one of the pits behind the green fence. They photographed the bodies found there and passed the photos to the Nazi press. The first time someone wrote about the burials in the Bykovnia forest - Peter A. Kolmus wrote in the article "GPU murders also in Kiev" ("GPU-Morde auch in Kiev") in the newspaper Berliner Zeitung Boersen-September 29, 1941. Also in the same year, Bykovnia was mentioned in "The Ukrainian word" (newspaper which was issued during the German occupation) and "Krakow news." By this time the Germans carried out the first excavations, during which at a depth of five feet were found mangled human bodies. Further exhumations on the fairly large area showed that they were buried hastily - Kiev prisoner detainees who were executed after the war broke out. Germany even wanted to perpetuate the memory of the victims, but there was not enough time to establish a monument.
In contrast, the Soviet authorities established three official committees (in 1944, 1971 and 1987), composed of: employees of the party, "experts" of the state security police, the Interior Ministry, the public prosecutor's office, forensic experts, and representatives of social organizations. All three committees came to the clear conclusion: At the forest in Bykovnia are buried victims of German invaders, the memory of which you have to immortalize; which was done May 6 1988. However, 7 months after the release of a series of high-profile articles - in which was mentioned that in Bykovnia were buried the victims of Stalinist repression - the Kyiv city prosecutor's office launched criminal proceedings for anyone stating the fact of the discovery of mass burial in Bykovnia. The investigation in this case was entrusted to investigator Ignatjew, who was famous not only for his professionalism, but also from the fact that this man was allowed his own opinion, moreover, to express it and defend it. After four months, the investigators proved that in the Bykovnia forest are buried precisely victims of Stalinist repression. In 1989 it was decided to carry out the exhumation, which began in April. The work was difficult in the fact that after over 40 years the Bykovnia graves became a local Klondike, where vandals mined gold. During some of the "action" in the 1970's some were filling full half-liter jars with gold lace, which they would exchange for a bottle of vodka next to the bus stop. All four hectares of land were excavated by these barbarians, and by those who were officially engaged in "cleaning up" that area, along with the repeat burials in 1971 and 1987. The investigation had set itself the task of finding untouched graves in the area of 4,000 square meters. In addition, there was still one task during the exhumation - to find confirmation or correction of data - that some of the Polish officers were executed by the authorities of the NKVD after the Stalinist-Nazi Polish partition, and their remains are buried in the Bykovnia ("Архипелаг Быковня» [в :] «Комсомольское знамя», 09.10.1990 г.)(«Архипелаг
October 31, 1939 at the USSR Supreme Soviet session W.M. Molotov announced the successful occupation of Western Ukraine and had taken captive two hundred and fifty thousand of the Polish army. Therefore, on the European territory of the USSR there were 23 camps for prisoners of the military. In addition to the military, they also arrested state employees, officials, and people who occupied position in the Polish government.
Accounts of witnesses: LK Matwejczenko - resident of Kiev - who in 1940 was held in the section of a special prison at Lukjaniw in a cell with Polish officers. They were about fifty people, among them a colonel, it seems Michalski - And on a floor of the section were kept wives of Polish military. In July 1940 L.K. Matwejczenko was moved into the inner prison of the NKVD, on ul. Korolenka. Here he spent a whole month in the a cell with a man in a general's uniform - the head Lubodziecki military prosecutor.
There were other reasons to search for Polish traces in Bykovnia. Participants of burials in Bykovnia in 1971 testified that even then, during excavations were found buttons with the Polish eagle and the remains of confederates. All of these items were confiscated and exported somewhere.
During the investigation and re-exhumation in 1989 there was found an untouched "Polish" pit. The "Style" of burial was no different: shots through the skull, bones, etc. The difference was only in the objects that were found in the graves - it was not Soviet, and it was mostly military equipment. There were buttons with the Polish eagle, high boots for officers, all which is very well preserved; officers' uniforms, remains of confederates, officers capes, vests, leather buckles from tank vests, and many other things; along with Polish coins, combs, toothbrushes, Soaps, cups labeled with pre-war Polish companies, bottles of cologne, etc. Among the items were civilian shoes labeled "Poland", mostly women's.
It should also be mentioned that during each of the exhumations conducted - in 1944 , 1971 and 1987, there were found traces of Poles - but to speak of this was not allowed. Polish scientists, who in 2001 , 2006, 2007, and 2011 led the exhumation work say that after exhumation in 1971, several thousand cubic meters of sand was loaded onto the area - increasing the area by an average of 1.2 m; and in some places up to 2.5 m. The top was then covered in torf, so today Bykovnia is green. This proves that there were attempts to mask traces of exhumation. Some researchers even claim that all the the remains of the victims, along with anything which could be used to identify the victims, was removed in order to erase all traces of the crime. Of course, no documentation was left, except for minor traces, such as photocopied images of Polish coins. Frightening is the fact that Ukraine did not even know what size was the test area. According to a document in 1937 - in Kiev, the NKVD received 4.5 hectares of forested land from the state, however, the Polish topographers measured the exact area and found that the area of the burials covers 5.3 hectares. One can conclude, says Professor Andrzej Kola , Head of Polish research on Bykovnia, that for their "special needs " the NKVD took as much as was needed.
As we mentioned, in 2001, 2006, 2007 and 2011, the Polish institute of National Remembrance initiated testing at Bykovnia. The Polish team worked in a group of 12 people under the direction of professor Andrzej Koli - an archeologist from Copernicus University in Torun.
Polish researchers say that working in Bykovnia was not that simple. They were not orderly mass graves. Bodies did not lay in the anatomical position, but were scattered - skulls and bones scattered on different levels of ground.
