In a April and May of 1940, 22,000 Polish army officers and members of Polish intelligentsia were executed with a single shot to the back of the head by the secret Soviet police NKVD and buried in mass graves in the forest near Katyń. Seventy years later the Soviets still won’t admit their role in the massacre even though the order was signed by Joseph Stalin himself. It’s been a winding road of lies and deceit, eyewitnesses recanting their statements, evidence gone missing, documents disappearing, anything that would not lead to officially stating what’s been known for decades: that Soviets did it.
There is a statue in Wrocław honoring those murdered in Katyń: an angel of death standing over a woman holding a body with its hands bound and a single bullet wound to the back of the head. The statue is as horrific as the event itself. It’s thought provoking and puts goose bumps on your skin just by looking at the scenario before you. While I believe in moving forward, we need these monuments to remind of us of Poland’s gruesome and blood soaked history.