• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland



  • The Ambassador of Poland to Belarus Konrad Pawlik paid tribute on Friday to the memory of Poles murdered by the NKVD in the so-called "Polish Operation". The diplomat laid flowers in Kuropaty and Chelyushkin Park, where the victims of Soviet repression lay buried. 

    "It was a mass murder carried out on the Polish population living in what was then the Soviet Union, especially the republics neighbouring the Second Polish Republic. More than 110,000 were murdered, others died as a result of other repressions, many people were deported to the USSR. They were persecuted only because they were Poles," Ambassador Pawlik said after placing flowers in Kuropaty, on the outskirts of Minsk.

    The Ambassador reminded that 80 years ago, on August 11 1937, NKVD chief Nikolai Yezhov signed order No. 000485 approving the initiation of the "Polish Operation", the mass repression of people of Polish nationality in the USSR. As a result, at least 111,000 Poles lost their lives.

    The thousands of nameless victims of Stalinist repression lie in death pits in the Kurapaty forest - from the 1930s until the beginning of the German-Soviet war in 1941, the NKVD shot its victims there. According to various estimates, Kuropaty may contain the remains of as many as 250,000 victims.

    This includes Poles who were victims of the NKVD's "Polish Operation" in 1937-1938. According to the portal, the decisions regarding the death sentences were made extra-judicially in 78 regional capitals, countries and Soviet republics. Most victims were shot in underground NKVD prisons or forests outside towns. Corpses were thrown in to previously dug pits. 

    Other victims of repression in Soviet territory, regardless of their nationality, were also killed in a similar way. According to independent historians, in Minsk and its surroundings there are around ten places where the remains of victims are buried. Apart from Kuropaty, which has the status of a culture and history heritage site there are also death pits on what is now Chelyushkin Park, located near the main artery in the center of Minsk, Independence Avenue. 

    In the park there is no official form of commemoration of the victims of repression, there is only a symbolic wooden cross constructed at the beginning of the 1990s. This site was also visited on Friday by the Polish ambassador, who laid flowers and lit candles to honour the memory of Poles killed in the NKVD operation.

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