Past events

70 Years after The Katyń Massacre, New Details to be Unveiled At International Conference & Photo Display at Library of Congress

Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at 9:00am

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The plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski and much of Poland's political elite thrust the story of Katyn onto the front pages of newspapers around the world, spurring interest in this massacre that had been covered up for decades.  On May 5, experts on the Katyn Forest Massacre from Poland, Russia and the United States will be joined by members of Congress to discuss new details about this unearthed chapter of history, and to explore the future of Polish-Russian relations. 

Morning and afternoon panel discussions will be held in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, and an exhibit about the Katyn Massacre prepared by The Council to Protect the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom will be shown in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building and the Whittall Pavilion in the Library of Congress.

The Katyn massacre caused the greatest diplomatic crisis of World War II after the Wehrmacht discovered the bodies of the Polish officers in early 1943. The Germans exploited the discovery of the mass graves to split the Western Alliance.  Poland and the Soviet Union were then allied with the U.S. and Great Britain against Germany, but when the Poles demanded an investigation, Stalin broke off relations with the Polish government in exile and later installed a Communist puppet regime in Warsaw.

The massacre was part of Stalin's policy to liquidate the Polish intelligentsia. Nearly 22,000 officers captured by the Soviets were murdered, and Stalin deported more than one million Poles to Siberia where many died from starvation and forced labor. The litany of horrors Stalin visited on the Poles fused into the one word – Katyń.

See the Draft Program Below

To reserve a seat for the conference, send an e-mail with your Full Name to [email protected]

Conference Program

The 70th Anniversary Observance of The Katyń Massacre

Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress,Thomas Jefferson Building

1st Street, SE, Between Independence Ave & East Capitol Street

May 5, 2010

Sponsor: The Kosciuszko Foundation: The American Center for Polish Culture  In Cooperation With: The U.S. Helsinki Commission, The Foundation for Polish Science, The Cold War Studies Program at Harvard University, The Memorial Human Rights Protection Center in Moscow, The Polish Embassy in Washington D.C., The Council to Preserve the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom

 Opening of Conference

8:30 a.m.         Registration

9:00 a.m.        

Introduction of guests by Alex Storozynski, President & Executive Director, The Kosciuszko Foundation, host and conference moderator 

Welcome by Dr. James Billington, Librarian of Congress

Senator Barbara Mikulski

Remarks by Ambassador Robert Kupiecki, Republic of Poland

10:00 a.m.      

Address by Sen. Benjamin Cardin, Chairman, U.S. Helsinki Commission

10:15 a.m.       Panel Presentation and Discussion

The Katyń Forest Massacre: Its Importance and Consequences

Moderator:  Ambassador Thomas Simons, the Davis Center, Harvard University

Prof. Natalia Lebedeva, co-editor, Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment

Alexander Guryanov, Memorial human rights organization, Moscow

Dr. Mark Kramer, Cold War Studies Program, Harvard University

Dr. Michael Szporer, University of Maryland/UC, and Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation

 11: 30 a.m.     

Remarks and Introduction House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer

11: 45 a.m.     

Address by Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for Strategic and International Studies and former National Security Advisor

 12:30 p.m.       Break for Lunch.

Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building, an Opening of the Exhibit by The Council to Protect the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom, "Katyn Forest, Massacre. Politics. Morality."

2:30 p.m.      

Welcome to Afternoon Session, Alex Storozynski 

Sen. Richard Lugar, Ranking Minority Member, Foreign Relations Committee

Sen. Leon Kieres, Chairman of the Commission of Foreign Affairs Senate of the Republic of Poland

Remarks by Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak

Daniel Fried, Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland (1997-2000)

3:30 p.m.        

Panel: Katyn: The Potential Benefits of Reconciliation

Moderator:  Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Member of the House Appropriations Committee

Victor Ashe, U.S. Ambassador to Poland, 2004-2009

Prof. Anna Cienciala, co-editor Katyn: A Crime Without Punishment

Allen Paul, author Katyn: Stalin's Massacre and the Triumph of Truth

Dr. Ruth Wedgwood, Johns Hopkins School of International Studies

Thomas Patrick Melady, U.S. Ambassadors to Holy See 1989-1993

 5:00 p.m.         Conference concludes

5:30 p.m.        

Congressional Reception: Library of Congress, Montepelier Room Guests to include members of Congress, the diplomatic corps, the Washington Public policy community, members of the media and representatives of the Russian and Polish American Communities.

For more information contact:

The Kosciuszko Foundation

[email protected]

212 734 2130 

Event Photo Gallery

Photograph of an exhumed body of a Polish officer from the Katyn Forest Massacre. The officers hands are tied behind his back and there is a bullet hole in the base of his skull.
Stalin's handwriting is on this order to the KKVD to murder the Polish officers that were prisoners of war.


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