Meeting devoted to the book on the author of the first “Katyń Report” - Kazimierz Skarżyńki

On 2 October, at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, a meeting took place devoted to the main character of a publication by Jolanta Adamska and Andrzej Prezwoźnik entitled "Kazimierz Skarżyński (1887-1962). W imię prawdy o Zbrodni Katyńskiej”.

Book about life of a forgotten hero

Kazimierz Skarżyński was the author of a confidential report of the Polish Red Cross on the exhumation work in Katyń near Smoleńsk in 1943, the so-called “Katyń Report”.  For a long time the facts ascertained in the report were the basis of the knowledge related to that crime. Up to now the document constitutes the fundamental testimony of the Katyń Massacre.

The Friday meeting devoted to that hero was attended, among others, by Head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister Jacek Cichocki, Chief Director of National Archives dr hab. Władysław Stępniak and members of Katyń Families.

In order to be able to properly appreciate our present, look into the future calmly and with hope, we have to take care of what has happened - we have to take care of our memory. I’m pleased that we can do it now - the Head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister said.

During the meeting, Minister Jacek Cichocki pointed out that over the last weeks numerous events devoted to cherishing the national memory have taken place. He emphasised that in September the Katyń Museum was opened and a pantheon-mausoleum in Powązki was unveiled, where the remains of Indomitable-Cursed Soldiers were buried with honours. They have been brought back to the national memory - he added.

Taking the opportunity, Minister Jacek Cichocki also emphasised the services of the late Andrzej Przewoźnik, the book’s co-author. If someone performs their work in a solid and reliable way, their work lasts even after their death - the head of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister said, calling him one of the “guardians of memory”.

Minister Cichocki pointed out that in July 2015 President Bronisław Komorowski posthumously awarded to Kazimierz Skarżyński the Great Cross of the Order of Reborn Poland. This book perfectly complements this award - he said.

Profile of Kazimierz Skarżyński

Kazimierz Skarżyński was born in 1897 in Mazovia at the palace in Kroczewo (currently Płońsk poviat). He graduated from the School of Political Sciences in Paris and Main Trade Institute in Antwerp.

In January 1940, he joined the management board of PCK. In April 1943, after Germany invaded the territory of the USSR and Polish graves were found near Smoleńsk, he successfully negotiated participation of the PCK Technical Committee in the exhumation. On the basis of the material collected, he created the first so-called “Katyń Report”. In addition, he was the actual organiser of the work of the Committee, which from 17 April to 7 June 1943 conducted the exhumation work from the death pits, and buried the corpses.

After the war, we was interrogated on numerous occasions by the communist security services, but he did not give in to the pressure, and did not confirm that Germans were to blame for Katyń. Facing the risk of being arrested, he left Poland together with the family in the spring 1946. He settled down in Canada, from where he never returned to Poland. He died in 1962.

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Did you know…

The most interesting – from an architectural perspective – interiors of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister are the Column Hall, Skylight Hall, Painting Hall and Kościuszko Hall, as well as the glass-roof vestibule leading to the former office of the Prime Minister and the representative Round Table Hall, Reception Hall and the Clock Hall.

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