The following texts are the English version of the book about the history of "The Police Family 1939" Association and the history of the police of the Second Republic of Poland between September 1939 and April 1940.
"The Police Family 1939" Association
First published 2002
Refunded partly by Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa
(the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom)
The publisher "Rodzina Policyjna1939r." "The Police Family 1939" Association
The writers: Witold Banaś, Iwona Sułkowska, Jan Bógdoł, Maria Madej, Hubert Szymkowiak,
Jadwiga Bałos, Krystyna Kasperczyk,
Introduction - Andrzej Przewoźnik,
Preface - Witold Banaś,
Translated by Iwona Sułkowska.
The editorial team - Górnośląska Oficyna Wydawnicza, Janusz Moczulski, Anna Tarkowska
The design team - Marek Duszyńki, Michał Siedlaczek
The printers - "Prodruk" Katowice,
"Rodzina Policyjna1939r." "The Police Family 1939" Association
All rights reserved
By Elżbieta Stepska
Small Polish Miednoje
There, at Katowice
In the mining centre
There is only one place
Holy and precious
That little spot
By the police building
Is called a cemetery
On this site
A cross and a crown of thorns
Mount up to the sky
You, brother come along
To a small grave
at the foot of this cross
and while praying rise your arms
In that grave
Are the remains
Of your father or brother
Whom sly traitors
Wrested from family circles
Fathers imprisoned in an old monastery
Located in an island
Then having been driven to Tver in their hundreds
To conceal the signs of the crime
Murderers threw the bodies into the graves
Forgotten for fifty years
And the remains of one of our relatives
Were brought after exhumation works
So that you, brother, may sigh to God
And pray for mercy for all
Look at the grave, and at a bronze cap
At the plaques lying near-by
At the countless number of names engraved on them
And at bushes rustling silently
That small grave, my friend
The small Polish Miednoje
Is a symbol of torment, pride and fortitude
And your orphan's tears full of bitterness
Are still wet
In a mere twenty year period of independence, achieved after an occupation lasting 123 years, the authorities of the contemporary Polish State created a formation which had to guarantee the safety of the country and maintain internal order while also being responsible for securing a sense of stability for those who lived in the country.
The most patriotic circles of former riflemen from the Polish Legions formed by Józef Piłsudski, soldiers from the Polish Military Organization (POW), soldiers from the Silesian and Posnanian Wars and Poles coming from the Kresy of the Second Republic of Poland became the base for founding the State Police and the Silesian Police. Those veterans, like nobody else, knew the price that had been paid to achieve independence, and were aware of what may be required to maintain independence. We can safely acknowledge that the most patriotic and state conscious Poles served in the ranks of the State Police.
In September 1939, the State police, together with military forces were fighting in defence of the Polish frontiers and striving to maintain internal order as the State faced the Reich and the Soviet invasion that came about several days later.
The formation fulfilled its duty with exemplary sacrifice, paying the extreme price - the lives of many policemen who died on nearly every battlefield all over the Polish territory.
The September defeat became the important watershed in the history of the police forces of the Second Republic of Poland. It was not only the practical end of their functioning, but the beginning of the extremely brutal Nazi and Soviet plans devised to eliminate physically all policemen who were deemed a mortal threat to the occupying regimes.
For the Soviet aggressor the State Police and the Silesian Police became the embodiment of "bourgeois Poland" that carried the whole evil. For the partisans of the new system brought into practice on the invaded territory, the formation was a symbol of all sorts of repression towards communist functionaries. In consequence, the police structures of the Second Republic of Poland and all that was connected with them in any way were destroyed.
For thousands of policemen the occupation of the Kresy resulted in their being taken prisoner, at the turning point. Beginning in the first hours after the entry of the Red Army on to Polish territory on 17th September 1939, the policemen were caught and arrested, then conveyed to the camp at Ostaszków, founded by the NKVD in the autumn of 1939 on the premises of the former Orthodox monastery of Niłowa Pustyń. It is located on Stołbnyj Island on Lake Seliger, about 10 km from the country town of Ostaszków which is situated to the west of Tver (then called Kalinin). More than 6300 policemen from the State Police, Silesian Police, members of frontiers and prison staff, gendarmerie, border guards and the second section of General Staff of the Polish Army were imprisoned by the NKVD in that closed camp.
All these Polish prisoners were murdered in the spring of 1940 in the cellars of the Kalinin (now Tver) NKVD building, in the aftermath of the decision of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Russia dated 5th March 1940.
By the terms of that decision not only did the Soviets also exterminate thousands of officers from the Polish Army who were imprisoned in camps located in Starobielsk and Cozies, but also citizens of the Second Republic of Poland kept in prisons in Western Ukraine and Western Byelorussia. The corpses of the treacherously killed policemen were buried in a wooded area at Miednoje, a short distance from Tver.
The Soviet terror also touched the families of the imprisoned and then murdered police officers. In March 1940, at the same time as the camp at Ostaszków was being liquidated, the Soviet deportation of Poles to the east began. Thousands of members of the families of the military and police prisoners were deported far inside the USSR.
Another decision was also taken by the highest state and party authorities of the Soviet Union who in their resolution of 2nd March 1940 ordered the NKVD to proceed "( ) until 15th April with the deportation into the Kazakhstan Soviet Republic for the period of 10 years all families of the repressed and confined war-prisoners: Polish army officers, policemen, prison staff, gendarmerie, agents, former landowners, industrialists and high civil officials of the former Polish State system - numbering 22-25 000 families ( )".
The first and undoubtedly the most essential phase of the operation focused on the completion and execution of the drafted plans, promptly and thoroughly using the records of the kin of the prisoners and arrested people of the categories mentioned above. The identified families' members included not only wives and children, but also parents, brothers and sisters, provided that they lived together with their kin. The NKVD plans went into action unswervingly, enlarging the circles of the oppressed people into tens of thousands. They found themselves in the remote territory of the Soviet Union, building a bloody track in martyrdom of Poles in that "inhuman land".
The Polish Association "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." - "The Police Family 1939" Association, formed in November 1990 at Katowice, in sovereign Poland, referring to the tradition of the pre-war "Rodzina Policyjna" Association, has convoked families of the State and Silesian policemen.
It has become the upholder of remembrance of thousands of the Polish policemen murdered by the NKVD. Owing to the efforts of the Association authorities, there have been memorials, commemorative boards, monuments and symbols built recalling the tragedy of the Polish policemen. The symbolic "Grave of the Polish Policeman" located by the building of the Komenda Wojewódzka Policji (Provincial Police Headquarters) at Katowice was the work of the Association. Every year on the anniversary of the aggression of the Soviet Union onto the Polish territory, the families of the victims and the present policemen meet to venerate the murdered men at that monument.
Untiring work done by the Chairperson Witold Banaś and the whole Board of the Association contributed to the proceedings carried out by Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa (the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom) in favor of building the Polish War Cemetery at Miednoje, on the last resting - place of the murdered policemen. Opened with ceremony and consecrated, the graveyard became the symbol of the aspirations of the victims' families, convoked in the Association, to commemorate thousands of the murdered policemen according to the national tradition.
The album published by "The Police Family 1939" Association presents not only various forms of its activities, so important for social life, but also the history of the martyr death of thousands of policemen of the State Police and the Silesian Police of the Second Republic of Poland.
It comprises all the Association efforts to commemorate that fragment of Polish history and is their tribute to the murdered policemen. The authors bring us remembrance that their closest relatives were the victims not only of the Soviet but later of the communist repression as well. Having not been able to speak and write openly about their fate, they lived with awareness of their sentenced fathers' uncommemorated death. They carried the pain in their hearts and personal commemoration of the tragedy, but they managed to hand all this over to younger generations who, in free Poland, continue to restore the remembrance.
This album is a kind of a textbook of patriotism aimed at young Poles, but first of all at policemen and officials on whom fell the commendable duty of securing safety, peace and internal order in the new democratic reality in Poland.
The act of handing the book to readers recalls the remembrance of values which should always be present in the life of each state policeman. Those values constitute the foundation of Polish social and national life.
Warsaw, 6th May 2002
We used to talk about Soviet crimes privately, imbued with fear, as if we were frightened of affronting the criminals who committed murder in the Polish Nation during the Soviet occupation that began on 17th September 1939.
The era of genocide - the continual assassination of prisoners of war: officers and soldiers from the Polish army - started then. In the overcrowded prisons vulnerable men were killed without trials and verdicts.
In the towns invaded by the Soviets, after the German attack on the Soviet Union in 1941, the NKVD eliminated both prisons and prisoners of war with the help of Ochotnicza Milicja Ludowa (People's Volunteer Police) - about 50 000 Polish citizens were killed in this inhuman manner. Some "chroniclers" have tried to minimize the tragedy of the crimes committed by the NKVD on our fathers in 1940, though there is evidence that the massacres were brutally and deliberately perpetrated.
6311 prisoners of war from the Ostaszków camp were murdered in Kalinin (now Tver), including 5889 policemen of the Second Republic of Poland. Every night 250 men were killed, every two minutes one person died.
They were murdered hurriedly, under the other prisoners' eyes and coupled with curses. The killed policemen were buried in the forest at Miednoje, in the recreational area belonging to the NKVD, at the spot used for parties and drunken orgies. A toilet was even built on one of the graves! That was a real triumph for the Soviets regime on the graves of the enemies of communism.
Most families of the killed policemen were condemned to slaughter or sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan in transports on 10th February 1940, 13th April 1940, in June 1940 and in June 1941. Thousands of them perished of diseases and starvation.
TIME OF LIES
The Polish communists distained the killed policemen and their kin right from 1945, propagating in a political way that our fathers were traitors. Writing and speaking about the victims was forbidden. Moreover, the families who managed to return to Poland from the deportation used to be painfully persecuted.
TIME OF TRUTH
In the aftermath of the Katyn massacre revelations in April 1990, the Soviet authorities expressed deep regrets because of that tragedy and then the official Soviet Press Agency asserted that it was one of more severe crimes committed by the Stalinism system. The Russian President Michail Gorbaczov handed a set of documents from the records of the Soviet Secret Police over to the Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski during their meeting in Moscow. The documents included lists with the names of the Polish military officers killed in Katyn.
Unconsciously or consciously the media, including Polish media, forgot about the Katyn crime and about the policemen of the Second Republic of Poland, although in total about 13000 Polish policemen in prisons on the territory of the USSR were murdered, including almost 6000 held as prisoners of war at Ostaszków.
That situation resulted in the formation of the "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." Association ("The Police Family 1939") at Katowice in November 1990. The members of the Board have rebutted the falsifying of history about the policemen of the Second Republic of Poland with
determination. They also managed to record their lives and death in a worthy way.
I unite with them in that work and thank them for their full and complete cooperation.
Listed here are those persons:
Maria Nowak, Maria Madej, Emilia Wośko, Krystyna Kasperczyk, Jadwiga Bałos, Hubert Szymkowiak, Iwona Sułkowska, Jan Bógdoł who looks perfectly after the Chamber of Remembrance, which is visited by school children and students. There they can get to know the history of the Polish Nation.
Other members assisting the Board in their activities:
Joanna Mirecka, Halina Mackiewicz, Piotr Urbańczyk, Bronisław Mazurski, Wiesława Gruszczyńska, Elżbieta Stepska, Jadwiga Zych, Krystyna Kowalik, Danuta Luszczak, Anatolia Gazda, Józefa Kędzierska, Krystyna Balicka, Jerzy Szymanek, Sylwia Dziecińska, Mieczysław Dylewicz, Andrzej Borowski, Dorota Bury, Helena Błoch, Irena Bąkowska, Danuta Nerlewska, Maria Jóźwiakowska, Marcin Gaś, Tadeusz Adamczyk.
I also wish to preserve the memory of those people who used to work for the Association but have left us and this world for ever:
Wanda Kustra, Apolonia Stefańczuk, Genowefa Ziomek, Jerzy Pluciński, Tadeusz Ćwierk.
Witold Banaś - the "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." Association ("The Police Family 1939 ")
The origin of the "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." Association.
The "Rodzina Policyjna" Association was formed on 20th June 1929 and encompassed the families of the policemen of the State and the Silesian Police.
The energetic work of the Association was in the first place focused on charity and educational help for widows and orphaned children of the police families.
In the period between the two World Wars, the State provided some help to carry out their work. Polish citizens also showed a kindly attitude towards the Association activities.
