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Remembering Katyn & Smolensk


It took a tragic accident with eerie connections to a historical atrocity evoking these memories and beginning to transform them.

 

Katyn-Smolensk 1940-2010

 

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Throughout the Soviet era, the fact that the Katyn massacres had been perpetrated by Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, was systematically covered up by the Kremlin. After the Cold War, information and acknowledgement were more forthcoming, but not at the rate many Polish activists wanted. Swathed in conspiracy and suppressed by the Soviet establishment, the historical truth about the Katyn murders remained obscure for more than half a century. Katyn has evolved from the name of a single historical event into a metonym and metaphor – a shorthand for multiple killing fields in Eastern Europe and beyond. Polish victims were buried in killing fields in Russia, Ukraine and, almost certainly, Belarus as well. “Katyn” has become the collective noun encompassing all of these places.

 

 

http://www.katyn.org.au/

 

 

http://www.henrymakow.com/a_warning_to_the_polish_nation_1.html

 

 

In 1942, after Germany and Russia had gone to war with one another, workers in German-occupied territory came across the graves at Katyn. The Germans elected not to release this information until the following year, Goebbels gleefully anticipating a PR coup against the Soviet enemy. After the German announcement, however, the Soviets responded by pinning the blame on the Nazis. As recent declassified US archival documents reveal, Roosevelt and Churchill tacitly recognised that Katyn had almost certainly been sanctioned by Stalin, but they towed the line for the sake of their alliance. “Let us think of these things always and speak of them never,” Owen O’Malley, British ambassador to the Polish Government-in-exile, said in a statement which summed up Britain’s ambivalence.

As the Soviet cover-up spread into the era of the Cold War, it was challenged by activists both within Communist Poland and the Polish diaspora. From the late 1940s, anonymous tributes to the victims started to spring up in key locations. These tributes were repeatedly removed by the Polish security services. In April 1956, 20,000 Poles congregated in London to commemorate the massacres. By the 1970s, monuments had begun to appear in Stockholm and London, and in April 1980, on the 40th anniversary of the killings, Soviet dissidents issued a public statement “Look Back In Repentance” to mark the occasion.

In the late 1980s, the pending collapse of the Soviet regime allowed the Poles some limited access to Katyn, where the inscription to victims of the Nazi regime on the Soviet monument was changed, euphemistically, to a commemoration of “the fallen” that suggested no perpetrator. Mikhail Gorbachev nevertheless continued to deny Soviet state responsibility for the massacre. It was only in 1990 that this position became untenable with the discovery of new documentary evidence. Half a century after the killings, Russia finally acknowledged what Stalin had done. In 1993, Boris Yeltsin knelt before the Katyn cross in Warsaw and asked Poles: “Forgive us, if you can”.

This year Poland is commemorating 6th anniversary of its worst national tragedy since World War II – the plane crash in western Russia, which occurred on the 10th of April 2010.

The crash, in Smolensk killed 96 people, including Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, the central-bank governor, top army commanders, and other high-ranking officials.

The disaster happened as the high-level delegation were travelling to Katyn, the remote wooded spot where Soviet secret police murdered thousands of Polish officers in 1940.

The investigation into the crash is still going on and the plane wreckage remains in Russia.

http://www.smolenskcrashnews.com/

The Polish government accuses Russia of blocking its attempts to carry out a full investigation, by failing to give it access to two air traffic controllers’ testimonies, and to hand over the black box flight recorders and wreckage. Last month, the foreign minister, Witold Waszczykowski, said in an interview with weekly pro-government magazine wSieci that the Polish government had renewed its request to Moscow for the wreckage to be returned. The new commission of inquiry was due to start work in March. It has 21 members, many of them engineers or technical experts, and four advisers from abroad.

Smolensk is significant in Polish history because it is close to the place where Stalin’s secret police shot some of the 22,000 Polish officers and intellectuals they executed in 1940. The massacre is an enduring symbol of Poland’s suffering at Soviet hands.

On the 10th day of every month, friends and family of the Smolensk victims light candles in their memory on the paved forecourt outside the president’s residence in Warsaw.

Sercowa swieczka-Czesc ich pamieci
ScreenHunter_2114 Mar. 22 09.53

One comment on “Remembering Katyn & Smolensk

  1. Po ZBRODNI PRZEMILCZENIA KATYŃ jest ZMOWA MILCZENIA SMOLEŃSK.
    Samolot TU 154M był na stanie Wojska Polskiego,a Polska jest w strukturach UE i NATO.Obowiązywała umowa wojskowa z FR,w myśl której przy takim wyposażeniu lotniska i takich warunkach klimatycznych był obowiązek zamknięcia lotniska.

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