Warsaw demands explanation after Belarus destroys Polish WWII memorial
Poland has accused Belarus of ‘barbarism’ after a Polish WWII memorial was ‘razed to the ground’.
The memorial in the western village of Mikuliszki contains the remains of the wartime headquarters of a Polish Home Army unit whose members died in combat in the area in 1944.
The Home Army (AK) was the main resistance movement in Poland during World War Two.
Posting on social media, MP Robert Tyszkiewicz, Chairman of the Committee for Liaison with Poles Abroad described the incident as: “A barbaric act of state vandalism against the graves of the Home Army soldiers in Belarus.”
Belarusian website glosznadniemna.pl ran several pictures of the location, showing only bare earth where the headquarters and crosses commemorating the fallen soldiers had stood.
Also removed was a plaque explaining the nature of the site.
Marek Zaniewski, vice-president of the Union of Poles in Belarus, said: “Unfortunately, acts of vandalism on Polish memorial sites in Belarus are taking place more and more often.”
Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has now demanded Belarusian authorities explain the incident.
A ministry spokesman said: “We appeal to the Belarusian authorities to immediately put an end to acts of vandalism in cemeteries and to reveal and account for the perpetrators.
“Poland firmly demands respect for the graves and commemoration of the deceased.
“This issue, in line with international standards, should be completely excluded from the current political disputes.”
The buried soldiers, mainly from the locally stationed 3rd and 6th AK Brigades, died fighting between January and July, 1944.
The memorial was erected in the 1990s and most recently remained under the care of the Union of Poles in Belarus (ZPB).