Orysia Paszczak Tracz

In addition to those war dead whose memory we honour on Remembrance Day, I wish to remember those whom very few in Canada will think of -- not the soldiers, but the ordinary people, the innocent victims of war. I was born right after the war, but my family and I still bear the scars.

On this day

  - Remember those who died in the flames of their own homes, bombed by one side or the other.

  - Remember those who were left hanging for days on Gestapo gallows in so many Ukrainian villages, as a reminder to others not to oppose foreign authority.

  - Remember those who were herded into cattle cars from village and city markets, into forced labour, who died in German factories and railroads from Allied bombs.

  - Remember those who were forced into the German army, to die in internment camps from starvation and typhoid without fighting for or against anyone.

  - Remember the concentration camp inmates, not only the Jews, but the clergy, the Ukrainians, Poles, Balts, Gypsies, and the homosexuals.

  - Remember those who were executed on the spot for harboring or even feeding Jews.

  - Remember the political prisoners who were executed in their cells or left for dead by the retreating Soviet army.

  - Remember the underground and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, who fought both the Nazis and the Soviets, with no aid from anyone else.

  - Remember the refugees who died fleeing their homes, who were killed as they rode or walked the roads west -- shot down by low-flying Soviet planes who could see whom they were shooting.

  - Remember those who died after being forcibly repatriated from the Displaced Persons camps to the Soviet Union -- and those who committed suicide rather than return.

  - Remember those who massively deserted the Red Army, to fight for independence, who were sent to dig ditches instead, only to die in them.

  - Remember the orphans, and the helpless elderly.

  - Remember the babies, who died of hunger and lack of medical care. There were no doctors for the untermenschen, the "subhuman" Slavs.

  - Remember the survivors, some of whom are the living dead, whose minds and emotions have departed to another time and place because of what they lived through then.

  - Remember the millions -- victims of war, conquest, hunger -- who lie in unmarked graves throughout Eastern Europe, whom the West has forgotten or chooses to ignore.

  - Remember, then dare look me in the eye and tell me about war crimes, collaboration, and atrocities.

  - Remember, and thank God the war was not fought on North American soil.

© 1999 Orysia Tracz, Winnipeg.

Local Links:

IconInfoUkes Home Page

Document Information

Document URL:

Copyright © 1999 Orysia Tracz
E-mail: tracz@cc.UManitoba.CA

Copyright © 1999 InfoUkes Inc.

since Nov 8, 1999
InfoUkes Inc.
Suite 185, 3044 Bloor Street West
Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M8X 2Y8
Tel: (416) 236-4865 Fax: (416) 766-5704

Originally composed: Monday November 8th, 1999.
Date last modified: Monday November 8th, 1999.