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Thursday, 13 April 2017

A Piece of Polish History: Katyn Memorial Day

Dearest hearts,

Today I will share with you a little piece of Polish history. Each country has its own national holidays but also they have days in which they celebrate or commemorate special moments in the countries existence. Today, on the 13th of April, Poland commemorates Katyn Memorial Day. This holiday is declared by parliamentary resolution by the Sejm, meaning that they are not part of the law and thus they are not listed as national/state holiday. Usually they are working days. The Katyn Memorial Day (Polish: Dzien Pamięci Ofiar Zbrodni Katyńskiej) commemorates the discovery of the mass graves in Katyn and has been established in 2007 - that's right, that's about 10 years ago, and the day may coincide with Easter (Easter Monday).
The Katyn Massacre was a series of mass executions of Polish nationals, carried out by the NKVD (Soviet secret police organisation) in April and May 1940. The killings took place in several locations but the Massacre has been named after the Katyn forest, where some of the mass graves were first found. 
The Massacre started from the proposal of the NKVD chief, Lavrentiy Beria, to execute all captive members of the Polish officer corps - 5th March 1940, approved by the Communist Party including its leader, Stalin.  The number of victims is estimated at about 22.000 people (killed in the Katyn forest in Russia but also in the prisons).
8.000 were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland; 6.000 were police officers; the rest were "intelligence agents, gendarmes, landowners, saboteurs, factory owners, lawyers, officials and priests".
The government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of the mass graves in Katyn in 1943. When Polish government asked for an investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Stalin dissolved any diplomatic relations with it. The USSR claimed that the victims were murdered by the Nazis in 1941. This continued to happen until 1990 when they finally officially acknowledged that NKVD was indeed the one to blame. In November 2010 the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for the order of the Massacre... I guess better late than never to finally show the truth to the world! 

Yours very much sincerly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Loves Polish History