Posted Saturday, August 5, 2000

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Associated Press July 29, 2000

KATYN, Russia -- Laying wreaths at the spot where Soviet secret police massacred thousands of Polish army officers in 1940, Russian and Polish officials joined relatives Friday in remembering one of the Soviet Union's more brutal actions.

StalinA memorial dedicated Friday honored 4,421 Polish officers who were shot and dumped into mass graves in April and May 1940 -- a slaughter communist authorities concealed for decades. In 1943, Nazis found the graves of the Katyn victims, who were among some 15,000 Polish officers killed by Josef Stalin's secret police. The Soviet government blamed the killings on the Nazis, and made discussion of the massacre taboo. In communist Poland, all information about Katyn was banned.

"The word 'Katyn', in Poland and the whole world, will remain a symbol of genocide and war crimes," said Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek, who led Poland's delegation, which included military officers. Russia finally admitted responsibility for the massacre in 1990, handing over secret police documents to Warsaw.

"I've come here because my father is lying here. And there are thousands like me," said Lukrecia Hal, a retiree who was among hundreds of relatives and other ordinary Poles who traveled to Katyn in western Russia for the ceremony.

They laid 1,500 wreaths along the walls, where the Polish section is marked by a large Catholic cross. Poland's Roman Catholic cardinal, Josef Glemp, and Bishop Slawoj Leszek Glodz, Poland's chief army chaplain, celebrated a memorial mass. Russian Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish clerics also said prayers.

The graves also contain the bodies of about 500 Russian and other Soviet victims of the Nazis. [Uh?] "Those who lie here, Russians and Poles -- all of them are victims of totalitarian systems of the 20th Century. Poland has never left them behind and will never forget them," said Andrzej Przewoznik, secretary general of the Polish Union of Memory group.


Authentic photos of the horrors of Katyn

Tuesday, September 11, 2012: That other Holocaust: WW2 massacre: Memos show US cover-up of Stalin's Katyn slaughter | CBS | the memos online

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