At the end of August, a bloodied man came from Wladyslawówka, shouting that the Ukrainians were murdering Poles in his village. The witness, W. Malinowski, hid with his family in the forest. A neighbor, a Ukrainian, Józef Pawluk, helped them. He said he had gone to the village of Władysławówka to check what was happening. He returned after about 3 hours and gave a report. Another Ukrainian man, Prowidnyk, said that the slaughter was being carried out throughout the Ukraine, that there was an order to kill all Lachiv (as Ukrainians called Poles), communists and Jews too. No one was supposed to remain alive.
Józef Pawluk said that in the village of Władysławówka they had already killed everyone, 40 families – a total of 250 people were dead, just corpses everywhere. Asked how it had happened, he said that in the morning a group of 50 Ukrainians – members of UPA, all armed, attacked the village. They surrounded the village and kept the inhabitants captive. They shot a few Poles who tried to escape.
The defenseless and terrorized Poles were dispensed to the Ukrainians who had been waiting on the outskirts of the village since before the attack even began. It was a group of about 150 people without firearms, women among them. They carried scythes, sickles, axes, forks, knives, flails, shovels, rakes, stanchions, tippers and other tools used in agriculture.
On a given sign by armed Ukrainians, the villagers rushed at the Poles. A terrible slaughter began. In the confusion they beat up their own. My father told me all about it – Pawluk said, but I saw only the end of this slaughter. The most cruel deaths were suffered by the last victims. The Ukrainian villagers tore people apart, tore off their hands and legs, cut off their hands with knives, pierced the victims with pitchforks, chopped them up with axes, hanged them alive, cut them open with scythes, gouged out their eyes, cut off their ears, noses, tongues, breasts of women and let the victims die in agony. Others got hold of the dying victims to inflict even more suffering on them. I saw how people who were alive had their bellies ripped open, their intestines pulled out with bare hands. The murderers would hold on to one victim while raping another. They hammered some victims to death, impaled them, turned living women upside down and split them into two with an ax or drowned them in wells.
Pawluk said that he had never seen or heard about such slaughter in his life, and people who did not witness it would never believe that their own brothers and sisters had done it. (…) After knocking out the victims, everyone threw themselves at their possessions – they took everything, even fought among themselves over the loot. I could not look at children with smashed heads and brains on the walls, massacred corpses everywhere, blood everywhere- red everywhere…..
A witness, Kajetan Cis, survived in Augustów, hidden in the sheaves of hay. He saw an unsuccessful attempt to escape by the Malinowski family, brother of a witness who wrote down the account of the Ukrainian Pavluk. The family consisted of 7 people: parents, mother-in-law and children aged 2, 3, 4 and 5. An enraged crowd, still bloodied and warmed up in Władysławówka – still armed with pitchforks, axes, sickles and scythes – massacred and murdered that poor family; women, Malinowski’s wife and mother-in-law, were stripped naked and raped – probably raped when they were already dead, because they lay motionless. Some rezuns (a word taken from Ukrainian, meaning butcher) threw themselves on the corpses covered with blood. Living children were lifted up in the air with pitchforks – terrible screams (…). I was familiar with a few of those butchers – they lived in neighboring villages, they were neighbors.
In the windmill near the village of Augustów, they murdered the Romanowski family. A witness, a woman of German descent, managed to hide and watch the slaughter. She saw from the hiding how they had killed the father and the children with axes: two daughters aged 18 and 20 and two sons aged 15 and 18. Daughters, before being killed, were raped in front of their mother. There were about ten Ukrainians …….
My mother’s family fled in time, after being warned by their Ukrainian neighbor of the planned slaughter. My mother’s younger sister decided to go back to pick up something she wanted to have for their long journey and found her neighbors slaughtered. Her good friend was lying in a puddle of blood, with her abdomen cut open and the intestines torn out, spread beside her.
My mothers family fled in time also after being warned by their Ukrainian neighbors. My mother spoke of the slaughter that she saw. My mother and her family were placed into slave labor camps for many years and survived and migrated to Australia after the war ended.