Polish graves discovered in Belarus

The remains of murdered Poles have been discovered in an Orthodox church in Hlybokaye, Belarus and are to be exhumed.

The Prosecutor's Office in Belarus claims that the Poles were murdered by the Nazis. But historians are convinced that the Soviet NKVD was responsible for the crime, as they were for the Katyn massacre of 1940 when over 20,000 Polish officers were murdered in cold blood by the Stalinist secret services.

The remains were discovered on the premises of the Birth of Holiest Mother of God church. Next to the bones were bullet shells, which, according to Belarusian opposition activist Yaroslav Bernikovich, came from Soviet guns. A pack of 'Progress' cigarettes from a Warsaw tobacco factory was also found.

"We've discovered 20 to 30 bodies. There may be more underneath," the parish priest Sarhey Gramyka told Gazeta Wyborcza. The local Prosecutor's Office ordered that the bones be covered with earth again, because of the smell coming from the open graves.

Local prosecutor Anatol Servyukou said that an investigation has been opened. He refused to explain why the bones were re-buried without first being examined. Servyuko claims that the remains date back to the Great Patriotic War [what Russians call WW II on the Eastern Front] when Hlybokaye was occupied by the Nazis.

"They are probably the remains of Polish officials, intellectuals or officers arrested by the NKVD after Soviets invaded Poland on 17 September 1939," says Belorussian historian Igar Kuzniacou. He claims there is evidence that the NKVD executed Polish prisoners in Hlybokaye in 1940 and 1941.

If true, the murder of Polish citizens in Hlybokaye would become a part of the Katyn massacre. The bodies of 14,736 Polish officers, intellectuals and civilian prisoners of war executed by the NKVD were buried in Katyn, Mednoye, and Kharkov. The most mysterious chapter of the Katyn massacre is the death of at least another 7,315 Poles. Some of them were buried in Bykovnia near Kiev and Kuropaty near Minsk. The burial site of still thousands more Poles remains unknown.



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