"Moving monument and story" Top 5 Page for this destination Memories Tip by matcrazy1
Memories, Warsaw: 36 reviews and 146 photos
Favorite thing: This small monument to Soviet genocide victims is very important for many, many Poles including me. For many it's a symbol of succesful fight against Soviet totalitarism and domination over Poland. Despite the nation will the monuments to the victims of any Soviet crime were forbidden till 1990. In 1981 (during limited freedom period after creating the Solidarity Movement) the first Katyn monument was secretly put at night in Powazki cemetery by unknown that time people. It was soon badly damaged at night by "unknown perpetrators" (read: UB = Polish KGB; never found though) and removed.
Most foreign visitors don't know how many touching and sad stories are hidden behind this memorial. There is no explanation at place in English (why?).
Let me translate the inscroptions:
"To memory of the officers of Polish Army who were killed by communist, Soviet totalitarizm all over the whole area of the Empire of Evil after September, 17, 1939." Signed: Katyn Committee, Colonel Kuklinski, Polonia from Chicago. Warsaw, May, 1998. And below: "stone from the fields of our fathers."
Katyn Committee is a common name of organisations founded all over the world by Polish families of the Katyn victims.
Colonel Kuklinski (1930 - 2004), a hero for many Poles now, was top Warsaw Pact spy for CIA in 1970 - 1981 when Poland was de facto under Soviet occupation. His museum (Kanonia St. in the Old Town) opens on May, 3, 2006. Visitors will walk on the former Soviet Union flags put on the floor which is controversial for some folks.
Chicago, Illinois, USA has the largest Polish community out of Poland.
On 17 September, 1939 Soviet troops invided Poland. The two great friends that time: Stalin and Hitler divided Poland.
Read more about Katyn massacre, please. Stalin's Killing Field in Katyn forest will be my first destination to visit in Russia, I am sure.
Fondest memory: I saw this monument for the first time during some tensions between Poland and Russia. Russia closed half a way investigation on the Katyn crime without charging anyone and refused to treat it as a genocide crime. That made many Poles outraged. Poland decided to start own investigation run by Polish governmental Institute of National Remembrance. The crimes of genocide never come under the statue of limitation in Polish law. This decision was criticized by Russian officials. Russia finally promised Poland to hand over all files of Russian investigation including 22,500 personal files of the crime victims but didn't do that until now (2006). Many Poles believe they will as Russia of 2000' isn't for sure the past Soviet Union, right?
Well, one of my foundest memories of Warsaw refers to that monument. I saw a couple with two teen-age boys standing and staring at this monument with flowers in hands. They had tears in eyes and desperately wanted to put their flowers. Well, it isn't a monument to put flowers under as you see in my picture. They asked me for help suprisingly... in English language. They were both from Chicago, USA, born in the USA. The woman had both parents born in Warsaw. They survived Warsaw Uprising as kids and luckily escaped to the USA soon after; quite common story. I got to know that someone from that woman family was killed by the Soviets during WWII and that her old parents were very unhappy not to be able to come to Warsaw and asked her to pay tribute to their ancestors among other places just by this, quite new that time monument.
Well, I found 5 people of my (not very popular) surname on the Katyn massacre victim list but as I know no-one of them is my family. There are more popular Polish surnames on the list: 64 Nowak and 42 Kowalski.
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