Katyn Forest massacre memorial

This memorial commemorates one of the most tragic events of the Second World War. In April and May 1940, after the Russian invasion of Poland, Soviet NKVD officials murdered thousands of Polish prisoners of war in the Katyn Forest and elsewhere. In November 1977 members of New Zealand's Polish community erected a memorial plaque to the victims in St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, Wellington. On 16 April 1990 the Catholic Bishop of Auckland Denis Browne unveiled a similar plaque in St Patrick's Cathedral, Auckland. The English text reads:

IN MEMORY / OF / 14,600 POLISH / PRISONERS-OF-WAR / MURDERED BY THE /SOVIETS IN 1940 / IN KATYN FOREST / AND OTHER / UNKNOWN PLACES / IN THE / TERRITORY OF THE / SOVIET UNION / POLISH COMMUNITY IN AUCKLAND.

The same text is given in Polish. The plaque also supports a small receptacle with a sample of soil from the Katyn Forest.

For an account of the massacre from the perspective of the Polish community in New Zealand, see Barbara Scrivens' recent blog, Polish History New Zealand: Katyn the Unspeakable Crime (2021).

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