Poland marks 78 years since Katyn massacre
PR dla Zagranicy
Tuesday marks the 78th anniversary of the start of a Soviet campaign to eliminate Poland's elites, which came to be known as the Katyn massacre.
Помнік ахвярам Катынскага злачынстваPhoto: Goku122/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Following the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, thousands of Polish officers were deported to camps in the Soviet Union.
On 3 April 1940, the NKVD – a forerunner of the Soviet Union's secret police organisation the KGB – transported 4,400 Poles from the internment camp of Kozelsk to the Katyn forest near Smolensk, western Russia, where each was shot in the back of the head.
They were followed by other transports to Kharkov, Kalinin, Kyiv and Minsk in a campaign which lasted a little over a month.
The killings took place at various points across the then Soviet Union.
The 22,000 dead were mainly Polish army officers but among them were also policemen, artists, doctors, teachers, lawyers and other members of the intelligentsia.
The Katyn Massacre was officially kept under wraps by the Soviet Union, and later Russia until 1990. (vb)