However, the attempts to compare the former range of activities of the Association with the post-war duties that should have been fulfilled just after the end of the war seems to be rather impossible.
While formerly their duty was addressed to the usual incidents which would occur in normal police work, just after 1945, if the organization had functioned, it would have had to deal with enormous sufferings of people related to thousands of Polish policemen murdered on the territory of the USSR.
Thousands of women, old people and children had been deported in cattle-trucks to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Many of them died during the course of their journey into the new territories. Far inside the USSR they were forced to live in inhuman conditions for several years, being decimated by slave work, frost, starvation and cold. Those who managed to return from their deportation would have hoped for help and care.
It is estimated nowadays that more than one million Poles remained in that inhuman country. The majority of one million eight hundred thousand who had been deported far inside the USSR after 17th September 1939.
Those who returned to Poland after the war met not only with suspicion, but even with hostility. They could not have counted on a good job, higher education and social care. Policemen's widows suffered most of all, as they were treated with clerical ostracism for many years. They worked wonders bringing up their orphaned children.
Subsequently those children formed the revived "Rodzina Policyjna" Association, with the addition of the date "1939". It is as if they want to emphasize not only the continuity of the Association, but also to reveal the whole truth about their fathers' sufferings and the truth that the policemen were always faithful sons of Poland.
When it was formed in November 1990, the "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." ("The Police Family 1939 ") Association comprised 20 members. Now it embraces more than 1600 people - wives, children, siblings and other members of the policemens families. In 1996 there were sections functioning in many towns all over the country: including Wrocław, Opole, Kielce, Kraków, Częstochowa, Bielsko-Biała, Łódź, Poznań, Legnica, Rzeszów, Tarnów, Gorzów Wielkopolski, Katowice and Radom.
The multidirectional cooperation between the Association and Komenda Główna Policji (the Police Chief Headquarters) and Śląska Komenda Wojewódzka Policji
(the Silesian Province Police Headquarters) is still prospering.
The members of the Association emphasize the important aid given by General Inspector Mieczysław Kluk. He had represented the Silesian Province Police Headquarters when organizing ceremonies at the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", especially making arrangements for the participation of the Guard of Honour and the police orchestra. General Inspector Kluk also arranged representatives of provincial authorities and town police headquarters. All those elements have composed the special climate of the celebrations.
General Inspector Ireneusz Wachowski from the Police Chief Headquarters at Warsaw helped the members of the Association to get funds for the surviving policemen and policemen's widows of the Second Republic of Poland. Those funds were paid at Christmas for several years.
The activities carried out by the "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." ("The Police Family 1939") Association have met with great kindness from the authorities and the society. It proves an unusual need to strengthen and cultivate the national remembrance, to educate the younger generation according to the spirit of patriotism and to respect those who managed to preserve their dignity to the end. Heroes who were deprived of the remembrance and respect of the Polish Nation by the state history for many years have now a chance to regain an adequate place in the commendable pantheon of the Motherland's defenders.
FOR OTHERS TO REMEMBER
Remembrance of the crimes committed against our closest relatives, and the tragedies faced by our fathers and brothers. These are what unite in remembrance those who have felt the horror of orphan hood, misery and oppression on their own shoulders.
Their fate marked them many times. They had attained honor by growing up in Polish families preserving the noblest tradition, where the word Country was spoken with worship and was respected above all.
They also suffered so much that no one can understand or even envisage their sorrow unless they also lost a father, husband or son.
They experienced painfully both helplessness and isolation. Having been left by the country in their torment, they suffered most: their own death and the death of their kin.
However, after fifty years of silence, history has spoken for them - for the families of the policemen murdered at Ostaszków and many other places of execution.
The Polish "Rodzina Policyjna 1939r." (The Police Family 1939) Association was formed at the Province Police Headquarters at Katowice on 5th November 1990 at a meeting of the families of the policemen of the Second Republic of Poland. It received the full approval of the Province Police Commanding Officer and the assistance of the Independent Police Trade Union.
The first meeting was attended by the initiator of the Association, Witold Banaś,
as well as the Province Police Commanding Officer Roman Hula and the Chairperson of the Independent Police Trade Union Superintendent Jacenty Solejdowicz.
The accepted program of the Association obligated the members to do all they possibly could to reveal the truth of the history of the State Police of the Second Republic of Poland till 1939, the history of their patriotic participation during the war in 1939. The first priority was deemed to be revealing the fate of the policemen and their kin during the Second World War as well as their history of being repressed after regaining freedom from the German and Soviet occupation. The Association also set targets to work out programs involving commemoration of the patriotic actions of the State Police.
The board of the Association was initially chosen on 18th December and it comprised: Witold Banaś, Wanda Kustra, Krzysztof Banaś and Jacenty Solejdowicz as a counsellor. At the beginning of 1991 additional members joined the board: Apolonia Stefańczuk,
Maria Jóźwiakowska and Genowefa Ziomek.
At that time the Association was allocated office space in the Province Police Headquarters building in Katowice and later became registered at the Province Court at Katowice.
The first half-year of its functioning was very active, constructive and fulfilled great expectations. Sons and daughters of the prisoners of war from Ostaszków started arrangements for the Chamber of Remembrance. The Chamber, devoted to the Polish policemen murdered by the NKVD, was opened with ceremony and consecrated on 21st June 1991.
Among the first guests was Jan Jesionek - the Polish Senator who wrote in the visitors book that he expressed "deep homage to the murdered policemen and his high esteem to all Police Families."
The commemorative exhibition was also visited by the Chief Commanding Officer Inspector Zenon Smolarek whose words also remained in the visitors' book dated 12th April 1992: Their sacrificed lives makes us become enormously responsible - whether we can give even a small part of such contribution to Polish people and to Poland?
I looked with emotion at the few preserved remembrances of those who were killed guiltlessly by the inhuman Bolshevik oppressors. We will never forget about that!".
The Chamber of Remembrance is a small museum of memorabilia of the history of the police of the Second Republic of Poland. This museum is dedicated to people who were disappointed in their hopes and expectations, a museum of records of sorrowful experiences of our life.
Apart from the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", the Chamber is one of the most important place to the Association. The photos collected there, often the only ones saved from forgetfulness, saved with great care during the war time, deportation time or searches executed by the Security Office, are extremely important to our relatives as they express our fathers' faces. There we can watch intently their eyes looking at us from faded photographs and then we glance at the quiet faces of our mothers, who recall for us the short period of our childhood, that good time of childish dreams and hopes
We ask ourselves - what would have happened if
? How could our life have looked like together with..?
Among photos, in a glass-case, there is a card from Ostaszków with a trace of the tragic journey; simple sentences written with beautiful handwriting, with the Soviet seal and characteristic Russian printed letters.
Between the glass-cases there are columns of more than 6200 names, and among them there is one - the most important to us - we precisely know where
We are looking at things excavated during the first exhumation at Miednoje, while thinking that those pen-knives, pencils and different belongings survived over 50 years deep in the ground. They were with them in the basement of the NKVD's building at Tver and witnessed all that now distresses our imagination without end.
While walking along the glass-cases we can watch from behind the panes hundreds of young faces looking at us from group-photos of journeys, trips, sport competitions, training courses
Who survived from the war, who and how they had died
One thing is certain: each of those young men had to pay an extremely high price for the honor of wearing the Polish Police uniform. Even if one of them had managed to survive from the German occupation, national repression would have waited for him..
There are documents amongst the collection which confirmed the police participation in the rising, in the Polish - Bolshevik war, in the ranks of General Anders' army.
Private letters and mail like silent witnesses of the times also speak to us, for instance a thrilling letter from a woman from Lwów (Lvov) describing the death of the Silesian policeman Józef Noras who was stabbed with a bayonet and then buried in the mass grave in the Łyczakowski cemetery.
Here, in the Chamber of Remembrance, the remains of the "Unknown Policeman" were prepared before being buried with ceremony.
That room has been visited by different personages as well as by young people or whom - we do hope - it will be the inspiration to study the history of our country.
Here are also photographs from Miednoje - they carry us far to the place where our fathers' bodies will remain for ever.
Strength coming from our faith and from our desire for justice has a boundless power.
Since the creation of "The Police Family 1939" Association its members have wished to create a memorial commemorating the torments of their fathers by building a cemetery: to give a moral redress to the closest families of the murdered policemen.
They approached the highest Polish authorities: the Polish President, the heads of the Polish Senate and Parliament and also the Prime Minister with a request to open negotiations with the Russian authorities concerning the following problems:
- carrying out an exhumation on the site where the prisoners of war from
Ostaszków, killed in the spring of 1940, were buried,
the construction of a cemetery at Miednoje,
the recovery of any documents remaining from that time.
However, a strenuous ten-year period had to pass, before the latest, the most beautiful and the biggest Polish war cemetery, (complimenting Charków and Katyn), was opened at Miednoje.
Owing to efforts by the Chief Commanding Police Officer Roman Hula, representatives of the Association participated in the symbolic funeral of the murdered policemen at Ostaszków on 31 August 1991. That important ceremony was held at the "last chapter "- at Tver - Miednoje.
As a result of the pilgrimage to the graves of our fathers a funeral urn with ashes of the murdered policemen was brought and placed into the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Warsaw. That event took place on 17th September 1991 on the anniversary of the Soviet Union aggression against Poland.
On the occasion of the fifty - second anniversary of the martyrdom of the policemen murdered by the Soviets in war-camps and by the Polish Security Office after the war as well as for the martyrdom of all policemen who died during the Second World War, on 12th April 1992 a solemn Holy Mass was celebrated in the student church at the Archbishop's See dedicated to Christ King.
Apart from the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association, many policemen assisted in that ceremony. Among them there were the aforementioned Jan Jesionek and the Chief Commanding Police Officer Zenon Smolarek.
In 1992 members of the Association undertook some important activities. A series of lectures were given for young people about the history of the police of the Second Republic of Poland, combined with visits to the Chamber of Remembrance. The visitors also watched a film there about the exhumation work entitled "Do not kill".
The Association also campaigned and strived to initiate educational programs at police schools about the history of the Polish police during the interwar period.
They applied to the Ministry of Education for consent to introduce comprehensive information setting out the truth about Soviet communism and the genocide committed on an enormous scale under that inhuman system into the school history program.
The second year of existence concluded with a decision of historic importance:
the members passed a resolution that the Grave of the Polish Policeman should be constructed at Katowice by the building of the Province Police Headquarters.
The committee to build the grave was set up in January 1993 and they began their work immediately. Apart from the most dedicated members of the Association: Witold Banaś (Chairperson of the committee), Wanda Kustra, Danuta Nerlewska, Maria Nowak, Genowefa Ziomek, Emilia Wośko and A. Stefańczuk (who died in 1993) the following people joined that committee:
- from the Independent Police Trade Union - Jacenty Solejdowicz, (Chairman),
Antoni Duda and W.Janiszewski
from the Province Police Headquarters at Katowice: Ryszard Mastalerz, (the
Commanding Officer in Katowice), A. Głowacz and Maria Polańska (Engineer, the designer) Senator Jan Jesionek the Commander of the Vistula units of the Ministry of Home Affairs Bronisław Młodziejowski (Professor, Colonel).
In order to realize such a dignified idea appropriately cooperation between many institutions and people was necessary. Among those who contributed to that priority there was also the Chairman of the Silesian regional council, the Mayor of Katowice, the Chief Secretary of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom - Andrzej Przewoźnik, the parish-priest of the cathedral - Henryk Zganiacz and the Vice Mayor of Katowice - Marek Tomaszewski.
The building process was carried out under honorable patronage including that of the Archbishop in Katowice - Damian Zimoń, the Chief Commanding Police Officer - Zenon Smolarek, the managing director of the Baildon steelworks (where the coffin for the remains of the unknown policeman was made) - Jacek Jagodziński and Andrzej Przewoźnik.
The Vice-Chairman of the Independent Police Trade Union, Antoni Duda together with Witold Banaś began to visit various institutions and organizations. Believing in success
they used to knock at many doors, fortunately everywhere they met goodwill and appreciation of the importance of the evolving plan. As a result the process of building progressed efficiently and energetically.
The cooperation between many people, institutions and the police resulted in splendid outcomes. The material for the grave plate, bought by the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom, was brought from the stone-pit at Strzegom.
