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Saturday, 05 December 2020 03:40

Minister Kenney remembers the victims of Katyn and the Smolensk Presidential plane crash

April 10, 2013

Minister Kenney has issued the following statement in remembrance of the victims of Katyn and the Smolensk Presidential plane crash:


Three years ago today, an airplane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife, along with 94 high-ranking Polish civilian and military officials and others tragically crashed in Smolensk, Russia. Today, we mourn their deaths and remember their many contributions to a free and democratic Poland.

The tragedy of this plane crash was deepened by the fact that the victims were on their way to Commemoration ceremonies for the 1940 Katyn Massacre. Perpetrated by the murderous Soviet NKVD on the orders of Stalin, the massacre was intended to wipe out the Polish nation’s best and brightest.

Over 20,000 Polish officers who had been taken prisoner by the Red Army were brutally executed, most in the forests of Katyn. For decades, Communist authorities shamefully denied the massacre, until the Soviets finally admitted their guilt in these war crimes in 1990.

I had the solemn honour of visiting the beautiful memorial to some of these victims at Bykownia, just outside of Kiev, during my recent visit to Ukraine.

This coming weekend, Canadians of Polish heritage will gather across the country, in ceremonies and in churches, to commemorate these tragedies. As we move closer to Katyn Memorial Day on April 13, I encourage all Canadians to join in remembrance of these tragic events in history.