In the fall of 2011, the United States National Archives and Records Administration undertook a major project to search for and declassify Katyn-related documentation in the possession of various agencies of the United States Government. The Katyn Project was undertaken by the National Archives on the request of President Barack Obama based the initiative of Congress Representatives Marcy Kaptur and Daniel Lipinski and with the support of the Katyn Council.
The Grand Opening of the Katyn Collection compiled by the National Archives as a result of the Katyn Project will be announced to the public by the United States Chief Archivist on September 10, 2012 at 3 pm in the Congressional Meeting Room North at the United States Capitol in Washington, DC.
Representatives of the Katyn communities, Siberian communities, Polonia communities, and all people of goodwill are encouraged to take part in this important historic event. The Opening of the Katyn Collection shall not be ignored. The Katyn wound has not been healed. To the contrary, it has festered and deepened due to Russia’s lack of atonement and unwillingness to meet basic reconciliation requirements. In the words of Congressman Dennis Kucinich “Katyn still presents to this day a moral crisis.” This is not only a Polish or Russian problem. Katyn remains a matter of importance to the entire world community as long as the Katyn crime, which represents the crime of all crimes, remains without accountability, adjudication, and without condemnation by the international community. As Congressman Kucinich put it, “the moral calculus that really ends the wars has not been worked out in the Katyn case.”
Accordingly, the release of the Katyn documentation by the National Archives of the United States represents an important step towards meaningful resolution of the Katyn problem. However, this is only one step on a long and difficult journey towards full reconciliation and closure. The hecatomb symbolically known as the Katyn Crime represents the planned and systemic extermination of the Polish nationals through mass murder of Polish POWs and civilian prisoners and deportations of the families of the condemned men and other carriers of the Polish identity to the depths of the Soviet Union, followed by decades of brutal cover-up operations, intimidation, and suppression of information. In order to heal the Katyn wound and cure the Katyn trauma that continues to impact subsequent generations of Polish nationals, compliance with basic reconciliation requirements by all parties involved is urgently needed. Such reconciliation shall be achieved through full disclosure, adjudication, and compensation.
The disclosure of the Katyn documentation by the US National Archives represents an important step on the journey towards reconciliation because it opens access to a new body of knowledge which will expand our understanding of the mechanics of the crime and will shed more light on the causes and consequences of World War II.
However, this historic step of disclosing Katyn documentation in the US archives shall be followed by a broad dissemination campaign to counter decades of Katyn lies and suppression of information. Such pro-active dissemination process would serve as a form of public adjudication of the Katyn Crime necessary for achieving reconciliation. The process of dissemination of truth about Katyn should be supported by a gesture of symbolic compensation through establishment of Katyn Institute with a mission to prevent cover-up operations of grave international crimes.
The participation of the Polish American community in the Grand Opening of the Katyn Collection at Capitol Hill on September 10, 2012, will demonstrate to the world community our recognition that the disclosure of the Katyn documentation represents an important step toward very much-needed reconciliation over this unprecedented crime of historic proportions that impacts generations of Polish Americans to this day.
The Katyn Council