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Search for communist victim remains renewed

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 07.05.2013 14:20
The second phase of a search for the remains of Polish resistance leaders eliminated by communist authorities has been announced in Warsaw.

Warsaw's Powazki Military Cemetery: photo - IPN

The excavations will take place at unmarked graves in Warsaw's Powazki Military Cemetery, beginning next week.

Historians from the state-backed Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) hope to find the remains of some 200 figures who were executed between 1948 and 1956.

“Over a period of about four weeks we are going to cover an area which was not tested in the summer of last year,” said historian Dr Krzysztof Szwagrzyk, who is leading the project, in an interview with the Polish Press Agency (PAP).

The first phase of the digs revealed the remains of some 117 veterans, many of whom had been killed by a single bullet to the back of the head, in the style of the Katyn Massacre. Evidence of severe torture was revealed on some victims.

Thanks to DNA samples submitted by relatives of the victims, it has already been possible to identify some of the remains.

Historians are hoping that the next phase will locate a number of Poland's most fabled wartime and post-war resistance figures.

These include Witold Pilecki, the man who volunteered to be incarcerated at the Auschwitz death camp so as to garner an intelligence report, as well as General Emil Fieldorf, former head of a crack division of Poland's underground Home Army (AK). (nh)

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