War of the Cross in Poland.
The world was never to learn of Katyń. The families of the victims were denied the right to mourn in public or to cry and honor the memory of their loved ones. Earth was meant to cover all signs of the atrocity and dissimulation was to erase it from human memory.
In April 1940 more that 21 thousand of Polish prisoners of war in KGB camps and prisons were murdered. This crime of genocide was carried out by the will of Stalin, on express orders of the supreme authorities of the Soviet Union. The alliance of the Third Reich and the USSR, the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the aggression against Poland initiated on the 17th September, 1939 found its terrifying culmination in the Katyn massacre. Citizens who formed the backbone of the Polish Republic’s civil society, unbending in their service to their country, were killed not only in the forests of Katyn but also in Twer, Kharkov and other known and still unknown massacre sites. Simultaneously, the families of the massacre victims as well as thousands of other civilians from the pre-war Eastern provinces of Poland were deported into the remote depths of the Soviet Union, where their untold sufferings signed the road of the Polish Golgotha of the East.
The most tragic station on this road was Katyń. Polish officers, clergymen, civil servants, policemen, border guards and prison officers were exterminated with neither hearings nor sentences. They were victims of a war that had never been declared. They were murdered in contravention of all laws and conventions of the civilized world. They were stripped of their dignity as soldiers, Poles and human beings.
Trenches of death were meant to conceal the bodies of the dead and the truth of the atrocity forever. The world was never to know. The families of the victims were denied the right to mourn in public or to weep and honor the memory of their loved ones. Earth covered all signs of the atrocity and lies were to erase it from human memory altogether.
Concealing the truth of Katyn – as part of the design of those who perpetrated this crime – became one of the fundamental tenets of Communist policy in post-war Poland: the founding lie of the People’s Republic of Poland. During its years, a very high price would be imposed for the very memory and truth of Katyń. However, the families and friends of those who had been murdered and other courageous people remained faithful to this memory, defended it and handed it down to the generations that followed. They preserved it through the whole period of successive Communist governments and then entrusted it to their countrymen in the new, free and independent Poland. We therefore owe our gratitude and utmost respect to all of them, especially the Katyń families. In the name of the Republic of Poland, I express my deepest thank you for having rescued such an important dimension of our Polish experience and identity through your defense of the memory of your loved ones.
Katyń became a painful wound of Polish history and poisoned relations between Poles and Russians for many decades to come. Let us allow the Katyń wound to finally close over and heal! We are on that road. As Poles, we appreciate the actions taken by Russians in the last few years. We should proceed on that road, which is bringing our two nations closer to one another. We must not stop or back-track.
All the facts of the Katyń crime must be exhaustively established and clarified. It is important that the innocence of the victims be legally confirmed and that all the documents pertaining to this atrocity be disclosed. That the Katyń liedisappear for ever from the public domain! We call for these actions first and foremost out of recognition for the memory of the victims and the suffering of their families. But we also call for these actions in the name of shared values which form the basis of trust and partnership between neighbouring nations throughout Europe.
Let us together pay homage to the murdered and let us pray for them. Praise to the heroes! Honour to their memory!