The Province Police Headquarters at Katowice paid for its transport, while the Chief Commanding Police Officer - Zenon Smolarek assigned funds for the paving stones on the square where the grave was put up.
With the aid of the Town Council and the municipal government, especially the Vice-Mayor of Katowice, Marek Tomaszewski who was actively involved in the Association plan, a lot of professionals and policemen were engaged upon the building.
Many civil workers and policemen from the various district police headquarters from all over Poland participated in that plan by giving aid.
The process of building started in 1993 and took only three and a half months to complete.
In August 1993 the Association members began arrangements for the funeral ceremony which was held on 17th September. About 1200 people were invited to assist in the celebration of committing the remains of the Unknown Policeman exhumed at Miednoje and placed into the care of the Association having been presented to them by Bronisław Młodziejowski (Professor, Colonel).
The "Grave of the Polish Policeman" - the site of national commemoration -
is called "The Small Miednoje" by the families of the murdered policemen. It is a place dedicated to telling the truth about the criminal communist system, and a place for prayers and meditations on the fate of those Poles who remain in the foreign land for ever.
The ceremony of the Holy Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop Damian Zimoń with the assistance of eight priests. It was attended by members of the Association from all over Poland as well as by a representative of the Polish President, Vice-Minister of Home Affairs - J.Zimowski, the Chief Commanding Police Officer Zenon Smolarek,
the Chief Secretary of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom - Andrzej Przewoźnik, the President of the Polish Senate - A. Chełkowski, representatives of the Katowice province authorities, the Polish Army Company, the Police Guard of Honor and numerous other guests.
The coffin with the remains of the Unknown Policeman was taken out from the Chamber of Remembrance, then carried along Katowice streets before being committed to the grave, at which Antoni Duda read the roll of the dead.
Immediately after the ceremony, on 31st October, 1993, Bishop Henryk Biernacki celebrated the solemn prayer for the souls of all policemen and their kin. Since then on the last day of October members of the Association have systematically venerated Poles murdered by the Soviet slaughterers.
Soon the "Grave of the Polish Policeman" was surrounded by plaques bearing the names of the murdered policemen of the Second Republic of Poland.
The efforts of the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association were met with approval by the State authorities. Polish Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak sent thanks to the Chairman of the Association and the participants and organizers of their ceremony for the constant fortitude and their welfare work
The symbolic and simple monument placed next to the building of the Province Police Headquarters is unique. Nowhere else in the world can you find the grave of an Unknown Policeman.
The fact, that the monument is located in the capital of the Upper Silesia Province - previously the capital of the Silesia Province before the war, has its own symbolic meaning.
In accordance with the resolution of the Association of 17th September 2000, the wooden cross at the grave was changed into a steel one - similar to the crosses in the war cemetery at Miednoje.
The annual ceremony by the grave dedicated to the murdered policemen is an important lesson recalling the tragic history of their fortitude and love for Poland, and it is a good example for Poles, especially the youth of Poland.
There commemoration of the over fifty-year-old tragedy is seen through with affection. These are people who united to change their reminiscences into tangible remembrance.
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the formation of the State Police was celebrated on 17th September 1994. Both Bishop Henryk Biernacki and the priest Henryk Zganiacz blessed the commemorating plates during a solemn Holy Mass at the "Grave of the Polish Policeman". Among the participants there were the Minister of the State and the Silesian Voivode Eugeniusz Ciszak.
The members of the Association have continued to promote their work and ideals. The team for planning and building the Katyn cemetery soon began to carry out their work for 1995 - the year dedicated to Katyn massacre.
The Chairman of the Association, Witold Banaś joined the committee for organizing the commemoration of the Katyn massacre.
At first the central celebration of the Katyn Year was held in Warsaw, during which the slaughter of the police from Ostaszków was officially emphasized overtly and emphatically.
On 4th June,1995 the ceremony of laying in the charter of erection and the corner stone took place in the Katyn forest, on the site where the war cemetery was planned to be built. The Polish President Lech Wałęsa and Cardinal Józef Glemp together with the Chairman of the Association, Witold Banaś and other guests attended that celebration.
Every year on 17th September a solemn Holy Mass is held at the "Grave of the Polish Policeman".
LOVE FOR FATHERS
Cut off the stump, murdered secretly,
Buried in silence and falsehood
Thrown away like a stone,
Yet green leaves have grown out of them
And remembrance is hardening like coal
(a fragment of the chapter of foundation
of the war cemetery in Miednoje)
The members of "The Police Family 1939" Association took part in a new chapter with a ceremony of laying the building foundations and the corner stone at Miednoje in June 1995. The Chairman Witold Banaś made a speech on behalf of the families of the murdered prisoners of war. Here is a part of it:
"Killed as the fanatic enemies of communism without an inquiry and a trial, the policemen did not betray Poland, they did not repudiate their country.
While we may grieve over past events with those whose fathers brought not only communism to Poland but also physical and moral slaughter to their own nation, we also have a point of difference with them.
We can be proud, that our fathers were on the right side in the struggle of democracy with totalitarianism.
There in that place, a cemetery will rise. Today we built in a corner stone blessed by the greatest Pole of our time, Pope John Paul II.
Here are the representatives of Clergy and the Polish and Russian authorities - paying tribute in thoughtfulness to your sacrifice, our fathers. You did not content yourselves with a small thing, but you reached for the great one. I know you left us with a heart full of love to the Motherland. Your love has remained with us. We would like the cemetery that will be built here to become the place of the reconciliation between our grandchildren, and maybe also sons - both Polish and Russian.
Perhaps they will find here the answer to the question, whether really everything has to be like that?
The truth, that the slaughter at Katyn or Oświęcim is totalitarianism will stay with us for ever. Let such places protect us from its return".
The exhumation works at Miednoje were carried out in 1995 and conducted by General Młodziejowski. Everybody involved in that work was given a silver cross with a bit of the soil from the graves of the victims lying in that place imbued with the memories of the shameful slaughter.
The Polish President Lech Wałęsa came to the "Grave of the Polish Policeman" at Katowice on 16th September 1995. He participated in the Holy Mass and visited the Chamber of Remembrance, then he met with the ex-combatants. The members of "The Police Family 1939" Association felt extremely happy because the President's visit was a historic symbol. They were proud that the President stood at the grave and paid tribute to the majesty of their death.
Due to the efforts of the tireless daughters and sons of the murdered prisoners of war at Ostaszków, the Town Council of Katowice, in 1996, took a decision to designate the "Grave of the Polish Policeman" as the spot of National Remembrance.
On that very important occasion, the Chief Secretary of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom Andrzej Przewoźnik wrote to the Chairman Witold Banaś:
"Each trace recalling to Polish society the tragedy of more than 6000 Polish policemen murdered by the NKVD in Kalinin (Tver) in 1940 and buried in the mass-graves at Miednoje, becomes a tribute paid to the best sons of the Polish Nation, who gave Poland all that was the most precious - their lives. The Monument - the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", built at Katowice owing to the efforts of the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association, is a symbol of their tragedy, their faithfulness to the idea of an independent and sovereign Poland. It has to be a commemoration of those tragic events and a warning to future generations.
The efforts of the Association led by you, especially the artistic, moral and patriotic values which are combined in that monument resulted in registering it on the list of the places and monuments of the national remembrance. (...)"
The central ceremony in commemoration of more than ten thousand policemen murdered in the USSR, held on 17th September 1996 at that unique monument - the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", was attended by many personages. Among them there were the Minister of Home Affairs Zbigniew Siemiątkowski, the Chief Commanding Police Officer Jerzy Stańczyk, the Voivode of the Katowice Province Eugeniusz Ciszak, the Commander of the Vistula Army General Bronisław Młodziejowski, the Minister of the Finance Department Leszek Balcerowicz, the representatives of the Polish Army and police stations.
The Holy Mass was celebrated by the Police Bishop Marian Duś and the men's choir from the coal-mine "Wujek" added splendor to that ceremony.
Soon after that event the members of the Association visited Pope John Paul II and gave him their present: a golden cross of the Association with a bit of the soil from Miednoje.
In November 1996 the priest Zdzisław Peszkowski, Chaplain to murdered Poles in the Soviet Union came to the "Grave of the Polish Policeman". He said, that "the monument is testimony to the most extreme slaughter in the twentieth century".
The multitude of events in 1996 were climaxed with the publication of the book entitled "Ku pamięci, ku przestrodze" (To memorize, to warn) edited by Jacek Broszkiewicz and Ewa Grochowska. It contains testimonies and recollections of the sufferings of the members of the Association: Witold Banaś, Jan Bógdoł, Krystyna Kasperczak, Wanda Kustra, Maria Madej, Maria Nowak, Jadwiga Bałos and Hubert Szymkowiak.
At the same time the negotiations concerning building the Katyn war cemeteries
were going on led by the delegation of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom. Witold Banaś was the only one who constantly strived for ratifying the project which included mounting crosses on the graves and building walls around the graveyard. Finally, the efforts were crowned with success.
Thousands of plates with the names of the murdered policemen are the first step toward redress for the prejudices they had experienced and also the hope of a just judgment on the guilty criminals.
The negotiations were going on between the designers from Poland and the Russian Federation as well as the representatives of the local authorities from Smoleńsk and Tver. The meetings with the Minister of Culture of the Federation of Russia were held in Moscow.
The ceremonies in commemoration of the murdered prisoners of war from Ostaszków were organized in June 1997, at the second anniversary of the laying of the foundation in the site of the war cemetery at Miednoje.
Witold Banaś was invited by the Polish Minister of Home Affairs and Administration Leszek Miller to attend that ceremony. He approached the Minister of the Home Affairs and Administration of the Russian Federation W.Kulikow with the demand to speed up the building works in the graveyard at Miednoje.
In his speech made in 2000 he said:
"Those who lie in those graves experienced indignity in prisons, in camps and during the course of torment to Ostaszków, from where they were driven in inhuman conditions to Kalinin (Tver). There, in the building belonged to the NKVD, the slaughterers committed their crime by order of the highest party and State authorities of the Soviet Union. The decision "to kill without inquiry and trial" was signed by Stalin, Woroszyłow, Mołotow, Mikojan and Kaganowicz.
Among the slaughterers were volunteers who came there just to shoot.
To this day the investigation concerning the slaughter committed on our fathers has not been completed. We, the families are asking why?
That was not enough for the slaughterers. They began to eliminate the policemen's families on a large scale, sending them into exile to Siberia and Kazakhstan.
After the war, in Poland, the families were treated distrustfully and were humiliated by the communist authorities of that time.
We, the children, are united with our fathers not only by the ties of blood but also by having suffered disregard and humiliation. The policemen, soldiers from Border Guard, gendarmerie, prison staffs and others whose bodies are in those graves! Your wives and children came here today, to this cemetery, because you have waited for us! We came here with our recollection of our childhood and unfulfilled hopes, with the love for independent and sovereign Poland. We are bringing all these feelings here, in your last resting-place, telling you that your death was not lost. Sleep, you proud!!!".
Realizing the plan of commemorating patriotic undertakings of the State Police the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association passed a resolution regarding instituting the Murdered and dead Policemen of the Second Republic of Poland Day.
Here is a fragment of that resolution:
"The accepted resolution expresses the sincere need to pay a tribute to policemen inhumanely murdered by the NKVD and to all policemen of the State Police who died during the war.
The memory day will be an opposition to long-term undertakings of the communist regime tending towards erasing the tragic destinies of Polish policemen and the forgery of the historic truth from the national history.
It is significant that Polish policemen actively fought against the Nazi and Soviet invaders from the first days of the war. Many of them paid dearly for their patriotism and great, unprecedented love for Poland with the loss of their blood and lives.
The policemen's families - mothers and fathers, wives and children, siblings and relatives were also affected by the misfortune. They suffered from the loss of their fathers and husbands, having no idea about their last resting-place. During the war and the occupation,
and then for tens of years of coercive time after the war, they were treated untrustworthy by the People's Republic authorities, living under a ban for their police origin.
By passing that resolution we are paying off a debt to our policemen-fathers, who died only because they were Poles."
The New Year's meetings have become a tradition for the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association to which they have invited their friends. Among the guests were representatives of the local authorities, the Commanding Officer from Katowice Mieczysław Kluk, the priest Henryk Zganiacz and the Chief Secretary of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom - Andrzej Przewoźnik.
