DOI: https://doi.org/10.21847/1728-9343.2018.6(158).152243

Polish community of Odesa in the system of political terror in 1920-1921

Oleksandr Shyshko

Abstract


In early February of 1920, the Odesa Hubernia Extraordinary Commission (OHEC), the most brutal punitive body of the Communist Party, was restored. The OHEC board has sentenced to death 1551 persons only during 1920. Among them, there were 126 accused of cooperation with the "Polish Military Organization" (PMO). The anti-Polish campaign in Odesa began in May 1920, when newspapers started publishing propaganda materials that called for fighting against Polish bourgeoisie. The victory over it would have opened the road to the world revolution for the German and English proletariat.

At the tactical level, the campaign goal was to prevent Poles from spying on the home front. To enforce this policy, the OHEC ordered all persons of Polish nationality and all those who had Polish citizenship, indiscriminate of gender and between the ages of 16 and 60, to register in the 5-day period at the registration office for foreigners. As a result of external surveillance and the work of the agents, 200 people were arrested in early September and accused of being the members of PMO. On October 5, the OHEC Board sentenced 26 persons to death and ordered to confiscate their property. On the night of October 6-7, they were executed. 

On October 28, during the sitting of the OHEC Board, 100 persons were sentenced to death, for “cooperation with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the General Headquarters of the Polish Army” and for “belonging to the Agent Information Point K.N.Z.S.I.” The sentence was carried out in the night of October 30. This case “solved” by OHEC in 1920 was “the biggest, in terms of the number of defendants and the crimes that they have been accused of," and included the materials on the Polish, White Guard and Petliura underground organizations. In the archives of the Office of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in Odesa region, there are only 16 personal archival investigation files that belong to this case.

In September 1921, OHEC discovered another “underground Polish organization”. According to the protocol of the OHEC Board sitting, which took place on September 21, 1921, 110 persons were arrested in this case, 51 of them were executed on September 23. Thus, Polish community in Odesa, represented by the members of PMO, joined the resistance against the policy of the Communist Party, in the bid to overthrow the communist regime and stop its social experiments, which had been in conflict with the interests of all strata of the city population.

The purpose of this study is to analyze the causes and consequences of political terror perpetuated by the punitive bodies of the Communist Party against the members of POV in Odesa, the Polish community of the city and the persons of other nationalities accused of collaborating with the Polish military and civilian authorities. The task of this article is also to discover and publish the names of the victims of political terror. The main political and economic aspects of social life were examined in the context of the topic.

Keywords


Odesa; Poles; community; terror; «Polish Military Organization»; archival and investigative affairs

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Вісти Одеського Губерніального Революційного Комітету і Губерніального Загальноміського Комітету Комуністичної Партії (більшовиків) України, 1920, червень-грудень.

 

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