Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lucia Poland marks 75th anniversary of Soviet Invasion in 1939

President Komorowski unveils huge epitaph to over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Stalinist secret service, known as the Katyn Massacre': photo - PAP/Jacek Turczy

At 3.30 am on 17 September 1939, the Polish ambassador in Moscow was handed a note, in which Moscow announced that the Polish state had ceased to exist.

In the wake of the Soviet invasion, mass arrests and deportations were carried out. By June 1941 over one a half million Poles were herded into trains, to work as slaves and forced labourers near the Arctic Circle and in the steppes of Kazakhstan.
My Dad's family was swept up in the deportations.  They were sent to Siberia in trains normally used to transport cattle, in the middle of winter.  Many died on that journey.

In Poland, the invasion has often been described as a ‘stab in the back’, which Poland received from the Soviet Union seventeen days after the Nazi attack and less than a month after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia.
A few years ago, Russia seeking to make it illegal for anyone to say that the Soviet Union occupied Poland or the Baltics during WWII (See Russia accuses Poland of starting WWII)).  I'm not sure what came of that, but the fact that it's even suggested shows how contentious the 1939 Soviet invasion still is in Russia, and how they are unable to come to terms with the part they played in WWII as the aggressors before becoming "the victims of the Nazis".

In Warsaw on Wednesday, President Bronislaw Komorowski unveiled the Katyn Epitaph – the first batch of plaques with the names of over 20,000 Polish officers murdered by the Soviet NKVD police in 1940.

The epitaph is located in the Warsaw Citadel, the site of a future Katyn Museum, now under construction.

President Komorowski described the search for the truth about Katyń and the memory of that tragedy as one of the most important foundations of a free Poland.

Komorowski admitted that the efforts to gain access to all documents relating to the Katyn massacre possessed by Moscow have failed.
How Russia continues to deal with the Katyn Massacre is to me, the deciding factor as to whether or not the past has been fully recognised.  That Russia continues to stonewall Poland with regards to the evidence as to what exactly happened, shows that the Russians have not dealt with their Soviet past in any meaningful way.

President of the Institute of National Remembrance Łukasz Kamiński has told Polish Radio that the Polish nation has to preserve the memory of its plight under the Soviet occupation.

“World War Two and the Katyń massacre of 1940 are the cornerstones of the nation’s collective memory,” he said, adding that Poland needs a museum dedicated to the Katyń crime.
That will annoy Russia.  Maybe Poland will be cast as fascists and Nazis to the world in the next year or so, as a pretext to another invasion.
Lukasz Kaminski also stressed that for the past few years Moscow has been pursuing an aggressive propaganda in regards to Soviet policy during WWII, resorting to Stalinist lies including claims that the Soviet invasion of 75 years ago was undertaken to protect the Ukrainian and Byelorussian minorities in Poland’s eastern territories.
It always amazes me that people in the West actually believe the propaganda that is coming out of Russia.  If only they knew the history of how the Soviets have been acting over the last century - then they would be immune to any attempts to rewrite history.

Related link: Poland Marks 1939 Red Army Invasion

9 comment(s):

pmilt said...

Don't be amazed - how many people in the West even know that Poland, the Baltic republics and Finland were invaded by the Soviet Union in 1939? The Polish and Baltic leaders' nervousness about Russian intentions strike a lot of westerners as ridiculous paranoia, exactly because those westerners have no idea of the recent history of those countries.

Lucia Maria said...

Pmilt,


You're right, I shouldn't be amazed, and yet I am.


This has not been a popular post, btw. It's like few give damn.


I'm almost feeling like a complete outcast, many times putting forth the unpopular opinion, so that my "buds" end up abandoning me.


I sort of see you a bit like that as well, even though on the spectrum we are somewhat almost polar opposites.

pmilt said...

Popularity is no measure of the value of an opinion. I respect you, Andrei and Zen Tiger as people of integrity - the near-bottomless depth of disagreement we reach on particular issues isn't relevant to that.

Andrei said...

I haven't abandoned you Lucia Maria - you are in my prayers.

And I want Poland to thrive and prosper as a sovereign, independent Nation preserving at its heart its Catholic heritage

I went to the Polish graveyard at Monte Cassino along time ago now, you know, to pay homage to the fallen Polish heroes of the Italian campaign and saw there a few Russian three bar crosses (not many but a few) along with the Latin ones.

For our Friend Milt WW1 ended in 1918 but for our forbears it lasted many more years - Poland was born in a series of wars, the most famous the Polish/ Bolshevik war and there was war between Poland and Lithuania, all teh while the Russian Civil War raged and the Finnish war etc etc

And then WW2 - our people suffered and died in their millions

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

I don't believe Russia has any interest in annexing Poland nor the Baltic Republics nor Ukraine - rather my sense is that Russia is interested developing Siberia which is very, very rich and building trade relationships and trade not based upon the US dollar (these things are all happening and as they progress the bellicosity toward Russia just increases)

There are people from outside stirring up trouble in Eastern Europe for their own purposes and they are using historical and religious differences to do it - I think this is wickedness.


There is another coup coming to Ukraine, more human suffering, more bloodshed - it makes me want to cry

Tom Hunter said...

Don't be dismayed Lucia. In the age of the internet there's a better chance of spreading knowledge about history than ever before.

A recent personal example that might make you feel a bit better - even if it relates to a different theatre of WWII - was my daughter's NCEA L1 history course, where they've been studying the war and finally reached the topic of Japan. The teacher kicked off the session by asking the students to raise their hands as to whether they'd heard of Hiroshima. Almost all did. Then she asked whether they were horrified by what had happened to the Japanese there. Again, most raised their hands. Then she asked how many had heard of The Rape on Nanking. Nobody raised their hands, at which point the teacher actually rubbed her hands together and said: Oh boy, then are you in for a history treat.

As Simon Scharma once said, "history ought never to be confused with nostalgia. It's written not to revere the dead, but to inspire the living."

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Tom.

I have been quite impressed as well by the calibre of teachers at my sons' college, even though a number of them are full on communists (originally from Britain).

The internet has definitely changed things, though for many, the sheer volume of information tends to hide stuff in plain sight. You have to know what you are looking for.

Lucia Maria said...

Andrei,

I don't know what to say, but thank you for your comment.

Lucia Maria said...

Thanks, Pmilt.

Maria said...

Ditto.

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