In 1998 Andrzej Przewoźnik handed the medal titled "the protector of the places of the national memory" over to people involved in building the "Grave of the Polish Policeman".
In June 1998 the representatives of "The Police Family 1939" Association put a wreath on the grave of the murdered officers during the ceremony of laying the corner stone on the site of the graveyard of the Polish Army officers in Charków.
The cemeteries at Charków and at Katyn were consecrated two years later.
The next activities of "The Police Family 1939" Association aimed at popularizing their information. There were the meetings concerning building and consecrating the war cemetery at Miednoje and problems with the investigation into the NKVD' slaughter in 1940 being undertaken by Polish and Russian prosecutors. These were held between
the members of the Board of the Association and the Chairman of the Katyn Families Federation with the President of the Polish Seym Maciej Płażyński and the Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek in July 1998.
There were also meetings between the Chairman of the Association, Witold Banaś and the Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek in 1999. The President of the Polish Seym Maciej Płażyński, with the representatives of the Polish Government and the Polish President participated in the ceremony dedicated to policemen murdered and died during the last war. This took place on 17th September 1998 at "the Grave of the Polish Policeman" next to the building of the Silesian Headquarters at Katowice.
The Holy Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Damian Zimoń and fourteen other priests was attended by students from secondary schools, members of the Polish Scouts' Association, policemen, local authorities representatives, Silesian Voivode Marek Kempski, and the Chief Commanding Officer Jan Michna.
The ninth year of "The Police Family 1939" Association activities was strongly marked by numerous negotiations on the problems connected with the construction of Katyn cemeteries. Funds for building the graveyards were being collected among policemen and officials.
Efforts were also made to renew the investigation concerning the Katyn crime by the Polish Seym but, unfortunately, no one was inclined to support the idea.
The commission presided by the designer of the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", Maria Polańska oversaw the contracts for the sculpture works.
Consequently, the tenth jubilee year of the intense and farsighted activities of the Association overflowed with extraordinary, fruitful events.
On the 13th January 2000 the group responsible for celebrating the 60th anniversary of
the Katyn massacre met in the Cabinet office in Warsaw. During the meeting, in which the representatives of the Association Maria Nowak and Witold Banaś took part, the participants agreed to organize the all-Polish celebration under the auspices of the Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek with the participation of Polish youth at the "Grave of the Polish Policeman" at Katowice on 11th April, and 17th September, 2002.
The Chairman of "The Police Family 1939" Association Witold Banaś gave numerous talks for history teachers and students from secondary schools. In 2000 the number of the students was estimated at more than 1500.
Students involved in the organization of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Katyn crime on 11th April at the "Grave of the Polish Policeman", were given history books and silver distinctions by "The Police Family 1939" Association. Among the other guests the celebration was attended by the Prime Minister's representative Agnieszka Bogucka, the President's representative - the Secretary of State Bogusław Strzelecki and the Silesian Voivode Marek Kempski.
The crosses rising to the Miednoje sky became the symbol of the faith, hope and love
toward the country, which gave the Polish policemen the strength to survive the torment and the courage in the moment of their death.
The members of "The Police Family 1939" Association received a great amount of aid from the Chief Secretary of the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom - Andrzej Przewoźnik, the Commanding Officer from Katowice Mieczysław Kluk and the Silesian Voivode Marek Kempski, as well as from policemen from Silesian Police headquarters and the main headquarters in Warsaw.
The completion of building the cemetery in Miednoje was celebrated by consecrating it solemnly on 2nd September 2000.
Before the ceremony, attended by 185 members of "The Police Family 1939" Association, the Chairman Witold Banaś together with the representatives of the Katyn Families' Federation
and the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom visited two important sites. These were the monastery on the island of Stołbyj, situated 11 km from Ostaszków, from where the prisoners of war were transported, and the Russian cemetery with some graves of Polish prisoners of war. During the ceremony the Chairman Witold Banaś made a speech on behalf of the murdered policemen's families.
An emotional speech was also made by the Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek:
"The cemetery at Miednoje is the spot where the ethos of both faithful, educated functionaries and policemen of the Polish State was being buried. And today the State together with all the citizens are standing at their graves bowing down and asking God to help us to fulfill what they began. Without that reflection we will not be able to form the state Poles would be proud of. We can be proud of our tradition, part of which is always the remembrance and care for those who gave us the strength and the faith to go on towards the common weal. Charków, Katyn and Miednoje - the Polish triptych of suffering and torment -. we would hope that they become the triptych of the national remembrance and reconciliation in the East." Every word of the speeches sank into the minds of the ceremony participants whose fate united with that place so cruelly.
The evaluation of the process of building the Katyn cemeteries took place on 25th July at the Prime Minister's office. Prime Minister Buzek, who handed over the funding for the building enterprise was given the gold distinction of "The Police Family 1939" Association.
The Prime Minister thanked the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association for participation in that process in a letter to the Chairman Witold Banaś and emphasized:
"As I said at the ceremony of the consecration of the war cemetery at Charków: In the last year of the twentieth century Poland ceased to be Antygona of the nations, mourning unburied bones of its sons and brothers. A great work was completed owing to extraordinary mobilization and effort of people and institutions, that you represent. You became the co-authors of the work for which Poles and the families of the murdered policemen and soldiers have waited for sixty years."
The Polish War cemetery at Miednoje is located on the site where in 1991 mass graves were uncovered. The graves of Polish policemen murdered in the spring of 1940 on the strength of the decision dated 5th March 1940 by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of All-Union Bolshevik Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
On the 1,7 - hectare area there are 25 mass graves in which remains of over 6300 prisoners of war from the special NKVD's camp have lain. Among them are policemen from the State Police, Silesian Police, members of frontiers and prison staff, gendarmerie, border guard, soldiers from the Polish Army, other army formations as well as Civil Service and jurisdiction officials - those who were taken prisoners by the Soviets in September 1939. The Ostaszków camp was the largest special camp administrated by the NKVD for prisoners of war.
The first exhumation works were carried out on a limited scale in 1991. Four years later, on 25th March 1995 the document concerning the building of the Polish cemetery was signed at Smoleńsk within the Polish-Russian agreement, which was the turning point. Several months later, on 11th June, the ceremony of laying in the charter of erection and the corner stone consecrated by Pope John Paul II took place at Miednoje.
The Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom, basing on the project on the special documents comprising the results of the exhumation works, threw the project of the cemetery open to international competition. The members of the jury, among whom were representatives of "The Police Family 1939" Association, chose the proposal made by the sculptors Zdzisław Pidek and Andrzej Sołyga in October 1996.
The realization of the project was possible after the negotiations and agreements with competent Russian authority representatives in Moscow and Tver, and after implementing suggestions introduced by the families of the murdered policemen. As a results of the two-year negotiations between the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom and the State representative investor in the building approval was received for the building from the Russian authorities as well as the right to dispose of the area and the construction permit.
The construction works, carried out by the Polish companies Budimex S.A. and Metalodlew S.A from Cracow, began in the spring of 1996 and lasted twelve months. The field work, the construction and assembling works were executed at Miednoje, while ornamental casting - crosses and inscription plates were done at Cracow.
The central element of the cemetery is an altar composing a kind of open chapter. It consists of the wall with the names of the murdered policemen, a 9-metre high cross and an underground bell - all situated in front of the main entrance. On both sides of the entrance there are two obelisks with the Polish emblems. Behind the alter there are mass graves with 9-metre high crosses in the middle of each grave. An alley runs around the cemetery along which inscription plates with the personal information about the murdered policemen are installed.
The cemetery is enclosed, there is a lighting installation, water supply, sewerage system and suitable infrastructure enabling the graveyard to be managed properly.
The building of the cemetery was financed by the Council for preserving the memory of Polish warfare and martyrdom.
On the 28th August the cemetery was taken over by the management of the memorial complex at Miednoje who run the Polish cemetery and look after it every day.
THE STATE POLICE OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC OF POLAND
AT SERVICE TO NATION AND STATE
I swear almighty God to take up the post to do my duty to bring
the Polish State profit and to be alive to the public welfare,
to keep faith with the Polish supreme authorities,
to treat all citizens equally, to protect the law regulations closely,
to do our duties zealously and scrupulously, to obey orders
of the superiors strictly and not to reveal State secrets
God be my witness
(Form of the oath of the State Police)
When the dreams of European emperors were dying in the trenches of the World War I, the young Polish State was born on the ruins of the powerful invaders, and at the same time the Sate Police was formed, one of the basic formations guarding law and order.
Having no clear character at the beginning, just after Piłsudski had taken over power, the formation was gaining importance as the municipal units together with People's Militia squads connected with the Polish Socialist party.
The People's Militia became an executive organ of the Polish State due to the decree of the State Commander-in-Chief dated 18th December 1918. Soon, as a result of his decision the Communal Militia was set up.
The rebirth of the Polish State and frequent changes of the authorities' formations influenced the process of building up the police organization, though it remained apolitical, having servitude towards citizens and the nation's safety as priorities.
The decrees expired when the resolution concerning the State Police dated 24th June 1919 came into being. At the same time the Ministry of the Internal Affairs began to reorganize the security service. The organization of the State Police was regulated to the administration partition of the country.
By 1922 there were 17 district headquarters: I Warszawa, II Łódż, III Kielce, IV Lublin, V Białystok, VI Warszawa City, VII Kraków, VIII Lwów, IX Stanisławów, X Tarnopol, XI Poznań, XII Pomorze, XIII Wołyń, XIV Polesie, XV Nowogród, XVI Wilno and XVII Wilno City. There were municipal headquarters in bigger cities and communal police stations managed by commanding officers.
The inquiry service was the integral part of the police, formed of the inquiry departments.
The Silesian province as an autonomous region had its own police formation located in Katowice, formed on 17th June 1922 based on the decision of the Silesian voivode (Reg. of 16.06.1922). The Silesian Police was subordinate to the Silesian voivode and also directly subordinate to the Home Office.
Among the first commanding officers of the Silesian Police were: Colonel Stanisław Młodnicki, Inspector Adam Kocur, Inspector L. Wróblewski and Inspector Józef Żółtaszek. The Silesian Police had the same rights and duties as the State Police.
The commanding officer was the head of the corps of the State Police, running the chief headquarters office, which consisted of four departments (five from 1935) and the separate military department. Among the first commanding officers of the State Police were: engineer Władysław Henszel (1919-1922), Colonel Wiktor Hoszewski (1922-1923), Colonel Michał Bajer (March- July 1923), Marian Borzęcki (1923-1926), Colonel Janusz Jagrym- Maleszewski(1926-1935) and Brigadier-General Józef Kordian-Zamorski (1935-1939).
Police schools and the central reserve troops that were quartered all over the country in several towns were subordinate to the commanding officer. The Home Secretary appointed the province commanders.
There were four ranks for the men: constable, lance-constable, inspector, lance-inspector, and eight officer ranks: reefer, sub-commissary, commissary, superintendent, sub inspector, inspector, super inspector and general inspector.
There were specializations in departments, however, the police authorities tended to all-round development of the policemen, particularly of officers so that they could undertake all duties. The police educational system, which was of a high standard, aimed at achieving that target. Three schools for policemen were functioning at the end of the second decade of the twentieth century: at Żyrardów, Piaski (near Sosnowiec) and at Mosty Wielkie and the Officer School at Warszawa. Policemen and officers took part in regular courses. Specialized journals were published at that time, among them there were: "On Sentry and The Police Review"
It is worth mentioning that in spite of various political transformations in the interwar period, the organization structure of the State Police survived as a whole till the end of the Second Republic of Poland. The unstable political situation in Europe and persistent external threats resulted in some amendments in order to connect closely the police and military forces in case of mobilization or war.
However, the total number of policemen was not imposing. There were 876 officers and 29936 policemen in 1938 in Poland ; the Silesian Police counted 60 officers and 2245 policemen (including 88 mounted policemen). This equated to approximately one policeman
for over one thousand citizens so it meant the lowest ratio in Europe. For example Hungary had one policeman to 248 inhabitants, Greece had one to 295 inhabitants, Great Britain had one to 374 inhabitants and Austria had one to 473 inhabitants.
Against such undesirable personnel proportions the State Police not only did their statutory duties successfully but also the chief headquarters represented the Polish security service in the arena of international politics. This resulted in cooperation with external headquarters in the sphere of the fight against criminality and the fight with the communistic movement inspired by the Soviet Union.
