Karol NAWROCKI: The crime of genocide has no statute of limitations

The crime of genocide has no statute of limitations

Photo of Karol NAWROCKI

Karol NAWROCKI

President of the National Remembrance Institute.

Ryc. Fabien Clairefond

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.It was on the 13th of April 1943 that the general public heard the atrocious news. The remains of thousands of citizens of the Second Republic of Poland had been discovered! A mass grave was found in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, in the western part of Russia. It became the resting place of the Polish Army officers and other uniformed services, as well as physicians, teachers and civilians – Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews alike.

Before the execution, some of them had their hands tied and their mouths gagged with sawdust. They were murdered by a shot to the back of the head, which went down in history as the « Katyn Method » of murdering.

The decision of the execution was made by the Politburo of the All-Union Communist Party (the Bolsheviks) on 5 March 1940. However, the oppressors had not been charged with any crime. There were no legal proceedings nor an indictment.

Why did they have to die? Because they remained steadfast and faithful to their principles. According to Lavrentiy Beria, head of the NKVD, they were not fit for labour camps, and they could not be ‘broken’ in prison to use the NKVD’s own terminology.

The crime was supposed to remain secret. The news broke out in 1943, but was immediately countered by Soviet propaganda claiming that the massacre had been carried out by the Germans.

 For many years, Katyn has been a symbol of the tragedy suffered by Poles during World War II. The Soviet falsification of the circumstances surrounding the Katyn Massacre became the founding lie of the communist government of enslaved Poland. After 1945, the Katyn lie remained part of the official communist propaganda for more than four decades, until the collapse of the Soviet regime.

It was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union that the Russian authorities admitted that the atrocities had been perpetrated by the NKVD on the orders of the Politburo, and handed over documents proving this to Poland. It should be noted, however, that despite the revelation of the broad picture of the Katyn Massacre, there has never been a final reckoning with the past. Moreover, the Russian authorities are still denying access to comprehensive documents. In 2005, the Military Prosecutor-General of the Russian Federation announced that the 15-year-long investigation into the Katyn Massacre was to be discontinued. The justification for that decision remains unknown.

Numerous Russian journalists, historians and propagandists still deny any Soviet responsibility for the Katyn Massacre. Defiant in the face of the official lies, the Institute of National Remembrance is unceasing in its efforts to keep the memory of the Katyn victims alive and to fully describe the circumstances of this genocide.

Ladies and gentlemen, the crime of genocide has no statute of limitations. This is why, as part of the international democratic community, we will strive for justice and do the utmost to name the perpetrators. We will not let the world forget about the Katyn Massacre and other past and current communist crimes. Estonia lost every fifth citizen as a consequence of the terror imposed by the occupying regime. A total of over 75,000 Estonians were murdered, imprisoned or deported. We owe justice and respect to the victims, as well as to all those who spent years fighting for the truth.

In Poland, the process of decommunization has been underway since 2016. To date, 40 of the 60 propaganda objects have been removed from public space.

.Bearing in mind the suffering of the victims of the communist totalitarian regime and the toll it has taken on European societies, I declare that I will continue the process of decomunization in Poland. The fact that, similarily to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, I have been placed among those wanted by the Russian Federation will in no way impede our efforts. On the contrary, I see this as a motivating factor.

Regimes honor war criminals/ murderers.

The civilized world honors the victims.

Karol Nawrocki

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