About Katyn and Smolensk on Palm Sunday, Chicago, A. D. 2022

About Katyn and Smolensk on Palm Sunday, Chicago, A. D. 2022

dr. Mira Modelska-Creech

On Palm Sunday 10.IV. In 2022, in Chicago, there was a solemn ceremony commemorating the “Katyn” and “Smolensk” victims. It was a Holy Mass combined with laying flowers under the plaque commemorating the victims of the Katyn and Smolensk crimes and lighting up 96 lights. After the Holy Mass, the organization “Polonia for Poland” organized the screening of a documentary based on the technical report of the  “Smolensk Catastrophe”.

If this article will be read in 100 years, a short, encyclopedic historical introduction should be made: „What was this Katyn and why did a state delegation, headed by the President of Poland, Lech Kaczyński with his wife and the last President of the Polish Government in Exile, Ryszard Kaczorowski, and the Polish generals, clergy, deputies and senators, scientists and social activists, 96 people in total, fly to Smolensk, to commemorate the “Katyn victims” on the 70th anniversary of their execution?”

In 1940, “On the basis of the decision of the dictator and his companions from the Politburo, NKVD officers, under the command of Beria, Kaganowicz, Kalinin, Mierkułów and others, shot about 22,000 Polish officers, policemen, prisoners of war from camps and prisons from eastern Poland incorporated into the USSR in the fall of 1939. They were killed with a shot to the back of the head. The executions lasted from April to May 1940 in Katyn as well as in Kharkiv, Tver, Kiev and Minsk” and many other places controlled by the Soviet Union. They were not only officers and soldiers of the Polish Army and policemen, but also reservists, clergy, state officials, doctors, teachers, professors, judges, and local leaders who were taken prisoner mainly from the territories of the Second Polish Republic attacked on September 1, 1939, by The Third German Reich, and then two weeks later by the Soviet Union allied with the Third Reich on September 17, 1939.

The truth about the crime was hidden, falsified and even erased for a long time. It was only in 1990 that the President of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, admitted that the murder was carried out by the NKVD, and not by Germany, as the USSR had maintained for years. In 1992, the President of Russia, Boris Yeltsin, decided to provide the Polish side with key documents on the Katyn massacre, including the Katyn order of March 5, 1940.

It should be mentioned that the Ribbentrop-Molotov alliance was broken on June 22, 1941, when Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. On April 13, 1943, radio Berlin informs the world about an extraordinary discovery by the German army in the Katyn Forest, near Smolensk, where German troops discovered the bodies of murdered Polish prisoners of war. These were precisely those officers who never reached General Anders’ army, which was forming in Soviet Russia in 1941-1942. The Polish Government-in-Exile, known as the London Government, makes a request to the International Red Cross in Geneva to investigate the cause of the murder in the Katyn Forest. The verdict is unequivocal – Soviet Russia. Then on April 25, 1943, Stalin broke off diplomatic relations with the Polish government in London, and in addition, accused the Poles of collaboration with Hitler. Stalin notifies Churchill that it was the Foreign Minister Molotov who handed a diplomatic note to the Polish ambassador in Moscow on the matter, which he was allegedly forced to do by the public opinion of his country, which was outraged by the lack of gratitude on the part of the Polish government towards the eastern great ally of the anti-Nazi coalition. Back then, even the child knew that such a phenomenon as “public opinion” did not exist in the Soviet Union.

Stalin threatened Churchill that he would break relations with his country and possibly turn over to the side of his former ally, Nazi Germany. Churchill sent Stalin’s note to Roosevelt. Churchill was horrified by such a threat, convinced that the Western Allies, without Stalin and the Red Army, would either not be able to cope with Hitler or would expose their peoples to disproportionately greater losses. As a result of this calculation, on July 4, 1943, there was a plane crash on Giblartar, in which General Sikorski, the prime minister of the Polish government in London and the commander-in-chief of the Polish Armed Forces, died. The plane, Liberator AI-523, falls into the sea just seconds after take-off. Together with the general, 7 Poles and 12 Brits were killed. The general’s daughter also died. General Sikorski was on his way back from the Middle East, where the Anders Army he was visiting was stationed. He was carrying “Katyn letters of murdered Polish prisoners of war” in a briefcase attached with a handcuff to his hand. He never separated from this briefcase, even at night.

