Institute of National Memory

The Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation
Investigation Reports on Koniuchy and Naliboki issued March 1, 2002

Polish original texts can be found at <http://www.ipn.gov.pl/

KONIUCHY
Regional Commission in Lodz


Information about the current state of the investigation into the January 1944 murder by Soviet partisans of the inhabitants of the village of Koniuchy, township of Bienakonie, county of Lida, Nowogrodek province.

The village of Koniuchy was located at the edge of the Rudniki Forest, where numerous Soviet partisan groups had their bases. Members of these groups frequently carried out raids on the nearby villages and settlements including Koniuchy.

The purpose of those raids was to rob the local population of their property, mostly clothing, footwear, cattle and stores of flour. In the course of the raids, violence was commonly used against the rightful owners of those possessions. The inhabitants of Koniuchy organized self-defence. Local peasants guarded the village in order to prevent further robberies. For this reason, on the night of 28/29 January 1944, a group of Soviet partisans from the Rudniki Forest surrounded the village. In the early
morning, they used incendiary bullets to set the buildings on fire. The escaping inhabitants - men, women and children - were shot down. Most of the village was destroyed. Between 36 and 50 inhabitants were killed on the spot, others were wounded. The survivors escaped to nearby
villages.

The Rudniki Forest partisans were under the command of the Central Staff of the Partisan Movement in Moscow. The massacre at Koniuchy was committed by a group of around 100-120 partisans from various units, including a Jewish partisan unit about 50 people strong. This crime was reported [to the Institute] by the Canadian Polish Congress. The investigation was opened on March 8, 2001.

During the course of the investigation, through, among other means, press announcements and contacts with the World Association of the Home Army Soldiers, names and addresses were established and 17 witnesses were questioned. This group included former members of the Home Army units stationed in the Rudniki Forest and the relatives of the victims. Some witnesses supplied the names or pseudonyms of Soviet partisans, locations of their units and their numerical strengths; they also confirmed that the largest group consisted of Jewish partisans. The partisan units in question were commonly called "Wisincza because their bases were located between the village by that name and Lake Kiernowo. One of the witnesses was in Koniuchy on February 2, 1944, just a few days after the attack. He testified that he had seen burned-down homes, people driven to despair, and abandoned children. A survivor, who managed to hide during the massacre, told him that the village had been set on fire from opposite ends, then the escaping
inhabitants had been shot at. The attack took place after a lengthy period of surveillance, when the members of the self-defence left their posts and went home. The inhabitants of Koniuchy, in their accounts of the perpetrators, used interchangeably the terms "Jews" and "Russians". It appears from the depositions that some of the victims, especially the old and infirm, were burned to death in their homes. Those who tried to escape were fired at. This was the way in which the members of the P. family died. The bodies of Stanislaw and Katarzyna P. (husband and wife) were found at their home, charred. The body of their daughter Genowefa P., pierced by bullet wounds and with her feet partly burned, was lying in the backyard.

The investigation records also contain a certified copy of a secret field report prepared by the Operational Division of the Wehrmacht
Command Ostland in Riga on February 5, 1944. The report states that in Koniuchy there appeared "a medium-sized band of Jews and Russians 36 inhabitants were killed, 14 wounded. The village was for the most part destroyed." At present, historians from the Expert Evidence and Documentation Section of the Main Commission are searching for documents regarding this crime prepared by Soviet partisans, as well as for information about the personnel list of the Soviet units stationed in the Rudniki Forest. A search is also under way For Home Army veterans from the diversionary unit "Frycz", which some of the male survivors of the Koniuchy massacre later joined. Addresses of additional witnesses whose relatives died in Koniuchy are being established, and appeals for legal assistance are being formulated and sent out not only to Lithuania and Belarus, but also to Canada, among other places.

March 1, 2002

NALIBOKI
Regional Commission in Lodz

Information about the current state of the investigation into the murder of the inhabitants of the town of Naliboki, county of Stolpce, Nowogrodek province, in May 1943.

The Regional Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation in Lodz is conducting an investigation into the crimes committed by Soviet partisans on the soldiers of the Home Army and civilian population in the Stolpce and Wolozyn counties in the Nowogrodek province.

This investigation was opened on March 20, 2001, and it covers a series of crimes committed by Soviet partisans in the period 1942-1944. One of the main threads of the investigation concerns the attack on the town of Naliboki, county of Stolpce.

Until September 1939, Naliboki was inhabited mostly by Poles and Jews. From 1942 on, various bands, which hid in the surrounding forests, started raiding Naliboki. The activities of those bands had exclusivelycriminal aims, i.e., robbery. In order to protect the local inhabitants, a group of Poles in Naliboki organized a self-defence unit. In the spring of 1943 the commanders of the Soviet partisans stationed in the Naliboki forest tried to subordinate this unit but the Poles refused.
During a subsequent meeting an agreement was reached, whereby the Poles and the Soviets were not to attack each other, and the town of Naliboki with its surrounding settlements was to become the home territory of the Polish self-defense. In spite of this, during the night of May 8/9, 1943, partisans from several units of the Stalin Brigade attacked Naliboki. They seized mostly men, whom they shot after taking them out of their homes. The total number of victims was 120-129 people. All of the houses were plundered, and food and valuables taken. Some buildings were burned down, including the church and the sawmill.

So far 24 witnesses have been questioned, most of them former inhabitants of Naliboki or nearby settlements who were present there
during the attack. Their detailed testimonies about the course of events under investigation mention the names of some of the perpetrators, several of whom have been identified as former Jewish residents of Naliboki. The witnesses also mention the names of Soviet partisans. A review of the case brought against the leader of the Polish self-defense unit in Naliboki before the District Military Court in Warsaw in 1951 has also Been undertaken. During those proceedings a copy of the cryptogram sent by the Stalin Brigade to Ponamarenko and Kalinin on May 11, 1943, had been obtained. The cryptogram in question contains a report about the attack on Naliboki. At present the names and addresses of additional persons having knowledge of these events are being sought and the lists of victims submitted by three witnesses are being verified.

March 1, 2002