The human skulls which were found indicate that most of the murders were done with a shot to the bottom, or back of the head - in which case the exit wound was distinguishable near the eye or forehead area. On some of the skulls there were also found cracks on the temporal side - which were the result of being hit with a blunt object, most likely the butt of a rifle. According to military prosecutor A.I. Amons, the NKVD used pistols with a low caliber[5.5mm] so the exit wound would be smaller and as a result - less blood. However, a shot from such a pistol was not always fatal and it was sometimes necessary to finish the kill with the butt of a rifle.
Search results by Polish researchers allow us to confirm that Bykovnia also holds the remains of Poles located on the "Ukrainian Katyn List." The main proof of this are the remains unearthed in 2007, among them a dog tag belonging to Sergeant Jozef Naglik, and a comb from the Austrian company 'Matador Garantie' - engraved with names of 4 Polish officers - including Lt.-Col. Bronislaw Szczyradłowski, the deputy commander of the defense of Lviv, Gen. Wladyslaw Langner, and Louis Dvorak - a professor of criminal law at the Jan Kazmir University in Lviv, the closest disciple of prof. Julius Makarewicz - also a judge of the Court of Appeal in Lviv. All three are on the "Ukrainian Katyn List" (http://www.informacje.int...article_id=1094).
On the " Ukrainian Katyn List " are 3435 people. (According to incomplete data from 2010, the Ukrainian Katyn List had 726 Polish Army officers - 218 officers in the fixed service and 10 non-commissioned officers, reserve officers, and 380 militia, along with 118 retired officers), 746 police officers and 24 senior officers of the State Police, 24 Prison Guards and 4 heads of prisons. Also seven generals: Romuald Dabrowski, Kazimierz Dzierżanowski, Wladyslaw Jędrzejewski, Szymon Kurz, Mieczyslaw Linde, Franz Paulik and Rudolf Prich; and 26 colonels and 46 lieutenant colonels of the Polish Army. Among the civilians are on the list was to include 74 landowners, 46 teachers, 70 engineers, 15 doctors, 174 lawyers (including two judges of the Supreme Court ), 19 governors and chairmen, 10 presidents and vice presidents of cities, 11 mayors, six senators, six members and 91 officials. Among the victims were, among others, deputy Volyn Ignatius Strzemiński and Lt. Col. Tadeusz Korniłowicz, son-in-law of Henryk Sienkiewicz, senators Maciej Bundzylak, Apollinaris Garlicki, Helena Lewczanowska and Mykola Maslov, Members Dezydery Smoczkiewicz, Edward Ekert, Zygmunt Piotrowski and Perto Fedyszyn, politican and president of Ternopil Stanislaw Widacki, professor of law at the University of Lwow Louis Dvorak and associate professor of the university Zenon Wachlowski)
How many of them are buried in Bykovnia? To this question no one can give answers, because as already mentioned, the graves were often dug and destroyed; valuable documents were also destroyed. It should be remembered that in addition to the Poles of the "Ukrainian Katyn List," in Bykovnia there are remains which were not on the list. A.I. Amons claims that Poles were buried here also from other killings. In 1937, the NKVD Commissioner of Internal Affairs - Nikolai Yezhov - issued a warrant for the execution of Polish nationality who lived in Ukraine. The researcher is convinced that in the Bykovnia forest there are at least 5 thousand Poles who were shot from 1937-1938, before the Katyn massacre. There are also those who were killed in 1941. According to the A. I. Amons - in Bykovnia lie at least 7-8 thousand Poles.
The exhumations finished in 2011 became a symbolic funeral of 492 Polish victims excavated from the pits of death. On November 28, 2011, the foundation was laid for the construction of a Polish Military Cemetery in Bykovnia - the fourth of the so-called "Katyn cemeteries."
The ceremonial opening and dedication of the cemetery followed on September 21, 2012 (http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bykownia).
... The history of nations - objectivized and recorded in writing,
is one of the essential elements of culture - the element
which forms the identity of the nation in the dimention of time
(John Paul II, Memory and Identity)
Now, an area of 5300 square meters in the bykownia forest is a tomb to mostly wrongly convicted, innocent people; who were cruelly murdered because they were honest, noble people - people of high culture; people who loved and served their homeland... To this day, It is unknown how many people met their last repose. Some authors say 150 000. Yet how many people in Ukraine and Poland know about Bykovnia? How many researchers undertook studyof this terrible tragedy that took the lives of over one hundred thousand people ? - maybe even the best people, the elite of society?
Presently, people often sing odes of praise to those who have a very dubious reputation, whose hands are stained with the blood of defenseless women, children, and elderly; who were murdered because, they were not of correct nationality, religion, or political views ... tens of thousands lie forgotten in Bykovnia, only the trees that grew on their bodies whisper to them that better times will come ... worthy of their memory and the sacrifice of their lives.
If they remain silent - The stones will call out
Care for Bykovnia it is a great honor for us, but also a challenge. With all our strength and capabilities we will strive to worthily honor the memory of those who lie there. We will strive so that more and more people will learn of this area. The first steps in this direction have already been taken. We have created two films about Bykovnia - in 2005 and 2006 - which were broadcast on the Ukrainian state channel "Kultura". Our parishioners always actively participate in Holy Mass with members of the Katyn International Motorcycle Ride; and parish priest Wieslaw Peski SAC has been the main celebrant of ceremonial Holy Mass for several years. Also, the chapter on Bykovnia on our website is also not coincidental. We hope that there will be people who, thanks to this article, learn about this forgotten Golgotha; and through their remembrance and prayer will give honor to those who have found their final resting place here.