Warsaw to commemorate WWII Katyn massacre victims

The 13th Katyn March of Shadows to honour thousands of Polish POWs and others killed by the Soviet NKVD during World War II will start at 3 pm at the Polish Army Museum and proceed through the streets of central Warsaw.

The remembrance event will be attended by 150 members of re-enactment groups dressed in historical Polish Army and police uniforms. Fragments of letters by the victims and recollections of survivors will be read out during the march.

The procession will end at 4.30 pm at The Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East on Muranowska Street.

The Katyn March of Shadows has been organised in Warsaw every year since 2008 by a local re-enactment group and is held under the patronage of the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN).

The Katyn Forest Massacre in western Russia was a series of mass executions of Polish POWs, mainly military officers and policemen, carried out by the Soviet NKVD security agency in April and May 1940. The killings took place at several locations, but the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest in western Russia, where some of the mass graves of the victims were first discovered.

About 8,000 of the victims were officers imprisoned during the 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland, another 6,000 were police officers, the rest were Polish intellectuals, deemed by the Soviets to be intelligence agents and saboteurs. At least 24,000 were believed to have been killed in all.

In 1943, the government of Nazi Germany announced the discovery of mass graves in Katyn Forest. The Soviets claimed that the killings had been carried out by the Nazis in 1941 and denied responsibility for the massacres. In 1990, Russia officially acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the massacre by the NKVD.