On August 11, Marcin Wojciechowski, First Deputy Chief of Poland’s Embassy to Belarus, and Andżelika Borys, Chairperson of the Union of Poles in Belarus, laid red and white flowers at the Polish Cross in Kurapaty, a Stalin-era mass grave site near Minsk.
The cross was erected in memory of Polish soldiers killed by Stalin’s secret police, the NKVD, in 1940-1941, many of whom were of Belarusian origin.
In the run-up to Poland’s Armed Forces Day which is marked on August 15, the diplomat and activist made speeches.
By various estimates, Kurapaty might have become a grave for up to 30,000 – 250,000 victims of Stalinists. Among them, there were people of different nationalities: Belarusians, Poles, Russians, Jews and others. Later the Communist party repeatedly attempted to shift the blame for shootings on Nazis. In 1994, the then U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Kurapaty. At the same time, Belarusian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has never come to honour the memory of the killed during his 25-year presidency.
More than a year ago, the presidents of Germany and Austria, as well as senior representatives of the Czech Republic and Poland arrived in Belarus to open a memorial on the site of the concentration camp Trastyanets. However, only representatives of Poland later came to Kurapaty then.