In the first month of the Second World War, September 1939, the last but heroic phase of the State Police history began. As a consequence of the State decision concerning evacuation of the state administration organs, relatively large police forces found themselves on the eastern territory of Poland when the Soviet army crossed the Polish borders on the 17th September.
Despite the dramatic situation a lot of policemen who were aware of the enemies' intentions continued to fulfill their regular duties at the stations and headquarters.
These became the first victims of Stalin's mortal machine.
The Fate of Polish Policemen during and after the September Campaign
Time of honour
we will stay here, but that implies our
death, however, if we leave - that will result in
your death "
(Farewell words to the family of Wincenty Banaś,
a Polish Policeman, and prisoner of war in
the Ostaszków camp, murdered and buried at Miednoje)
From March 1939 Poland was facing a growing threat from the German Reich. Mobilization was partly proclaimed in order to strengthen the western border and the State Police were brought to an intensive state of alertness together with the Polish Army.
The focus of undertakings was shifted from regular procedures to the fight against the diversionary and enemy spy actions, especially on the territory inhabited by the German and Ukrainian minorities - there "the fifth column" kept raiding more and more violently.
The State Police together with the frontiers staff, border guard, military espionage and counterintelligence staff were making coordinated efforts in order to restrain enemy actions on Polish territory. However, for some time those undertakings were inhibited by the authorities dispositions, precluding more resolute actions. The situation changed only in August 1939, when the outbreak of war was inexorably approaching. The Ministry of Home Affairs, faced with the dramatic spread of events, issued the long-awaited directions which would compel unhesitating suppression of diversions and attempts to disorganize the State.
More than ten thousand reservists were called up and additional reinforcements were sent to the most imminently threatened regions: 300 policemen were directed from Warszawa to the Silesia province, several companies and reservist troops from the Chief Headquarters forces were also sent to Lwów, Stanisławów and Tarnopol provinces.
As part of the preventive actions planned on a wide scale a great number of people engaged particularly in anti-Polish activities were apprehended. What was more a lot of magazines of arms and explosives were liquidated. Unfortunately, the State authorities took a decision to definitely suppress "the fifth column" too late, which, in principle, continued acts of sabotage and diversion retaining their military potential till the beginning of the war.
In the last week of August 1939, the Nazi armoured divisions and Luftwaffe squadrons
were ready to invade Poland.
But it was the Non-Aggression Pact between the German Reich and the Soviet Union ratified in Moscow with the secret protocol of friendly agreement contracting the partition of Poland that settled the fate of our country.
The execution of those pacts was fulfilled on 1st September with the invasion of the German Reich towards the Polish western and northern frontiers and then on 17th September with the entry of the Red Army into Poland. The Polish alliances with France and Great Britain were defeated.
Poland, isolated by their allies, was caught unprepared for defense. The police forces found themselves in an extremely difficult situation.
The reservist companies from Jaworzno and Herby lost many men and their officers: Sub-commissaries Wyspiański and Wąsala were killed while fighting in the Silesia region. The Army and police forces suppressed the revolt at Bydgoszcz on 3rd September, when the German "fifth Column" attacked the retreating Polish troops.
The policemen were fiercely persecuted by the German invaders - in the autumn of 1939 many lost
their lives in executions all over the country. However, in all, a total of 700 men from the police
forces in Pomorze (Pomerania) were not evacuated and according to the mobilization plan were
subordinated to the commanding staff of Land Coast Defense Forces. Among them were:
- the District Police Headquarter at Gdynia with Superintendent Józef Ostrowski,
- four police stations at Gdynia: the first one with officer Piotr Okoński, the second one
with Sub-commissary Aleksander Wotarowicz, the third one with officer Józef
Wojcieszak, the fourth one with Sub-commissary Juliusz Szottke
- the police guard company at Gdynia with Lieutenant Józef Seredicki
the police station at Wejcherowo with officer Leon Graczyk
the police guard platoon at Puck with Second Lieutenant Aleksander Słowikowski
the police station at Kartuzy with officer Pudziński.
The police forces, which had the rights to fight against diversion, sabotage and espionage,
cooperated with the Polish Army and the battalions of the National Defense all over the country. They were in the forefront of the fighting in the region of Wejcherowo, Kępa Oksywska and Rumia-Zagórze before being taken prisoner on 19th September.
In surrounded Warszawa the police forces battled on together with the army and citizens, protecting among other things bridges over the Wisła River. During the defense of the city
their officer Zagórski and many policemen were killed.
In the south of Poland the police company from Kraków were fighting to defend the bridges in the region of Stalowa Wola.
The police battalion continued to resist at Białystok, two other companies battled on at Bielsko Podlaskie and at Puszcza Białowieska; policemen from the Lublin province were fighting in the Szack group and Captain Suchecki headed a reservist troop of policemen.
The courage and sacrifice of the policemen cost blood - the casualties of the State Police in September were assessed at about three thousand people killed, including subsequent deaths from wounds.
But another time for bravery by thousands of Polish policemen was to come soon.
Inadequacies in the determination of orders concerning effective commanding of the police forces approved by the State authorities, and putting off for no clear reason the decision regarding the militarization of the police, resulted in tragic consequences. The police were
ordered to evacuate to the east in the first week of September, and the Chief Headquarters staff, a large group of the capital police and reservist forces with the Commander in Chief, General Józef Kordian - Zamorski left Warszawa. The Voivodes from Pomorze, Poznań, Łódź,
Śląsk, Kraków, Warszawa, Kielce, and Lublin followed the decisions of the central authorities.
The decree for militarization of the police was issued by the Prime Minister, the Minister of the Home Affairs and the Chief Civil Police Officer on 10th September at Brześć. According to the order there was a plan to form a cordon of police along the River Bug to control the situation with the retreating defeated and dispersed army forces. Unfortunately, the current of events destroyed that plan and the eastern war machine moved westwards crushing the troops
lost in a raging turmoil of slaughter and pillage of previously unknown dimensions.
The region of eastern Małopolska became the place of the largest concentration of the police forces. The city of Tarnopol functioned as the destination for the militarized police, the Silesian corps were located in the region of Brzeżany-Kozów, and the schooling center was located at Mosty Wielkie.
The impending German Army move towards Kresy Wschodnie resulted in activating Ukrainian nationalists who grew stronger in several districts in the Stanisławów province. There were reports about raids on smaller army forces, police stations, administration offices and groups of citizens. The area between Mikołajew and Miłkowiec was temporary controlled by Ukrainian nationalists. The police and reservist forces led by Lieutenant-Colonel Wysłoucha supported by the army managed to avert the danger, that made it possible for the Polish troops to cross over into Romania and Węgry territory. The Chief Police Headquarters had crossed into Romanian internment earlier after the short stay at Zdolbunow.
The city of Grodno became the symbol of the sacrifice and resistance to the Soviet aggression on Kresy Wschodnie where between 20th and 22nd September the army forces together with the border guard, police forces, scouts and volunteers resisted bravely the sixth cavalry Cossacks corps and the fifteenth armoured corps of the Red Army charging at them. Unfortunately, the brave police forces coming mainly from Wielkopolska and Pomorze were bleeding to death during the defense.
Against all odds, during the September campaign many police groups were fighting together with the battalions of the border guard "Dawigródek", "Bystrzyce", "Brzeźne", "Polesie" and groups led by General Wilhelm Orlik-Rückerman. On 24th September the police company headed by Captain Franciszek Otłokowski battled on with the Red Army at Kamień Koszycki. After the capitulation, the Polish policemen were shot, in contravention of the international conventions about the treatment of prisoners of war.
The Polish policemen were abandoned by the Commanders-in-Chief, attacked by the Red Army, and confused by the orders given by the Commander-in-Chief, and they had been forbidden to fight with the Soviet forces. Though isolated, they tried to defy their impending death. For the following fifty years Poland kept refusing to accept their bravery and praiseworthy actions.
The situation on the front line was getting worse and worse and the numerous Polish forces, trying to avoid Soviet captivity, were heading towards the south and the north. Some groups led by General Zamorski and Inspector Grabowski (the Commanding Officer from the Kraków province) reached Romania, while others, led by Inspector Konopka (the Commanding Officer from the Stanisławów province), Inspector Piątkiewicz, and Major Zdanowicz trickled into Węgry.
More than two thousand policemen with Sub inspector Ziołowski (the Commanding Officer from the Wołyń province) and Sub inspector Jacyna (the Commanding Officer from the Wilno province) found their place of refuge in Litwa and Łotwa.
The others were captured by the Soviet Army.
Several consignments and officers fell into the NKVD's hands; among them there were:
- one from the head quarters at Tarnopol with Super instructor Nagler and Inspector Schuch
- some from Śląsk province with Sub inspector Złotowski (the Chief Officer from Tarnopol),
Inspector Goździewski (the Chief Officer from Lwów), Inspector Łodziński (the
Chief Officer from Łódź) and Inspector Witalis Olszański (the Chief Officer from
The prisoners of war were conveyed to prisons at Przemyśl, Stanisławów, Drohobycz,
Tarnopol, Grodno, Łuck and hundreds of other places where they suffered from starvation, they were tortured and finally, a great number of them were murdered by being shot in the back of their head. Those who survived told tales of the vastness of the torment experienced by the Polish policemen, their families and relatives.
The Red Army and the NKVD forces perpetrated mass killings against Polish policemen.
The worst incidents occurred:
- at Lwów where on 22nd September the prisoners of war were killed by the soldiers from the Red Army firing cannons
at Rohatyń where on 20th September a policeman was tortured then murdered
at Brygitki Lwowskie where the prisoners of war were kept in condemned cells. Many of them were killed there and the bodies were not buried or removed. After the Soviets had escaped from the town in 1941 the piles of corpses were found there.
at Tarnopol, Lwów, Łuck, Berezwecz and at Mosty Wielkie.
Soon it was clear that all the Polish policemen were predestined to be exterminated as the inveterate enemies of the Russian State. Stalin's spite was precisely directed - against his enemies among whom there were soldiers who had been fighting for the freedom of Śląsk and Poznań, members of the Polish Legions, soldiers from the Polish army fighting against the Red Army during the Polish - Bolshevik war in 1920, soldiers from the army headed by General Haller and members of the first Polish corps in Russia commanded by General Józef Dowbór Muśnicki; all in all the Polish youth brought up in a patriotic strain.
The largest part of Polish lands was in the NKVD's power.
Not only did the Soviets cruelly kill men but also small children in mothers' arms and mothers under children's eyes. More than a million Polish citizens were deported in four vast railway convoys between 1940 and 1941. The policemen's families were in an appalling situation: left beyond the law and deported into the Soviet Union largely to Sybir and Kazachstan. They had been told to take a minimum of personal belongings and pack within an hour, usually at night. They were packed in sealed, unheated cattle - wagons, in which there were as many as 50-55 people for several weeks suffering from frostbite, starvation and derangement. Those who survived the trains faced hard labour. Even ten-year old children were forced to work, irrespective of the temperature, which often rose to + 40 degrees Celsius in summer in Kazachstan, and dropped to - 55 degrees Celsius in Syberia. The starvations, frost, insects, diseases and epidemics resulted in a rapidly growing death rate among the prisoners of war. Entire families perished, especially children undernourished and deprived of care.
A quarter of a million Poles were forced to serve in the Red Army, another quarter of a million were arrested and sentenced to concentration camps, a part of them were murdered. Altogether more than 230 000 Polish policemen and soldiers were taken prisoner in September
1939 and deported far inside the Soviet Union. For about a hundred thousand Poles rescue came with the Amnesty which was granted in 1941 that resulted in the formation of the Polish Army on the territory of the USSR commanded by General Władysław Anders.
But the prisoners of war at Kozielsk, Ostaszków and Starobielsk faced the most monstrous fate.
For the Polish policemen the journey from the city of Włodzimierz Wołyński to Ostaszków was outrageous. We can now reconstruct that journey from the fragments of notes that were found in the pocket of the uniforms of the policemen whose remains were excavated during the exhumation of the mass graves at Miednoje in 1991:
"12th September,1939, departure from Łuck;
13 th September,1939, departure from Kiwerce,
13 th September,1939, arrival at Kowel ( )
18 th September,1939, departure with the army
19 th September,1939,arrival at Włodzimierz ( ), disarmament ( )
29 th September,1939, departure towards Równe ( )
1st October 1939, arrival at Brodów
28th October 1939, departure from Brodów,
29th October 1939, arrival at Zdołbunów ( )
31st October 1939, arrival at Szepietówka,
12th November 1939, departure from Szepietówka,
13th November 1939, departure from the station in Korosół
14th November 1939, departure from the station Żłobin, then Mohylew and Witebsk
15th November 1939, departure from the station Wielkie Łuki, arrival at Ostaszków ."
