Grassroots Polish-Ukrainian initiatives are emerging to help bring the Volhynia issue closer.
Pictured - Karolina Romanowska, whose large part of her family was murdered in Ugły in Volhynia, and Julia Kowalczuk, a Ukrainian from Volhynia whose grandfather was involved in helping Poles during the massacre.
Eighteen members of Karolina's family were killed during the UPA's attack on Ugły on 12 May 1943. Among the survivors, the Volhynian slaughter was a taboo subject for many years. Romanowska only went to Volhynia for the first time as an adult to see the place where her loved ones lived. The documentary film Grandfather's Orchard was based on her journey in Volhynia.
She returned from Ugiel with the firm conviction that a future cannot be built on trauma. In Poland, she founded the Polish-Ukrainian Reconciliation Association. Her friend from Ukraine, Julia Kowalczuk, hearing the stories Karolina told, asked her grandmother what she remembered from 1943. She learned about her grandfather, who had rescued his Polish neighbours in one of the villages.
Kowalczuk is one of the first people Romanowska invited to work with her. They both plan to attract as many people as possible from both sides of the border and jointly seek a way to speak the truth about Volhynia. And that the massacre of 1943 would no longer divide us.
A look to the future