Now let’s move on to modern times. When Gen. Sikorski’s body was brought from Great Britain to be interred at Wawel, the Polish government asked for a file concerning the death of General Sikorski. The British then stated that it had become classified for the next 80 years. No comment is necessary … I have briefly summarized these facts to make the reader aware of why on April 10, 2010, a government delegation headed by two presidents was going to pay tribute to the “Polish Officers” murdered in Katyn in 1940.

And this time, that is, over the Smolensk Severny airport, on April 10, 2010, the Tu-154M PLF101 plane of the Polish air force, crashed, as a result of which all people on board were killed, including the President of the Republic of Poland, Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 people.

Well, tragedies like this lead to thought and reflection, sometimes even in pain. There would be no point in laying flowers in the church of St. Ferdinand, under the plaque of Smolensk victims or lighting those 96 candles if we did not know why we are doing it. I conclude as many others have as well, that, unfortunately, many times we have suffered great tragedies at the hands of our neighbors. From each such tragedy, we should draw conclusions and protect ourselves for the future.

But this time, having a sovereign Homeland, we managed, thanks to the efforts of the Subcommittee for the Re-Investigation of the Air Accident, to conduct our own thorough investigation, as a result of which the Technical Report was published, and then the Final Report of April 11, 2022. These documents present indisputable facts that clearly indicate that the crash of the Tu-154Mnr 101 aircraft in the vicinity of the Smolensk North airfield occurred as a result of explosions. Thanks to many years of effort, we were finally able to find out the truth. And this is the truth that we heard and saw during the film screening from eminent professors, doctors of sciences, specialists, and heroes who, in the name of this truth, risked so much in their personal and professional lives.

Immediately after the Mass, the audience filled the parish film room and Dr. Dulczewska and Mr. Niemczewski, leaders of “Polonia for Poland”, welcomed the guests. Dr. Krutul was on time, as always with the equipment to show the film, and at the end, I gave a very brief historical outline of the events. Our Pastor, Fr. Piotr Gnoinski, made sure everything is alright.

Everyone watched the film, or rather a filmed scientific report, which was material collected over the course of 12 years, with bated breath. Charts, tables, model drawings, simulations, and photos right after the crash. There was no hint of politics there, just a pure scientific lecture by eminent specialists. The lecture by prof. Binienda and dr. Nowaczyk made the biggest impression on me personally. Probably everyone had their favorite. The film was told at a quick pace. The action was fast and substantive. It was impossible to lose concentration even for a moment. I think, like everyone without exception, it was excellent work, but it is a pity that it concerned such a national tragedy.

The authors of the Report, Mr. Macierewicz, and the researchers deserve special respect from our entire nation. In conclusion of this solemn event, I will say:

Do you see what great a treasure is the sovereignty of a nation?

Because only a sovereign nation can seek the truth. Compare this investigation, calling it Smolensk, with the “Katyn” investigation. And although the International Red Cross commission established that the crimes were committed by the NKVD services on the order of the Government of the Soviet Union at the turn of April and May 1940, in addition, using the stocks of weapons and war equipment found in Polish warehouses after the occupation of eastern Polish lands, and the bodies were in uniforms with personal documents, which allowed for quick identification of the murdered, the perpetrators of the murders: Stalin, head of the NKVD, Beria, his deputy, general Merkulov, his assistants: Kruglov, Zarubin, Fedorov, general Rajchman, general Nasiedkin, (head of the gulags and work camps) and Zhukov from the NKVD (not the General of the Red Army), never took responsibility for their actions. On the contrary, General Sikorski was killed in Giblartar for his willingness to reveal this truth to the world. This was Stalin’s wish, which the British realized in the name of their own interests and of the anti-Nazi coalition, as they claimed (there are documents for it). However, it is the investigations that determine not only the “evidence” but also the “strength” of the defendants. The first step, however, is to establish the “truth”, and the next step is the punishment. On purpose, I don’t dot the “I”, I want the reader to fill it by himself. I just presented some evidence.

It was a special Palm Sunday, and it is good that we could include both groups of our countrymen who died in the land of Smolensk, heroic Poles, in our Prayers.

I greet Mrs Maria Szonert, who is so bravely presiding over us, and all the readers of Republika Polonia, wishing you a blessed Easter time and the solemn Easter Triduum celebrations.

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