The Polish prisoners of war arrested after the Soviet aggression on the eastern borderland of Poland on 17th September 1939 were located in eight camps submitted to the Management of the prisoners of war affairs formed by Beria's order of 19th September 1939.
After sorting out the problems created by the fragmentary groups of prisoners, in October three special camps were formed at Starobielsk, (as the first one), at Kozielsk (for the Polish Army officers) and the largest at Ostaszków for policemen, prison staff, military police, espionage agents and counterintelligence staff.
In the aftermath of the order given by the Chief of the Management for the prisoners of war, Soprunienko, dated 29th October 1939 the military settlers, including soldiers and officers, were also sent to the Ostaszków camp.
The camps were formed between October and November and then the prisoners of war were being relocated. The men from the central area of Poland were transported to places of exchange with the Germans; the soldiers and officers coming from the western part of Ukraina and Białoruś were released from the prisons, except 37 thousand Poles who were kept in labour camps run by the NKVD. From there the Polish officers and policemen were taken over by the newly set up camps. There were also Polish soldiers coming from the western parts of Ukraina and Białorus who had been interned by the Litwa government. The relocation of prisoners occurred several times before the camps were liquidated.
The camp for the Polish policemen was located on Stołbnyj Island in Lake Seliger, 11 kilometers from Ostaszków in Kalinin province. It had served as a labour colony for youth, and was liquidated by Beria's order dated 19th September 1939. The wooden bridge which connected the camp with the peninsula Swietlica near by, and the dam which connected the island to the land were built by the Polish prisoners of war. The policemen were located in the buildings of the old hermitage (set up in 1594). In the period from 28th September to 27th October there were 12 238 prisoners of war, though there was really only enough room for 7 thousand people. There were no places for 728 people.
There was no sanitary service, rooms or furnishings; the canteen had only 300 seats, the bath -50. Undernourished, lodged in cold, unheated monastic accommodation, the Polish prisoners weakened, quickly losing their strength. The mortality rate was high - according to incomplete data at least 92 inmates died and many suffered from consumption.
The camp at Ostaszków was carefully guarded by 112 soldiers from a company of the 235th battalion department of the 11th brigade convoy forces of the NKVD. In April 1940 the company was changed with the 12th company of the 236th convoy regiment. The camp area was surrounded by a wide zone of wire entanglements and a fence. There were also watch-towers, searchlights and guard-posts located around it..
Major Pawieł F. Borisowiec as the Commanding Officer of the camp, and the Commissar Iwan W. Jurasow came to this place on 21st September. The special unit in the camp was led by Grigorij W. Korytow, and Colonel Dmitrij Stiepanowicz Tokariew who was the Chairman of the NKVD in Kalinin district. On 31st October the inspector of the management for the prisoners of war, Captain G.I. Antonow arrived at Ostaszków.
By orders of Beria, the camp of Ostaszków was assigned for the prisoners
especially demonstrating ill-will, refusing to work, simulating and negatively influencing other prisoners of war. The policemen and the likes of them should have been put to severe rigour. Chances to escape were excluded and at the same time the prisoners were systematically and precisely verified to reveal those who had worked in espionage organs, in the border-zones, or who had taken part in the war against the USSR.
The NKVD management recruited informers among the local citizens.
Apart from the special informers in the camp who belonged to the central and district organs of the NKVD, on 4th December an operational brigade consisted of 14 men, led by Stiepan J. Biełolipecki was delegated to Ostaszków. The group was to prepare the investigation records of all prisoners of war till January 1940. Next, seven other men came to Ostaszków in the third week of December, and then on 31st December, by order of Beria, the chief of the management for the prisoners of war, Soprunienko together with ten people arrived at the camp.
By the end of 1939 the brigade led by Białolipecki had prepared two thousand records of investigation, brought 500 documents before a special council and copied 150 indictments. On 1st February 1940 the Soprunienko and Białolipecki investigation was completed.
The records included 6050 cases.
The total number of prisoners in the camp of Ostaszków on 10th October comprised 9113 people, included 184 officers, 93 policemen, 8851 men, 14 women, 63 people who were ill, and 150 wounded prisoners. Up until 23rd October 8751 people were sent away, so on the last day of October there were 4258 prisoners in the camp, including: 1696 policemen, 204 reservists, 36 military policemen, 20 settlers, 11 young policemen, 40 members from the prison staff, 74 officers, 10 doctors, 8 officials, 329 men and non-commissioned officers from the border guard, 47 foot soldiers, 6 women (they were sent away), 74 civilians, 1 member of the espionage staff, and 1702 people without documents.
On the 1st December in the camp were 5963 prisoners, including: 5033 policemen, 40 military policemen, 41 members of the border guard, 27 settlers, 8 young policemen, 263 officers, 127 men and non-commissioned officers, 169 reservists and 105 civilians. Among the officers there were also teachers.
According to the NKVD data from 28th February 1940 among the prisoners (total number 6072) there were 6013 Poles (99%), 28 Byelorussians, 23 Ukrainians, 4 Czechs, 2 Germans and 2 Russians.
Crowded together, the Polish prisoners did not stay inactive. They made attempts to escape, however, their efforts were defeated. Suffering in the fierce conditions they continued to preserve their religious practices, they used to pray and contemplate, forgetting about the differences in beliefs and philosophy. Sometimes they managed to celebrate Mass.
On Christmas Eve 1939 the priests, who were celebrating the worship, were transported in an unknown direction, and disappeared for ever, probably they sacrificed their lives on that Holy night.
All policemen, concentrating their thoughts on the faith and love of Poland, lived with the hope of a favourable change of fate, though day after day their hopes kept shattering.
Their time started to expire one cool night in April 1940, when the first transport of the prisoners, unaware of their approaching death, arrived at the place of their execution. The basements of the building of the NKVD at Kalinin (previously Tver, situated 200 kilometers from Ostaszków) was to be the place of the execution. Detailed information on the executions is well known, as the head of the NKVD of Kalinin, Colonel Dmitrij Stiepanowicz Tokariew bore witness while being questioned in March 1991. In his impassive report he described the picture of the political slaughter disguised in a military mask, created as a license to give vent to the worst instincts without any norms, either religious or civilizing.
The ninety-year old blind man gave readily adduced personal information and figures, uncovered the horrifying facts of the slaughter without hesitating. When he was asked about any liability to punishment, he replied quickly: "Never, why? God forbid!"
For the man who did not use God's name with respect, men's lives and dignity were worthless.
The abyss that was built by the soulless brutes for the innocent and isolated Polish policemen suffuses ominous mystery.
The descendants of the men buried in the mournful wooded area at Miednoje have felt despair knowing the truth about the slaughter that has grown in the sea of evil.
The decision to murder the prisoners of war from the Ostaszków camp was taken by the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Russian Communist party on 5th March 1940.
The meeting was attended by: Józef Stalin, Wiaczesław Mołotow, Kliment Woroszyłow, Łazar Kaganowicz and Anastaz Mikojan. All of them accepted. Beria's decision to shoot summarily 14 736 Polish prisoners, including 10 030 police officers, members of the border staff, gendarmerie and espionage and 5138 policemen. The decision was motivated by the opinion that "all those prisoners were hardened enemies to the Soviet authority, lacking any expectations of improvement."
Beria's order to murder without trial a total of 24 700 prisoners of war, included about ten thousand policemen, put in prison at Ostaszków.
Soon complete lists of the men meant to be killed were prepared and sent to the camps. Even the dates of the execution were chosen so that they were convenient to the perpetrators - in April and May, as then it was easier to dig pits in thawed ground.
The preparations in the basements of the building belonging to the NKVD were being systematically and precisely carried out according to the plan: the condemned ward was covered with softened thick felt; a mechanical shovel was brought over from Moskwa to dig out large ditches for corpses.
A special group consisting of 30 NKVD members - executioners, came to the place of the execution, including -
- N. I. Siniegubow, Major of state security, responsible for investigating department and the
second in command of the NKVD Central transport management,
- W.M. Błochin, Major of state security, the director of the administrative and economic
department of the NKVD
- Michaił Kriwienko, Com.brigadier, Commanding officer of the NKVD central management of the convoy forces
- Kuprij, Chief of the NKVD at Charków
There were also members of the NKVD at Kalinin, drivers and Andriej M. Rubanow, the commanding officer of the camp, Lieutenant of state security.
The executors used German pistols.
The prisoners were escorted in columns to the railway station of Soroga, then transported to Kalinin, and finally, packed in prison vans, were driven to the prison at 6 Soviecka Street.
That one statement comprises the irreversible torment of more than six thousand men, multiplied by thousands of metres on the way to the graves of forgetfulness. Each second of that route to death is like an immense stone on the conscience of mankind.
Men sentenced to death stayed in the basement cells, where they were waiting for the execution. The prisoners were taken out one by one to one of the cellar rooms where their personal details were checked, then they were handcuffed and pushed to the condemned ward. There the shot in the back of the head from a short distance brought their lives to end.
The corpses were then dragged out onto the backyard, laid in the trucks and then transported thirty kilometers to the village of Miednoje; there they were buried in pits, 4 metres deep, each of which would accommodate 250 corpses.
After the executions at night the executors were given alcohol.
D.S. Tokariew did not own up to any participation in executions. While witnessing he pointed to great psychological burden experienced by executors, resulting in alcoholism or suicide. However, that has not been confirmed.
The death transports from Ostaszków were stopped on 22nd May. According to Tokariew 6295 men were killed, including 5887 State and Silesian policemen.
In the graveyard, in the nineteen thirties, Russian citizens had been buried. This way the Russian Communist Party used to build layers of slaughter while other cultures have raised monuments of prosperity and security. What a curse fell on the Russian territory that thousands of its citizens have inherited, a moral decline leading to disinclination to prove to be compassionate. Who is responsible for that?
The graves with corpses were covered, then flattened and afforested.
For the following fifty years the Soviets managed to suppress the secrets of the slaughter and burial places, holy for Polish families of the victims. The prisoners of war from Ostaszków were condemned to death for as long as the Polish nation was deprived of the remembrance.
To commemorate the prisoners from Ostaszków
THEIR HOPE LAY WITH GOD AND POLAND
It was 15th August 1991, the first day of the exhumation operations at the site where the Polish prisoners of war from Ostaszków camp were buried.
Some minutes past eleven a scoop of the digger excavated a piece of uniform - the first mark of more than six thousand policemen, members of the prison staff and the border guards
whose history came to an end 51 years ago, when the door of the basement in the NKVD' building in Kalinin (Tver) banged behind them.
Soon the digger uncovered buttons with the stamped eagle - the emblem of Poland, and the police badge - signs carried by the policemen during their journey to the inhuman land, thousands of kilometers far away from their homes to the place where they died as victims of the most gruesome slaughter of the last century.
The digger excavated the grave and revealed the pressed bodies of the victims. There are twenty five such graves in the quiet forest at Miednoje. There the Polish policemen have lain for so many years. According to Stalin's plan their liquidation was a stage in taking Poland under his control.
Almost a quarter of a century of the pontificate of John Paul II had passed, but the tree of justice for the guiltlessly suffering and cruelly murdered policemen has not grown from the seeds of the Pope's statements. A group of honest people achieved a heroic deed, 60 years after the policemen's death - with great determination they managed to bury them with dignity in the Polish graveyard at Miednoje.
So why have those, who could do more, not undertaken anything to revive legal proceedings against the murderers? Have they not had enough courage in their hearts or any clear intention of duty towards the killed policemen and to their living relatives?
My generation, replete with our heritage of humanism, tolerance, love and respect for human dignity, while taking a step into the next millennium still can not find answers to these basic questions.
When the Bishop, Brigadier - General Leszek Sławoj Głódź was standing in 1991 at the side of an open grave containing the remains of 250 exhumed policemen's bodies, he asked in his homily: "Why did they die? In how many Polish homes have such questions been heard for so many years? Why - we are asking also today still with a dramatic intensity."
