Tadeusz Hołówko

Tadeusz Hołówko

Tadeusz Hołówko (Semey, now Kazakhstan, September 17, 1889August 29, 1931, Truskavets, now Ukraine), codename "Kirgiz", was an interwar Polish politician, diplomat and author of many articles and books.

He was most notable for his moderate stance on the "Ukrainian problem" faced by the Polish government, which due to its nationalist policies in Poland's largely Ukrainian- and Belarusian-populated eastern territories, faced increasing tensions there. Despite, or perhaps because of, being a relative moderate in policies toward the Ukrainian population, and a supporter of peaceful cooperation, he was assassinated in 1931 by two members of the radical Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.


Born on September 17, 1889, in Semipalatinsk, Russian Empire (now Semey, Kazakhstan), Hołówko became a close collaborator of Józef Piłsudski, [http://www.ispan.waw.pl/zaklitkul/pracluk/BPU.html Pracownia Literatury Ukraińskiej. Instytut Slawistyki PAN] (Department of Ukrainian Literature. Institute of Slavistics, Polish Academy of Sciences. Last accessed on 30 September 2006] first in the Polish Socialist Party ("PPS"), later in the Polish Military Organization ("POW") and finally in the pro-Sanation Bezpartyjny Blok Współpracy z Rządem ("BBWR") party and the Polish government (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs). In 1918 he became a vice-minister in the first government of the Second Polish Republic led by Prime Minister Ignacy Daszyński., Hołówko stated apparently contrary to the "Prometheian" ideas that the Soviet control over the Dnieper Ukraine is the most beneficial condition for the Polish "solution of the Ukrainian problem" as any genuinely Ukrainian government would have likely raised territorial claims towards Polish state. On the other hand, he was frequently cited as an advocate for independence of Ukraine, Belarus and other countries.From 'Wolni z wolnymi, równi z równymi' book as quoted on [http://www.arcana.pl/historia.html publisher's page] . Last accessed on 30 September 2006.]

His controversial stance towards the Ukrainian problem made him a target for Ukrainian extremists. Approximately 1/3 of population of the Second Polish Republic was formed of ethnic minorities,Norman Davies, God's Playground, Columbia University Press, 2005, ISBN 0231128193, [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0231128193&id=EBpghdZeIwAC&pg=PA299&lpg=PA299&vq=minorities+Jews+Ukrainians+percent&dq=Davies+minorities+Jews+Ukrainians&sig=DSpsbu1NQovhbLzjBqJyZM5-PRg Google Print, p.299] ] but their problems were marginalized by the Polish government, whose heavy-handed policies were only serving to antagonize the Ukrainian population.Timothy Snyder, "The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999", Yale University Press, ISBN 030010586X [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN030010586X&id=xSpEynLxJ1MC&pg=PA144&lpg=PA144&dq=stanislaw+grabski&sig=5kSKOnXipwsTitk7w_hotRTooPQ Google Books, p.144] ] Davies, God's Playground, op.cit., [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0231053525&id=DMoPXktGwiUC&pg=PA407&lpg=PA407&dq=Davies+OUN+terrorism&sig=n2yftCtdccp3U4rPQL8OcBtH9_8] ] Eventually the extremists among Ukrainians started sabotage and assassinations campaign and Polish government responded with further respressions. Hołówko was one of the few who tried to deal with that problem with negotiations and compromise; he mediated between willing Polish and Ukrainian politicians and proposed various plans to solve the tensions, from releasing Ukrainians prisoners and granting the minorities more rights, up to giving the Kresy regions, inhabited by those minorities, substantial autonomy. However, such pro-Polish Ukrainian politicians were viewed as collaborators by the radical Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, and Hołówko's stance made him enemies among extremist politicians on both sides, who saw profit in further inter-ethnic conflict.

He died in "Truskawiec" (Truskavets) on August 29, 1931, one of the first victims of an assassination campaign carried out by militants of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists ("OUN"). Having experienced heart-related illness, and unable to go to abroad due to financial constraints, he had decided to stay at the health resort of Truskawiec in eastern Poland's "Kresy", an area with a largely Ukrainian population. He had, moreover, chosen to stay at a guest house run by Greek-Catholic nuns of Basil of Caesarea ("Sorores Basyliae"), partly as a declaration of his pro-Ukrainian stance, and partly because it was less expensive. At the news that he had chosen Truskawiec to spend his vacation, the local police commissioner, unable to change Hołówko's mind, assigned a man to shadow him as a bodyguard. August 29 was Hołówko's last day in Truskawiec; unable to leave as planned because he was waiting for a cash transfer to pay for his stay, he was further delayed by a storm. Then in his room he was met by two OUN activists, Vasyl Bilas and Dmytro Danylyshyn, who shot him and left the scene.

His death, widely discussed in the Polish press, and mentioned in the international press and even at a League of Nations session,pl icon Wojciech Kujawa [http://www.rosjapl.info/ukraina/ukraincy_w_polsce_miedzywojennej.php Ukraińcy w międzywojennej Polsce] (Ukrainians in the pre-war Poland). Last accessed on 30 September 2006.] was part of a vicious circle involving the Polish government's brutal repression of ethnically-Ukrainian citizens (the Polish government's "pacification" campaign) and the OUN's campaign of terror. Some time later, the Polish police commissioner in charge of investigating Hołówko's death, Emilian Czechowski, himself became an OUN assassination victim.


*"O demokracji, polityce i moralności życia publicznego"
*"Kwestia narodowościowa w Polsce" (1922).


*"Influence of communism diminishes with progress... [In a wealthy, educated village] , a communist agitator has nothing to do. Thus two things are needed do combat influences of communism: objective, independent and just administration, and cultural work."pl icon Andrzej Chojnowski [http://www.omp.org.pl/index.php?module=subjects&func=printpage&pageid=196&scope=all - Piłsudczycy wobec komunizmu] (Piłsudskiites and communism). Last accessed on 30 September 2006.]
*"Independence of Poland is inconcivable without independent Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Ukraine and Belarus. Independence of Poland is only one of many examples of a process seen throughout modern Europe - freeing of nations from political slavery. If Poland is alone, if other countries created on the ruins of Russian Empire will fall - dark will be Poland's future."
*..."such policies [needs to be used] that ethnic minorities would feel good in Poland, not attempting to break away from Polish state, but on the opposite, they would see such a break away as a defeat. [...] [Thus] those national movements must be supported [...] Therefore that population which would have complete freedom within borders of the Republic would not be loured by Russia."

ee also



*Polish|Tadeusz Hołówko|30 September 2006

Further reading

* WERSCHLER Iwo; "Z dziejów obozu belwederskiego. Tadeusz Hołówko, życie i działalność". Warszawa 1984 PWN

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