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Polish President, PM commemorate Augustów Roundup victims of 1945

We will not stop searching for the truth about that crime and commemorating its victims, Polish President Andrzej Duda wrote in a letter to the participants of the 77th anniversary of the Augustów Roundup.

As the President stressed, the day of remembrance of the victims of the dramatic event is “an evocation of the great drama of our history.”

“We pay tribute to the persecuted and exterminated compatriots who paid a terrible price for their loyalty to Poland,” he wrote, declaring that “we will not allow evil to spill over again, to enslave and to harm.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, present at the ceremony, said that the people who faced the Soviet occupation after the war were victorious. “They are the ones who today set the moral compass by which we – the contemporary rulers of our homeland – are also guided,” he explained.

He admitted that Poland is still waiting for a final explanation of the crime. “We will not rest until we find the graves of the victims of the Augustów crime, the crime in the Suwałki and Sejny lands,” the PM declared.

Mr Morawiecki also announced that the Pilecki Institute will establish the Museum of the Augustów Roundup. “This would be a place that will remind the next generation about the truth,” he said.

Augustów Roundup

In July 1945, the Soviet secret police (NKVD), assisted by officers of the Security Office (UB), arrested several thousand of Suwalszczyzna’s (region in northern Poland) inhabitants who were accused of collaborating with underground Polish independence organisations.

As a result, at least 592 people disappeared without a trace, but according to the Association of the Memory of Victims of the 1945 Augustów Roundup, the number of murdered may reach as many as 2,000.

The operation was aimed at destroying the Polish independence underground, particularly active in that area.

‘Little Katyń’

In 2012, Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) obtained Soviet-era documents confirming the execution of almost 600 Polish citizens in the Augustów Roundup.

One of the documents obtained by the institute is a classified cypher written by General Viktor Abakamov, who in 1945 was the head of SMERSH, the Red Army’s counter-intelligence agency.

The document, sent to Major General Ivan Gorgonov, calls for a plane to be sent to Olecko “with a group of experienced counter-intelligence officers, to carry out the execution of bandits arrested in the Augustów forests.”

The killings have been dubbed “the Little Katyń,” in reference to the approximate 22,000 Poles shot in 1940 by the Soviet NKVD secret police.

IPN has declared the 1945 Augustów roundup “the largest crime committed by the Soviets on Polish lands after WWII.”


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