Ten years have passed but the question has not been answered so far. There are no answers for thousands of questions concerning the sense and truth of humanity, as if the wisdom and belief were too little, the treaties and philosophers' studies incomplete and out-of-date..
The hearts of those who we call to for sentencing those responsible for the criminal deeds seem to be wilted, no one answers from either side of the border. Suffering and hopes - these oppressing feelings have accompanied our continual demands for the whole truth.
The first transport of 300 policemen from the Ostaszków camp to the place of execution was on 4th April 1940. Two hundred fifty of these were killed. The bodies, with their heads wrapped in their uniform coats, were tumbled into trucks that set out at dawn to Miednoje.
There, in the grounds of the Kalinin NKVD recreational area, the bodies were cast down to a large pit four metres deep and twelve metres long. A mechanical shovel filled the pit with earth and covered the carelessly thrown corpses before digging another pit for use the following day.
Fifty years later Poles are there again. The exhumation works are going on.
A shovel carefully uncovers the surface of a mass grave and a skull wrapped tightly in navy- blue cloth is taken out.
Each skull is carefully examined:
a complete skull, male, damaged bones proving a bullet-wound .
a complete skull with brain, deformed, entry wound: 13 mm above the occiput
almost complete brain-pan, bullet - wound .
a complete skull, the exit wound may be within the nasal fosse
a skull, the exit wound within left temporal joint
Katyn has been known since 1943 as the place where the Polish army officers from Kozielsk were slaughtered. However, the burial grounds for the Polish army officers last seen being transported from Starobielsk, and the Polish policemen last seen leaving Ostaszków were unknown to us. We had been looking for them for a very long time.
Turn out for the roll of the murdered.
Listen to me everyone!
Let the tragic events from over sixty years ago remain for ever in our memory, so any of the sacrifice of Polish blood will never be overcome, as it will be the sacrifice of the murdered thirteen thousand policemen of the Second Republic of Poland. Let it become the mark of patriotism for us and for future generations.
Those policemen were executed as a result of a decision taken by the State communist authorities of the Soviet Union.
Today we are engrossed in a silent thoughtfulness recalling the atrociously slaughtered Polish prisoners of war from the NKVD' camps situated all over the Soviet Union, and those who died during the struggle with the invaders.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead. - They died for Poland.
1.Turn out for the roll of the dead - the State policemen - prisoners of war from the camp at
Ostaszków, slaughtered at Kalinin (Tver), buried at Miednoje. You were killed for your love
and loyalty toward Poland, for the truth, for the observance of law. Those values were alien
to your oppressors.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
2. Turn out for the roll of the dead - the Polish policemen who in September 1939 undertook
the unequal struggle against the Nazi and Soviet aggressors in defense of our country and its
citizens side by side with soldiers from the Armed forces.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
3. Turn out for the roll of the dead - the State policemen of the Second Republic of Poland,
defenders of Lwów and other towns of Kresy Wschodnie, who after the capitulation of the
town as prisoners of war were killed by the savage Soviet soldiers, infringing the treaties of
capitulation and the international regulations.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
4. Turn out for the roll of the dead - policemen and soldiers who were shot at the grave-pits
in Katyn forest. Your oppressors were not able to understand your dignity and the honour of
an officer and a soldier and that is why you were murdered.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
5.Turn out for the roll of the dead - prisoners of war from the camp of Starobielsk, murdered
at Charków and buried there. You were slaughtered because of your honesty and because
you kept your oath of loyalty to Poland to the end.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
6. Turn out for the roll of the dead - Polish policemen defending citizens against fighting
squads of Ukrainian nationalists on the territory of Kresy Wschodnie.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
7.Turn out for the roll of the dead - the families of the State policemen of the Second
Republic of Poland, babies, children, our youth, mothers, wives and old people. You were
deported far inside the Syberian and Kazachstan territories, where you perished from
starvation and illnesses. You remain far away from our country for ever. Your graves were
destroyed by Taigas and steppes.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
8.Poles - murdered in the inhuman land, whose graves are unknown - you were killed only
because you were Polish.
I am calling you to the roll of the dead - They died for Poland.
Peace to their souls.
The first information about Miednoje was published in the Paris' magazine "Kultura" in 1988.
A year later the General Prosecutor of the Polish Republic applied for the first time to the General Prosecutor of the Soviet Union with a request to institute an inquiry concerning the Katyn slaughter. He argued for regarding the slaughter as a crime against humanity, with no statute of limitation and what is more - a crime which should be cleared up. At that time the Russian General prosecutor refused to begin the legal procedure, explaining that the Soviet Union had no documents worthy of belief, in spite of reports from 1944.
Yet in April 1990, General Wojciech Jaruzelski, during his visit to the Soviet Union, received documents from Michaił Gorbachev. The lists comprised orders from April and May 1940 for the camp commanders to hand the prisoners of war over to the NKVD control. Those documents constituted circumstantial evidence of a crime committed by the Soviet state security organizations.
More and more articles about prisoners from Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostaszków were published in newspapers, for example an article entitled "Where are the bodies of the victims of repression?" published in "Kalinińskaja Prawda" in May 1990, after which lots of letters concerning the crime were sent to the editor.
Consequently, in June, the District Prosecutor's office at Tver began legal proceedings, supervised by Prosecutor Jewgienij Artiemietiew, in order to discover the burial place of Polish policemen. Soon afterwards the spokesmen for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR officially announced that there are mass graves in the regions of Charków and Tver, where Polish prisoners of war from Starobielsk and Ostaszków were buried.
The Polish authorities quickly instituted proceedings which would led to exhumation works so as to identify the burial places and to gather evidence concerning the place of slaughter. Permission to start the work at Charków and Miednoje was obtained from the Russian Prosecutor in June 1991.
The Polish group comprised:
- Stefan Śnieżko, Prosecutor, the chief of the group;
- Zbigniew Mielecki, Prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice;
- Erazm Baran, Lecturer from the forensic medicine institution of the Medicine Academy in
- Roman Mądro, Assistant Professor from the forensic medicine institution of the Medicine
Academy in Lublin
- Bronisław Młodziejowski, Anthropologist, Professor and Chief Manager of the institution of
Police Science of the Police Academy in Szczytno;
- Marian Głosek, Archeologist from archeology and ethnology institution of the State Science
Academy in Łódź;
- Jarosław Rosiak, fire-arms specialist from the Central Laboratory of crime detection of the
Chief Police Headquarters;
- Aleksander Załęski, photography specialist from the Central Laboratory of crime detection;
- Zdzisław Sawicki, Colonel, decorations and uniforms specialist;
- Jędrzej Tucholski, historian of the Katyn slaughter;
- Przemysław Tomaszewski, Colonel;
- Elżbieta Rejf from Central Management of the Polish Red Cross;
- Stanisław Mikke, lawyer;
- Józef Gębski, a director from documentary film producers.
The Russian group comprised: Colonel A. Trietieckij, Colonel S. Rodziewicz, Prosecutor Anatolij Jabłokow, General W. Kupiec, General Rybakow, Colonel L. Bielajew and fifty four soldiers from Kantemirowsk company of an armoured division.
The exhumation operations, which were supervised by the Russians, began on 15th August and went on until the end of the month in the area which belonged to the State Security committee of the USSR. Five mass graves were found. However, only one, the biggest, was exhumed.
In that grave, 4,2 metres long and 3,75 metres deep, there were 243 corpses compressed into a hard block, as a result of specific climate and soil effects. Biological processes resulted in the creation of a dark blue compacted mass of soil, corpses and remains of uniforms. The members of the exhumation worked carefully separating the fragments.
The bodies lay two metres deep, in disorder, immersed in water, but they remained in a very good condition. The heads were wrapped in police coats, there were remnants of hair on many skulls.
One of the members of the Polish group, Colonel Zdzisław Sawicki recalls the scene:
"It is almost impossible to describe what we saw: before our eyes, completely
mummified men's bodies appeared, dressed in uniforms It was thrilling. We pulled out the bodies one by one, slowly so as not to destroy anything. Each corpse was carried on a
wooden stretcher and put on the ground, then we tried to unbutton the uniform, and searched the pockets Bearing in mind what we had found with the corpses at Charków, the belongings found here astonished us greatly, as there were only pieces of towels and soap, glasses, combs or cigarette holders. The limited number of things substantiated reports of extremely severe treatment at the Ostaszków camp. The prisoners were put under special discipline, searched many times and deprived of all that was valuable."
The specialists who carried out the examination proved that a shot into the back of the head from a very short distance was the cause of death.
The Polish team members took neither the time nor the effort into account. The eerie strain
of the place prevented any deep reflection.
Stanisław Mikke records that: "Despite heavy rain and a feeling of tenseness due to the martial state introduced in the USSR, the work was going on. The density of the offensive smell was so strong that it was necessary to have a great deal of self-denial to come up to the grave In the pit, without gas-masks, Mr Baran and Professor Młodziejowski were standing with tired eyes and faces covered with mud. Someone shouted to them to go out of the grave and breathe in fresh air to help them avoid the risk of being overwhelmed by the fumes, but Professor Młodziejowski raised his head and said:
"Perhaps God will take us for at least several days to heaven for staying here".
They both did not stop working: they kept on taking corpses out - until there were about seventy of them lying on the ground.
Only after coming back to Poland was there an opportunity to think everything over and to describe what had happened in the Polish prisoner of war camps.
The remains of the Polish policemen were put in coffins and re-buried in a clearing in the forest. Some people, including Russians, brought crosses and mounted them on the graves. Because of those crosses that particular forest got closer to Poland.
During the exhumation works some policemen's belongings were found and after collecting them carefully they were sent to the Central Laboratory of crime detection of Chief
Police Headquarters and to the Katyn Museum in Poland. Among these things there were personal documents, notes, pieces of newspapers, and police badges mainly of the Silesian State Police. The experts managed to identify only thirteen persons at first, however, the documents were in a very good condition: the writing was well preserved.
A funeral ceremony at the graves with Polish prayers was held on Saturday, 31st August, 1991.
The last coffin which was lowered into the grave was wrapped in a Polish banner with the ribbon of the order Virtuti Militari. It lay next to others over which earth from Poland was scattered.
The ceremony (organized by the Cabinet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa - The Council preserving the memory of the fight and the martyrdom), was celebrated by the Bishop of the Polish Army General Sławoj Leszek Głódź. The Bishop was assisted by non-Catholic clergy, families of the murdered policemen, members of the Polish Parliament, representatives of the Police and Fire Chief Headquarters, representatives of the State Safety Office, members of frontiers and prison staff, gendarmerie, border guard, representatives of the Army Forces, Police orchestra, representatives of the State authorities: Jan Widacki and Jerzy Milewski, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Polish Embassy in Moscow, Stanisław Ciosek, Polish ambassador to Russia, and S. Broniewski, the Chairperson of Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa (The Council preserving the memory of the fight and the martyrdom).
The Christian funeral of the Polish policemen was a time of remarkable feelings.
Jan Widacki, Under-Secretary of State, said before the ceremony: "I am to give a speech, but what should I say? What could anyone say at the grave of the people sentenced not only to death but also to forgetfulness? What could anyone say to those who came here to the graves of their fathers and husbands What could anyone say in this serious moment, in this forest graveyard, which was separated from the holiday area of the Russian State Safety Bureau some weeks ago. Where, behind the fence, there are the last members of the authorities of the regime at the point of its death. This is the time to meditate on the deep metaphysics of the event we are taking part in, here, in this forest, near Tver, on the edge of the Soviet holiday area, at the graves of the victims sentenced to death and to forgetfulness, the graveyard overflowing with Polish uniforms."
Then, during the ceremony he said to the pilgrims:
"We are now bowing down and presenting arms at the graves of more than six thousand policemen, members of frontiers and prison staff, gendarmerie, border guard, as well as members of the Civil Service, murdered by the NKVD in April 1940. We are bowing down, but our hearts are not filled with hatred and our will is not bound with the wish for revenge. We are bowing down in meditation. We are venerating the victims of a totalitarian system at the very moment when that system is falling to pieces. That is the victory of the murdered men from beyond the grave. Right again overcame wrong. Gloria victis".
Roman Hula, the Police Chief Commander, emphasized:
"We were one family experiencing together despair and success due to the recovery of mortal remains of our relatives. We spent hours talking and attending prayers - that unites us a lot.
We were like pilgrims looking for the sources of the truth, wisdom and national pride."
