Monument honouring Poles murdered by NKVD in 1945 unveiled in Suwałki

A monument honouring Polish independence underground activists murdered by Soviet NKVD and SMERSH troops in northeastern Poland in July 1945 was unveiled in Suwałki on Sunday.

Between July 12 and 18, 1945, NKVD and SMERSH troops in cooperation with Polish security services carried out an operation in the Suwałki region during which at least 592 Polish independence underground activists were murdered. They are presumed to have been executed and buried in an unknown location in present-day Russia or Belarus. The so-called Augustów roundup operation is often called "a little Katyń," in reference to the Katyń Massacre, in which the NKVD murdered around 22,000 Polish officers and members of the intelligentsia in 1940.

The Białystok chapter of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance has been conducting an inquiry into the 1945 Augustów roundup for years.

"This crime has never been fully explained and judged. This is all the more painful as so many years have passed," Deputy Interior Minister Jarosław Zieliński said during a ceremony. He stressed that it was impossible to find out the truth without access to Russian and Belarusian archives, which was very limited or impossible.