The negotiations with the Russian authorities concerning continuation of the investigation, exhumation works and building cemeteries began a year later. Aleksander Ruckoj - the Vice-President of the Russian Federation took up oversight of the matter. He appointed General Leonid Zaik as Chairperson of the team that was to bring the investigation to completion promptly, to aid in exhumation works and in building the cemeteries till 1994. However, the negotiations were put off and the cemeteries were not completed until 2000, though the necessary measurements to complete the maps of the area of the future cemeteries were made in 1992 by a group of Polish army geodesists. The contract between the Polish state and the Russian Federation State concerning the burial place and the memorial commemorating not only war but also repression victims was signed in February 1994. At the same time Ministers of Foreign Affairs from both countries endorsed a common declaration in which we read:
"Being guided by a good will and humane values, the Russian State intends to begin at Katyn and Miednoje in 1994 the exhumation works of the remains of the victims of the totalitarian system, including Polish officers, and to participate in a venerable funeral. The Russian authority declares that is ready to bear the necessary cost and give aid to construct cemeteries - memorials at Miednoje and Katyn".
The matter was very important for both countries, however, the delay and suspension of decisions, mainly because of Russian officials, resulted in undertaking the next stage of the works in 1994 and 1995. The hostile attitudes of the local people were another hindrance, they presented symptomatic stereotypes, misunderstandings of facts and reliance on the ideology of the past regime.
The works, which continued in November 1994 and in June and July 1995, were overseen by
Professor Bronisław Młodziejowski. At that time 23 graves were located, but only four were completely explored. On completion of the exhumation work, the remains of the bodies were re-buried and wooden crosses were put up over the graves.
At the same time the negotiations concerning legal aspects of the enterprise and deciding the dates for the ceremonies of laying the corner stone on the area of the future cemeteries were carried out.
The ceremonies both at Katyn and at Miednoje became the main stages of commemorating
the Katyn Year and the 55th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
The ceremony of laying in the charter of erection and the corner stone blessed by Pope John Paul II was held on 11th June 1995.
Among the guests there were:
Andrzej Zakrzewski, representative of the Polish President Lech Wałęsa,
Henryk Goryszewski, Minister
Andrzej Milczanowski, Minister of Home Affairs
Jerzy Jaskiernia, Minister of Justice
Jerzy Nóżka, Colonel, Vice-Chief of the State Security Office
As well as: Vice-Presidents of the Polish Seym and Senate, Chief Commanders of Police, Fire and the Border Guard, members of "The Police Family 1939" Association, members of the federation Katyn Families, priests and the Police Guard of Honour.
Among the Russian representatives there were:
Aleksander Kulikow, General, Vice-Minister of Home Affairs,
Siergiej Krasawczenko, Vice-Chief of the Presidential administration,
and W.Bragin, Minister as well as representatives of local authorities.
Despite tedious negotiations, efforts, agreements and interventions which included the designing and documentation of the cemeteries, obtaining legal permission to build the cemeteries, tendering for building works, and the process of building the war cemetery at Miednoje, work was begun on 2nd July 1999 and finished on 28th August 2000.
The war cemetery at Miednoje, where in mass graves only Catholics - Polish prisoners from Ostaszków camp lie, is enclosed with a metal fence. On the twenty five graves 8-metre high cast-iron crosses are mounted. Inside, along the fence there are 6311 epitaph plates.
The ceremony of opening and blessing the cemetery was held on 2nd September 2000.
The families of the murdered policemen celebrated the ceremony with the Prime Minister of Poland Jerzy Buzek, the Minister of Home Affairs of the Russia Federation, Presidents of the Polish Seym and Senate, members of the Polish Cabinet, parliamentarians, Church officials,
together with representatives of Army and Police forces.
The families of the murdered policemen who are still feeling pain and bitterness in their hearts, from that moment also felt appeasement, that their fathers attained the moment of touching the ground with a Polish hand, ground which in the Soviet plan was to hide the slaughter for ever, but owing to steadfast credence, constitutes the national epitaph shroud.
On the granite plate placed under the highest cross there is an inscription, which after 60 years of silence expresses honour to the heroic death of the Polish policemen:
"To commemorate 6311 policemen, soldiers, members of border staff and officials from the State Administration and Ministry of Justice of the Polish Republic, prisoners of war from Ostaszków, murdered by the NKVD in the spring of 1940 and buried here.
Miednoje, August 1991.
Due to favourable circumstances in Poland, which then also occurred in the Soviet Union, those who worked to reveal the genocide can now predict, that the time of distortion has come to an end.
"My father is buried on the most beautiful cemetery anywhere in the world" - wrote Józef Szymoniak, and his words sound like the nicest acknowledgment to all who have been involved in the "Katyn enterprise".
The dramatic period of twelve years from the moment of the first revelation of information about the burial place of the Polish prisoners of war from Ostaszków to the ceremony of opening the war cemetery created as heroes the architects of the splendid outcome. Among those who dedicated all that is the most dignified: their firm hearts and affection to Poland are Andrzej Przewoźnik and Witold Banaś.
The martyrdom and patriotic feelings of the Polish policemen murdered on the Soviet territory. The cult of their memory. A request to pray and a message for present and future generations about the need to preserve freedom. Is it possible to set this all down on a two-square meter bronze bass-relief?
Such was the challenge the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association and the policemen of the Third Republic of Poland set themselves. Having realised their mission to commemorate the truth about Soviet crimes committed on Polish patriots they made the decision to establish a plaque commemorating the slaughter of thirteen thousand policemen of the State Police, murdered in the Russian lands. The plaque was to be placed on the site that is unique for Poland - the Sanctuary in Częstochowa, where the Nation's heart beats and where we have always been free.
The clergy and the officials from the state authorities gave patronage to that idea. The Polish policemen and the members of "The Police Family 1939" Association funded the memorial.
Negotiations concerning the details of the enterprise were carried out in March 2002 by representatives of the founders: Witold Banaś (Chairperson of "The Police family 1939" Association), Romuald Stępniewski (from the Chief Headquarters), Iwona Sułkowska (Board member of "The Police Family 1939" Association) and representatives of the Paulinite Convent from the basilica of Our Lady of Częstochowa.
Paulite Fathers received the guests with warm-heartedness. It was decided that the plate should be consecrated by Pope John Paul II during his visit in Poland in August 2002 and the ceremony connected with unveiling the memorial was planned to be held on 29th September 2002. As it is the day of Archangel Michael - the patron of the police, the pilgrimage of policemen from all over the country to the basilica of Our Lady of Częstochowa should be made on that day.
The executive committee, steered by Antoni Duda, the Chairperson of the police trade union, comprised: Witold Banaś, Romuald Stępniewski, Iwona Sułkowska and Zygmunt Kowalczyk (from the Chief Headquarters).
The members, being aware of their responsibility, worked out the inscription and approved the plaque project. The inscription is as follows:
. Having been hacked off at the stem, being faithful to Poland to the end
Murdered in silence and falsehood.
Cast off like a stone,
But green leaves will grow from their remains
And the memory becomes fortified.
Let our message to preserve our honour and freedom,
Law and justice
Be passed on to all generations
Through pleadings to Our Lady Maiden Mary
Let's beg her Son to have mercy on all people faithful to Poland to the end
For thirteen thousand policemen of the Second Republic of Poland -
Prisoners of war slaughtered by Soviet communists after 17th September 1939.
The bass - relief represents Christ on the cross, leaning forward over an open grave with remains of the policemen murdered in Ostaszków. The war cemetery in Miednoje is represented on both sides of the cross by pictures. Placed on the lower part of the relief there are relics excavated from the exhumation ditches and a cast of a police cap.
The relief was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on 18th August 2002 in Kraków. In his homily which was dedicated to the merciful love of God, he referred to the remembrance of the genocide, which is preserved in the bronze relief: "the 20th century was marked in a special way by misdeeds"
The families of the war prisoners of Ostaszków and the policemen of the Third Republic of Poland. These are the successors of the traditions of the State Police of the Second Republic of Poland. They faced the gloomy truth uncovered in mass graves and documents about the crime committed by NKVD. Now they are feeling extremely intense mercy flowing from the Pope's words.
The relief was placed in the Lady chapel in the basilica of Our Lady of Częstochowa. On 29th September 2002, during the ceremony celebrated by the Prime Cardinal Józef Glemp, Witold Banaś, the Chairperson of "The Police Family 1939" Association, commended the torment of the murdered policemen to Our Lady.
The obligation to preserve that part of our national identity in the consciousness of future generations provides a significant testimony of our veneration to the murdered Poles.
You, the Queen of Poland, Our Lady of Częstochowa -
You, Mother of Jesus and Mankind
On our knees at the foot of Your Throne we commend our fathers to You,
defenders of human dignity, on behalf of their wives, children and grandchildren,
on behalf of the policemen of the Third Republic of Poland and all
people of goodwill.
You Mary - Mother of Jesus - Through Your intercession - have mercy on all of
those who have always been faithful to Poland to the end.
We commend to Your care thirteen thousand policemen of the Second Republic of Poland on whom Soviet communists committed the most outrageous war crime by murdering the prisoners of war transgressing all principles - of God and humanity.
They died because they loved their motherland - Poland above all.
They fought in defense of faith in Your Son and our God, opposing the constraint
We commend to Your care, The Queen of Poland, their last thoughts, tears and cravings, their last prayers and fear of death.
We express our devotion to You, Mary, The Queen of Poland.
Częstochowa, 29th September 2002
This devotion was said by Witold Banaś, the Chairperson of "The Police Family 1939" Association in the hearing of Cardinal Józef Glemp, the Primate of Poland.
ARDS THE FUTURE
Everything men do for others - for those who died, for those who are building the contemporary world, or our future - speaks volumes for their worth.
Monuments created by the members of the "Police Family 1939" Association will certainly be well preserved despite all the currents spreading over the European Union.
The pragmatism of their activities is worth recording within that perspective.
Thanks to Mr Banaś, members of the Association have been building a foundation of close cooperation with the young generation. Activities carried out by them were focused in three directions:
* organizing ceremonies at the Grave of the Polish Policeman by students from secondary schools in Katowice region, yearly in April;
* pilgrimages to the war cemetery at Miednoje for great-grandchildren of the policemen murdered at Kalinin / Twer;
* efforts to commemorate the memory of the victims of the Katyn crime by
- creating the Katyn Museum as a distinct institution;
- lobbying for renewing the investigation against those responsible for the slaughter.
All these undertakings were initiated and are being supervised by the chairperson of the
Association Mr Witold Banaś.
It was his idea to begin cooperation with teachers from Katowice schools to perform
ceremonies at the Grave of the Polish Policeman. Each one would include a patriotic
presentation, a guard of honour accompanied by the school's flags, praying, reading the roll of honour, and other national symbols. Among the guests several hundred students usually attend the annual ceremony. They are given a hot meal and historical books.
By being deeply involved in all the arrangements concerning every aspect of the ceremony they have a chance to avoid growing up indifferent to their history.
The first pilgrimage of teenagers to Miednoje set out at the end of August 2003.
The group of eighteen young people paid tribute to the memory of their great-grandfathers - murdered policemen buried at the war cemetery at Miednoje.
During the ceremony, while expressing their appreciation towards the organizers of the
patriotic journey to that blessed place, a young man said:
We, the generation brought up in sovereign, democratic Poland, are experiencing here the tragic history of our country. This way our patriotic feelings mature. We can understand better the necessity to preserve and keep respect for other people, for nations, and for the successors of the Christian, European culture.
Our group represent all young people from our country.
We will promote the idea of pilgrimages to this place in our cities and schools.
We will be attempting to enter it into the calendar of ceremonies commemorating
the martyrdom of the Polish Nation.
Fulfilling the idea of having an adequate location for the Katyn museum in the center of the Polish capital has a vital importance.
The museum is essential for instilling, not only in the young but also in future generations as well, the conviction that evil threats result from totalitarian policies.
The realization of the museum mission should also become a means of deepening patriotic feelings, lack of which some young groups are experiencing nowadays. Expressing the truth about the Katyn massacre is a way of punishing the evildoers. So far they have not been adjudged guilty as happened to the nazi war criminals.
By being silent about evil and covering it we are implementing it carelessly, and it may rise up again in the future. If we value human life and freedom we should educate young people in a genuine wish to protect truth and justice.